The foundations of better health - exercise, breathing, mindfulness, diet

Chronic Stress Accelerates Aging

Your bodys' chromosomes have telomeres on their ends – the telomeres consist of junk DNA that simply gets worn down each time the chromosome replicates. These protective ends bare resemblance to the plastic tips on shoelaces. Without telomeres, chromosomes would get "frayed", causing disease and ultimately death.

The wearing down of the telomeres corresponds to aging. Protecting your telomeres allows you to extend your lifespan, thus slowing down aging. It's important to avoid behaviors and substances that wear down your telomeres, and engage in behaviors that protect them. For instance, stress has been scientifically proven to accelerate the rate of telomere shortening, causing us to age faster.

Stress accelerates the shortening of telomeres

The Effects of Stress

Acute stressors only affect individuals in the short term, while chronic stressors affect individuals over a period of time.

The first stage of stress is termed the alarm stage. This is when the stressor is first detected and the body's initial response is a state of alarm. During this stage the fight or flight reflex is activated and stress hormones are produced.

If the stressor persists, the second stage of the response kicks in – the resistance stage. It is here that the body begins to adapt to the strains of the environment, though this state is not sustainable as the body's resources are quickly used up.

Breathing - How to breathe better
Picture of lungs

Breathing is Essential

Breathing is the most constant and necessary activity we do. It is not only the fundamental act that provides us with oxygen, but the manner in which we breathe is linked with the well-being of every body system. Many of us, breathe inefficiently, taking shallow breaths using our chest muscles rather than our diaphragm.

Deep slow breathing using our diaphragm has shown to have many beneficial effects. On average, when most people breathe in normally, they take in only about 350 ml of air into the lungs. When we breathe deeply, using our diaphragm, we can take up to 4500 ml of air.

Inhale through the nose, chest expands, diaphragm contracts, belly expands; Exhale through the nose, chest relaxes, diaphragm relaxes, belly contracts

How to Do Pranayama - Yoga Breathing

To perform Pranayama, as you inhale, first push out your abdomen, then expand your chest and as you exhale, first pull in your abdomen to help empty the base of your lungs, then allow your chest to collapse.

This is known as diaphragmatic breathing, because as you inhale your diaphragm contracts and pushes down into the abdomen. Pushing your abdominal wall out makes room for this to happen. During exhalation, "pulling in" your abdominal wall facilitates the diaphragm rising up.

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Execise - Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day decreases your risk of cancer

Regular Exercise for Health

Exercising regularly relieves tension, anxiety, and depression as well as improving your overall health. Regular exercise improves mental acuity and memory. The immune system is strengthened, blood pressure lowered, and a reduction in the risk of a heart attack and other chronic diseases are accomplished with just thirty minutes of moderate physical activity daily, according to the American Heart Association.

In Yoga practice, a person is considered to be as young as his or her spine; the greater the flexibility and strength of the spine, the healthier the individual. Hence, our core yoga exercise app focuses primarily on increasing the strength and flexibility of the spine.

Diet - Fruits & Vegetables are key to reducing your cancer risk significantly

Organic Food

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to your body's proper functioning—including your mind and spirit. In this way, food is medicine. Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein sources, dairy, and grains will ensure that your body receives all vitamins and minerals needed for organs to operate successfully.

What is Healthy Food?

People have their own ideas of what constitutes foods that are healthy vs. those that are not-so-good for you. The food pyramid we learn in grade school becomes forgotten among the sea of choices available to people that market “healthy food” when in fact they barely have any nutrition whatsoever.

Meditation

Mindfulness & Meditation

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that allows your mind to focus on the present. The goal is to achieve a mind that is calm, stable and through this practice, you can develop the mind's strength and harmony. Mindfulness produces a mind that is intelligent even in deep meditation. Studies suggest that mindfulness mediation decreases stress, and improves mood and immune function.

Mindfulness creates an intimate awareness of the union between body, mind, and spirit. Training exercises such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga allow an individual to gain consciousness and cultivate the connections between body, mind and spirit.