Dear Friends,

Welcome to our Spring E-Newsletter. And we hope that while there may be occasionally chilly temperatures when you receive this, you will be reminded that spring is indeed here. The hours of daylight are lengthening. In this issue, our talented and knowledgeable spa experts will give you tips based on a common theme: Recharge Yourself. Are you still carrying around a few extra pounds from the holidays? Do you feel lethargic, slow-moving, wishing you had more energy? Read on for some sage advice on how to re-energize yourself. You don't have to wait until spring is full-blown to start implementing some of these techniques in your daily life.

 

 

Spa

Spa Personal Fitness Instructor Donna Benoit shares her thoughts on why you might want to add an exercise ball to your fitness routine.

Spring is a time of growth and change. It prompts us to suggest you 'Get on the Ball'  to initiate a renewed wellness and fitness plan. At our spa, our ‘Get on the Ball’ fitness class provides a comprehensive initiation for using the exercise ball.  This versatile toy is a perfect tool that, when properly used, helps improve core strength, flexibility and provides a satisfying and fun jump-start for a stick-to-it plan. If you've never used an exercise ball...

First, an interesting bit of history.  The invention of the exercise ball in 1963 is attributed to Aquilino Cosani, an Italian engineer, as a children’s toy called The Gymnastic.  Seeing the potential as a medical application, pediatric and orthopedic neuro-rehabilitation programs began using this ball for rehabilitation.  During the 1980’s, American physical therapists visiting European clinics brought this technology back home – thus its adapted name became The Swiss Ball.   The fitness industry adapted this innovative rehab tool into a new exercise modality – The Fit Ball, The Yoga Ball or The Exercise Ball.

Second, the concept of instability helps challenge stability. Exactly what does that mean?  The unstable nature of the ball challenges joint mobility, strength, balance, posture, coordination, and flexibility as you use it to maintain your own stability.  The continued effort to maintain your stability during different ball exercises works to strengthen your core and spinal strength and increases the response of your sensory nerve endings in muscles, tendons and joints as the sense of your body’s position responds to stimuli from within.  Whether you’re a novice to exercise or a practiced athlete, improving core strength and maintaining spinal stability is a key goal.  You can achieve a total body workout using just this one fitness tool.

Third, simple exercise ball precautions:  Always consult your physician before starting any new exercise program especially if you are pregnant, have an injury or suffer from a neuromuscular disorder.  There is a risk of falling off the ball, so start slowly.  Do not exceed your ability. Add weights only after you have become confident in your movements and balance.  Have someone "spot you" or have the ball propped until you can accomplish the movements without aid.  Stop if you feel discomfort.

Fourth, use the correct size ball:  We recommend that you purchase a high capacity burst-resistant ball to hold both your weight and free weights that you may incorporate into your strength routines.  Finding the proper ball size is as simple as sitting down. When seated on the ball your hips, knees and ankles should create a crisp 90 degree angle. Inflate or deflate the ball until you find this angle. Now, you are ready to go!

Fifth, get started!
If you haven't ever used an exercise ball, take our Get On The Ball  class the next time you're at The Spa at Norwich Inn. Or sign up for a similar class in your community led by a reputable and experienced instructor. You'll have fun with the exercise ball and benefit from the total body workout that is possible with this one, simple device.

 

 

From The Boutique

Whatever your fitness activity, be sure your clothing allows you to move freely and to feel comfortable and unselfconscious. Organic fibers, including bamboo, have become popular for fitness attire, particularly for those who like to "go green" or have chemical sensitivities. As you shop, you'll find new high-tech fibers that are great at wicking away moisture. Also, check your dresser and see if it's time to purchase a new sports bra with the correct level of support in a breathable fabric to keep you comfortable as the weather warms. Our Boutique fitness collection for the Spring '09 season offers color choices including blues, yellow, dark pinks, gray, white and black. Don't forget to wear a ball cap to shade your head and face, and always apply a high-SPF sunscreen before exercising outdoors -- it's the most basic and important part of an anti-aging skin care regimen.

 

 

From Chef Daniel's Kitchen

ENERGY BOOSTERS

Who wants to feel more energetic?

Everyone, of course, but what natural tricks can we employ to perk up?  I like to emphasize "natural," because I find more and more people are turning to energy drinks for each hour of the day on a regular basis for that extra pick-me-up.  The biggest downside to consuming these on a regular basis is that you are not addressing the root cause of having low energy.  It's like putting a band-aid on a festering wound – it’s covered and out of view, but still there and getting worse.

Energy comes from glucose (blood sugar) and the ability of our bodies' cells to use that glucose for energy.  There are many factors that affect energy levels, and I will provide you with some food for thought and some simple tricks that you can try at home and discuss with your doctor.

Your diet is the best place to start to enhance your energy level and overall wellbeing.  A good diet is mostly plant-based, contains no processed foods and has protein (animal or vegetable), whole grains, vegetables and legumes at many points throughout the week.  Although vegetables themselves may not be high in calories and so, technically, are not high-energy foods, they contain minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that support the energy factories, called mitochondria, within our bodies.  Antioxidants play a major role in energy production.  The most potent forms of these come from plants and eating a variety of these every day will help build your energy reserves.  Dark, leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale and chard are great energy builders and all sorts of whole fruits will provide vitamins and enzymes to help in energy production while at the same time cleansing the body.

Meal timing is important.  Eat your grains and fruits earlier in the day and more vegetables and proteins (beef, chicken and fish) in the evening with very few carbohydrates.  If you follow vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, keep the heavier foods like beans and grains for the early hours of the day and the dark, leafy vegetables and light squashes for later in the day.

Perimenopause may also be a factor.  As the female body nears the end of its reproductive phase, many changes in the body, previously unknown to the woman, may emerge, causing confusion as to the cause.  One of these possible changes may be a loss of energy.

It is well documented that women who eat soy regularly experience fewer perimenopausal symptoms than those who do not.  If these symptoms include changes in energy, eating soy regularly may provide relief.  Asian women who consume about 10 ounces of soy-based food (tofu, seitan, etc.) per day, do not report the same severity of symptoms, if at all, that their western counterparts list.  Similarly, nutrition experts recommend 25 grams of soy protein per day, equal to about three glasses of soymilk or 10 ounces of tofu.  The active ingredients in soy products are commonly called soy isoflavones.  Please note that some cancer patients may not consume soy products precisely because of the effects of these soy isoflavones.  If you have had cancer, consult you doctor before adding soy to your diet.

Herbs may also help alleviate low energy.  There are many resources available, but anyone adding these to their diet is strongly encouraged to consult both a doctor and a certified herbalist to ensure that a proper herbal remedy is applied.  Herbs can have powerful effects on health and should not be taken without professional consultation.

Let's not forget about exercise.  A regular exercise schedule in conjunction with good nutrition is, in fact, the best energy booster of all and helps the body better regulate itself in many different ways, including cholesterol, moods, digestion, sleep, libido and, if you play tennis or kickbox with friends, socially too!

A combination of tactics may be your best approach.  Each individual will respond differently.  It's important to find the best combination:  diet, meal timing, foods, herbs and lifestyle.  Test and discover what works best and continue to change and adapt as your body continues to evolve. 

A Recipe
All-Day Soy Smoothie
By Daniel Chong-Jiménez

Amount Measure Ingredient
2 cups soy milk
5 tablespoons soya powder (Fearn Brand)
1 tablespoon honey
1 each ripe banana


Nutrition Facts:  549 kcal, 32 grams protein, 79 carbohydrates, 15 grams fat

This smoothie will provide 25 grams of soy protein and is best taken divided in two portions early in the day as part of a complete meal or between meal snacks, taking into consideration the total calories consumed.  Omitting the banana and honey will reduce the total kcal to 379, 31 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate and 15 grams fat.

 

 

Housekeeping 

Executive Housekeeper Maryann Rodino gives you a plan to tackle The Attic. Here is her strategy for  Part I: Divide and Conquer.

Attic realignment comes in two parts: spring and fall. Breaking the task into two stages will make it seem less overwhelming. And it gives you the summer off!

Spring is a time to refresh and renew, which makes it a good time to start your project by assessing what needs to be done. You should bring with you trash bags, a vacuum cleaner or a dustpan and broom.

Your goal is to compartmentalize your attic and put all your "stuff" into categories: seasonal, hobbies, clothing, treasure and trash. Each segment takes time to go through, but go through it you must. As you weed through the attic, start making piles of your categories. When you've completed this task, which is going to be laborious, make attic clean up a two part job.

First, section off the attic for each category and remove dust and cobwebs. Second, make sure the area is accessible. There is nothing more time-wasting than looking for something that is hidden away in some remote, hard-to-reach corner of the attic.

Spring is a good time to do the categorizing, starting with seasonal. Then after each season, you can pack away your treasures in containers denoting the event or holiday and label for easy access.

Unless you have an abundance of closet space, your attic is probably the place where you store out-of-season clothing. Get this under control by making a space for seasonal clothing change. And remember to store clothing appropriately, taking the proper steps so that any little creatures that may find a way into your attic do not make it into your woolens, for example.

If you can get all of the sifting and sorting of your attic build-up done in the spring, then in the fall you can get down to the specifics of what stays and what goes. We’ll address that process in our Fall E-Newsletter.

Believe me, once you have your attic under control, it will make your life so much easier. You will be able to relax, knowing that you can easily find what you need. You won’t waste time rooting around for misplaced objects. And that might free up some “me” time for you to enjoy as you please.