Monday, April 16, 2012

Exercises To Improve Your Golf Game by Mirabai Holland, MFA© 2012


"An Ounce of Prehab is Worth a Pound of Rehab"

Exercises To Improve Your Golf Game


Q: My husband and I both love golf and we are finally finding the time to play together. Last month we played about three times a week. Now, I am complaining to him about my shoulder hurting and he is complaining about his back. Are there any exercises we can do to get rid of these aches and pains?

A: There are over 20 million golfers in the United States alone. And those who play frequently, including the pros, are often plagued by over-use injuries.

It’s the repetitive motion of the golf swing that’s the culprit. And if your form is less than perfect you can hurt yourself on a single swing.

It uses the same muscles every time: mainly shoulder (rotator cuff) core (side of the waist, abdominals), and arms (elbow, forearm and wrist)

Also, like any other physical activity, it’s good to warm-up your body at least 5-10 minutes before starting to play. A brisk walk, a few arm circles and practice swings with a towel will help to elevate your body temperature, lubricate joints and increase blood flow to your working muscles.

As for the current aches and pains, you probably have to rest those muscles until they heal.


The good news is, there are Prehab exercises to help you play injury-free in the future and they will also help improve your game.

"An ounce of Prehab is worth a pound of Rehab."

Here are some essential exercises.

Towel warm-up

Roll up a towel lengthwise and take a few practice swings to warm-up the muscles you’ll use when you add the weight of the club.



Side Bend
If you have hand weights, great. Otherwise, grab some cans from your pantry.

Stand feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at your sides. Without bending forward or back, bend directly to one side, while sliding the weight in your opposite hand up the side of your body to your armpit. Do the same on the other side. 8-12 reps on each side, alternating side to side. Areas Worked: Side of the Waist


Core Strength & Stretch

Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.

Gently stretch your right arm out in front of you till it’s level with your torso. At the same time raise your left leg and straighten it behind you. Hold for 10-20 counts and slowly return to starting position. Switch sides and repeat. Areas Worked: Abdominals, shoulder, hip and back of leg


Oblique Twist

Lie down, knees bent, feet hip width apart. Place your hands behind your head.

Lift and turn your torso to point your right elbow towards your left knee (keep your elbow back in line with your shoulder) and return to start. Do 8 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Areas Worked: Abdominals, particularly the side abs.



Rotator Cuff

Holding cans or hand weights bend arms at the elbows to 90 degrees in front of you. Keep your elbows bent and bring your arms out to your sides.

Repeat 8-12 reps.

Areas Worked: Shoulders


Wrist Curls
Hold hand weights at your sides, elbows at 90-degree angles, palms down. Keep arms stationary, and using only your wrists, slowly curl the weights towards you until your knuckles are facing the ceiling. Repeat 8-15 reps

Flip weights palms up. Do 8-15 reps in this position.

Areas Worked: Forearms and wrists.


Diamond Stretch

Raise arms over-head, linking hands together. Slightly bend elbows and gently move them back.

Hold for 10-20 counts.

Areas worked: Shoulders, chest and upper back.

Send your Moving Free® with Mirabai questions to: exercise@movingfree.com


Friday, April 13, 2012

GET TO THE CORE: BELLY FAT GONE by Mirabai Holland 2012



Losing your belly fat.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, belly fat was a sign of prosperity.
Much to our chagrin, that little, or not so little belly, it’s actually a sign that you may be at risk for some serious health issues like Heart Disease, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure, among others.
Women tend to after menopause when hormonal changes start to alter our body shapes.
Whatever the cause, the evidence is clear. Apple shaped people are more at risk!
So, how much is too much belly fat?
It’s all about your waist size.
For women it’s a waist measurement of 33 or more.

So, okay you say, I’ve got too much belly fat. What can I do about it? I’ve heard there’s no such thing as spot reducing.
While that’s scientifically true, there’s a lot you can do to target any specific area of you body for work.
Aerobic exercise can burn calories and help you lose weight in general. Targeted ab exercises can help you develop lean muscle mass in that area and help flatten your tummy.
Full body strength training can raise your metabolism and help you return your body to its youthful shape.
Here are a couple of exercises you can do to strengthen and firm up that area.
Try using the old army exercise of sucking in your tummy during every day activities, pulling your navel back to your spine.
And you can try this exercise to help you firm up faster. It tones the center as well as the sides of your abdominals.
Lie down on your back and bend one knee up towards your chest.
At the same time, turn you torso and point your opposite elbow toward the knee.
Start with a few: work up to 20 repetitions over several weeks.
Then do 20 reps, take a short break and do another 20.

Putting weight on around your middle is easy. Taking it off is hard. Unfortunately there’s no secret formula. Take a no nonsense look at your diet. Reduce your potion size and cut out empty calories. Start exercising slowly, and progress in your comfort zone. Chances are that pretty soon you’ll be able to find your shoes simply by looking down

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Wellness Mandala By Mirabai Holland, MFA ©2012



Spring is in the air and flu season seems to be hitting us later this year. Thinking about avoiding the flu always makes me wax philosophic.
So I started thinking about wellness. What is wellness anyway?
It’s the absence of disease. If you are not sick you are well.
But it’s more than that isn’t it? It’s quality of life and for some it’s the balance of all things. I like this balance concept so I dug out one of my favorite balance tools:
The Mandala: the wheel of life. I wrote down all the types of wellness I could think of and ended up with 6 categories that I stuck on my Mandala. Here they are:
Physical Wellness
· Taking care of your body, eat right, exercise
· Visit your doctor regularly

Mental Wellness
· Keeping an open mind and trying to see other’s point of view
· Allowing your curiosity to take you to new places and learn new things.

Emotional Wellness
· Trying to keep a positive state of mind
· Cultivating self esteem
· Reaching out to others for support

Spiritual Wellness
· Recognizing your beliefs.
· Allowing your core values to direct your actions.

Social Wellness
· Developing positive inter-personal relationships at home and work
· Allowing yourself to give and receive love: to and from everyone that means that much to you including animals
· Participate in social situations; try not to stay on the sidelines.

Environmental Wellness
· Making your home environment peaceful, pleasant, safe and comfortable.
· Choosing an occupation and a workplace that doesn’t drive you nuts.
· Try to have a positive impact on our natural environment.
Recycle more, pollute less.

When the wheel is in balance it spins evenly. When even one of these categories is out of whack, the whole wheel starts to wobble.
So as a wellness professional I respectfully suggest you get rolling!

Send your Moving Free with Mirabai questions to: askmirabai@movingfree.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Into Shape By Mirabai Holland, MFA © 2012


I love to get out in the Spring after a Winter of exercising indoors. Even if you haven’t done much over the winter, the green smell of plants and flowers in the air and switching on to daylight savings time are great motivators.
Start with a duration you’re comfortable with and work your way up. I do some standing pushups and a couple of stretches at the end of my walk to round out the workout. No equipment necessary, just your favorite tree. Here is what I do:


Standing Pushups: Stand facing your tree and stretch arms in from of you, chest level and place hands on the tree a few inches apart. Keeping your body straight, slowly bend elbows until your chest is close to the tree and push back with a single thrust.
Work up to 20 reps. Works chest, and arms.


Back Extention: Stand facing your tree and stretch arms in front of you slightly below chest level.
Place hands on the tree a few inches apart. Keep arms stretched as you bend back lifting your head chin up while contracting your abs. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Stretches back.


Front Thigh Stretch: Stand facing your tree and hold on with your left hand. Grab your right ankle and gently pull heel towards buttocks. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Then switch legs. Stretches the front thigh muscles.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cardio Dance May Improve Memory By Mirabai Holland, MFA ©2012


I became interested in exercise and memory several years ago when my older students began to tell me that their memories seemed to improve after they took my class.
I was teaching mostly dance-exercise in those days. I started with simple steps and built up to a pretty complex routine.
There has to be a connection I thought, between the physical movement, making your brain learn this routine, and improved memory.
I’m no scientist but I was curious. So I started to break it down.
What I was having people do is learn short phrases of movement and then link them together. The cardio dance routine required them to move forward and back, side to side, remember specific steps; and stay in rhythm.
This was a real challenge for many of my students who had never done anything like this before. As they got more proficient, the class became a social gathering; because of this shared experience.
My students felt energized afterwards, not exhausted. They told me that besides getting a good body workout they were getting a memory workout as well. They said they could actually remember things better.
I wondered if there was science to support our anecdotal experience.
I contacted a couple of local Alzheimer’s specialists (there was no internet back then) and they told me – you’re probably right but there weren’t any specific studies on this more than 20 years ago.
Even now the research is not conclusive. But, technology in the last 15 years has allowed science to discover a lot more about the brain.
Vascular memory loss has been linked to heart disease and cardio fitness is a major factor in preventing and managing that issue. Aerobic exercise increases the amount of oxygen supplied to the brain improving mental function. Cardio fitness has been shown to reduce loss of brain cells in older adults.
A study of 1,449 older adults shows those who in middle age exercised vigorously enough to perspire and breathe hard for 20 to 30 minutes at least twice a week reduced their risk of later developing Alzheimer’s disease by about 60 percent.*
But cardio is just part of the equation.
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that certain types of dance, particularly with routines to learn and remember, may help prevent age-onset memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s. “…. cognitive activity may stave off dementia by increasing a person's "cognitive reserve." **
And a study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, says activities that combined mental and social as well as physical stimulation offered the greatest protection against dementia***
Activity is the active word. Be physically active, mentally active and socially active, preferably all at once. Taking a Cardio Dance class or getting together with friends to do a Cardio Dance DVD is a good place to start. And to this day, when I start my cardio dance class I say,
“It’s time to workout our hearts and minds!”

*Rovio, Suvi; Kareholt, Ingemar; Helkala, Eeva-Liisa; Viitanen, Matti; Winblad, Bengt; Tuomilehto, Jaakko; Soininen, Hilkka; Nissinen, Aulikki; and Kivipelto, Miia. “Leisure-time physical activity at midlife and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” The Lancet Neurology; published online Oct. 4, 2005.
** Dr Joe Verghese, lead author of study conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, N Engl J Med, 2003; 348:2508-2516.
***Karp, Anita; Paillard-Borg, Stephanie; Wang, Hui-Xin; Silverstein, Merrill; Winblad, Bengt; and Fratiglioni, Laura. "Mental, Physical and Social Components in Common Leisure Activities in Old Age in Relation to Dementia: Findings from the Kungsholmen Project." Presented at the Alzheimer’s Association 9th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, Philadelphia, Penn., July 17 – 22, 2004. Abstract published in Neurobiology of Aging, July 2004, Vol. 25, S2: p. S313.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exercising For Diabetes: Good Fat Burns Calories while Muscles Burn Sugar By Mirabai Holland © 2012


Since March is Diabetes Month I wanted you to know about a recent discovery that is poised to be real game changer.
We all know inactivity and excess body fat are risk factors for Diabetes.
But did you know you have two kinds of fat, bad and good, white and brown?
White fat just sits there and is, well, just fat. It’s the bad fat. It puts you at higher risk for diseases like diabetes. Brown fat on the other hand, doesn’t just sit there. It’s metabolically active. It burns calories, lots of calories. It’s the good fat. (Yes, there is such a thing as good fat.) And exercise can turn white fat brown!
A recent study* by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School shows that exercise produces a hormone called Irisin that turns white fat brown. This may be a reason people who exercise regularly burn more calories, even hours after exercising, than sedentary people. Doesn’t that make you want to get up, make some irisin, turn that white fat brown and burn a bunch of calories? Well if that’s not enough here’s something else.
Exercise helps regulate blood glucose levels. It helps get excess glucose out of the blood and into the muscle tissue where it’s burned as fuel. It really works. In fact many diabetics who exercise regularly find they need to take a lot less insulin. Some have even been able to eliminate their need for insulin with daily exercise.
So between the calorie-burning brown fat, and the sugar-sucking effect on muscle tissue, I’d say exercise is a no-brainer for those of us at risk for diabetes.

* http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10777.html