Meditation Can Be Health Changing
Meditation can be the prefect tool to help you maximize your energy levels and minimize your stress levels throughout the year. This spring, why not try a new opportunity and learn to meditate? You’ll continue to reap the benefits of what you sow through summer, fall and winter, feeling healthier, more productive and relaxed.
At Winchester Hospital’s Center for Healthy Living, [located at Unicorn Park in Woburn] certified hypnotherapist Cally Stewart walks–or, more precisely, talks–patients through the meditation process. As Cally notes, it is often difficult to tune out daily distractions or unwanted temptations and successfully meditate; but patients improve the more they practice. She typically meets with patients to guide their meditation for only one or two sessions. Then, patients are able to meditate independently or with the help of CDs or videos, which Cally says empowers the individual.
Meditating with imagery (of a favorite beach or flower, for example) can be very impactful. The imagery also can be joined with a breathing technique. Many methods rely on a regulated breathing modality, such as breathing in thinking the one-word mantra “smile” and breathing out thinking the word “peace.” Including music can also be both calming and motivational. “The goal is to create therapeutic, client-centered meditation,” Cally explains. “After listening carefully, I use words and images that meaningful to the individual.”
One of the most common reasons to meditate is to quiet the mind and relax the body. “Meditating can replace the ‘fight or flight’ response with ‘rest and digest,’” says Cally. Other people may consider meditation as a means to a particular behavioral goal, such as stopping smoking or reducing sad or fearful feelings. Cally concludes, “Anyone who is curious, open-minded and willing to practice is likely to succeed at meditation.”
Guided meditation with a hypnotherapist is easily accessed with self-referral.
High-Intensity Interval Training Fights Heart Disease
Springtime sights and smells can be an adrenaline rush after a bleak New England winter. It’s a great time to get active again, stretching your physical abilities and strengthen your body’s vital organs. For instance, high-intensity interval training–an exercise technique that builds on alternating high- and low-intensity activities, such as running and walking–is a timely opportunity to fend off heart disease.
Michael Muldoon, MS, PT, Rehabilitation Site Manager at Addison Gilbert and Beverly Hospital, explains some of the reasons why and shares some tips on how to begin such a healthy regimen. Before beginning any exercise routine, it is important to check with your physician that it is safe for you. It is also a great idea to meet with a physical therapist to screen your musculoskeletal system to assess your bones and joints.
Training advice from Mike includes:
- Start slow and build on your success. (You can always do more the next day!)
- Begin with any duration that works for you, perhaps just 10 minutes.
- Start with a warm-up routine and end with a cool-down period.
If the springtime weather has made you itch to get back outside running, Mike recommends heading to your town track, where you can alternate running and walking for 400-meter stretches. Another option right outside your front door is measuring your intervals with telephone poles or mailboxes. Mike offers the following example of how to easily meet a 30-minute daily exercise recommendation:
- Five minute warm-up routine
- One minute jogging/one minute walking; repeat 10 times
- Five minute cool-down period
“High-intensity interval training gets you closer to your maximum heart rate, improving your blood vessel flow and strengthening your heart muscle,” Mike explains.” And this type of exercise offers lasting benefits beyond the workout, such as increased muscle and bone mass and higher metabolism.”
If you are interested in interval training for good health, remember to check with your doctor and physical therapist first.