Tag Archives: exercise

3 Things That Banished Discomfort From My 4th Pregnancy, Part 2

3 Things That Banished Discomfort from My 4th Pregnancy

Thanks for joining us for Pregnancy Week! Start here with Part 1. Some of this information originally appeared in a slightly different format in our Winter 2011 catalog

Yesterday we talked about the first of my three strategies that vastly improved my fourth pregnancy. Today let’s discuss the remaining two.

#2: Exercise 

During my fourth pregnancy, I tried to stay as limber as possible. In the past, I’ve stayed fairly active, but by 30 weeks, I usually take to the couch! Backaches are my biggest enemy, along with swelling of the legs and feet, and being generally uncomfortable. I have found several things to help combat this tendency toward inactivity.

pregnancyRegular chiropractic adjustments made a massive difference. I found an incredible chiropractor (a young dad himself) who was diligent to communicate with my midwife about my specific needs. The results were amazing! I’ve had no backaches since seeing him, no nausea, no swelling or round ligament pain (which plagued me non-stop with my last two pregnancies), and I am much more active.

In addition, my chiropractor convinced our little one to flip head down and engage early in the third trimester. He advises that pregnant women find a chiropractor who is familiar with natural medicine and trained and/or certified in the Webster techniques. Find a reputable chiropractor who will work with your midwife or health practitioner to provide the care you need while pregnant.

I had hoped to take a class in the Bradley method (yes, even though it was my fourth time around!), but unfortunately it didn’t fit into our schedules. Instead, I checked several resources out of our local library that offer a few chapters about moderate, appropriate exercise that involved mainly stretching and positioning. (Kegel exercises are very important as well.)

I spent at least half an hour each day relaxing my body and practicing mental relaxation. This helped tremendously to relieve stress and tension pain that often accumulates with pregnancy. Most importantly, this was the first labor and delivery during which I was actually able to maintain relaxation the entire time! My support team and I were all astonished, and we’re convinced that practicing throughout pregnancy made all the difference.

Water retention is usually a sign of dehydration. I’ve known this through all my pregnancies, but have not paid attention to it as closely as I should have and by 30 weeks, I usually look more like a sausage than a person! But thankfully, between the chiropractor helping blood flow through the pelvis with a loose and straight spinal column, the stretching exercises, and increased water consumption, I did not have to battle thick extremities. This was not only beneficial to me but also to the little one, as good hydration for mom helps insure good blood flow to baby.

#3: Rest

This last aspect is easier said than done, but it’s so very important. Get enough sleep. Do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Since I am naturally a night owl, I began enforcing an earlier bedtime for myself and thankfully began sleeping for longer stretches. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and that your room is as dark as possible. Turn off electronic devices well before bedtime, and remove them from your room.

Even though I haven’t attained that “perfect” pregnancy yet, I’m excited about the significant progress on my journey of making this process healthier for myself and my future children. I hope it won’t take you as long as it did me to discover the joy of feeling good while pregnant!

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

Adding Exercise WITHOUT Adding a To-Do

adding exercise without adding a to-do

How many of you have read articles or listened to blips on the news about exercise? All you need is 45 minutes a day, five or so days a week! That’s simple enough, right? WRONG!

Who is going to leave the house a mess, drop the kids somewhere, and run to the gym for 45 minutes every day? If you’re like me, you won’t. No matter what our lifestyles, adding yet another “to do” on the never-ending list can feel overwhelming. No matter how good exercise feels (or makes us feel eventually), it can seem like an insurmountable task to add it to our already-busy day.

adding exercise without adding a to-do

So we find ourselves at the start of a new year with a real dilemma: longing for better health and knowing we should exercise, but we just don’t know how to add it into our real-life routines.

Here’s how I add exercise without adding to my to-do list: by adding extra movement into everything I’m already doing, from transferring the laundry to deciding where I park my vehicle.

Doing laundry is an easy way to get a full body workout. I do squats as I pull clothes from the dryer, a few pieces at a time to make it last longer. When I carry the basket of clothes across the house, I lift it up and down to work my arms.

When I wash dishes I make a point to “suck in” my stomach and hold it as tight as I can for as long as I can. You’ll notice after a week or so that you are getting better at this and your stomach muscles are tighter. This is also how I tone my stomach. (I despise crunches and sit-ups, so any way I can avoid those is an added bonus!)

For those of us with children, we’ve surely noticed that most children’s shows end with music and the characters moving along with it. Why not join in the activity? Your kids will think it’s hilarious to see their parents dance, giving you brownie points, and your increased heart rate counts as cardio. Try moving with your kids a few times a day and you will certainly feel a difference.

We live in a rural area, so walking for exercise is easy. We like to walk to our red barn, which is about a quarter mile away. I encourage my two-year-old to run so that way I can walk at a faster pace to keep up with her little legs. She thinks we are both running, so it works out great! Once we’ve made the round trip back to the house, we’ve walked a half mile and she is ready to take her nap without a fuss (major bonus for me!).

If you live in a more populated area, you can walk more by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking at the end of the parking lot when you go out. The extra steps add up. Consider using an inexpensive pedometer to count your steps each day; compete with yourself (or make it a family contest) to reach a certain number of steps each day.

Red lights are for more than waiting your turn to go. Ladies, stoplights are a great place to do kegel exercises! You don’t have to worry about keeping count, since we all seem to hit every light on the way to the store anyway. Strengthening the pelvic floor is a great thing for all women (especially mothers) to keep in mind, and kegels are a simple way to mark that off the list.

Remember that as long as you are moving, you are exercising. You’ll need to purposefully add the extra movement at first, but it won’t take long before you do it subconsciously. It takes extra movement to get your blood pumping and help boost your energy, but just 10 minutes of cardio exercise will start to burn fat.

Just wait until someone catches you pumping your laundry basket up and down and asks what in the world you are doing!

How do you build physical activity into your daily routine? Share your strategies with us!

Exercise Your Right to be Pain-Free – Winter 2010 Catalog

by Nancy Webster

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Doctors would say my right elbow suffers from bursitis or “tennis elbow.” Lifting the gallon jars of our cow’s fresh milk from the fridge had become a killer chore, thanks to joint pain triggered by the bending and twisting required to milk our cow. If I weren’t dubious about medicine, cortisone would be the answer.


Instead of doing drugs, though, I started doing Windmills, the Static Wall Clock, and the Progressive Groin Stretch four to six times per week. Within a few sessions of these and several other healing exercises, my right shoulder and hip—the real culprits in my problem—regained function and stopped making my elbow do work it wasn’t meant to do. The pain subsided. No drugs. No surgery.


The feet and ankles of Grace, our 13-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, are so pronated (rolled inward) that they cause pain in her knees and hips. The typical solution is shoe orthotics and leg braces, but Grace does Knee Pillow Squeezes, the Floor Block, and the Air Bench, among the exercises in her routine. The resulting strengthened muscles are helping hold her body correctly, and we no longer hear regular complaints about her aching legs. Even more exciting: she won’t have to wear cumbersome and expensive orthopedic aids.


Pain-free Secrets Revealed


The drug and surgery-free answer to your skeletal pain issues is found in the landmark book Pain Free by Pete Egoscue, a nationally renowned physiologist and sports injury consultant to some of today’s top athletes. The Egoscue method claims an astounding 95-percent success rate in relieving chronic pain, the key to which is a series of gentle exercises and carefully constructed stretches called Egoscuecises or E-cises. These strengthen specific muscles and bring the body back to its proper alignment and full, pain-free functioning.


The Egoscue book contains photographs and step-by-step instructions for dozens of E-cises specifically designed to provide quick and lasting relief from:

  • Lower back pain, hip problems, sciatica, and bad knees;

  • Migraines and other headaches, stiff neck, and sore shoulders;

  • Shin splints, sprained or weak ankles, and many foot ailments;

  • Bursitis, tendinitis, and much more.


It also features preventive programs for maintaining health throughout body. So even if you are not hurting right now, you can prevent future pain and keep your body in alignment with the E-cises in Pain Free. The book is a wonderful gift of hope and knowledge for loved ones with chronic aches and pains. (Pain Free can be found on page 14 of our Winter 2010 catalog.)


How the Book Works

To educate and care for hurting people, Egoscue clinics have been established in major cities around the world. Our local advisor and friend, Cecilia Brewer, is currently in training to be an Egoscue instructor and says Pain Free book owners can achieve satisfying results even without a personal exercise consultant. The best approach is to choose four or five E-cises from any section of the book. Repeat those E-cises four to six times per week for one or two weeks until your muscles start to “remember” the proper place to hold the skeleton. Then follow a new menu of E-cises for another week or two, and so on. Because the body’s frame is interconnected, E-cises in the foot section, for example, will benefit the neck, so any combination can help your situation.

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In making your exercise plan, note that one E-cise, the Supine Groin Stretch, stands above the others and should be included as part of every menu. This stretch can be done at the conclusion of the day’s menu, or it can be done at a separate time during the day, depending on how much time you have available. While you can improvise E-cise equipment using a belt, a chair, a pile of books, and throw pillows, I highly recommend purchasing the Egoscue “tower” which makes doing the Supine Groin Stretch much simpler (the tower is available from the Egoscue website www.Egoscue.com).


A Supplement to the Supplements

The folks at Beeyoutiful now offer Pain Free as its “third dimension” in health maintenance. Egoscue’s approach to physiological health provides a fitting complement to the Beeyoutiful line of supplements and information about nutrient-dense food preparation (see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon in Beeyoutiful’s recommended books section).


The Egoscue method works wonders in place of, or in combination with, chiropractic care. When a chiropractor manually adjusts your spine, for instance, you schedule your next appointment and go home. But between appointments, muscles naturally return your spine to its previous position if you do not regularly teach and strengthen them to hold your bones in the correct place. This “teaching” is precisely what E-cises do for your body. The Egoscue premise is that all pain—even pain like carpal tunnel in your wrist—is related to the alignment of your body from head to toe, and regular E-cises maintain this alignment. The best news is that you can do them at home, for free, with phenomenal results if you are faithful.


Fearing that we had only costly “traditional” options for helping Grace, I had fairly well despaired of ever addressing her pain issues. But seeing her now pain-free is truly liberating. Discover Egoscue, and you’ll discover affordable, do-able options for managing and even healing your chronically sore feet, back, shoulders, neck, and more. The Webster family testimonies are just two of thousands from people helped by making the Egoscue method part of their lives.

A Hill (not) to Die On – Fall 2008 Catalog

by Greg Webster

Greg webster

Easy Prevention for a Difficult Men’s Problem

Two years ago, I turned half a century old. Our family celebration was thoroughly Cajun style: Blackened everything-streamers and balloons, over-the-hill signs, even a cake noir. My son presented me a pair of “old man” Velcro shoes while my sisters provided rotten false teeth and a cane. One especially caring card announced that the time had come for regular colonoscopies.

The significance of my age milestone was not lost on my wife. As I’ve come to realize about most loving wives and their husbands, she worries more about my health than I do. Not long after the party, she and I enjoyed some quiet moments one evening on our deck, reminiscing about backpacking trips through the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park two decades earlier. “You know,” Nancy spoke into the darkness, “your birthday cards joked about old man diseases, but you need to take good care of yourself so we’ll still be healthy enough for backpacking when we get the chance again.” Naturally, my first reaction was to point out that I’m still in much better shape than she is, so I’m not the one to worry about. But to leave it there only ignores a small part of me-and every aging male-that can cause big problems if not managed correctly.

GLAND AWARENESS

While men have carried a prostate gland around all their lives, most have little idea what it does for them-and arguably for their wives too. A walnut-sized gland situated just below the bladder, it wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body. You may have seen it diagrammed at some point as part of the male reproductive system, but as a back-stage player, its function is much less exciting than some other components in the array. It produces a fluid that is a major ingredient in semen while defending the genital and urinary tract against infection.

Great. So, the prostate is an unsung hero of things male. What’s that got to do with turning 50? When a man reaches middle age, his hormones change, causing the prostate gland to grow. And its proximity to the urethra can cause problems-kind of like a python causes problems for small animals. The expanding gland can constrict the urethra and make bad things happen like:

  • Frequent urge to urinate or the opposite-difficulty in doing so
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Dribbling of urine
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

These problems can be caused by prostate inflammation or infection (prostatitis), enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and/or cancer. Health-gloom-wise, prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer is to women. The second leading cause of cancer death in men, 90% of cases go undetected until it is untreatable and has spread to the lymph system (men don’t worry about their health, remember?).

This disaster is just waiting to happen in most grown males. By age 50, 35% have developed some cancer cells in the prostate. The result is that 97% of all men will be affected with some manner of prostate problem at some point in life. The typical solution is surgery. Yet even in successful cases the outcome can be, shall we say, unhappy.

The two big “I” words: Incontinence and Impotence happen every year to a strong contingent of the 400,000 American men who undergo prostate surgery. Unfortunately, the drugs most popular for treating the ailments are similarly ripe with dangerous side effects. But then, the alternative to treatment is pretty dangerous, too-lethal, in fact.

NEW TWIST ON AN OLD PRESCRIPTION

The discouraging facts about my future health compared to my wife’s could make a man my age wonder if thoughts of backpacking adventures to come are nothing more than pipe dreams. But taking care of the inner piping is possible.

While the prescription for good health is familiar-maintain an active lifestyle, eat a nutrient-rich diet, and take high quality supplements- there are a number of elements in this typical health recommendation that especially benefit prostate functioning.

Exercise

Sedentary men are 30% more likely to get prostate cancer and 40% more likely to have the non-cancerous condition, BPH. The same stats apply to highly stressed men. Both experience low levels of glutathione (an antioxidant produced inside the body and induced by exercise) in their cells, a situation that lessens resistance to cell and DNA damage.d3

Sitting for long periods also pinches nerves in the vertebrae that transmit messages from the brain to the prostate. This reduces the flow of fresh blood to the gland, allowing toxins to build up. Prostate- specific exercise can free up nerves and blood flow. And routine outdoor exercise adds a winning touch. Vitamin D, essential to prostate well-being, is manufactured naturally by the body when exposed to sunlight.

Diet

Foods rich in antioxidants-the cancer-fighting wonders found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables-are crucial. In addition, oysters and other shellfish, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and nutritional yeast contain zinc, an important mineral for prostate health and replacement of seminal fluid.

The Weston A. Price Foundation (an organization committed to education about natural, healthful eating) encourages the use of raw milk from grass-fed cows. It’s high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) for powerful protection against cancer of all types. If raw milk is not available, whole (not low-fat) organic milk is a good second choice.

Excessive caffeine or alcohol should be avoided since these are immune suppressors. And contrary to politically correct dietitians, processed soy products have been linked to increased prostate cancer risk and should be avoided. Although soy manufacturers often brag that Asian men (who eat a lot of soy) demonstrate a low incidence of prostate cancer, they don’t point out that soy mostly consumed by Asians is fermented into healthful tempeh or miso-very different from the processed Americanized form. Regular consumption of meat substitutes, energy bars, and protein shakes made with soy can mean a person ingests 100 times the level of soy intake considered safe.

Supplements

A few supplements directly improve and maintain prostate functioning, but none better than Beeyoutiful’s Clinical Strength Prostate Health. As men age, the body’s ratio of estrogen (yes, the woman hormone!) to testosterone increases, but Prostate Health contains stinging nettle root extract to counter the effects of excess estrogen production. Many cheaper health products use only the stems and leaves, not the root of this herb, which renders it significantly less effective.clinical_strength_ph

Yet that’s only the beginning. The complete rundown on what Prostate Health delivers is impressive.

Saw palmetto supports normal urinary flow and calms inflammation. Berries from the saw palmetto plant, which grows in the southeastern U.S., are used to inhibit production of an unwanted form of testosterone suspected of contributing to enlargement of the prostate. “Bargain brands” use a powdered form of the plant which does not perform as well as berry-based formulations like Beeyoutiful’s. Prostate Health, in fact, contains an especially high percentage of healthful fatty acids in the form of serenoa repens. And while there is a downside effect of any saw palmetto-blocking the enzyme responsible for prostate enlargement causes another enzyme to kick into high gear and make estrogen-the stinging nettle root in Prostate Health counter-balances this tendency.

Pygeum, made from the bark of the pygeum tree-an evergreen found in the higher elevations of Africa and used by the natives for centuries for what they call “old man’s disease”-enhances the saw palmetto/stinging nettle combo, facilitating urination and helping the bladder empty completely.

Pumpkin seed oil is high in four free fatty acids and is now considered as vital to prostate health as lycopene.

Lycopene-the natural pigment that makes tomatoes red-has been shown to slow or even halt the growth of BPH.

Zinc offers an anti-bacterial effect to help stave off genito-urinary infections. (In prostatitis, zinc levels are only one-tenth of those in a normal prostate.) Men are more vulnerable than women to having low zinc because they lose that particular mineral in every ejaculation.

Vitamin B6 supplements the zinc and stinging nettle in regulating the enzyme which makes “bad testosterone.” B6 helps control inflammation of the bladder and counteracts the development of prostate tumors. Prostate Health offers all-in-one prostate protection. If someone you know isn’t taking it by the time he turns 50, add a bottle to the gag gift pile. The name will fit with one of the “kind” cards he’s certain to get, and the pills are just the color you’d want-basic black. This is one over-the-hill gift to keep on giving- and taking-so men can enjoy celebrating not only 50, but 60, 70, and beyond.

Greg Webster is a freelance writer, homeschool father of eight, and owner of The Gregory Group advertising, marketing, and design firm. He and his family enjoy “natural, country living” just south of Columbia, Tennessee.

PROSTATE EXERCISE

Stand and take a few deep breaths. Exhale until all the air is gone from your lungs. Without breathing in, suck in your stomach, pulling it up as high as possible into your chest. Use hands to help lift it and squeeze your sides as well. This reverses the negative effects of gravity, which is constantly pulling down on your organs, with the prostate gland at the bottom of the heap. Feel the muscles in the lower back and side tighten. Then relax and inhale. After a minute or two, repeat.

If you notice any pain (very possibly your prostate), do this exercise 10 times throughout the day. You’re likely to feel some soreness after the first few sessions because toxic blood trapped in the prostate area is now moving out, irritating the surrounding tissues. Stick with it, and within days there should be only a feeling of relief and refreshment after exercising. Three to four sessions a day is good enough as a maintenance routine.

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