Easing ills through Tai Chi

Researchers study the benefits of this mind-body exercise.

Catherine Kerr Easing ills through Tai Chihas found an antidote for the hectic pace of laboratory life in the daily practice of tai chi. This centuries-old Chinese mind-body exercise, now gaining popularity in the United States, consists of slow-flowing, choreographed meditative movements with poetic names like “wave hands like clouds,” “dragons stirring up the wind,” and “swallow skimming the pond” that evoke the natural world. It also focuses on basic components of overall fitness: muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.

“Doing tai chi makes me feel lighter on my feet,” says Kerr, a Harvard Medical School (HMS) instructor who has practiced for 15 years. “I’m stronger in my legs, more alert, more focused, and more relaxed—it just puts me in a better mood all around.” Although she also practices sitting meditation and does a lot of walking, she says that the impact of tai chi on her mood were so noticeable—even after she was diagnosed with a chronic immune system cancer—that she has devoted her professional life to studying the effects of mind-body exercise on the brain at Harvard’s Osher Research Center. (more…)

Helping People Heal with Qi Gong Exercises

“It’s not about me.  It’s about giving back to the community,” says Healing Moves Foundation member Justin Nielsen.  “I want to help people be the best they can be.”

Justin has always been passionate about the power of exercise. After suffering from a sports injury which hurt his spine, he devoted much of his time learning about healing the body. He became a personal trainer, helping his clients achieve their fitness goals.

In 2002,  a car accident re-injured Justin’s spine causing him to seek pain relief from doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and other health specialists.

Justin finally found relief and healing when he looked within his own body, mind and spirit.  He lived with a monk  and trained six times a week, 4 – 6 hours a day in the healing art of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Sword and Still Meditation. (more…)

Paralyzed Teen Fulfills Vow to Walk at High School Graduation

A dream 17 years-in-the-making came true for a California boy when he got out of his wheelchair and walked to accept his high school diploma.

Patrick Ivison, a senior at Scripps High School in San Diego, was just 14-months-old when he was run over by a stranger’s car while walking with his mom, Jennifer Kayler. The September 1995 accident left Ivison with a spinal cord injury so severe he was paralyzed from the waist down.

After six weeks in the hospital, Ivison was sent home in a wheelchair. The family’s life was changed forever, but they kept their spirits high.

“I was just grateful. I was grateful he was with me,” Kayler told local ABC affiliate ABC10.  “I was grateful that I get to hear him laugh and the fact that he was going to be in a wheelchair didn’t matter.” (more…)

Girl enters roller rink, turns 90

Girl enters roller rink, turns 90

If you’ve been following my home blog for a while, you might remember a while back when NBC Universal offered me my own video series. They called it “Big Life,” but we never shot any episodes beyond the pilot.

I was supposed to be scripting my own episodes for the show, but it didn’t take long for NBCU to start nudging me in the direction of things that didn’t ring true for me. When it came time to talk about Episode 2, I was encouraged to write a script that took me into a Crunch gym for a workout with one of the network’s preferred fitness experts — a personal trainer.

I wanted nothing to do with the idea, because there was nothing about it that felt organic or true to me. I never did enjoy going to a gym. Historically, I’ve found gyms mind-numbingly boring. I’m much more interested in finding engaging activities — like biking and swimming and fencing and tennis — that make fitness feel more like fun than drudgery.

In fact, one physical activity I’ve loved since childhood is roller-skating. As a teenager I frequented roller rinks the way oily hustlers flocked to discos. Rinks were underage nightclubs with cardboard pizza and flat soda, where controversial romances took wing during “slow skates” and where New Wave girls like Dina Adams and me begged Flock of Seagulls requests at the DJ booth. (more…)

Death by exercise

Reposted from Men’s Health:  Hundreds of guys — including some of the world’s fittest men — have taken their final breaths while wearing running shoes. Here’s how to outsmart the reaper –

Guy goes out for a run. It’s just a 4-miler–nothing, really, to a seasoned marathoner who usually runs 10 miles a day, 7 days a week. Nobody knows why he stops 40 or 50 yards short of his front door–maybe he’s checking his pulse, maybe he’s tying a shoe–but everybody knows what happens next to Jim Fixx, the 52-year-old patron saint of running: He dies. (more…)

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