Packing a Punch Against Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is chronic movement disorder that progresses and worsens as time goes by and affects over 10 million people worldwide. There is no cure for this debilitating condition and there aren’t any solid, specific conclusions as to what causes PD.1 A few of the more notable personalities that have been challenged by PD are actor Michael J. Fox, singer Linda Ronstadt, and former Attorney General Janet Reno who succumbed to the disease in 2016. PD usually affects persons over 40 to seniors, but there are many cases of younger persons developing this disease as early as age six. Despite no cure, medicine and surgical procedures have been used to relieve some of the symptoms of PD which include: involuntary movement (tremors in limbs at rest), muscle stiffness, poor balance, trouble standing, impaired voice, anxiety, depression and dementia.2 Another approach used to relieve some of the symptoms of PD is practicing aerobic and learning-based exercises.3

Exercise and Parkinson’s

Though research is ongoing, some promise has been shown in Parkinson’s patients who participate in both aerobic and learning-based exercises, and some doctors are prescribing exercise as a treatment to help with balance, posture, muscle stiffness, rhythmic movements, heart and lung function, and depression. Some aerobic exercises that are recommended can include walking, dancing, yoga, and classes that require shifts in movement, direction, and rotation. When it comes to learning-based exercises, it is really important to include exercises that challenge tempo, activity and direction, also known as “random practice” exercises.

Helen Kollias, PhD, a molecular exercise physiologist based in Toronto, notes in her article “Physical Activity and Parkinson’s Disease” that studies have found that people with PD who exercise have improved strength, cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility and gait.4 It is cautioned that starting an exercise program for those with PD depends on factors such as age and the progression of the disease. Before starting any new exercise regimen, PD patients should discuss the details with their physician. Once cleared by a doctor, the average exercise recommendation for those with PD is very similar to those without the disease, as long as they showing a heart rate at 70-80% maximum beats per minute. The age-based formula for calculating estimated maximum heartrate is 220 minus your age. Patients should strive for four to five times a week, exercising 30 to 40 minutes per session.3

“There is some very strong evidence, both anecdotal and researched (present in peer-reviewed journals), that shows exercise in general assists with symptoms and slowing progression of Parkinson’s Disease,” according to Yusuf Saleeby, MD, Founder and Director of Carolina Holistic (Priority Health, LLC), 20-year (retired) Emergency Medicine practitioner. “It is more difficult to show what types of exercise (aerobic vs. resistance training) is more effective, but there is a movement towards use of martial arts as a way to stave off the severity of the movement disorder,” notes Saleeby.

The Martial Arts Approach

As mentioned earlier, learning-based exercises, especially those considered “random practice” exercises can help PD patients with mobility, balance, posture, and help reduce muscle stiffness. Individuals with PD become more cognitively engaged with the practice and learning of movements and skills that were previously done automatically without thinking. Studies suggest that aerobic exercise, may have a role in the improvement of behavioral function in clients with PD. Exercises that incorporate goal-based training and aerobic activity have the potential to improve both cognitive and automatic components of motor control in individuals with mild to moderate PD through experience-dependent neuroplasticity, or creating normal behaviors through introduction of outside stimuli .9

Because the exercises in certain martial arts programs require shifts in tempo, direction and rotation, this may be just what the doctor ordered! “Vigorous and frequent exercise, such as non-contact kickboxing is encouraged among those with PD, especially the younger individuals as it has been shown to increase flexibility, increase mobility and decrease falls,” according to Saleeby. There is also evidence supporting that, in PD’s early stages clients can learn new motor skills. In a study, subjects with PD repeatedly practiced a series of rapid arm-reaching tasks with different levels of movement complexity over several days. Fast performance of sequential targeting tasks improved with practice in both groups and was retained over 48 hours.8

It is recommended, the PD clients exercise on a consistent basis. Those with PD enrolled in exercise programs longer than six months, regardless of intensity, have shown significant gains in functional balance and mobility as compared to programs of only two-week or 10-week durations.6

According to the stage your PD client is in, they may need assistance. Encourage them to bring a friend or family member along with them to work the martial arts class also. Working with a partner can be a motivational tool to help make working seem less like work and more fun. A partner can offer just the right amount of encouragement to someone who may feel less confident and more self-conscious.

It’s Not a New Concept

The idea that martial arts-related programs could help those with PD is not new by any means. Seventeen years ago, researchers at Emory and Georgia Tech studied the effects of Tai Chi and Qi Gong on Parkinson’s patients. The goal was to find out if these mind-body modalities can actually improve the quality of life of Parkinson’s sufferers by helping them “train their minds to train their bodies.”  Steven Wolf, professor of rehabilitation medicine at Emory, was the primary investigator in the 2001 study and concluded that PD patients performing Qi Gong showed improvement in gait and balance. In an earlier study in 1994, Wolf noted that older persons who took classes in Tai Chi had less falls. 7

Conclusion

It’s true that we have a long way to go when it comes to slowing the symptoms, and eventually finding a cure for the debilitating disease of Parkinson’s. But, it is encouraging to see studies that show that exercise can help and, that even exercise of a vigorous nature such as the short “rounds” of intense MMA-style moves found in some workouts can help relieve some of the symptoms of PD. Remember, not every person with PD is at the same level, and a doctor needs to chime in on the specific exercise needs of a client. Also, partnering up with someone who can offer support, encouragement and motivation, can be just what your client needs to help keep them focused and coming back to your classes for more!

 

References:

  1. “What is Parkinson’s Disease?” http://www.pdf.org/about_pd
  2. “Parkinson’s Disease,” https://www.gstatic.com/healthricherkp/pdf/parkinson_s_disease.pdf, Mayo Clinic.
  3. Exercise and Therapy, http://pdcenter.neurology.ucsf.edu/patients-guide/exercise-and-physical-therapy
  4. “Physical Activity and Parkinson’s Disease,” by Helen Kollias, PhD
  5. “CORE DE FORCE” https://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/core-de-force-mma-workout.do#sm.0000lubiyl8l4e30101yc8rlct6fo.
  6. “Neuroprotective Benefits of Exercise” http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/treatment/Exercise/Neuroprotective-Benefits-of-Exercise.
  7. “Study: Can Martial Arts Help Whip Parkinson’s” https://www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/erarchive/2001/December/erDec.3/12_03_01juncos.html.
  8. “Striding Out With Parkinson Disease: Evidence-Based Physical Therapy for Gait Disorders” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816030/.
  9. “Exercise-enhanced neuroplasticity targeting motor and cognitive circuitry in Parkinson’s disease.” http://beelerlab.ws.gc.cuny.edu/files/2014/09/Petzinger2013-Lancet-Neurol.pdf.

 

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Tabata Training: Background and Benefits

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After wearable technology and body weight training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the top fitness trend, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). HIIT training involves short, intense intervals of exercise followed by short periods of recovery or rest. These intense workouts usually last no longer than 30 minutes. One of the more popular HIIT programs, Tabata training, utilizes eight rounds of intense exercise lasting 20 seconds each, followed by 10 seconds of rest/recovery. This type of short-burst workout can have cardiovascular benefits, and improve both athletic physical conditioning and glucose metabolism.

History of Tabata

In a 1996 study featuring Olympic speed skaters, Dr. Izumi Tabata and Coach Irisawa Koichi put athletes through a test on a mechanically-braked cycle ergometer. At an intensity of 170% of VO2max (maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use), the skaters exercised for short bursts of 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeated for four minutes; a total of eight cycles. The athletes trained using this method (Tabata named the IE1 protocol) for four days and added a fifth day of slate training (continuous training with no rest). A second group in the study performed steady slate training (70% VO2max) for five days.

The Tabata group achieved similar aerobic gains as the second group who worked out continuous. At the end, the second group did have a higher VO2max (from 52 to 57 mL/(kg•min), but the Tabata group, which started lower, gained more overall (48 to 55 mL/(kg•min). In addition, the Tabata group saw a 28% gain in their anaerobic fitness level.

Benefits of Tabata

The main purpose of Tabata training is to get the maximum benefits in the least amount of time. You can see why this type of exercise training would be appealing to Olympic athletes. It has been known to raise metabolism and the heart rate immediately, which also makes Tabata a great training program for weight loss. The protocol is so intense that your metabolism stays high, even after the workout is complete. As a result, you continue to burn fat for hours. The technical term for this is Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), also known as the “after burn” effect. Additional studies have shown that Tabata can burn up to 13.5 calories per minute.

One of the highlights of Tabata from a trainer’s standpoint is that it gives trainers the ability break down the exercise series to include short bursts of exercises such as push-ups, burpees, squats and sprints for example. Don’t forget each exercise is done at high-intensity for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in-between. If done correctly, athletes can really take advantage of the benefits Tabata training can give them.

 

Tabata Is Not For Everyone

Due to the intensity of this program, Tabata is not for everyone. Since you are already P90X LIVE instructors and are used to training at a high level, you may find Tabata to be a comfortable transition, but when leading a class, there are some important things to keep in mind.

Participants who normally consider themselves strong exercisers have been known to be caught off guard by Tabata training; many find it hard to catch their breath while others are just not physically able to handle the intensity of this workout. It is encouraged that all participants get clearance from their doctors before starting a Tabata training program and be forthcoming with their instructor on any injuries they have.  It is our recommendation that participants let their injuries heal before taking on this program. Also taking advantage of these short rest periods is vital. This is a good time to practice breathing exercises and keep moving even at a slow pace to keep the blood flowing and muscles limber. Of course, you are not training to be Olympic speed skaters, so as P90X LIVE instructors you will be provided with a predesigned workout that will be a variation of the Tabata program.

With any HIIT training, proper nutrition is important as well. Tabata is not a program you want to show up to on an empty stomach. But, don’t weigh yourself down with too much protein or carbs either. Some fast digesting protein and carbs can fuel your muscles with the essential amino acids you’ll need. You can also suggest clients consult with a registered dietitian to find the right nutritional balance for them.

While Tabata is a tough training program, it can also be a fun, challenging workout that participants will enjoy. And, you will be instructing on a valuable tool for both exercisers and athletes, how to get maximum benefits of a full workout, in a shorter length of time. Or, as they say on Wall Street, “more bang for your buck.”

Kevin McGuire is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has been writing on topics of health, fitness and nutrition for 10 years. He can be reached at mcgurk1266@gmail.com.

 

References:

Tabata, Izumi; Nishimura, Kouji; Kouzaki, Motoki; Hirai, Yuusuke; Ogita, Futoshi; Miyachi, Motohiko; Yamamoto, Kaoru (1996). “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max”. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 28 (10): 1327–30.doi:10.1097/00005768-199610000-00018.PMID 8897392.

Tabata, Izumi; Irisawa, Kouichi; Kouzaki, Motoki; Nishimura, Kouji; Ogita, Futoshi; Miyachi, Motohiko (1997). “Metabolic profile of high intensity intermittent exercises”. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.29 (3): 390–5. doi:10.1097/00005768-199703000-00015. PMID 9139179

“The New Science Behind Tabata Training, the Four-Minute Wonder Workout”

http://www.self.com/story/fitness-tabata-burns-13-calories-per-minute

 

The Return of the Deep Squat

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The squat — it’s one of those exercises that we learn naturally. Prior to walking, infants spend quite a bit of time in the squat position. Soon enough they are stumbling along, grabbing a hold of anything in reach to keep themselves balanced, but are soon back to squatting in order to reach that favorite stuffed animal. As we grew up, so did the squat, which went on to become “the king of exercises” in the fitness arena.

By the late 19th and early 20th century, aspiring bodybuilders were following the lead of one Henry “Milo” Steinborn, champion strongman and the namesake of the “Steinborn Squat,” which became a staple move in the world of weight lifting. The Steinborn Squat involves lifting the weighted bar from a tilt position (no rack), carefully placing the bar across the back, dropping down in a deep squat as far as you can go, then returning to an upright position, and placing the bar down again in tilt position. Milo went on to greater feats such as lifting automobiles and elephants. Yet one thing that Milo did became taboo, and it wasn’t the tilted approach or lifting cars and elephants — it was deep squats.

Though the deep squat didn’t kill Milo (in fact, he lived to a ripe old age of 95), by the 1960s the recommendation was that squats shouldn’t go past the parallel position and that deep squats contribute to knee injuries such as ligament tears. But today deep squats are back. So why the taboo and what has changed to dispel the myths?

The deep squat taboo
In 1961, Dr. Karl Klein, a University of Texas researcher, released a paper called “The deep squat exercise as utilized in weight training for athletes and its effects on the ligaments of the knee.” Comparing 128 weight lifters that regularly performed deep squats to 360 college students who did not, Klein found that the weight lifters’ knee joints showed greater laxity and instability than those of the students. As a result, Klein recommended that full squats be discouraged citing that doing deep squats could result in a “debilitative effect on the ligamental structures of the knee.” Later that same year, the American Medical Association (AMA) backed up Klein’s claims. As a result of the backing of the AMA, these claims triggered a snowball effect causing physical fitness trainers and school superintendents to halt the practice of full squats. But that wasn’t all as soon after several branches of the military also followed suit and banned deep squats from military training exercise regimens.

But it’s natural
As mentioned earlier, full squats are part of our natural movement from infancy. In fact, the human fetus has been known to rest in the squat position within the womb. If it’s a natural movement — how can it be bad for us? Dr. Klein’s results have never been duplicated by other researchers. In fact, many have found issues with Klein’s research. Some of the participants in Klein’s study, for example, noted that the aluminum apparatus used in the test (which fit like a cast around the knee) applied too much pressure and was painful. Also, though Klein highlights the implications of maximum force on the knees, he fails to mention the “wrapping effect” or the contact area between muscles and bones. The wrapping effect minimizes shear force on the ligamentous structures of the knee, specifically to the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament.

In addition, more recent research shows that doing deep squats correctly can be quite beneficial (Williams, D.). First off, when doing deep squats, exercisers utilize full range of motion (ROM) and, secondly, they can help support joint health, help prevent deformity and dysfunction, and help reduce pain. “Deep squats are necessary to stretch the soft tissue in the lower body and to improve mobility and ROM,” according to Maksim Seredov, CSCS, RKC, FMSC. Seredov is the owner of L.I.F.T. Strength & Conditioning, LLC and is a Beachbody Master Trainer certified in both INSANITY® and P90X®. Seredov notes that other deep squat benefits include: maintaining gristle health in the hip, improvement of ankle and hip joint mobility, and increase in knee stability and sprinting and jumping performance.

Thirdly, the fact that full ROM is not accomplished in the half-squat approach means that you are not fully working all the muscles that benefit from full squats. A study presented at the 2008 Congress of the European College of Sport Science showed that subjects performing full squats for 12 weeks had a significantly greater increase in thigh muscle growth compared to those doing shallow squats.

When going deep, technique is key
As with any exercise, the key is to do it correctly. No warm-up is needed before jumping into deep squats; in fact, the deep squats can be part of your warm-up. Seredov notes that there is no one technique that will suit all; however, there are certain criteria that exercisers/athletes should follow in order to properly perform a deep squat. Note: If at any point a participant feels pain as a result of doing deep squats, they should stop immediately.

  1. Heels must remain flat on the ground and there should not be a noticeable shift to the ball of the foot. Having the entire foot on the ground is incredibly important for creation of a stable base and adequate torque from which to develop power.
  2. Feet should not rotate out during the execution of the squat; they must stay firmly planted on the ground. It is normal to demonstrate varying degrees of external rotation of the foot when squatting due to anatomical differences and training goals. The key is that this amount of rotation shouldn’t change from start to end.
  3. The knees should not move inward (valgus collapse) during the squat, as this type of movement results in approximately 70% of all knee injuries, chronic and acute.
  4. The hip crease should descend below the knee crease. All athletes should have the mobility and motor control to reach full squat depth in order to ensure long-term knee health, mobility, stability, strength, and performance.
  5. The low back and neck must remain in a neutral position during the entire squat. A combination of mobility and motor control issues can impact an athlete’s ability to maintain a neutral spine while squatting. Not maintaining proper spine positioning places unnecessary stress on the tissues of the spine.

Be careful, some people don’t know squat
Seredov points out that many squat-related injuries occur because people are misinformed and obtain information from unqualified sources, often on the Internet. “The Internet can be a curse and a blessing at the same time. Since anybody can call themselves an expert and false information is everywhere, it is difficult to distinguish real truth from [false] outdated information,” Seredov says. One of the issues among exercisers trying to do squats is inadequate dorsiflexion in the ankle joints, which may be a direct result of changing styles in athletic footwear. “Fitness shoes used to be made with a significant heel lift,” Seredov points out. “Now the shift is to minimalist, barefoot, and zero drop cross training shoes and this is why so many people squat on the balls of their feet on their toes with their heels completely off of the ground.”

Another issue people run into is motor control. Most people can lie on their back and go through the motions of a squat with no problem, but upright, with gravity in play, people find themselves off balance and falling over while attempting the same moves. Seredov notes, “The second a load is introduced, i.e. gravity or a barbell or kettlebell, most people’s kinetic chain breaks down and the movement becomes dysfunctional.” If a person’s basic motor skills and balance issues are not improved prior to taking on deep squats, trainers can expect participants to repeat bad behavior and risk injury.

As far as weight is concerned, deep squats don’t require exercisers/athletes to use weightlifting bars. Seredov says that deep squats can be performed as standalone bodyweight movements.  “If the athlete is advanced, a load can be introduced or if the athlete is a beginner to deep squats, bands like the TRX or other suspension trainers, a ballet barre, or even a doorknob can provide assistance as the athlete descends into the squat position.”

In Conclusion
Deep squats, once looked upon as dangerous knee killers, are now revered by fitness experts as a great way to maximize your workout and strengthen muscles utilizing full range of motion.  They can be done with an added bar for weight or by using your own body weight. And most importantly, remember proper technique is the key to avoiding injury. So next time you want to tackle some squats, don’t take the shortcut…go deep instead.

Author Bio: Kevin McGuire is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has been writing on topics of health, fitness, and nutrition for 10 years. He can be reached at mcgurk1266@gmail.com.

OK, I’m On LinkedIn, Now What?

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Tapping into the networking world of LinkedIn

In the world of business, connections mean everything. We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, with LinkedIn, it is a bit of both. The connections you make now in current jobs may help pave the way toward new, exciting opportunities and/or careers. And, when a tough situation comes along, such as loss of employment, you can be certain that your network will be who you will count on for your next job. In fact, an Adler Group survey back in February 2016 stated that 65-75% of job seekers found their next job through networking (only 10% found a job on a job board). Here are some other interesting stats to consider from LinkedIn (LI):

  • 93% Employers Have Used LI
  • 89% Hiring Managers Have Used LI to Hire
  • 94% Recruiters Used LI to Vet Candidates
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 Are on LI
  • 90 of Fortune 100 are on LI

Even books for job-seekers such as What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Nelson Bolles, which has been in print since 1970, has dedicated a chapter to LinkedIn.

So you’ve followed the trend and you created your LinkedIn profile…now what? Here are some useful tips on how to get the most from your LinkedIn page.

Customize Your URL

When you initially create your LinkedIn profile, you end up with a long URL which consists of your name followed by a series of numbers. It’s a link only someone with a photographic memory will remember. This is easily fixable. Just move your cursor over Profile on the top left and click Edit Profile. Scroll down below your profile picture and move your cursor to the right of the URL and a little gear icon will appear. Click the gear and in the upper right you will see Your public profile URL. Click on the pen icon to the right of your URL and then you can customize your URL. Keep in mind, LinkedIn is supposed to be for business professionals, so having URLs such as http://www.linkedin.com/MyLittleBooBooKitty isn’t the best idea. Keep it simple and professional. A simple, URL can gain you more visibility and help enhance your personal brand. Once your new URL is ready, don’t hesitate to put it at the top of your resume.

 Make Your Photo Count

People like to put a face to the name. Make sure your profile has a clear photo of you. Potential employers are seven times more likely to view a profile with a photo. And, please, don’t post that photo of you wearing that goofy hat from the party, or posing with a bunch of friends, or in front of a cluttered or busy background. Your profile photo should be you looking your best and don’t be afraid to smile. People are more drawn to a happy face. Keep clothes conservative, business casual, with no overly bright or dark colors, or shirts with sayings or team logos. Your photo should display how you want your next boss to see you. There are even some sites like Photofeeler.com where people can rank the quality of your photos. Not a great site for the thin-skinned, but a great place to find out if you’ve choose a winning shot.

Complete Your Profile

Similar to your resume, your LinkedIn profile should tell people the essential skills you have that drives you apart from other job candidates. One difference is that on LinkedIn you can write your profile in first person. But, before a potential employer even gets to your previous job experience and education, there are two other crucial areas of your profile that must shine bright; your Headline and your Summary.

Your Headline is your personal brand. List the functions and specialties that make you the valuable employee that you are. For example:

Lutz Finger

Getting Data & Insights To Work @LinkedIn Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Quantum Physicist, Author

Now, though most won’t be able to list quantum physicist as a job title, you still have excellent qualities to highlight the best of you with awesome, searchable keywords. You should avoid using certain symbols such as “&” and “/” in your Headline, as it may affect a keyword search. The Headline will also include you current and previous employers and educational institutions you attended.

The Summary is the highlighted information that you would include in a cover letter. It usually covers four areas: Profession, Skills, Environments and Strengths.

Profession

Give a detailed description of your job title in present tense. If you are a vice president, for example, don’t just say “I am the vice president at PepsiCo.” Rather, “I am the vice president of PepsiCo’s distribution division and I lead a team 65 employees and two managers…”

Skills

Skills should include all the expertise you have in a particular area and any certifications or training you have completed.

Environments

List all types of organizations such as Fortune 500, non-profit or government agencies that you have worked for and, also, if you were part of a small group, large group or an entrepreneurial environment at any time.

Strengths

What makes you unique from the other candidates with your skill set? Maybe you have a great temperament, are a problem solver or have specialty computer skills that gives you an edge. What makes you marketable?

Engage

Become a recognizable person in the feeds of your connections. Post comments in the update section that highlights your skills and write some more in-depth articles detailing subjects where you have expertise. Make sure you add a great photo to compliment your article.

Like and comment on other people’s posts and recognize their skills as well by endorsing them at the bottom of their profile. This may encourage others to return the favor and endorse you. Just make sure you list the skills you most want to see endorsements for at the top.

Under the Interests tab at the top you can pick companies you are interested in and follow them. You can also join Groups. Groups are where people gather to talk about subjects of common interest. So if you are into digital marketing, find a group on digital marketing where you can share your knowledge and learn and comment on other people’s posts as well.

Engaging with others is a great way to get noticed, gain connections and network. There are also groups dedicated to job seekers.

Premium

If you are looking for work or to change careers, consider investing in LinkedIn Premium. It cost $29.99 a month, but it just might be worth it. With the Premium package you can see a full list of who has viewed your profile. If a potential employer or recruiter has viewed your profile, it shows that there is already some interest in your skills. Premium allows you to use InMail to send messages to people even if you are not connected with them. This can be a good way to reach out to recruiters and human resource personnel. Just make sure you use the etiquette approach and don’t just ask for a job. Introduce yourself and give some information about what you do and the skills you have. You may get some feedback on current job openings and how to apply.

In addition, you can search jobs by salary and get a more detailed advanced job searches to help narrow down to exactly what you are looking for. But, one of the biggest advantages to paying for the Premium service is access to IN Learning courses. Learn WordPress, Social Media Marketing, Art Direction, Graphic Design and so much more with online course you can complete at your convenience.

Improve your profile, engage, hone your skills and whether your goal is to increase your network, change careers or find a job in your realm, you will be on the right track.

Sources:

www.linkedin.com

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-few-important-linkedin-stats/

Lee Hecht Harrison – Advanced LinkedIn

 

 

Tim Kang: The Mentalist and Beyond

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May/June 2015


When I first met with Tim Kang, I was greeted with a smile. A rare occurrence if you are familiar with Kang’s by-the-book, deadpan character, FBI agent Kimball Cho, on the longrunning CBS hit series The Mentalist. In person, Kang is a laid-back guy who enjoys adventure and a good laugh.

In March, the final episode of The Mentalist aired, ending a reign of seven successful seasons. Kang, 42, expresses how honored he is to have worked with such an outstanding cast and crew. “It’s a bittersweet end,” Kang says. “Obviously we’ve become a big family. I think it’s what has contributed to the success of the show. If you could see the relationships coming through as we play the parts and as we tell the story, you can tell that we genuinely like hanging out with each other. I loved going into work every day. So obviously, those kinds of things I will miss.”

Kang graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University. How similar is Kang in real life to his stern Cho character? There are some similarities, Kang states, but he doesn’t live there all the time. “I think that certainly any actor brings something of himself or herself to each character they play, and I think that’s true with Cho. Cho lives in that professional space most of the time, but you know, I like to laugh, I like to smile every once in awhile,” Kang chuckles.

Stunt Work Means Staying in Shape

Being in top shape has helped Kang tackle some of the action scenes on set. Kang performed most of his own stunts on the show and having a black belt in taekwondo comes in handy when faced with a fight scene or chasing down a bad guy. “It’s not a stunt-heavy show, but as much as I can do, I will definitely participate in,” shares Kang. “Now, if Cho’s jumping off a 15-story building, I’ll have a stunt guy do that [Kang laughs], but most stunts I participated in. There were some injuries here and there, but I managed to make it out with not too many scrapes.” Staying fit is nothing new to Kang—it’s been on the agenda since he was a kid. He started taekwondo at age 10 and began weight-training by high school to prepare for football; that’s really when he started working out and spending time in the gym. Kang recalls, “Back then it was just five sets of five reps of bench press and five sets of five of squats and just strength training those big muscles.” Now, Kang works with trainer Derius K. Pierce who got him into TRX suspension training, plyometric and body weight training, and he does a lot of cardio on his own to stay as trim as he can. “[Derius] mixes it up in every workout so my muscles are surprised and I don’t get used to any one motion or any one exercise,” Kang notes. Pierce described Kang in an interview as a person who likes learning new things and being challenged. Circuits provided by Pierce for Kang have included 3 or 4 exercises done 3x in a 20-minute period. An example workout may consist of:

  • Decline pullovers with a crunch at the height of the movement.
  • Weighted dips using the Roman chair—touching knees to the back pad.
  • Peck deck flys.
  • 10 wide step mountain climbers using 4-count reps.(1)

When he’s not working out, Kang is still physically active. You scuba diving or hitting 130 to 140 miles per hour around the track on his motorcycle, or letting loose on off -roading motocross adventures.

The Paleo Approach

When it comes to diet and nutrition, Kang says he has found great benefit from the Paleo Diet™. “I’m not super strict about gluten-free, but it’s just a good, healthy diet,” he says. Kang notes the recent “Paleo craze” is nothing new to the world of fitness. “All those guys in the ‘70s were eating a Paleo Diet—Schwarzenegger, Ferrigno, that was all Paleo they were eating,” Kang exclaims. “We just kind of repackaged it, put some flash in there and called it Paleo. I’m doing it now and I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from it. I haven’t felt better in my life.” But, Kang admits that every once in awhile he’s a guy who likes to eat junk food and splurge on fast food. “But those are cheat days,” Kang explains. “When I’m in my mode, it’s Paleo.”

Fatherhood

In 2009, Kang’s daughter Bianca was born opening up a new and exciting chapter in his life. “It’s the most amazing thing that I ever experienced,” Kang enthuses. “It’s an amazing experience just to watch her grow. She’s such a wonderful kid—her mom and I really lucked out.” The birth of his daughter helped influence Kang’s charity work as well. For many years now, Kang has been involved with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), a nonprofit organization that provides information to help locate missing children who run away from home or have been abducted. NCMEC also assists children who have been physically or sexually abused. “With the early success of The Mentalist I wanted to give back, and at that time my daughter was born—I thought to myself it would be my worst nightmare if anything were to happen to her,” Kang says. So, he decided to find a charity that helps children. “Our kids are our future and it’s important to ensure their safety and this is a fantastic organization and fantastic people. They’re really the salt of the Earth.” You can visit their website at www.missingkids.com.

Beyond The Mentalist

After many seasons on The Mentalist, Kang for the first time in years found himself “unemployed” after the show wrapped shooting in December 2014. He’s grateful for having had the opportunity with The Mentalist, but also embraces the change. “I think we’ve run the gamut as far as the stories that can be told within this context on CBS. I think everybody is ready to do something new. That’s not to say if they asked us to come back and do another year we wouldn’t do it,” notes the San Francisco native.

Kang is now focusing on his own production company, One Shoot Films, which he hopes will open up more opportunities for young actors and writers to get noticed. He also aspires to churn out his own series. “We are in the process of fine-tuning the pilot,” Kang reveals. “It’s always one of the hardest things to do, getting a pilot made. You have to keep at it and keep those creative juices flowing. Right now we are just working on a script and throwing some ideas around.” Kang hopes to dabble in directing and writing in the future as well. One thing is for sure, you can expect to see more of Tim Kang for years to come. AF

KEVIN McGUIRE holds a BA degree in journalism and is the managing editor for American Fitness.

Reference:

“SECRETS FROM TRAINING CELEBRITY CLIENTS: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: DERIUS K. PIERCE” [SIC] BEBLACKBEFIT.COM/SECRETS-FROM-TRAINING-CELEBRITY-CLIENTS.HTML.

The Dark Side of Social Media Part I: Cyberbullying

Teenage Victim Of Online Bullying With Laptop

Teenage Victim Of Online Bullying With Laptop

In between the videos of kitty playing piano and pictures of grandma blowing out candles on her 90th birthday resides the darker side of social media; a place hiding in plain sight that is filled with gruesomeness, brutality, bullying and malicious intent. A place where privacy is non-existent, a tweet can get you killed, and terrorists lurk to attain new recruits.

Classroom Teasing Goes Viral

I remember being a high school freshman in an all-boys Catholic school in the 80s. I was a tiny, skinny, little kid that found himself pushed to the ground at times by the usual suspects of classroom bullies. Lucky for me, I was one of the quickest kids in school too and running was a better alternative to kissing a sidewalk. Surely there were moments when I wasn’t quick enough and found my pants pull down from behind, or a “Kick Me” note on my back. Embarrassing moments for sure with all my classmates laughing or my teacher standing in front of me, but, luckily,  I was able to shake it off and move on. Unfortunately, many kids aren’t able to move past the humiliation and, as a result find themselves depressed with low self-esteem, failing grades and not many friends.

Grim statistics show that not only has occurrences of bullying increased in recent years, but in many cases today, the reach of the bully extends far beyond school yards. In our new digital world, cyberbullying is the latest way for bullies to hurt kids with maximum impact. Now bullies not only say and do hurtful things to our kids in person, but they share these insults, humiliating pictures and videos on Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, through e-mail and other social media outlets, magnifying them to immeasurable levels. Some bullies have gone so far as to creating websites dedicated to mocking other kids. It is an outlet that makes bullies feel powerful and in control. Cyberbullying targets a child’s life and social image. My incident of having my pants pulled down in front of 25 other kids would be looping on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vine, possibly receiving thousands of views and shares. I can’t even imagine.

According to Cyberbullying Statistics:

  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber-threats online.
  • Over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
  • Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, in a survey of 2,000 middle-school children from across the nation:

  • 20% of respondents thought seriously about suicide
  • 19% reported having attempted suicide
  • Cyberbullying victims were 1.9 times more likely to attempt suicide than non-victims

Some of the Victims

  • Matthew Burdette, 14, a student in San Diego took his own life after a student filmed him in the school bathroom stall. The film was posted on Vine and Snapchat.
  • Jessica Laney, a 16-year-old from Pasco County, Florida, hanged herself after being bullied about her weight onfm.
  • After being blackmailed on Skype, Daniel Perry, a 17-year-old from Scotland, jumped to his death from a local bridge. Daniel was harassed often on hisfm page, with commenters telling him to kill himself and that he should cut his throat. He was then tricked into Skyping with someone he was told was a girl his own age and then blackmailed him with screenshots by anonymous users.
  • Viviana Aguirre, 14, of El Paso took her own life after countless bullying incidents on Facebook. Some of the messages suggested Viviana kill herself and even recommended ways she could do it.

Unfortunately, there are so many more examples of this. Now, personally, 30+ years ago when I was in high school I never heard ANY kid tell another kid they should kill themselves. This is very disturbing, not only that it’s happening, but that these calls for suicide are not just coming from individual bullies, but groups of them at once.

Warning Signs

Suspect that your child is being cyberbullied? Here are some warning signs according to stopbullying.gov. Kids who are being bullied tend to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying
  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

Prevention

Communication is key when it comes to cyberbullying. It’s not only important to discuss daily with kids on how their day went at school, but it is equally important to discuss what they should do if they are bullied and advise them not to bully others. Also alert the school principle if your child reports any bullying incident to you. Some parents choose to monitor their child’s activities online and require their passwords to social media sites so they can view activity. Statistics show that 65% of children go online unsupervised!

The other unfortunate aspect of cyberbullying is that it is not only targeted to kids. There are many instances of adult cyberbullying as well. According to PEW research, 40% of adults have been victims of online bullying. Some of these stats include public figures and celebrities as well. During her TED talks, former presidential intern Monica Lewinsky was quoted as saying, “The more shame, the more clicks and the more clicks the more advertising dollars. We are making money off the back of suffering.” On April 3, 2015, Kevin Bollaert was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison for his ‘revenge porn’ website. Bollaert posted over 10,000 nude photos of women sent in by ex-lovers and then charged the victims money to remove the photos.

You can report cyberbullying at www.stopbullying.gov or

http://www.endcyberbullying .com and also take these steps immediately:

  • Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
  • Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages.
  • Block the person who is cyberbullying.

Stay tuned for more articles to come on cyberbullying as well as other topics from The Dark Side of Social Media.

Bio: Kevin McGuire is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles. Look for his his latest articles and insight on how social media is impacting our world at http://www.SocialMediaAtoZ.com -coming soon!

References:

http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html

http://www.stoptechnobullying.org/statistics.php

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2691838/Student-14-committed-suicide-classmate-secretly-filmed-touching-bathroom-spreading-school.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/a-ninth-teenager-since-last-september-has-committed-suicide

http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_24895008/activist-lawmakers-battle-increasing-threat-cyberbullying

https://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics/

Ilyse Baker: You’ll Thank Her Later

Tags

March 2015

Ilyse Baker at AFAA Studio. Photo by Tom Ivicevic

Ilyse Baker at AFAA Studio. Photo by Tom Ivicevic

Dance and fitness have gone together since Dr. Kenneth Cooper coined the term “aerobics” in 1968.1 Soon after, a flood of dance fitness programs had folks Jazzercising through the ’70s and Sweatin’ to the Oldies® through the ’80s. Though Zumba®  emerged in the ’90s, incorporating Latin rhythms and fitness, Zumba’s true impact hit America in the 2000s and has expanded into many different genres of music. Now, an explosion of dance fitness programs has exercise enthusiasts passionate about returning to the dance floor to burn some calories while shakin’ their booties once again.

Ilyse Baker is an AFAA certified group fitness instructor based in Los Angeles. Her charisma , enthusiasm and contagious personality have led her to become one of the most sought after dance instructors in America. She has worked with celebrities such as LeAnn Rimes and Rihanna. Her program Dancinerate® is gaining popularity among the many dance fitness programs that have burst onto the scene in recent years.2

Why the surge in dance fitness programs? Baker feels reality TV may have something to do with it. “Since Dancing With the Stars has become so successful the last 10 years and So You Think You Can Dance, I think that people are …watching, and naturally getting off the couch saying, ‘I want to learn these moves,’” Baker says. “The benefit is that dance is so much fun and it makes you feel so good about yourself. And people become more confident and come alive when they’re on the dance floor.”

A Lifetime of Dance

Baker’s initial love for dance and fitness rose as a result of unfortunate circumstances. At the age of just 14 months, she was injured in an accident involving a drunk driver. One of her legs was broken. And doctors told her parents that she might never walk again.3 As a part of physical therapy, she needed a program that would keep her moving, so Baker’s parents enrolled her in dance classes. Throughout her recovery, she discovered this wonderful feeling inside that was brought out in her dancing. “I come alive through the dance. I am able to tell a story through the movement. I’m able to forget about the worries of the day. I’m able to relieve stress. That’s why I felt there was a need for me to get into the fitness industry on the dance side,” Baker explains. She went on to earn her BA in dance performance and dance education from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Baker earned her first professional dancing gig touring with Sesame Street Live® in New York and soon after, she took her style to sea entertaining on vacation cruises. Subsequently, this dancer decided Los Angeles was the place for her so she moved out West and landed an agent. She soon found a job working for world-renowned choreographer MaDonna Grimes as a dance teacher in her Hollywood studio. “She is amazing,” Baker exclaims. “I took all her classes and one day she cornered me and asked, ‘Why aren’t you teaching aerobics and fitness as well?’” Baker wisely took Grimes’ advice and worked on a couple DVDs as a background personality for fitness celebrities such as Petra Kolber, who also influenced her to get her group exercise certification. Baker chose AFAA for her certification and utilized her newfound skills to motivate people to get up and get moving! “Men and women of all shapes and sizes—I don’t care what they look like, what their background is—can experience learning dance routines,” Baker affirms.

But, not everyone feels comfortable getting up and dancing. Baker notes that when it comes to dance fitness, it’s up to the instructor to make clients feel comfortable and not intimidated by the word “dance.” “I think when you’re asking someone to make the shift into something that takes them out of the norm…there’s that fear,” Baker states. “If a person comes to me and says ‘I have two left feet…I’m scared,’ I tell them if you can bop to the beat of the music, trust me, have a good time and get out of your head…we’re closer to being successful. And the next classes will get easier and easier.”

Dancinerate is a 60-minute class in which Baker highlights different styles of dance keeping each session fresh and fun. “Some days I do Hip-Hop, some days I do Jazz, some days I do Broadway…and in the end I give them one hot routine and they not only walk out of class feeling better, but they’re saying, ‘I’m a dancer!’” Baker exclaims. Dancinerate is also available on two DVDs, Dancinerate: Sassy Jazz and Hip Hop Fusion and Dancinerate: Burn With the Beat. Individual workouts are available for digital download at http://www.ilysebaker.com.

Baker shows no sign of slowing down creating the first ever dance fitness workout DVDs from Weight Watchers®Weight Watchers: The Ultimate Dance Party! fitness kit, which was self-designed by Baker and initially presented in every Weight Watchers meeting room location. Weight Watchers: The Ultimate Dance Party! can now be purchased on Amazon.com and at Wal-Mart, Target, Costco® and Sam’s Club® locations.

As for Baker’s own nutritional habits, she tries to stick to a “clean” diet consisting of six small meals a day. “I focus a lot on protein, vegetables and fruit,” she says. “I’m a big fan of bringing it back to basics. There are a lot of trends out there …. If you eat a consistent, healthy diet and you’ve got your major food groups in there, then you’re living a healthy lifestyle.” Does that mean no splurging? “Hey, I like my jelly beans and sweets here and there, but it’s all in moderation. Don’t deprive yourself , because it’s all about living normal,” Baker says.

Sexy Everything

In between all of her classes, dancing and fitness, Ilyse found time to bring out her style yet another way—her own clothing line. Using her name as an acronym, the I Love Your Sexy Everything® brand generates an array of stylish tanks and tees for the fit fashion connoisseur—sporting positive messages such as “I’m a Dancer,” “Take a Chance…Don’t Fear It!” and her trademarked “#You’llThankMELater.” All the great, colorful choices are available at her shop ilysebaker.com/shop.

Pearls From a Pro

For those who aspire to become a top fitness pro someday, Baker points out the importance of keeping good company. “Network with the right people and make sure you have positive and supportive people in your life,” she notes. “This industry can be really cutthroat and I think you have to be careful, listen more and really do your research. Learn from the experts.”

You can usually find Baker at Equinox, L.A. DanceFit and 360 Health Club in the Los Angeles area, and you can bet you’ll see a lot more of her dazzling smile and style for years to come.

References

  1. cooperaerobics.com/About/Our-Leaders/Kenneth-H-Cooper,-MD,-MPH.aspx (Accessed JAn 6, 2015).
  2. “Meet Ilyse.” com/meet-ilyse/ (Accessed Jan 6, 2015).
  3. VITI, L., “Ilyse Baker.” American Fitness, 30, No. 5 (Sep 2012): 22.

Facing the Facts on Facebook Privacy

It’s our own fault, but now what? 

Facebook

Has anyone heard the story of the Frog and Boiling Water?

The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.1

This leads me to a question. If Facebook had told users upfront that they would pretty much give up their privacy and have their every move tracked, how many of their 1.23 billion active users would have initially signed up?

They didn’t do that of course. What they did do is gradually make changes over time to capitalize on how they can benefit from your information. They know when and how often you check Facebook. They know your age, gender, birthday, where you went to school, where you work, who your friends and family are, what your likes and dislikes are and, in some cases, even your phone number. They know this why?  Because we gave it to them. And with features such as tagging, checking-in and messenger, users are obliging to give up even more of their privacy for the sake of being social. As a result, Facebook knows when you are home or not home. With a simple click of the “like” button, Facebook can track your interests and target you with specific ads that might be of interest to you. They have even been accused of tracking you even when you leave Facebook to view other websites, though they deny this.

Ever start writing a post and you say to yourself, “I better not” and delete the text because you thought it might offend or embarrass someone? That so-called “deleted post” may still exist! According to an article published on SLATE.com, “To collect the text you type, Facebook sends code to your browser. That code automatically analyzes what you type into any text box and reports metadata back to Facebook.”2 Facebook calls these types of non-posts “self-censorship” posts and collects this data. How do they use it? It’s all right here: (http://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM13/paper/viewFile/6093/6350)

Private message anyone? A Salon.com article talks about a bug that allowed private messages to become public on the Facebook Wall.3 A poor college student had his “I can’t believe we made out” message posted for ALL to see. Though Facebook denied this was the case, this wasn’t the only instance of private messages being posted publicly reported4

Maybe the most well-known infringement on privacy form Facebook came when an experiment was conducted “in which researchers temporarily tweaked the contents of nearly 700,000 [Facebook] users’ news feeds—without their knowledge —to test their emotional response to seeing more positive or negative news from friends.”5

Speaking of friends, are any of them hiding from a former lover and calling themselves “Bob Smith?” One of the most recent Facebook battles involved the company wanting to implement a “Real Name” policy. Drag Queens, who didn’t want their true identity known, protested and claimed discrimination. They may have just won, according to sflist.com.6

The last point: Once you are on Facebook, there is NO leaving…really.

Sure, WikiHow can give you the 11-Step Process to “Permanently” delete your Facebook account, so they say.7 But after reading everything I’ve stated above, do you REALLY believe Facebook permanently deletes anything?

On top of that, if you are like me, you feel stuck. You believe Facebook is your ONLY true connection to family and friends. In other words, they’ve got you right where they want you… IN HOT WATER (boiling). I’m sure that’s not how you felt when you got inJ.

Note: I loved the frog metaphor, but can’t take full credit. Behavioral economist Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University used this same metaphor during a talk on the TED stage. You can hear that talk on the TED Radio Hour Podcast. The talk discusses: facial recognition software that can connect an anonymous human face to an online name, and a Facebook account in about 3 seconds. ~ scary!

References:

  1. Wikipedia “Boiling Frog” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog
  2. Slate – “On Second Thought…Facebook wants to know why you didn’t publish that status update you started writing.” http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/12/facebook_self_censorship_what_happens_to_the_posts_you_don_t_publish.html
  3. Salon- “Facebook released my messages from college” http://www.salon.com/2013/12/15/facebook_outed_my_private_messages_from_college_partner/
  4. Huffington Post – “Facebook Bug Exposing Users’ Private Messages On Timeline? New Glitch Reportedly Spotted (PICTURE)” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/facebook-bug-private-messages-timeline_n_1909813.html
  5. Mercury News- “Facebook runs into uproar over experiment that tested emotional reactions” http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26064438/facebook-runs-into-uproar-over-experiment-that-tested
  6. SFlist- “BREAKING: Facebook Issues Mea Culpa To Drag Queens And Others Over ‘Real Name’ Policy [Updated]” http://sfist.com/2014/10/01/facebook_apparently_backing_down_fr.php
  7. WikiHow- “How to Permanently Delete a Facebook Accounthttp://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account

30 Days to a Better Brain: Q & A with former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona

Dr. Richard Carmona

Dr. Richard Carmona

April 2014

Dr. Richard Carmona, has donned several unique hats during his life, including that of a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran, physician, police officer and politician. He served as the U.S. Surgeon General from 2002 to 2006 under George W. Bush, and is well-known for his 2006 report on the dangers of second-hand smoke, which led to many states imposing bans on smoking in restaurants and bars. Currently, Dr. Carmona is the president of the Canyon Ranch Institute in Tucson, Ariz., a nonprofit public charity whose mission is to “help educate, inspire, and empower every person to prevent disease and embrace a life of wellness.” Dr. Carmona’s latest book, Canyon Ranch’s 30 Days to a Better Brain: A Groundbreaking Program for Improving Your Memory, Concentration, Mood, & Overall Well-Being,will be available May 6th at amazon.com. I had the chance to speak with Dr. Carmona about his upcoming book and the (sometimes neglected) focus in America to overall brain health.

KM: What do you feel is the biggest misconception people have when it comes to brain health?

RC: I think maybe more than a misconception, people don’t understand that the choices of their activities, the choices of the behaviors that they express every day, can have a direct effect on their mental health and their cognitive ability. Things such as the foods you eat, the exercises you do or don’t do, the stresses that you incur in life, the environment that you live in, smoking…all of those things will have an effect on your cognitive ability either directly or indirectly.

KM:  Are there certain brain exercises people can do to sharpen thinking and improve memory?

RC: I think we can safely say that as long as you continue to challenge yourself through the ages—take up a new form of exercise, read, listen to music, learn to play an instrument—all of those things create new neural networks, what we call neural plasticity. All your life, you’ve written with your right hand; try writing with your left hand, try brushing your teeth with the weak hand, stand on one foot, so every time you do something like that it stimulates the brain to make a new connection so that it will remember to do it again and help you to do it safely. So, challenging yourself through life intellectually and physically is important to help retain your cognitive ability.

KM: There are some apps out there geared toward brain exercises that are getting popular, what is your opinion of this trend?

RC: [Dr. Michael Merzenich]who is actually one of my professors from medical school said decades ago, before anyone even understood that you could continue to reshape your brain throughout life—they pretty much taught that at 60, 70 years old you’re not going to effect the brain anymore. And Dr. Merzenich, a neuroanatomist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco, was telling us he didn’t think that was true. We know that’s not true now. And years later he’s done the research to prove it. He developed this company called Posit that has brain games. These games challenge you to think differently. Whether it’s adding numbers, or it’s chasing cursors across the screen, it’s causing you to focus in a different way. It’s stimulating the brain in a way you’re not use to and, again, that helps to develop those neural networks. And helps preserve the old ones.

KM: Are there certain physical exercises that stimulate the brain more than others?

RC: It’s interesting. One of the concepts we’ve talked about for a few years when I came back from being surgeon general is that we do well at teaching people how to stay physically fit and active through life, pursuing optimal health and wellness, but nobody was dealing with the brain. And one of the things that became apparent to me, we needed to start brain gyms. How do we exercise the brain? Any physical exercise is good, because as you pedal a bike, as you run, as you swim, as you do resistance bands, as you do yoga—all of those activities require a neural network to support it. Therefore the more cross-training you do with different things that keep the mind stimulated, it keeps that brain young, it preserves the neural networks you have and helps you grow new neural networks. This is the science of neuroplasticity. The key is to find things that you enjoy doing physically. Walk, run, swim, play tennis and do all of them. Stay physically active throughout life and that helps to preserve your cognitive ability.

KM: Do you feel the Canyon Ranch 30-day program can help people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease?

RC: For the average senior with cognitive decline, in medical terms, dementia, you start forgetting things, you get a little confused, and that whole spectrum of dementia includes something called Alzheimer’s disease. What all of these dementias have in common is that you begin to lose your cognitive ability. We know that whether it’s Alzheimer’s, whether it’s dementia from aging, if you come into our environment at Canyon Ranch, we know how we can teach you to pursue optimal health and wellness as well as preserve your cognitive function. That doesn’t mean we are treating you and the disease goes away. But we know the variables that will help you to stay younger longer as you age, because that’s what you are trying to do. You want to age gracefully, but you want to age and stay younger in your mind and your body. By staying physically fit and eating the right foods, putting the right fuel in your body, when you are physically fit it optimizes brain health as well as cardiovascular health. All of those things are important. There is no science out there to say, ‘This is the best exercise for your brain,’ but the science is real clear that all physical activity that is sustained over time is good for your brain health.

KM: What types of foods are brain foods and which are toxic to the brain?

RC: When we look at cardiovascular health and health in general and nutrition, we speak about a diet that is rich in non-processed foods; organic and natural, high in fruits and vegetables and all the food groups. Protein sources from fish, fowl and if you eat red meat, then lean cuts of beef. Because what you are trying to do is load your body up with anti-inflammatory things, Omega-3-rich for instance, flaxseed, etc. These substrates, chemicals that go into the body, go into your cells and ultimately become the precursors for a lot of other chemicals that mediate inflammation. Cause inflammation and stop inflammation. The more fatty foods you eat, the more trans fat acids that you eat, the higher incidence of stimulating inflammation. So when we look at the inflammatory process and when we look at cognitive ability, they kind of run hand-in-hand. If you are eating healthier foods, having less inflammatory response, staying physically active, you’re optimizing your health as well as your brain health.

30 Days to a Better Brain

30 Days to a Better Brain

In 30 Days to a Better Brain, Dr. Carmona lays out a 30-day nutrition, exercise and medical plan to help optimize brain health. He also discusses the importance of sleep, medical tests to ask your doctor about and the best ways to challenge your brain. Sounds like a no-brainer to at least check it out!

Kevin McGuire is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. He received a B.A. in journalism from Rowan University in New Jersey and is the Social Media Manager for AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America). He is also the Managing Editor of American Fitness magazine (www.americanfitness.squarespace.com) based in Sherman Oaks, CA. He often tweets the latest headlines in the world of social media @followmcg andexpands into other topics such as celebrity profiles, the trials of everyday life and the forthcoming zombie apocalypse on his blog atwww.kevinmcguirewriter.comHe can be reached at mcgurk1266@gmail.com.