Try Out This Summer’s Hottest Activity!

paddleboard

Paddleboarding: This Summer’s Hottest Activity!

by Autumn Pappas, Board Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach

“Water provides the fountain of youth, better skin, less cravings, more energy, better digestion, less headaches, a higher metabolism, better mood, and an ability to concentrate more; and that’s just from drinking it. Getting out and playing in a big ol’ body of it is a whole other ballgame.” -Anonymous

It’s hard to pinpoint when the sport of paddleboarding really began, but it undeniably has roots dating back thousands of years. Ancient cultures from South America to Africa used boards with a long stick to fish, travel, ride waves and even engage in war. The modern form of Stand Up Paddling, also known as SUP, has Polynesian ancestry and began in the 1950’s. Surf instructors and photographers would take paddles and stand on their boards to get a better view of surfers and incoming swells. Paddleboarding remained primarily a Hawaiian sport until 2004, when Vietnam vet Rick Thomas brought one back to California. The sport quickly caught on in the U.S., and then the influence circled the globe.

Stand up paddling requires a combination of strength and balance, but is also quite simple to do.  It provides a full-body workout like swimming while targeting the core muscles. The intensity of the workout depends on many factors; the current, amount of waves, your effort and the environment all play roles. Light, recreational paddleboarding burns around 250 calories an hour; while more intense paddleboarding burns about 500. The sport has gotten great praise for its ability to calm the spirit, ease the mind and combat stress.

Paddle On!

Health Coach Autumn (Want to be the healthiest happiest person you know? Sign up for a free 45 minute health consultation with me at http://www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

My article was just published in the Sept. Issue of the Port Ludlow Voice 🙂

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The Pros and Cons of Owning A Fitbit!

fitbit

A few weeks ago I was gifted a Fitbit Flex by my best friend Sarah.  She had gotten one for herself and absolutely loved it, and decided that I must have one as well. (Thanks Sarah!)

Before receiving a Fitbit, I had little to no knowledge about how these bracelets work.  I just knew that they tracked a person’s steps and that was about it.  I’ve now been officially wearing my fitbit for two and a half weeks!  Here are the pros and cons of my new Fitbit:

First, to clarify:  I own the Fitbit Flex.  So these are my reviews on that style of Fitbit.  I have not used any other kind of Fitbit.

Pros:

-Very comfortable and light to wear (I can even wear it in the shower!)

-Easy to charge. (Only needs to be charged once every 5 days or so and charges very quickly)

-Tracks steps, miles walked, active minutes, sleep, calories

-Really inexpensive ($100 for the Fitbit Flex)

-Tracks your progress throughout you day and lights up to show how close you are to your goal. Each light represents 20% of your goal.  (My goal is 10,000 steps so each light on my Fitbit equals 2,000 steps)

– Vibrates and flashes lights when you reach your goal.  (This is my favorite part!)

-Motivates me to keep moving and staying active. (It’s like a personal accountability partner)

-Tracks my sleep (how many times I wake up, how long and well I sleep)  Even has a silent alarm to wake me up!

-I can synch my stats, see my progress, and track my goals through the Fitbit App and become Fitbit buddies with my friends to see how they are doing and motivate them to reach their goals

-Can use GPS from your Fitbit phone app to track your walks/hikes

-App allows me to enter what I’ve eaten for the day and track my calories

-Band on Fitbit is well designed so it won’t easily fall off

Cons:

– Fitbit is always a bit delayed in tracking and synching up with my app

– Fitbit isn’t exactly perfect- it tracks arm motion on your non-dominant hand.  I washed and detailed my car one day using both hands and it showed that I walked more steps than I believe I actually did.

-Fitbit is good for walkers /runners / hikers.  Not so great for people who do other activities on a constant basis like biking. swimming, etc.

-Sleep tracker could be more accurate.  You have to tell the fitbit when you are going to sleep, and that is not often possible.

-It does not track heart rate (this would be an awesome improvement to the band)

-App works on I-phone 4S and newer, I-pad 3 and newer only

All in all, I think this is a great product for what it does and the price.  It’s not perfect by any means, (what is?) but it does a pretty good job.  I would recommend this product to anyone who wants to be motivated to move more, and those whose main form of exercise is walking, hiking or jogging.

Let’s Move!

Health Coach Autumn

Three Amazing Things About Summer Solstice

happy friends

From our Western point-of-view, June 21st marks the first day of Summer, which is called the Summer Solstice. On this day, there is more sunlight than any other day of the year. This is because the sun is farthest from the equator on June 21st each year.

There are three thoughts that come to my mind every June 21st:

1. I MUST get outside and enjoy the day! Today is a day to celebrate nature, the outdoors, and time with friends and family. Go explore a new park, a hiking trail you’ve never been down or go dig your toes into the sand at the beach!

2. Today is a day to FEEL HAPPY.  Summer is here, get out and soak up that sunshine, a natural mood booster and supplier of Vitamin D3! Vitamin D3 is essential for your health.   And don’t forget the sunscreen!

3. It’s time to dig into the healthy foods of the season!  In the summer our bodies crave lighter foods, such as fruits, raw veggies, salads and so-forth.  These foods not only have a “cooling” effect on the body, but they are all in season so we can enjoy these foods when they have their peak nutritional value.  So chow down on those summer salads, watermelon, berries, and other yummy treats!

Happy Summer!

Health Coach Autumn (start your summer off right by signing up for a free consultation with me at http://www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Do You Suffer From Back or Spinal Issues?

spine

Back pain will affect 80% of the population at some point during their lifetime.  It is the second most common reason for missed work and the fifth most common reason for all physician visits.

Disc herniation and spinal stenosis are two common back and spine problems that affect our population. Disc herniation occurs as discs degenerate and weaken, and the outer disc shell of fibrous cartilage bulges or is pushed into the space containing the spinal cord or a nerve root causing pain. Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spine due to bone overgrowth, herniated discs, thickened ligaments, tumors or spinal injuries.

To differentiate the two disorders, a physical therapist may evaluate you through your history, a postural assessment, a movement analysis, sensation testing, reflexes, muscle testing, gait, instability testing, slump test or imaging studies. Treatment modalities differ for each disorder and the goal is to find the correct prescription that will alleviate the lower back pain.

There have also been advancements in spine surgery and spine hardware. Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery (MISS) is now the standard of best practices. MISS patients get smaller lateral or front entry incisions, suffer less blood loss and tend to have shorter hospital and outpatient stays. Hardware has changed from stainless steel to titanium and plastic. Candidates for spine surgery include those suffering from degenerative disc disease, spine deformities, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, slippage of the spine, herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, traumas, tumors and infections. Research findings support better outcomes for non-smokers and people who are not overweight.

Remember, prevention is the key. Exercise and stretch the full range of motion of your back, spine, arms and legs on a regular basis. Do core and strengthening exercises to stay strong. Practice good posture. Keep your weight maintained and don’t smoke. Use your legs instead of your back to power yourself up while picking up objects. Place objects that you are going to pick up in a safe lifting zone; where your body will not be strained by lifting the object. Lastly, keep moving! You don’t have to live with back pain. See a specialist if you are suffering.

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Our Brilliant Bodies!

skating    stretching

by Autumn Pappas

We all began somewhere; in fact every human spent half an hour as a single cell.  After three weeks in the womb we were only the size of a grain of salt; and at nine weeks we were merely proportionate to a grape. Nonetheless we grew, and developed essential organs, body parts and a super-intelligent brain along the way.  Our eyes and ears formed, as did our hands and feet, and when everything was said and done we became the most well-designed, highly articulated, intricate and ingenious beings to ever have been created.

Lucky for us, we became the recipient of many amazing biological systems during our development. Our muscular system provides movement so we can play sports, ride a bike or walk a trail. We can digest and process food and turn it into energy thanks to our digestive system.  Our hard working circulatory system pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels every day. We collect, process and transfer information from our brain, spinal cord and nerves because of our extensive nervous system.  Let’s not forget our respiratory system either, which allows us to breathe 3,000 gallons of air each day. That’s breathtaking, literally!

Along with our well-crafted biological systems, we received five incredible senses. Our nose can remember tens of thousands of different scents. Beautiful sounds, music and our loved ones voices can be heard through our gifted ears. We have eyes that house seven million cones just to help us see colors in nature and the details of our surroundings.  Our mouths are home to thousands of taste buds so we can enjoy all the wonderful foods our earth provides.  We can feel the warmth of the sunshine, the blow of a gentle breeze and the embrace of a hug through our magnificent sense of touch.

Think of how brilliant our bodies truly are.  They run on auto pilot, with all of our systems working in synch so our hearts never skip a beat nor do our lungs forget to breathe.  Every second, there are millions of corrections being made in our cells to ensure our survival. Let’s be kind to our bodies since they do so much for us. We need fresh air, lots of water and nutritious food to run effectively.  Get enough sunshine, quality sleep and exercise. As Jim Rohn says, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

* My article was published in the May 2013 issue of the magazine, The Voice.

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Exercise–It’s A Stretch!

stretching

Are you bent out of shape about exercising? 

Do you lack the motivation and energy to get off the couch and exercise?

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have decided not to exercise because the thought of it was tiring and unappealing.  I still wanted the benefits of working out–the tight body, the glowing skin, the energy, the strength….but I didn’t want to do the work.

What was I to do?

Stretch!  You’ve got to start somewhere.  Stretching for even 10 minutes a day can do wonders for your body. 

Stretching:

– relieves stress

– enhances coordination

– prevents injury

– improves flexibility

– burn calories

– increases circulation in the blood

– increases energy levels

– increases range of movement in your joints

– reduces muscle tension

– sheds excess fat

These are only some of the amazing benefits of stretching!  Plus, you can stretch anytime, anywhere and it’s free!  It doesn’t get any better than that.

For more tips on health, exercise, and losing weight, stay tuned to my blog!

To your health!

Autumn (check me out @ pacificnorthwesthealth.com)