Keep Moving to Stay Mobile

“Use it or lose it” is no joking matter. Practicing Active Wellness requires us to keep moving in order to maintain optimum health and flexibility. Whether we have a daily exercise regimen or freestyle it from day to day, we need to consciously make an effort to exercise our bodies and minds regularly.

When the rules and regulations for social distancing change as often as they have been during the current pandemic, we need to be creative in our approach to exercise. Team sports can be difficult to participate in, and with most gyms still closed, we need to make the best of exercising at home.

There are many ways to keep moving when you are staying indoors. Just as we have become accustomed to using multiple electronic devices, we also use a variety of exercise equipment. The truth is, exercise is simply a matter of moving the body and equipment is not really necessary. Exercise is really about resolve, discipline and keeping your heart rate up for 30 minutes or more each workout session.

Walking around the house, climbing stairs if you live in two stories or more, jogging in place, doing Zumba to a recorded video, dancing to music of your own choice, practicing calisthenics and lifting weights (using real dumbbells or holding canned goods and other makeshift “weights”) can be great habit-forming ways to exercise.

You can even put together your own routine that incorporates cardio with stretches. There are so many online sources of stretches and routines ranging from beginner to advanced levels. You can even start exercising by staying seated and work up to more mobility. The point is to get moving and stay moving.

If you have multiple generations living together, you can devise routines to practice as a group. It’s an easy way to spend quality time as a family and to “play” with the kids while role modeling Active Wellness. “Monkey see monkey do” is a much easier way to help children and the elderly incorporate exercise into their daily lives. Exercise helps get them off the couch and decrease screen time.

If you have exercise equipment at home, such as a treadmill, rowing machine or elliptical, etc, make sure you use them! Exercise equipment often languishes and becomes pieces of furniture; don’t let that happen to yours!

How much exercise should you do? For heart health, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week.1

For 15 easy at-home workout moves, you can check out https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/easy-workout-quick-workout/.

If you have sensitive joints, see https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/ra-biologic-17/gentle-ra-exercises

Last but not least, remember to use the KenkoTouch® to help your muscles relax after your daily exercise. It’s one more way to give yourself an indoor treat!

 

1 https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/fitness-beginners-guide#1

Take Care of Yourself and Stay Healthy

This Fourth of July, our thoughts of freedom may be more pronounced. For those of us who were born into a life of freedom, these trying times may be as close as we come to not experiencing freedom as we know it. Those who enjoy partying, dining out and group activities in general are particularly vulnerable to feelings of deprivation and depression with the current state of affairs. Even homebodies may be craving some human closeness with all the social distancing we have been practicing.

Nikken just launched three products priced at only cost and handling to help us maintain Active Wellness through these trying times and beyond—Kenzen® Face Mask, Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer and Kenzen® Surface Cleaner. The Nikken mission has always been to produce exceptional products that help us create a Wellness Home but some are especially designed to help us maintain indoor health and our sense of independence.

This entire month of July, three items that can help us make the best of indoor living are available at a 20% discount with no purchase limits. They are KenkoSeat® II, KenkoGround®, and KenkoTouch®. Here’s a summary of why they help you maintain Active Wellness while staying indoors:

  • KenkoSeat® II addresses the issue of sitting. Excessive sitting is believed to cause slow metabolism, compromised posture, increased back injuries, chronic pain and many other health risks.1 KenkoSeat II does not pretend to fix any of these issues; however, it is designed to help promote proper posture while seated and is made of breathable materials for ventilation. The Kenko PowerButton® with patented Dynaflux® technology, 100% latex core and 100% nylon cover are a trifecta of back support and relief. (I personally have sat on one for many years as I commuted 84 round trip miles a day and truly believe KenkoSeat II has helped sustain my back.)
  • KenkoGround® serves as an indoor and portable way to reconnect with Mother Nature. When you can sink your feet into real sand, soil, grass or sea water, KenkoGround is the next best thing to help connect with natural energy sources. In these times when even children too often use multiple electronic devices, KenkoGround under our feet when seated or sleeping, draped around our shoulders or touching our skin in some way, can help “ground” us.
  • KenkoTouch® helps us take care of our massage needs ourselves. It’s a simple handheld way to de-stress and help loosen tight muscles. With three speed settings, the same patented DynaFlux® technology found in the KenkoSeat II extends depth of field for greater penetration of the solenoid reciprocating massage.

All of us at Nikken wish you a safe Fourth of July!

1 https://www.businessinsider.com/14-horrible-things-that-can-happen-if-you-sit-at-your-desk-for-too-long-2014-3

Get Your Stress Under Control

In these uncertain times, even the most stoic of us have our moments of doubt and anxiety. We get stressed out and it only makes things worse. But how do we control our stress levels when the world seems to be devolving?

When we take a hike on a nature trail, go camping or simply take a barefoot walk along the beach, we are doing something called grounding. We’re using all our senses to experience a piece of nature. In other words, communing with Mother Nature can actually help us de-stress by getting us out of our daily box and helping to lower our escalating cortisol levels.

According to Anchorage social worker and counselor Deborah Gonzales, the solution to panic and anxiety is grounding through our senses. This consists of making use of the environment. She clarifies, “Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.”1 After going through this process, it has a similar effect as taking slow deep breaths or counting to 10 when feeling anxious.

Grounding is not a new concept, but as our contemporary lives ricochet between overwork at “work” and being stretched too thin at home with multi-generational responsibilities, grounding is a necessity for Active Wellness.

But what about those of us who are confined at home? There is nothing to perfectly replicate the feeling of soil underneath our feet, but there is something that comes close in its effect. At Nikken, we call it KenkoGround®—it serves as an indoor and portable way to reconnect with Mother Nature.

Feeling grounded is the opposite of feeling stressed or anxious. Realizing that every living creature is bioelectrical in nature, Nikken created the KenkoGround which made with 20% silver, one of the best known conductors of electricity. KenkoGroundKenkoGround is a lightweight, three-layered rectangular cloth that can be placed under your feet or draped around your shoulders to impart a feeling of balance and calm—it is a wonderful example of technology culled from our knowledge of Mother Nature.

Another known de-stressor is massage. Can’t leave the house to visit your favorite massage therapist? No problem. The KenkoTouch® is a handheld self-massage unit with patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology. KenkoTouchWith three settings, you control the amount of pressure.

No matter where you are, Nikken is committed to supporting you through thick and thin. Inhale slowly, exhale slowly. We are together.

 

1 deboramgonzales.com

Get the Benefits of Winter Sports without Injuries

Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice hockey and sledding are invigorating ways to experience the great outdoors during the cold months of the year. They’re high speed and therefore can also be perilous, causing many common injuries. These include fractures, sprains, strains, concussions and dislocations. Snowboarders tend to have more wrist injuries as well as tailbone contusions and concussions whereas skiers have more knee injuries.1

Take care of yourselves and properly prepare children for outdoor winter activities. Here are a dozen precautions to take when participating in winter sports:

  • Wear the appropriate protective gear such as helmets, goggles, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, as well as sunscreen. Check out Nikken KenkoTherm® Wraps for comfortable support for muscles, ligaments and joints.
  • Make sure all equipment is in good working order.
  • Wear layers of clothing that include a breathable base layer, one or two insulating layers and a water- and windproof outer layer to help you stay warm and dry. Layering helps accommodate your body’s changing temperature.
  • Wear comfortable footwear for warmth, dryness and ankle support. If you have weak ankles to begin with, try wrapping them with KenkoTherm DUK® Tape for extra support before putting on your Nikken Sport Socks.
  • Stay hydrated. Breathing cold air can be dehydrating, so bring along a good size water bottle and sip steadily. Convenient and giving you the bonus of ultra high-tech filtration, the eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle is a must-have carry-along. Orthopedists recommend drinking a pint before exercising and another pint after you’re done, with sipping every 20 minutes or so in between.3
  • Warm up. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more injury-prone.
  • After warming up, stretch. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch once, always with control and never bounce on a fully stretched muscle.2
  • Learn how to fall. Shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries can result from trying to brace a fall. According to the Canadian Ski Patrol, the harder you try to stay upright, the harder it is on the knees and the more risk of ligament breaks, strains or tears.4
  • Do not ice skate on frozen lakes, rivers or ponds unless you are absolutely sure they have not started to thaw. The safest way is to ice skate on frozen water masses only where posted signs indicate it’s safe.
  • If snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, be sure to bring a map and a compass. Also be constantly vigilant of changing weather conditions.
  • Never participate alone in a winter sport. If you must go alone, be sure to inform friends and family of your location and expected time of return.
  • Know your limitations and those of your children. Unless you are an athlete training under supervision, rest when tired, and choose slopes and maneuvers that match your skill level.

One of the most enjoyable parts of winter sports is the rest and relaxation afterwards! Why not revive yourself with a hot cup of Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and treat yourself to a gentle massage with KenkoTouch®?

 

1 https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/perfect-10-winter-sports-safety-tips

2, 3 https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sprains-strains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/

4 https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/9-safety-tips-for-winter-sports/

 

Fight Seasonal Allergies without Drugs

This is the time of year when the sounds of sneezing, sniffling and nose-blowing reverberate in far too many households throughout the world. Allergies are not contagious, but they are definitely irritating, with reactions ranging from wheezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes and more. Many depend on antihistamines, but that may actually aggravate them further or produce side effects of lethargy, drowsiness and other discomforts. Instead of just addressing the symptoms, getting to the root of the allergies may help decrease or get rid of them.

Understanding the cause of allergies is the first step in committing to an Active Wellness regimen that eschews allergy medications. Allergic reactions begin in the immune system. When something like dust, mold or pollen produces an allergic reaction in people, it’s because their immune systems are overreacting to the foreign substance. Those with strong immune systems may not react at all, while others may be mildly to severely irritated. Here are some ways to fortify the immune system and possibly minimize allergies in the long run:

  • Massage: The lymphatic system is the main carrier of the immune system and functions similarly to a sewer system by helping the body drain clogging fluids such as mucous. One way to open up the lymphatic system and to keep it flowing smoothly is through massage.1 The body can then rid itself of excess mucous produced from the allergic response. The KenkoTouch® enables you to give and have a portable massage to help keep the lymphatic system humming.
  • Turmeric: Lymphatic drainage is blocked when the adrenal gland manufactures too much cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Turmeric is an adaptogenic herb that addresses the stress-lymph connection by helping to naturally lower cortisol levels while increasing antioxidant stress-fighting activity and boosting lymphatic circulation.2
  • Gut health: The connection between a strong immune system and a healthy gut is becoming common knowledge. More than 80% of the body’s immune function is stored in the GI tract, so research continues to link gut health with the reduced risk of allergies.3 When taken together, lactoferrin and probiotics provide a synergistic effect to the immune system by working together to help prevent chronic inflammation, help limit the spread of harmful microbes and help stabilize colonies of friendly bacteria.4
  • Healthy diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of allergies and many other health problems. Nutrient-dense foods give the immune system the ability to repair itself, bringing it back into balance so it can help fight off common allergies in the environment.5 Beneficial foods include garlic, green leafy vegetables, lemons, fermented foods rich in probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, kombucha, etc.), gluten-free grains (flours made from coconut, almond, spelt, oat and rice, etc.), and seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower).

 

 

1 http://www.navacenter.com/community/blogs/how-to-prevent-allergies-the-holistic-approach

2 https://lifespa.com/rescue-lymph-stress-late/

3 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

4 https://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=526

5 https://draxe.com/8-natural-allergy-relief-remedies/

Relax, Renew and Regenerate this Spring Season!

In North America the official start of spring this year is on March 20. Even as the spring season is physically a time of rebirth and renewal, it’s also a challenging time for both the body and the mind.

Noted psychiatrist and substance abuse specialist Dr. McCance-Katz points out that researchers have discovered a greater incidence of depression and anxiety in the spring months. As it turns out, lengthening daylight may discombobulate people’s chemical regulatory system. “There are these different neurotransmitters that have been implicated in mood disorders,” she says. “It could be that people also have imbalances in serotonin, in melatonin, that are affected by day length and can also affect mood.”1 These imbalances are also suspected to cause that general feeling of lethargy, commonly referred to as spring fever.

In fact, “the suicide rate goes up in the spring.”2 Not only are taxes due, final exams take place in many universities and secondary schools, certain sports resume intense practice and stress levels increase during the season for filing taxes. Spring presents specific challenges, so here are a few tips for combating the basic three:

  1. As much as you look forward to the warmer spring weather, you also have to cope with the accompanying winds and sporadic rain, which can wreak havoc on the skin. Your skin may get dehydrated, itchy and red. Be particularly gentle while cleansing and conscientiously hydrate throughout the day and especially at night, because skin cells renew best during rest. Antioxidant-rich vitamins E, A and C are particularly helpful in regenerating the skin. 3
  2. Spring fever begone! Use your diet to help obtain that extra boost you need. Eat seasonal foods. They are fresher and therefore have higher nutritional value. 4 To make sure you aren’t eating or drinking anything that may cause inflammation (pesticides, artificial coloring, chemical preservatives), stay with organic fruits and vegetables.
  3. Stress can virtually be a killer, so exercise both physical and mental health care. Make sure to incorporate exercise into your busy spring days, as physical activity is a known stress reliever. Massage is also a way to practice Active Wellness as the muscles are coaxed into relaxation for sense of overall well-being.

Nikken can help you combat the three basic challenges of spring, so you can relax, renew and regenerate. KenkoTouch®  takes the “ouch” out of expensive massage sessions with a convenient hand-held device that is designed with patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology. Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix gives you 80 mg of natural caffeine from superior quality matcha green tea powder to supercharge your body and to keep your mind alert.  Since it is so important to keep skin moisturized during the spring season, we recommend using True Elements® Youthful Face Cream, as it may help all skin types replenish moisture.

 

1 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/12/03/the-google-misery-index-the-times-of-year-were-most-depressed-anxious-and-stressed/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1b1a48c48b1f

2 http://www.mharockland.org/springtime-challenge/

3 https://www.hl-labs.com/pro-info/springtime-challenges-for-our-skin.html

4 https://www.earthbalancenatural.com/lifestyle/6-tips-springtime-stress-relief/

 

Active Recovery as Part of Active Wellness

How much exercise is the right amount to maintain optimum health? We can generalize and offer guidelines but only you personally can determine how much and how often. By the same token, how we recover from working out is also a personal choice.

There are two basic ways to recover from strenuous workouts: passively or actively. Passive recovery is resting completely and not exercising at all. Active recovery involves mild exercise; in other words, moving in a way that doesn’t stress the body or challenge those already-tired muscles. Active recovery focuses on completing a workout at a low intensity, but just high enough that it gets the blood moving and helps reduce residual fatigue in the muscle.

Active recovery may have several distinct advantages. Some believe that staying active helps prime your body’s metabolic pathways of recovery, while the psychological benefits of active recovery are apparent for people who feel better when exercising daily—movement is known to be a mood enhancer. And, many people find it easier to adhere to their diets on workout days.1 In these ways, active recovery helps the body to rest without coming to a full stop, while taking care of any self-imposed guilt for not exercising at all.

Active recovery helps mobilize the joints, which need to move through their range of motion to be lubricated. It also gets the blood flowing through the muscles, which helps bring them nutrients to build new muscle as well as helping to carry away waste products. One of the best activities towards recovering is swimming. One studyshowed that a swimming based recovery session enhanced following day exercise performance, possibly due to the hydrostatic properties of water.

Since swimming is the primary workout for many, here are some other forms of active recovery:

  • Massage. Research has proven that having a massage after exercise can speed up recovery time twice as fast as regular rest. This is due to the improved blood flow and nutrients to the body. When your bodily fluids are circulating readily, nutrients and oxygen are able to reach your muscles and other tissues. A post workout massage can unlock your muscles to help restore your original range of motion.3
  • Walking. The amount and pace of walking you do on off days should be based on your current fitness level.
  • Lighter Weight Lifting. Performing an exercise that made you particularly sore, but using a much lighter weight may be restorative. As a guide, use a weight at or below 30 percent of your usual weight, and perform one set shy of failure.4
  • Restorative Yoga. There are many types of yoga, with some forms being extremely strenuous. Restorative yoga, on the other hand, is a tried-and-true recovery activity that not only increases flexibility, but also teaches proper breathing techniques and body control. Its mild flow also promotes circulation to help repair broken-down muscle tissues.5

To help you stay motivated and consistent on an Active Wellness lifestyle, here are some tips:

  1. Eat healthy carbs a couple of hours before strenuous activities to keep your body warm and energetic. This also helps prevent fatigue.
  2. Set exercise / weight goals and write them down.
  3. Reward yourself periodically as you achieve your goals, but not with food, so you don’t associate pleasure only with edible treats.
  4. Wear the KenkoTherm DUK Tape which may help your muscles and joints stay warm and supported.
  5. Massage your tired muscles with the KenkoTouch® a device designed to help promote relaxation and relief.
  6. Support your back during and after a workout with the KenkoTherm® Back Belt that can be worn alone but is designed with a back pocket that holds the Kenko MagFlex® in place.

 

1 https://www.builtlean.com/2013/01/21/active-recovery-workout-ideas/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19908172

3 http://www.freshtherapy.com.au/Corporate-Massage/the-benefits-of-massage-after-exercise/

4, 5 https://www.self.com/story/best-activities-for-active-recovery-day