Rejuvenate Yourself

Get an Energy and Productivity Jumpstart

By Jeff Tomaszewski


Four hundred and thirty-eight million: That is the number of vacation days Americans failed to take last year, more than any other industrialized nation, according to Harris Interactive Research Group.

Here’s the result: America ranks first in both depression and mental health issues.

Americans are burned out. Our productivity and creativity are dropping, relationships are failing and our rising stress is leading to record levels of heart disease, stomach ulcers and depression.

All Work, No Play

We’re judged by how much we work. We’re afraid of being replaced or left behind, and we’re addicted to busyness. It’s not only destroying our mental and physical health but also our creative productivity.

This is especially true in our global economy, where our future lies with our ability to think creatively, innovatively and productively.

Rest and recovery are vital to looking and feeling your best. Unfortunately, it’s viewed as a weakness rather than as an integral aspect of growth and sustained performance.

We become flatliners mentally, emotionally and physically by endlessly spending sufficient energy without recovery. We slowly wear down and become ineffective.

Taking a break might be difficult for some of us. Consider these tips:

Reframe it: Instead of calling it time off and thinking we are slackers, reframe it as “rejuvenation time.” This sounds more purposeful and meaningful, doesn’t it? This might be mental manipulation, but we’ll take whatever works.


Schedule it: What gets scheduled gets done. Like any critical appointment, you have to plant your time-off flag on your calendar and defend it. Take a break from email. Put your phone and other electronic devices aside.


Declare it: Don’t feel guilty or try to keep it a secret. Lead by example and show others how to make rejuvenation part of an overall health plan.

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Walk with Ease Program in Hudson

Hudson Community Education and Recreation (HCER) will soon be offering adults ages 50+ a new way to stay fit – even if they have arthritis. Thanks to an instructor training grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HCER will offer the Walk With Ease (WWE) program to the Hudson community. HCER is one of 71 park and recreation agencies to receive the WWE instructor training grant.

HCER’s community education and recreation programs have long been centers of health and wellness in the community. The WWE program, developed by the Arthritis Foundation, is scientifically proven to help reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Studies by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina have shown that participation in Walk With Ease contributes to reduced pain, increased balance and strength, and improved overall health.

“Arthritis affects more than 52 million adults  in the United States — including people who live right here in Hudson,” said Meredith Zaffrann, HCER Director. “This grant from NRPA and the CDC allows us to help the older adults in our community, and adds a new way for Hudson residents to work to achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

The Walk With Ease program will be offered three times per week for six weeks by certified and trained HCER Walk With Ease instructors.  Classes will meet at Barlow Community Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 10am, May 15th – June 23rd.  An informational meeting and registration will take place on Monday, April 24th at Barlow Community Center, 41 S. Oviatt Street, Hudson.  Cost for the six week program is just $5.

The Walk with Ease classes are ideally suited for anyone that is interested in preventing or managing arthritis, but also for those looking for a regular, low-impact exercise program in their local community.

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Strength Training


The Few, the Long-Lived … The Strength Trainers

Strength training is the way to live better longer.

Yet, few people do it. It’s hard to understand.

Over the past decade, researchers have demonstrated the benefits of strength training for strength, muscle mass and physical function, as well as for improvements in chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, lower back pain and obesity.

Only about 9 percent of older adults do strength training at least once a week, according to one study — a small fraction of people but higher than researchers expected.

The researchers in one study followed the respondents for 15 years. About a third of the respondents had died within the time period. The remaining who trained at least twice a week had a 46 percent lower risk of death than those who did not do the training. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.

Significantly, after the researchers controlled for physical activity levels, people who did strength exercises lived longer than those who did only physical activity.

The study is strong evidence that strength training in older adults has benefits beyond improving muscle strength and physical function.

Jeff Tomaszewski is owner of MaxStrength Fitness in Westlake. He’s a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. Visit or call 440-835-9090.

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Look Good Feel Good – Jumpstart Your Routine to Slow Down the Aging Process

Are you as old as you feel? Does your chronological age match your biological age? We’ve all met people who seem much younger than their age and have boundless energy. We’ve also known people who look and act much older than their age.

As we age, our metabolism slows, making it tougher to lose weight. After 40, our biological age starts to speed up, and we age faster than our chronological age. It doesn’t need to be this way. You have more control over the aging process than you think. You have the power to slow aging and prolong your youth.


When we add strength training to an exercise routine, we can stimulate our muscles to unleash a powerful flood of muscle-strengthening, fat-burning and anti-aging hormones to reverse the aging process and greatly slow down both biological and chronological aging.

Stimulating and exhausting all of our muscle fibers is the key that will cause the other metabolic processes and organs of the body to respond better.

In order for a strength-training workout to produce results, sufficient rest and recovery time are necessary to allow growth. If we provide a sufficient stimulus to the body and allow for rest and recovery, the body will respond in a positive way with the desired physical and metabolic changes.



When you incorporate strength training into your exercise routine, you will:

• Re-ignite your metabolism, reprogramming your body to start burning body fat.

• Reboot the endocrine system, creating a resurgence of youth-enhancing hormones so you can get infinitely more energy and replace flab with lean, strong muscle.

• Fortify your body by regaining bone density and building a solid foundation.

• Boost your brainpower, enhance memory and improve cognitive function.

• Improve functional ability, making daily activities easier and more enjoyable.

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All Kidding Aside – A Good Belly Laugh is Great Medicine

Had a good laugh lately?

It’s no joke that humor is good for your health. Sharing laughter really may be the best medicine. Does that mean a doctor can tell us to “take two jokes and call us in the morning”? Not exactly, but research suggests that laughing has short-term and long-term benefits to health and well-being.

Short-term benefits can include a variety of physical changes in your body that have a positive impact. Laughter has been shown to increase your oxygen level, to lower blood pressure, to stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles, and to release endorphins — the “feel good” hormones.

Laughter also reduces the body’s response to stress. Stress and anxiety release hormones that over time can wear down your body and immune system. If you can share a joke or find a light moment in times of stress, it can reduce those hormones, stimulate muscle relaxation and cut down on anxiety, creating a relaxed feeling.

And, believe it or not, laughter is good exercise. It is great for your abdominals. When you laugh, the muscles in your stomach contract, so it’s like doing a sit-up.





In the long term, studies have shown that laughter can  boost the immune system and offset negative chemical effects in the body, again thanks to  endorphins.

Laughter can act like a natural pain reliever to decrease the amount of pain we might feel, according to research.

Laughter also increases our personal satisfaction with life, helps us cope with difficult issues — such as chronic illness — and has social benefits. When we share a laugh with someone, it connects us to them. Those with more social involvement have improved health and well-being.


What if laughter doesn’t come easily to you?

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Take a Seat – It’s Time to Try Biking Again

Remember that fluid feeling of freedom that bicycling brought you as a kid? You could glide through the neighborhood with little effort. Breezes tussled your hair as the road rolled beneath your wheels. Those were the days.


If you’re like Lynda Warner of Mayfield Heights, bicycling faded from life when the demands of parenthood and career took over. Now 73, she recalls, “It wasn’t until 20 years ago — when I was in my 50s — that a friend/bike shop owner encouraged me to again become a bicycle owner. From then until now, my cycling time has increased each year, and I don’t see it stopping any time soon.

“More than anything else, bicycling gives me a feeling of well-being and joy. I have read many articles and firsthand accounts about the physical benefits it offers. Mentally, too, it’s uplifting to the mind and spirit. ‘Happiness endorphins’ can be created by walking, running, and any number of other physical activities, but personally, none of them compare to the ones created by bicycling. It’s like flying on the ground,” Warner says.

Fitness experts agree. Bicycling is a good exercise as we age because of its light impact on your frame, especially knees. It helps strengthen muscles around the knee, stabilizing the joint and minimizing pain. Bicycling may put stress on shoulders and back muscles, but if you work on core strength, this should be minimal.


Even if you’ve been inactive and are advanced in years, bicycling can increase breathing capacity, muscle strength and muscle mass. According to a study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, formerly inactive seniors ages 70 to 80 enjoyed these measurable benefits after training three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes per session over a four-month period.

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Beyond Daydreams: Think, Imagine, Do

Visualization, done right, can be extremely powerful in achieving any goal. As you think about your goals for the New Year, consider using your imagination to see yourself already in possession of your goal.

Picture yourself with the healthy and fit body you desire, and literally feel what it is like to have it. You cannot achieve anything in your “outer world” until you first see it in your “inner world.”


In one of the most well-known studies on creative visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their training schedules:

GROUP 1 had 100 percent physical training

GROUP 2 had 75 percent physical training with 25 percent mental training

GROUP 3 had 50 percent physical training with 50 percent mental training

GROUP 4 had 25 percent physical training with 75 percent mental training

The results showed that Group 4, with 75 percent of their time devoted to mental training, performed the best. The study showed that using mindfulness — actually focusing on mental images — can boost physical achievement.

Creative visualization is distinguished from normal daydreaming in a key manner. Visualization is done in the first person and the present tense, as if the visualized scene were unfolding all around you. Typical daydreaming is done in the third person and the future tense.

Using affirmations that begin with “I am so happy and grateful now that …” is an excellent way to begin programming your subconscious mind to move toward your goal.

Visualization is another tool that Olympic athletes use to get their minds in shape for competition. In this technique, athletes mentally rehearse exactly what they have to do to win. Sports psychologists say that visualization boosts athletes’ confidence by forcing them to picture themselves winning. It also helps them concentrate on their physical moves, rather than on distractions around them.

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An Attitude of Gratitude – The Mind Matters When it Comes to Health

As much as some of us (me included) would like to control every aspect of our lives, we can’t. What we can control is our attitude toward what happens to us.

We all experience and continue to experience trying times in our lives. The what in these situations is less important than the how.


How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their effect on our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Up to 40 percent of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives. We tend to focus on our problems, especially during trying times. We then get in the habit of focusing our attention on all the negative things happening in our lives.

What would happen instead if we switched that focus to the many good things that happen to us each day?

What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives?


• I am grateful for my knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and that I can help others do the same.

• I am grateful that I devoted time to my strength-training routine today.

• I am grateful for my family and friends.


Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research. Studies show grateful people:

• Report higher levels of positive emotions

• Have greater life satisfaction

• Experience greater vitality

• Are more optimistic

• Are healthier

• Build strong relationships

• Handle adversity better

• Experience lower levels of depression and stress


People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspec – tive of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful.

Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated, and are less envious of others.

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