Choosing Music for Mind/Body Somatic Classes

Choosing Music for Mind/Body Somatic Classes

By: Robyn Kade

When learning how to create mind/body fitness classes, music is not often discussed in much depth. It is important to know what type of music is most useful for certain desired outcomes and how to appropriately choose your music. An instructor will often choose music that sounds pleasing to them. It helps to remember that everyone has different music preferences making it impossible to please everyone.

You may be wondering how the brain picks up music frequencies and synchronizes them with its brainwaves. The brain can differentiate each sound frequency as it enters the brain through the ear. You may not know, however, that each frequency has it’s own specific purpose. For example, white noise is commonly used for helping individuals to get to sleep as well as calm the sound of Tinnitus (a ringing in the ears). Once you understand how frequencies work you can choose music that will facilitate your class goals. (National Institutes of Health, 2018)

Music and Stress

According to the University of Nevada, music can be a powerful stress reliever as well as help the mind to be more focused. Choosing the right type of music for each class is critical in helping you to achieve the objective of somatic movement classes. It is known, for example, that faster music can make participants feel upbeat and be better able to concentrate. A slower beat can help you to quiet the mind and help participants to de-stress. The University of Nevada says that music that is 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat, causing alpha brain waves to initiate. This relates to sound frequencies that are 8-14 hertz or cycles per second.

Alpha brainwaves are present when we are relaxed and conscious. Delta brainwaves are dominant at 5 hertz. Stanford University found that certain sounds tend to relax us more (such as Native American, Celtic, Indian stringed instruments, drums, and flutes). There is a song called “Weightless” by Marconi Union, which is said to be the most relaxing song in the world. They ask that you not listen to it while driving in the car. The specific purpose of the song is to help lower the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and reduce levels of the hormone cortisol. You can play the song on YouTube for a thoroughly relaxing experience and then record how you felt in your journal. It is noted that individuals should listen to this type of music for at least 45 minutes to obtain full benefits. (University of Nevada, 2020)  

Psych Central says that nature sounds are very beneficial in decreasing stress levels because of the external focus it provides. When playing nature sounds for somatic movement classes, you want to use real sounds of nature. Artificial sounds draw the participant into themselves and can have the opposite effect. Listening to nature for 30 to 40 minutes three times a week can profoundly decrease stress and cortisol levels. (Collingwood, 2020) When choosing music for the Mindful Stretch or NeuRoll Calm™ class, you want to consider primarily natural sounds mixed with soft music. Isochronic tones can be used as well, depending on the goal of the class you are instructing. (Kade, 2020) 

“Noise”

Nature and soundscapes are widely used for meditation, but the question is what sounds are best for group exercise class or small group training sessions. As the instructor, you are setting the objective for each class, and you can choose the music accordingly. Both of these types of music have frequencies or noise colors, and each color can be used to elicit specific meditative responses. The colors are white noise, pink noise, blue noise, grey noise, violet noise, red noise, green noise, and black noise. According to audiology.com, the most common noise colors used in meditation are white noise, pink noise, and brown noise. You can tell the difference in the noises by listening to them one at a time. White noise has a higher frequency and is perceived to be louder than it is; think of a water fountain. Pink noise has a more resonant sound than white noise and has more of a balanced sound; an example would be a calm ocean, and brown noise sounds like a soft rumble like thunder or a rough ocean. (Gulf  2016)

  • White noise is a collective frequency of all noise and can block out or mask other sounds. Some individuals use a fan, for example, to help them fall asleep at night. White noise is the go-to sound for masking sounds that come from within. Tinnitus sufferers use white noise to mask the constant sounds in their ears. Tinnitus can sound like a heartbeat, swooshing noise, or many other sounds within the ear. Other benefits of white noise are improved concentration and sleep promotion. (Gulf 2016)
  • Pink noise is a popular alternative to white noise, and some individuals prefer it because of the more gentle, relaxing sound it makes. Like white noise, pink noise also includes the whole sound spectrum, but it has a less harsh sound. An example of pink noise is rushing water or heavy rain. Pink noise is also used to block out other sounds and help with improved focus, alleviating headaches, and promoting sleep. (Gulf 2016)
  • Brown noise was actually discovered by Robert Brown, a botanist in the 1800s, who calls this Brownian Motion. Brown takes the low frequency of pink noise lower, so it sounds like a buzz. Brown noise sounds like rushing water with a low roar. Brown noise is used to help with relaxation or meditation, improved focus, and reading comprehension, as well as sleep promotion. This is also known as Brown noise because the change in sound signal is random. (Gulf 2016)

Noise Color Chart

(Adapted from:  Gulf Coast Audiology. “White, Pink or Brown: Which Noise Helps You Sleep Better? – Hearing Aids Hearing Loss: Pascagoula: Biloxi, Mississippi: Gulf Coast Audiology.” Hearing Aids Hearing Loss | Pascagoula | Biloxi, Mississippi | Gulf Coast Audiology, 10 Feb. 2016, www.gulfcoasthearingaids.com/2016/02/10/white-pink-or-brown-which-noise-helps-you-sleep-better/. )

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are another type of music that can be used by clients at home or whenever they feel stressed. The sound produced is relaxing as long as the hertz or cycles per second are within the right cycle per sound. Individuals usually listen to binaural beats through earphones to achieve the best outcome. Each ear typically has a different frequency that the brain is listening to. The frequency should be no more than 30 hertz apart for the brain to synchronize the soundwave. The only known side effect of binaural beats, when listened to through headphones, is seizures. If anyone chooses to listen to binaural beats on their own with headphones, it is recommended to consult with their physician first. If you are using binaural beats in class, it does not have the same effect. It is relaxing, but the brain can only synchronize the sound and pick up brainwaves through earphones. For now, we know that binaural beats can help with anxiety, memory, mood, creativity, and attention. The different brain waves are Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Delta brainwaves are synchronized with a hertz of 0.1 to 4, Theta brainwaves are noticed at 4 to 8 hertz, Alpha is 8 to 13 hertz, Beta is 13 to 30 hertz, and Gamma is 30 hertz and higher. (Booth, 2019) 

Psychology Today says that individuals have decreased cortisol, increases in melatonin, and decreases in DHEA when listening to binaural beats. This therapy is also being looked into as a possible treatment for anxiety and pain reduction. It is essential to stay within the hertz ranges that are provided below. If you go higher than the recommended hertz range, the individual could end up with the opposite effect of the intended goal for class. For example, someone who is looking for stress relief could become anxious instead. Using premixed music is a safe choice as it will already follow these guidelines. (Booth, 2019)

Isochronic Tones        

Isochronic tones are single notes of tones that are spaced evenly to create a rhythmic beat type of sound. You do not need to wear earphones for Isochronic tones to be useful as they are a singular beat, and the brainwaves produced can be measured by an EEG test. Many Isochronic tones are mixed with soft music or nature sounds. According to Healthline, Isochronic tones may promote better quality sleep, focus, and attention, decrease pain, help with declining memory, meditation, and a more positive mood. Isochronic tones follow the same brainwaves as Binaural Beats. It is recommended to use isochronic tones when instructing mind/body classes. (Booth, 2019)          

Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tone Brain Waves Chart

(Adapted from: Booth, Stephanie. “Brain Health With Binaural Beats.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 14 May 2019, www.healthline.com/health-news/your-brain-on-binaural-beats.) 

It is recommended that music for class be either:

  • natural soundscapes with soothing music blended in
  • or Isochronic Tones-based music which you can find online.

Isochronic tones can be sold as a full album or a single song. We suggest starting the music before class to help calm class participants and prepare them for Mindful Stretch™.  The instructor should also use a natural voice and no microphone. A natural voice helps to elicit the relaxation response and enables participants to connect with you. Keep in mind that breathing from the diaphragm helps instructors not to strain their vocal cords. The volume of the music being played is essential as well. It should be just loud enough that everyone can hear but soft enough that you can safely talk over the music. If you feel that you are straining your voice, lower the music to a level that is comfortable for you. (Kade, 2020)

Robyn Kade is the Founder of The Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals. She has 20 years of experience in medical-based fitness. 

 References:

Hey Hero! Check Out June’s story…

Hey Hero! Check Out June’s story…

June Chewning, Director Education for NAFC shares this story with us to help underscore the importance of understanding the basics of body health and chronic disease. This story also gives a real life example that can help us understand how the work we do as fitness professionals can help people develop healthy habits that can have a positive impact on their lives.

In my 41 years working in the fitness industry I have had some interesting experiences. One experience occurred when I came to the fitness center one morning and a man was sitting at a table looking very uncomfortable. He said he pulled a chest muscle, but I found out he had been doing biceps curls. I went and got my blood pressure cuff and quickly discovered he was in trouble. His pulse was thready and his blood pressure was tanking. He refused an ambulance, but I managed to get him to agree to get in the car and go to a small medical center that was close.  They stabilized and transported him to a heart hospital, and he had triple bypass surgery that afternoon. I was a “Blood Pressure Hero” that day.

Many of us as fitness professionals avoid cuing into important vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. We don’t understand them, don’t know how to take them correctly, or just don’t have time to deal with it.  As fitness continues to connect and merge with medicine, it is becoming necessary for all levels of fitness professionals to learn more about basic body health and chronic disease. Basic vital signs are a window to the basic function of the body that can be very revealing.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer for good reason: there are no symptoms and it often goes undiagnosed or uncontrolled.  High blood pressure or Hypertension is directly related to atherosclerosis and heart disease as well as stroke, the 2 leading causes of death in most developed countries. There are important things fitness professionals should understand about blood pressure and exercise. Here are few facts:

  • High or uncontrolled blood pressure is very dangerous and poses a very serious health threat.
  • Exercise and diet are the most successful ways to control blood pressure.
  • For hypertension, exercise, diet, and 2 classes of blood pressures are used to help lower blood pressure.
  • Exercise should only be initiated after a client with high or uncontrolled BP has seen their health care professional and is under medical supervision and treatment. Systolic blood pressure can increase significantly during exercise, so a client coming to you with known (suspected) high blood pressure should not exercise without medical clearance.
  • Pregnant clients with preeclampsia or chronic high blood pressure should not be exercising during pregnancy and sometimes postpartum as it may exacerbate the condition and can be very serious.
  • Clients with pulmonary hypertension require physician clearance and may require oxygen during exercise or a medically supervised exercise program.

Chronic exercise is confirmed by research to be successful for preventing and managing hypertension. The benefit of exercise is primarily due to Post Exercise Hypotension (PEH). For most people BP is lower than pre-exercise BP after exercise, and chronic exercise can sustain PEH resulting in lower resting blood pressure.  

It is important for all fitness professionals to have a basic understanding of blood pressure. NAFC has a fantastic CEC course that helps our students develop a greater understanding of heart health, and we are running special on that course this month in honor of heart health awareness! Check it out here, and use code HEART2020 for 25% off <3

June Chewning has served the health-fitness industry for many years as a land and aquatic fitness professional, trainer, and teacher.

Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life!

Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life!

February is widely recognized as Heart Month, and in honor of that we are offering up some heart healthy goodness for ya! Read all the way through for a treat for yourself as well <3

This post features an excerpt from our CEC Course, Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life. Trainers work with people from all walks of life, and trainees returning to an exercise program after medical procedures or diagnoses will likely be part of your training experience. Rehabilitation following a cardiac event is a multi-step process, and this piece gives an overview of the progression.

Cardiac Rehabilitation and Return to Unsupervised Exercise

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically based, professionally supervised program that assists people in recovering from heart attacks, heart surgeries, and other coronary interventions such as PTCA (angioplasty) and stenting.

Cardiac rehab intervention, most often prescribed by doctor referral, has been shown to reduce rates of re-hospitalization, lower mortality rate, decrease the need for cardiac medications, and increase the rate at which people return to work.

In cardiac rehabilitation, clients are carefully monitored and under the supervision of a cardiac registered nurse and other medical professionals. There is a crash cart present in the facility for if an emergency arises. Clients are taught to self monitor and connect with their body through Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and other means in order to listen to their body, monitor symptoms, and to exercise safely and appropriately.

Special medical training and equipment is required in cardiac rehabilitation. Although clients may want to skip a long drive to go into town to go to cardiac rehab, or it may not be at convenient times, it is important that cardiac rehab be completed and they are cleared to join/participate in a community setting. It is very unwise to allow clients to participate in community programs without proper participation and clearance from cardiac rehabilitation. Physician’s consent for participation in a group fitness class, personal training, or small group training is strongly advised and initial (preferably ongoing) communication with the cardiac rehab team is encouraged.

Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Phase

Description

Phase I (Inpatient)

  • Provide patient education concerning lifestyle changes (heart healthy food choices, regular exercise and risk factor modification)
  • Provide education on intervention or surgery when hospitalized (signs/symptoms or heart attack, CHF, stent placement, CABG, PAD, etc.)
  • Ambulate patient if possible and provide information on home exercise program.
  • If patient has had open heart surgery, ROM exercises and/or ambulation daily, incentive spirometry, coughing/splinting and home activity guidelines especially for post discharge care.

Phase II (Outpatient)

  • Post-intervention patients
  • Physician referral needed
  • All patients monitored by telemetry units during individualized exercise program.
  • Patients taught how to monitor heart rate, RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and symptoms during exercise
  • Exercise sessions include ~30+ minutes of cardiovascular activity, moderate strength training (approval needed), and cardiovascular risk factor modification education on at least 3 days/week
  • Number of exercise sessions depends on condition and physical response to exercise

Phase III
(Wellness/Maintenance)

  • Non-monitored, supervised maintenance program
  • Can be located in hospital or other fitness facility
  • Exercise guidelines provided by progress in Phase II, physician recommendations, and patient’s needs/goals

Phase IV
(Wellness/Maintenance)

  • Home exercise guidelines given
  • May exercise at community facility
  • Encouraged to monitor Intensity (HR, RPE, symptoms, etc.)
  • Focus on making positive lifestyle changes
  • Some programs are Phase III/IV combined

Working with clients that have heart disease in a group or individual setting requires fitness professionals to follow safe guidelines and recommendations. It is important to understand these exercise guidelines especially for those who have heart disease and have attended cardiac rehabilitation phase 2. Educate yourself, seek advice, and consider shadowing an experienced professional when creating a client base for those who have been cleared to exercise in cardiac rehabilitation phase 3 and 4 programs.

The information in this course is from the NAFC Continuing education course “Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life” by Tina Schmidt-McNulty.

Alright, now for your treat! We are offering a discount on this course all February. When you purchase it, use discount code HEART2020 for 25% off the list price. This course is worth .3 CECs toward your certification renewal!

Career Development via CECs and Special Offer!

Career Development via CECs and Special Offer!

Many degrees and certifications require continuing education to remain current. Many holders of these degrees and certifications procrastinate the continuing ed process until the very last minute while dreading it every second, too! We know…we are also fitness professionals 😉

It’s a requirement of the credential and not always what we choose, and that can be difficult to accept…it also requires expenditure of precious resources (time, money, energy, etc) to complete those credits.

While the requirement itself may not always be inspiring, there are many valid reasons for continuing education conditions to remain in the health and fitness industry. Part of the reasoning can be put to valuable use for you by expanding your usable knowledge and credential base…aka career development. Making it work for you can lead to places never envisioned upon completing that first certification! Intentional pursuit of your personal development can be a fantastic side effect of filling the req’s, and that is the intended message in this post 🙂

We are committed to helping health and fitness professionals build meaningful and vibrant careers, and the pursuit of continuing education is a big part of our service offerings to our students and program graduates. June Chewning, our Director of Education shares a bit of her continuing ed story with us here:

Hi Everyone,

My name is June Chewning. I am the president of Fitness Learning Systems and the new Director of Education for NAFC. I just wanted to share that a few days ago I looked in my wallet and found 6 expired CPR cards and one current card. It made me realize that in my 41-year fitness professional career, I think I have renewed my CPR over 25 times. It could be more because there was a long period of time when Red Cross required renewal every year.

That made me start thinking of needing renewal for certifications, and I started thinking about all the conferences and workshops I have attended and all of the courses I have taken. For many years I considered CE for Cert renewals a total pain in the glutes. But then I looked back at all I have learned, and it made me realize after all these years how grateful I am that continuing education is required.  Even coming out of college with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and then pursuing a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology did not give me all of the knowledge nor experience I needed to be a great fitness professional.  It was all that continuing education that was the icing on the delicious cake.

I am most grateful that for some reason all of these years I have taken my continuing education seriously… it defined me as a professional and led me to numerous job opportunities that allowed me to make a living as a fitness professional.  It allowed me to diversify. It led me from a physical education teacher, to a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, to a Master Trainer position, to an international presenter, to doing research and writing training manuals and courses, to an education consultant and research committee lead, to a gym owner for 18 years, to a college professor and developer of college curriculum, to the president of Fitness Learning Systems and currently to Director of Education for NAFC. I would have to say without doubt that the biggest factor in my ability to diversify was my continuing education. Knowledge IS power.

So, this crusty old health-fitness professional would like to encourage you to invest in quality continuing education and make it count. That, more than anything in your career, pays off consistently with career benefits.  Pay attention and carefully plan your career path, making each CEC count. It will maximize your potential for success in this industry. I have loved being a fitness professional for 41 years. From teaching aerobics bare foot with leg warmers, to teaching and constructing courses for medical exercise, it has been worth the sometimes bumpy ride.

Thanks a bunch for that share, June! We are so honored to have you part of our team, and we don’t think you’re crusty at all (insert smoochy face emoji).

CECs are a great investment in yourself, your career, and those who benefit from your work efforts. If you don’t already know about it, we have an awesome special going right now…all PowerCerts and CECs are 40% off until midnight on 1/5/20 with code CEC40. Click here to check out the offerings. As always, you’ve got 18 months from date of purchase to complete the coursework, so it’s a valuable investment to make now and use as your schedule allows over the remainder of your certification period.

Big, happy New Year to you all!

– Your NAFC team

Hey, Hero! Help Your Clients Pave their Path to Sustaining Gains…BP Version

Hey, Hero! Help Your Clients Pave Their Path to Sustaining Gains…BP Version

Trainers and Fitness Professionals have so much influence with their clients.

Wait, that’s you!!!

As Fitness Professionals, you have a front and center position of authority and influence with the people who hire your services…whether attending your class, joining your gym, or hiring you to create personalized programs for them, these are people looking to you for guidance. As such, you have an enormous opportunity to positively impact each of these people every time you interact with them, especially when they are in your care and they’ve received news from their docs!

When clients receive news from the doc

So many of our clients have received news from their health care practitioners regarding blood pressure (BP) test results, and generalized actions to take with regard to those results. But, many of these clients don’t really know what those actions can look like in a daily activity perspective. The translation between a broad-stroke, indiscriminate set of guidelines given to them by a health care professional and specific, customized instructions on daily practices can fall directly in your purview.

You have the tools to help them create a very detailed and action-oriented plan to generate sustainable results…read on for some info that can help augment your current knowledge level!

 

The following is compiled by June M. Chewning BS, MA and is from “Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Exercise,” a continuing education course offered by NAFC.

Did you know as a health-fitness professional you can have a positive affect on a client’s health, longevity, and brain function by simply helping them prevent and manage hypertension? The good news is that it is easy- just get them to exercise regularly! The influence of exercise on blood pressure is significant, and for most clients promoting healthy blood pressure is as easy as learning how to assess BP, prescribe regular exercise, and re-assess BP.  Almost every client with elevated BP will see results with regular exercise…so why not be the BP hero?

To be a BP hero, it is important to be educated in the anatomy of BP, how BP works, how to assess BP, BP disease exercise warning signs, and what has a positive effect on maintaining a good BP or lowering an elevated BP. This article gives you a snapshot insight into the fascinating world of blood pressure and exercise.

The body delivers vital oxygen and nutrients and removes waste and metabolic by-products through the combined effort of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, referred to in combination as the cardiorespiratory (CR) system. The lungs in the pulmonary system are of particular interest as the closed loop vascular system passes through the lungs to pick up oxygen and dispose of carbon dioxide. The success of this closed-loop system relies heavily on a delicate balance to provide effective distribution of blood to virtually all organs and cells in the body.

The proper function of the cardiorespiratory system, and the ability of blood to continuously loop though the system, depends on maintaining the proper pressure in the vessels and organs of the cardiorespiratory system. The pressure is primarily controlled by the vascular system. The pressure maintained in the CR system is measured and monitored by blood pressure.

Blood Pressure is defined as the pressure/force exerted on the arterial walls with each heart beat. (Cleveland Clinic 2019) Blood pressure can be measured directly by a catheter in the artery, or indirectly with a blood pressure cuff and sphygmomanometer. Two pressures in the arteries are measured to determine blood pressure:

  • Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP): represents the highest pressure (against the artery walls) in the artery occurring during ventricular systole, or ventricular contraction, and ventricular blood ejection.
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP): represents the lowest pressure (against the artery walls) in the artery occurring during ventricular diastole, or ventricular relaxation, which allows the heart to refill.

Blood pressure is the amount of force (hydrostatic pressure) that pushes the blood through the vascular system. Pressure drops gradually as the large arterial vessels branch resulting in lower venous pressures (compared to artery pressure) as the blood progresses through the closed loop system. Blood pressure and associated measures are commonly expressed in millimeters of mercury or “mmHg.”

BP is expressed by ventricular systole over ventricular diastole, for example 120/80. Blood pressure does not remain constant and varies throughout the day or over time in the aging process depending on many factors including exercise, stress, body position, medication, cardiovascular condition, respiratory health, proper hydration, and age.

 

Fun Fact #1

Blood Pressure depends primarily on body size.

So, children and young adolescents have much lower blood pressures than adults. (Kenney 2019)

Current Guidelines for BP Classification and Management – American Heart Association 2019 (www.heart.org)

Systolic     BP

Diastolic BP

Classification

*Recommendations

<120 and

<80

Normal

Healthy lifestyle choices and yearly checks.

120-129 and

<80

Elevated Blood Pressure

Healthy lifestyle changes and reassessed in 3-6 months

130-139 or

80-89

High Blood Pressure Stage I

10 year heart disease and stroke risk assessment. If less than 10% risk, lifestyle changes and reassessed in 3-6 months. If higher after reassessment, lifestyle changes and medication with monthly follow-ups until BP is controlled.

≥140 or

≥90

High Blood Pressure Stage II

Lifestyle changes and 2 different classes of medicine, with monthly follow-ups until BP is controlled.

*Individual recommendations need to come from health care provider.

Source: American Heart Association’s Journal Hypertension published November 13, 2017.

Hypertension is defined as:

“Having a resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) >140 mmHg and/or a resting diastolic blood pressure (DBP) >90 mmHg, confirmed by a minimum of two measures taken on at least two separate days, or taking antihypertensive medication for the purpose of blood pressure control.” (ACSM 2018)

This chronic medical condition is called the “silent killer” because there are typically no symptoms. Learning how to assess BP for your client can put you forefront in the fight to detect and fight this deadly chronic disease.  Elevated blood pressure can increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, and heart failure. There are both genetic and lifestyle factors that can affect the development of hypertension.

A client with hypertension should engage in regular exercise after their blood pressure is effectively controlled. Exercise to control and manage high blood pressure should only be initiated after the client has seen their health care professional and is under medical supervision and treatment.  Systolic blood pressure can increase significantly during exercise, so the client coming to you with high blood pressure should not exercise without medical clearance.

 

Fun Fact #2

Hypertension causes the heart to work harder than normal at rest and with activity because it must pump blood from the left ventricle against a greater resistance in the arteries. (Kenney 2019)

The American Heart Association updated guidelines recommend treatment options including lifestyle changes and blood pressure lowering medications. The lifestyle modifications for those with hypertension can lower systolic approximately 4 to 11 mmHg with the largest impact from diet and exercise. (Whelton et al., 2017)

It is well documented in research that even light-moderate exercise can help control and lower blood pressure if you have hypertension. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum threshold of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity for health and quality of life. This threshold of physical activity plays an important role in cardiorespiratory health, longevity, brain health, muscle/bone health, balance and fall prevention, and function to name a few. Maintaining physical activity/exercise is recommended for prevention and control of virtually all chronic diseases.

In most people, hypertension responds very well to using physical activity/exercise as an adjunct therapy. Starting regular exercise typically helps you control hypertension with lower medication doses. As a health-fitness professional, it is very rewarding to see a client reduce or eliminate blood pressure medication through a regular exercise program.

Thanks a bunch, June!

Fit Pros, the info June shared with us here is so relevant for many of the people we have the opportunity to serve. While this news can be tough for a client to hear, we are resourced to help guide them to sustainable, improved results. To learn more, consider taking continuing education courses about blood pressure and exercise. Knowledge is powerful, and will help you to become a BP hero!

 

References

  1. Chewning, J and Schmidt-McNulty T. (2019) Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Exercise.
  2. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). (2018) ACSM’ Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 10th Wolters Kluwer.
  3. Kenney WL, Wilmore JH, Costill DL. (2015) Physiology of Sport and Exercise. 6th Human Kinetics.
  4. Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow WS, Casey DE Jr, Collins KJ, Dennison-Himmelfarb C, DePalma SM, Gidding S, Jamerson KA, Jones DW, MacLaughlin EJ, Muntner P, Ovbiagele B, Smith SC Jr, Spencer CC, Stafford RS, Taler SJ, Thomas RJ, Williams KA Sr, Williamson JD, and Wright JT Jr. (2017) ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension. doi: 10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065

Transformation is…

Transformation is…

In honor of Transformation Thursday, we offer ourselves up for a peek behind the curtain.

Change is a constant companion whether we like it, seek it out, or avoid it like crazy. While that fact might seem dissatisfying to some, it is a truth that can serve us deeply when we accept it and learn to use the transformative power that change can bring to our lives.

Those of you reading this post are all part of the fitness industry in some manner…whether you are a seasoned professional leading your own groups or gyms, recently certified as a fitness professional, or considering getting started with your training curriculum…but that hasn’t always been the case. In order to get to your current position, you had to change something!

NAFC is in the same boat, and we want to share our new approach to transformation with you. We are all about moving forward into our mission and goals in a big way, and that means we had to take a hard look at the things we were doing and ask ourselves some tough questions. We didn’t like all the answers…so we had to make some big decisions. Part of that work involved our overall mission, and since that directly impacts each of you, we want to share the process and the outcome with you…as well as our new approach to change that we are implementing into our daily processes.

Here’s our new mission statement:

We are changing the way the world does personal training instruction and delivery. We do this by adhering to a strict set of educational standards, creating and administering curriculum that truly prepares our students to succeed in this industry, and influencing the industry to require a higher level of regulation regarding training adherence and body movement science.

We give our students the education to become certified and to have an advantage that others don’t in the fitness industry. NAFC, with its higher standards and focus on practical application, helps our certifieds to be truly respected and relevant in their newly chosen career. And, we provide several career pathways and training depth for our certified trainers that continue to challenge and create opportunities for them in their chosen career!

When NAFC certifies trainers, we not only teach them how to train, we provide them with the skills needed to succeed in the business of training.

How’s that for some big goals?!

Working through this along with all the other changes we’ve implemented over the past year, helped to remind us all realize that we truly are part of something special. And, what’s most awesome…this is something we each chose, and we each get to create it every day!  

That’s truly what transformation is…a conscious choice in our daily practices toward a defined outcome with a close look at how those actions line up with our goals. It’s true for organizational development, and it’s true for each one of you reading this post. The process laid out below has worked successfully for individuals, families, groups, and organizations from all industries. When approached in this systematic manner, it’s awesome how seemingly huge decisions and tasks can be divided up into manageable chunks and tackled quickly!

Here’s the process we followed:

  • Define the desired outcome
  • Assess the current condition
  • Define the reasons for achieving the desired outcome
  • Make the decision to achieve the desired outcome
  • Communicate the decision to all appropriate stakeholders
  • Measure available resources to appropriate toward the effort
  • Define the timeline and milestones (basically map the path from current condition to desired state)
  • Begin

Pretty simple. And yet, as you know, simple doesn’t necessarily equate with easy! It’s a new approach to goal achievement for us. And it’s based in change management science…behavioral change is a science after all, though it isn’t rocket science! It’s been our experience that every goal can be broken down into a project and stepped through in this methodical manner. If we can do it at the organizational level and achieve massively positive transformation, how much simpler is this process when applied to personal goals for yourself or those with whom you work?

We’ve adopted this approach into our organization and we are looking forward to measuring our progress as we move into 2020. We’ve got big work to do, and we are committed to achieving the goals we’ve lined out for the next many months! You’ve likely got big goals too, and we would love to know if you choose to use the process outlined here to get after them. Let us know in the comments or shoot us an email…we are all in this together, after all!

Risk Factors and Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Risk Factors and Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

The information in this post is from the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Intervention Specialist Certificate Program: Course 1: Exercise Prescription for Alzheimer’s Prevention and Intervention.
Authored by Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D., Founding President/Medical Director of Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation.

There is a growing body of research on modifiable risk factors for dementia. However, modern medicine still hasn’t discovered all the answers in this field. Therefore, prevention supports available evidence targeting risk factors for vascular disease such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking, hyperlipidemia, and physical inactivity. (Dementia: A World Health Priority 2016) Many of these risk factors can be controlled effectively by making healthy lifestyle choices to aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Most experts believe that Alzheimer’s disease, similar to other common chronic diseases, develops as a result of multiple factors instead of a single cause. They also support the idea that some risk factors can be controlled by making smart lifestyle choices.

Physical exercise on a regular basis is a valuable habit to help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Exercise may benefit the brain cells directly by improving both oxygen and blood flow to the brain. An evidence-based and medically approved exercise program is recommended as part of an overall wellness plan. (Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia 2016)

There are a number of risk factors that may lead to cognitive decline.
(Adapted from Alzheimer’s Risk Factors 2016 and 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures 2016)

  • Age
  • Family History
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Head/Brain Injury
  • Lack of Adequate Sleep
  • Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors.
    • Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • High cholesterol
    • Physical inactivity
    • Obesity

Exercise is an important part of treatment. Research shows that it may help slow the progression of disease. Be patient and creative when working with clients who have Alzheimer’s disease. Have an understanding of the disease progression, be vigilant in identifying physical decline, and overall, adjust their exercise program to maintain safety. The seven stage model that is commonly accepted and used to stage the progression of Alzheimer’s is provided below. 

When working with clients, it is helpful to understand the stage of progression (often identified by disease symptoms) they are experiencing. This will give you ideas and guidelines for how to most effectively communicate and motivate the client in order to produce results. Different strategies may be required for communication, programming, and expectations during different stages of disease progression.

For more information on risk factors, risk factor reduction, stages of progression, and The 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention™, see the FLS course Introduction to Alzheimer’s Disease. Or visit the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation Website at www.alzheimersprevention.org.

Seven Stage Alzheimer’s Disease Progression Model for Help with Expectations during Disease Progression.
(Alzheimer’s Disease: Symptoms, Stages, Diagnosis and Coping 2016) 
(Reprinted with permission from HelpGuide.org)

Stage 1:
Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD). No impairment. Memory and cognitive abilities appear normal, but individual complains of memory difficulties.

Stage 2: 
Minimal Impairment/Normal Forgetfulness. Memory lapses and changes in thinking are rarely detected by friends, family, or medical personnel, especially as about half of all people over 65 begin noticing problems in concentration and word recall.

Stage 3: 
Early Confusional/Mild Cognitive Impairment. While subtle difficulties begin to impact function, the person may consciously or subconsciously try to cover up his or her problems. Difficulty with retrieving words, planning, organization, misplacing objects, and forgetting recent learning, which can affect life at home and work. Depression and other changes in mood can also occur. Duration: 2 to 7 years.

Stage 4: 
Late Confusional/Mild Alzheimer’s. Problems handling finances result from mathematical challenges. Recent events and conversations are increasingly forgotten, although most people in this stage still know themselves and their family. Problems carrying out sequential tasks, including cooking, driving, ordering food at restaurants, and shopping. Often withdraw from social situations, become defensive, and deny problems. Accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is possible at this stage. Lasts roughly 2 years.

Stage 5: 
Early Dementia/Moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Decline is more severe and requires assistance. No longer able to manage independently or recall personal history details and contact information. Frequently disoriented regarding place and or time. People in this stage experience a severe decline in numerical abilities and judgment skills, which can leave them vulnerable to scams and at risk from safety issues. Basic daily living tasks like eating and dressing require increased supervision. Duration: an average of 1.5 years.

Stage 6: 
Middle Dementia/Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s disease. Total lack of awareness of present events and inability to accurately remember the past. People in this stage progressively lose the ability to take care of daily living activities like dressing, toileting, and eating but are still able to respond to nonverbal stimuli, and communicate pleasure and pain via behavior. Agitation and hallucinations often show up in the late afternoon or evening. Dramatic personality changes such as wandering or suspicion of family members are common. Many can’t remember close family members, but know they are familiar. Lasts approximately 2.5 years.

Stage 7: 
Late or Severe Dementia and Failure to Thrive. In this final stage, speech becomes severely limited, as well as the ability to walk or sit. Total support around the clock is needed for all functions of daily living and care. Duration is impacted by quality of care and average length is 1 to 2.5 years.

References:

7 Essential Guidelines for Exercise for Diabetics

7 Essential Guidelines for Exercise for Diabetics

November is Diabetes Awareness Month!
The information in this course is from “Exercise, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome,” a continuing education course offered by NAFC.  

There are several precautions a client can take to not only prevent hypoglycemia, but to also have a safe exercise experience. Use these Guidelines to help your client avoid complications during exercise.

  1. Inject insulin in a part of the body that will not actively be used for exercise. The abdomen is recommended.
  2. Check blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise the first couple of exercise sessions and/or if trying a new activity.
    • Activity type, intensity, and duration may affect glucose levels.
    • Typically, 1 hour of exercise = an additional 15 grams of carbohydrates either before or after exercise.
  3. During exercise, a quick source of carbohydrates (that does not also contain fat) should be readily available such as orange juice or hard candy.
  4. Be aware of a delayed post-exercise hypoglycemia in those who take insulin.
    • Metabolism may remain elevated for several hours post-exercise especially during the night.
    • Check glucose at bedtime and again a couple hours after (~1-2AM) especially on a day of increased activity.
  5. Adequate fluids before during and after exercise are recommended.
  6. Wear proper shoes with polyester or blend socks as well as inspecting feet after exercise to practice good foot care.
  7. Carry medical identification.

References: