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Wed, Nov 28 11:29am · The Best Exercise for Strong Legs in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

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The why:

There are many reasons for keeping the legs strong including reducing fall risk, improving metabolism, and getting out of a chair with more ease. Additionally, according to a British study done on twins, published in 2015, there is also a link between brain health and leg strength.

The how:

As a physical therapist, I teach my patients exercises every day, and over the years I have found the chair squat to be one of the most functional and practical leg strengthening exercise.

To get started you can test yourself by following the directions below:

(Please check with your physician or physical therapist if you have any concerns about this exercise or if you are not sure that you can do it safely.)

cdc

  1. Sit in the middle of a sturdy firm chair (no wheels!)
  2. Cross arms over chest, with hands on opposite shoulders*
  3. Keep your feet flat on the floor
  4. Have someone time you (or look at the clock yourself), and on “start”, you come to a full standing position with arms still crossed and back straight-then sit down again.
  5. Repeat for 30 seconds, counting the number of times you get up.

*If you have any balance difficulties, do the exercise with hands on a table and have a person standing next to you for support if needed.

You should aim to meet or exceed the following average scores (per 30 seconds):

AGE MEN WOMEN
60-64 14 12
65-69 12 11
70-74 12 10
75-79 11 10
80-84 10 9
85-89 8 8
90-94 7 4

Once you have determined your number of repetitions, I suggest you do 2-3 sets of that number, either fast or at an easy pace, every day. Make sure you don’t hold your breath as you practice this exercise. If the exercise makes your knees achy, progress slowly as tolerated, or check with a healthcare provider first.

For more information on the test, please visit the CDC website. And, let’s get out of those chairs (and sit in them again, and stand, and sit)!

 

Mon, Jul 9 2:11pm · The 1-minute breathing meditation for relaxation in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Dr. Rubenzer,

The quote is fine to use with the following edits:
1. Please capitalize Mayo Clinic.
2. We say "Arizona campus" rather than location.

Additionally, can you please include a link back to the original post here on Connect for the electronic publications: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/newsfeed-post/the-1-minute-breathing-meditation-for-relaxation/

Thank you and all the best with your work.

Wed, Jul 4 11:25am · The 1-minute breathing meditation for relaxation in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Hi Dr. Rubenzer, yes absolutely feel free to share-please include the source: Dr. Pauline H. Lucas, Mayo Clinic in Arizona

Tue, Jul 3 8:35am · The 1-minute breathing meditation for relaxation in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

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Do you have just 1 minute?

Do you find yourself frequently worrying about the future, ruminating about past events, or simply having a hard time quieting your mind? Using a simple breathing practice for relaxation might help calm your overactive mind. Breathing practices have been used for thousands of years and have gained much popularity lately. They are easy to practice, free of charge, and don’t have negative side-effects.

Fight or Flight

When we are stressed, either because of difficult circumstances, or because of our stressful thoughts, our nervous system gets ready for action. You may have heard of the “fight/flight response”. When our brain perceives danger, the body gets ready to either fight or run away from the threat. This is a great nervous system survival response for short term stressors and when we need to act quickly. An example of this is when a car comes swerving into our lane on the freeway and is about to collide with our car. We quickly jerk our steering wheel, maybe honk the horn, and once the situation is over, we might feel our muscles tighten, feel our heart beat fast, and our breath may be shallow and rapid. After a few minutes however, these sensations resolve and the body is typically calm again. If our nervous system experiences chronic stress, either because of a difficult situation or our constant worry thoughts, the same response happens, only now it doesn’t just ease up. The result can be chronically tense muscles, faster heart beat, fast and shallow breathing, digestive problems, and insomnia, just to name only a few!

The power of breath

The breath is an interesting function of the body as it typically (thankfully!) happens automatically, but we can also control it –for example to energize or calm our system. By becoming mindful of our breathing, purposely breathing in a calm way, and by breathing out a little slower than our inbreath, we can calm our nervous system and lessen the “fight or flight” response and instead move the nervous system to a calmer state called the “rest/restore” response. The result is relaxation of the body and a calmer mind. Some of this happens immediately, but with regular practice, the results are even more significant.

Easy steps to practice a 1-minute breathing meditation:

  1. Find a comfortable seated position, feel your feet on the ground and keep your spine tall and straight. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, and relax the face. If appropriate, you can choose to close your eyes.
  2. Take a long, slow breath in through the nose, and then calmly, slowly, and without tension breathe all the air out through the nose.
  3. Resume regular breathing by allowing the next breath to come in automatically, without any effort, and notice the cool sensations at the nostrils.
  4. Keep your awareness with the sensations at the nostrils as you breathe out calmly, and notice warmer air leaving the nose. Ideally your outbreath is a bit longer than the inbreath.
  5. For 1 minute (longer if desired) keep your awareness with the breath gently entering and leaving the nostrils.
  6. If you find your mind wandering, simply return it to the breathing practice.

Regular practice

Once you have practiced this technique a few times you can try a “mantra” practice, which means you use a word or short phrase to keep your mind focused on the breathing practice. For example: as you breathe in you might mentally say, “I am”, and as you slowly breathe out say “calm”, and you repeat this with each breath.

This is a simple practice that can be used pretty much anytime and anywhere. Although we tend to initially practice sitting or lying down, it can be done in standing as well. So the next time you find yourself in a doctor’s waiting room, or in line at the grocery store, instead of getting frustrated about the wait, you might use the time as an opportunity to practice some relaxed breathing and de-stress your nervous system instead.