by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/exercise-round-up">Exercise Round-Up</a></h1>

There seems to once again be a surge of exercise-related articles in the news lately. Here is a round-up of just some of the recent news:

Exercise for Depression: How It Helps

Five years ago, after ending a long-term relationship, Anita became seriously depressed. It benched the once-physically active writer, who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her privacy.

She stopped running and began gaining weight and falling out of shape. It was not the first time she had been depressed, and traditional therapy had not helped her as much as she had hoped. This time, she sought out someone different. She found Jane Baxter, PhD, a therapist who was able to get her moving again, mentally and physically.

Phys Ed: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter?

At the same time, evidence accumulates about the positive impact of even small amounts of aerobic activity. Past studies from the University of Illinois found that “just 20 minutes of walking” before a test raised children’s scores, even if the children were otherwise unfit or overweight, says Charles Hillman, a professor of kinesiology at the university and the senior author of many of the recent studies.

Exercise Helps You Sleep

Scientists at Northwestern University say sleep problems affect millions of adults, who could likely improve their quality of sleep, vitality, and mood with regular aerobic exercise.

The researchers say the study is the first to examine the effect of aerobic exercise on insomnia in middle-aged and older adults. About 50% of people middle-aged and older complain of symptoms of chronic insomnia.

Do You Lack Motivation to Exercise?

This was Carol celebrating her 90th birthday at the Curves Gym. Yes, you read that right, she is 90 years old... wow!

Want Kids To Get Exercise? Get A Dog

The results, published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that the children with dogs spent an average of 325 minutes doing physical activity every day -- 11 more than those without dogs. The dog-owning participants took 360 more steps than the others, an increase of 4%.

A Downside to Tai Chi? None That I See

It is a low-impact activity suitable for people of all ages and most states of health, even those who “hate” exercise or have long been sedentary. It is a gentle, calming exercise — some call it meditation in motion — that involves deep breathing but no sweat or breathlessness.

It places minimal stress on joints and muscles and thus is far less likely than other forms of exercise to cause muscle soreness or injury. It requires no special equipment or clothing and can be practiced almost anywhere at any time, alone or with others.

Exercise Helps Prevent Fractures

No hip fractures occurred in the exercise group during the follow-up, compared to five hip fractures in the control group. This is significant, the researchers say, because broken hips increase mortality risk in elderly women.

The women who exercised also “demonstrated a significant gain compared with the control group in mean leg strength.”

10 Easy Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Let's face it: it's not all that difficult to start a fitness routine. After all, most of us have done it more than once.

The trouble, of course, comes with sticking with it. All too often, our initial enthusiasm and energy wanes, we get distracted by other things going on in our lives, or we don't think we're seeing results quickly enough -- and we throw in the towel.

Yet many people do manage to hang in there, and would no sooner skip their regular workout than their morning shower. What's their secret?

Exercise Motivation: How to Get It, How to Keep It

“There have been lots of reasons I could have missed, and I haven’t,” Geiger says proudly.

Geiger’s experience illustrates what exercise experts have learned through research and practice over the years: To succeed in sticking to an exercise routine, people need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, "Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut."

There are plenty of reasons we should be exercising. Not only does exercise help us reach and maintain a healthy body weight, it also can help lower blood pressure, "bad" cholesterol and trigycerides; strengthen bones; lower the risk for cancer; help us battle depression; and decrease stress. Many experts say it even improves our sex lives.

So we all know exercise is good for us. Why do so many of us hate it?

How To Get Fit When You're a Couch Potato

If you know you're not very fit – and some days you only walk from home to your car to your desk and back – then exercise advice can feel overwhelming.

After all, most of the books and blogs and podcasts about exercise are produced by keep-fit types. Thin, muscular, glowing with good health...

...and kinda annoying.


by Peg Black   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/myths-of-mental-illness">Myths of Mental Illness</a></h1>

The presented facts came from

Myth: If I have a mental health problem I should be able to take care of it myself.

Reality: Some mental health problems, such as mild depression over a situation or anxiety, can be relieved with support, self-help, and proper care. However, if problems or symptoms persist, a person should consult with their primary doctor or qualified mental health professional. One can be evaluated for medication.

Myth: If I have a mental illness, it is a sign of weakness-it's my fault.

Reality: mental illness is not anyone's fault, anymore than a heart disease or diabetes is a person's fault. According to the Surgeon General's report: "Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterizede by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof)' associated with distress and/or impaired functioning."
Mental illnesses are not a condition that people choose to have or not to have. Mental illnesses are not results of willful, petulant behavior. No one should have to feel ashamed of this condition any more than any other medical condition.

Myth: If I seek help for my mental health problem, others will think I an "crazy".

Reality: No one should delay getting treatment for a mental health problem that is not getting better, just as one would not wait to take care of a medical condition that needed treatment. Some people worry that others will avoid them if they seek treatment for their mental illnesss. Early treatment can produce better results. Seeking appropriate help is a sign of strength not weakness.

Myth: People diagnosed with a mental illness are always ill and out of touch with reality.

Reality: Most people suffering from even the most severe of mental illnesses are in touch with reality more often than they are not. Many people quietly bear the symptoms of mental illness without ever showing signs of their illness to others, and most people with mental illness live productive, active lives.

Myth: Stress causes mental illness.

Reality: This is only partially true. Stress may occasionally trigger an episode or cause symptoms such as anxiety or depression, but persistent symptoms appear to be biological in nature. There are probably many things that can contribute to mental illness-the cause is not yet fully understood.

Myth: A person can recover from a mental illness by turning his or her thoughts positively and with prayer.

Reality: Recovery is possible when the person receives the necessary treatment and supportality. Spirituality can also be an important source of strength for some individuals.

Myth: People who have mental illness are dangerous.

Reality: People who have mental illness are not more violent than is someone suffering from cancer or any other serious disease.

Myth: Most people with mental illness live on the streets or are in mental hospitals.

Reality: Over two-thirds of Americans who have a mental illness live in the community and lead productive lives. Most people who need hospitalization are only there for brief periods to get treatment and are then able to return home, just like people hospitalized for other conditions. Some people with mental illness do become homeless and could benefit from treatment and services.

It is important to understand that mental illnesses are a result of a brain disease involving an imbalance of neurotransmitters and hormones. There are new medications that can help individuals so they do not have to suffer the consequences of having a mental illness. There is a variety of help for the mentally ill. People can contact the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) for support and services: 800-950-NAMI (6264),

Peg Black has worked in clinical settings since 1987. She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Work in Kentucky, Florida and Indiana. She has worked for Community Mental health centers, Appalachian Regional Psychiatric Hospital, Private Practice and currently works at Buckingham and Associates in Fishers, IN. She is a member of the National Association for Social Work and American Association of Christian Counselors. 

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/you-need-a-massage">You Need a Massage!</a></h1>

Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep

Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.

Fond Memories

When I was in college, I worked on the basketball staff. One day, we had a girl stop by the office who needed an obscene number of practice hours and offered to give the staff free massages for the semester. So, two or three times a week I would trek down to the gym and get a free massage. What I wouldn't give to have that experience again!

Matthew Ellis serves as executive director of National Episcopal Health Ministries.

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/be-a-player-free-sports-physicals">Be A Player: Free Sports Physicals</a></h1>

For more information on how your parish can run a similar program, contact:

The Rev. Danielle Morris
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
Orlando, Florida 32814
407- 645-2102


ORLANDO, FL, AUGUST 14, 2010:  St. Michael’s Episcopal Church will conduct “Be a Player” free sports physicals to area children on August 14, 2010, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm only. Children must have their parents’ written permission. No physicals may be given without written consent. Forms for physicals must be obtained from schools or from coaches.  

Chances are most of us don’t think of kids who play high school sports as being at risk.  After all, becoming physically active is supposed to be good for us. Yet, the spring 2007 issue of the Journal of Athletic Training reports that “Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects more than 400,000 people annually in the United States and is the leading cause of death among young athletes.”   

Theodore Abraham, M.D., a Johns Hopkins cardiologist, points out that a healthy appearance and top physical condition can hide the warning signs, letting many students go undiagnosed. Most pediatric cardiologist, therefore, suggest that a   sports physical that includes an electrocardiogram (ECG) can detect a pre-existing problem and can be a preventable measure. For most parents in this tight economy, however, paying for an extra physical plus an ECG is simply impossible. What’s a parent to do?

Last August, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in College Park arranged for children in our community to receive free sports physicals. The church never dreamed that their efforts might have saved a life. Yet it almost did. Some 90 students were seen by volunteer doctors and through Orlando Magic’s Athletic Development Specialist, Joe Rogowski. Joe’s organization, Athlete’s Heart, whose staff was able to give children much needed ECGs. On Monday following Be a Player, Orlando Dr. Augustin Ramos, a pediatric cardiologist, read the ECGs and discovered one young boy had a potentially serious heart blockage. Without the ECG he received, one young man who may have had a grim future now has received,  at no cost to his family, the medical attention necessary to have a bright future.  

Due to the success of last year’s Be a Player program, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, with the support of area physicians, church volunteers, athletic trainers, Innovative Printing, and Publix Supermarkets, will again conduct free sports physicals for children on August 14, 2010, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Athletic Heart will donate free resting ECGs as well as give out cardiac information as it pertains to student athletics.

These free sports physicals will be given at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church located in College Park at 2499 N. Westmoreland Drive, Orlando, Florida. Children must have their parents’ written permission in order to participate.   Forms for physicals must be obtained from schools or from coaches. If you would like more information or if you would like  to pre-register, you may obtain a pre-registration application by coming by the church or by calling the church office at (407) 843-8448. Those who pre-register will also receive a free gift and lunch provided by Publix Supermarket in Baldwin Park.  

Look for a profile of this program on Michelle Obama's site Let’s Move, to be featured after this year's event! 

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/save-the-date">Save The Date!</a></h1>


Gratitude and Grace

John 10:10 “I have come, that you may live life more abundantly”

May 19-21,2011

Burlingame, CA

Seasons of Health Ministry

National Episcopal Health Ministries Conference

Keynote Speaker: Sara Miles

The story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert, TAKE THIS BREAD is not only a spiritual memoir but a call to action.

Raised as an atheist, Sara Miles lived an enthusiastically secular life as a restaurant cook and writer. Then early one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. "I was certainly not interested in becoming a Christian," she writes. "Or, as I thought of it rather less politely, a religious nut."

But she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed....