Do Breathing Exercises for Better Sleep!

Some people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. One of the best things that you can do to improve your sleep is get exercise. However, if you are simply exercising with poor breathing habits, such as breathing in and out of your mouth, you could be making your health worse instead of better. One of the main reasons for this is that the nose produces nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is essential in the regulation of sleep- wake states.  Additionally, your nose is the organ that has the ability to prepare the air you breathe properly. Mouth breathing leads to over-breathing, chronic hyperventilation, lowered carbon dioxide levels, build up of toxins, narrowing of the airways and a reduction in blood circulation.[easyazon_image align=”right” cart=”n” height=”500″ identifier=”0349406693″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”327″]

Nasal Breathing

“Nasal breathing (as opposed to mouth breathing) increases circulation, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, slows the breathing rate and improves overall lung volumes.” Swift, Campbell, McKown 1988 Oronasal obstruction, Lung volumes, and arterial oxygenation.

Breathing through your nose has many benefits. Likewise, breathing through your mouth has many drawbacks. Mouth breathing and resultant over-breathing elevates your blood pressure and heart rate and worsens asthma , allergies, rhinitis, sleep apnea, and deprives your heart, brain and other organs of optimal oxygenation.

Overbreathing and hyperventilation during exercise can lead to reduced performance, and can also cause vasoconstriction, which increases your risk for arrhythmias and heart problems, even if you have none of the usual cardiac risk factors.

One scary fact about the nose is that it is the home to more than 50 bacterial species. Some of the species are beneficial, but most of them are not. But the good ones can kill some of the bad ones. However, if we bypass the nose for breathing, the bad ones tend to dominate. Staphylococcus Aureus infections cause disease due to direct infection or due to the production of toxins by bacteria. Aureas, one of the hospital acquired staph infections that include the blood and the heart is present in thirty percent of the population, including hospital employees.

Nasal Breathing Increases Energy Levels

Nasal breathing increases our energy levels. When we breathe, we use our lungs. The lungs extract oxygen from the air we breathe on the exhale portion of the breath. Since the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, when air is exhaled through the nasal passages, it creates a sort of back pressure. This slows the air escape enabling the lungs to have more time to extract oxygen. Only when the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange is correct will the blood maintain the proper body pH. When carbon dioxide diminishes rapidly, as it does during mouth breathing, the absorption of oxygen decreases.

In the nasal passages there are afferent stimuli from the nerves that regulate breathing. The air that gets inhaled passes through the nasal mucosa and carries the stimuli to the reflex nerves which control the breath. Mouth breathing bypasses the nasal mucosa and makes breathing irregular. While you sleep, it predisposes one to loud snoring, irregular breathing, sleep apnea and heart conditions.


Mouth Breathing Creates Mucus

Mouth breathing triggers a response from the brain where it stimulates the goblet cells to produce mucous, slow the breathing and cause constriction of blood vessels. This response is eliminated when breathing through the nose because nasal breathing limits air intake and forces you to slow down your breathing. Proper nasal breathing reduces hypertension and eliminates stress in the average person.

Nasal breathing leads to better filtration of toxins. The nose contains cilia, which trap bacteria and prevents them from entering the body. The nostrils also filter and warm up the air going to the lungs. This is a step that is not done when breathing through the mouth. The sinuses also produce nitric oxide, which is harmful to the bacteria and prevents infections.

Nose breathing imposes approximately fifty percent more resistance to the air stream in normal individuals than does mouth breathing, resulting in ten to twenty percent more O2 uptake. (Cottle, 1972: Rohrer, 1915). There must be adequate nasal resistance to maintain adequate elasticity of the lungs. (Cottle 1980).


Buteyko Breathing Exercises

So, how does one achieve nasal breathing twenty four hours a day and seven days per week? One must practice breathing exercises during their awake hours in order to eliminate their irregular sleep breathing. This is a simple task that does take some time and dedication, but pays off huge health benefits in the long run.

When you start learning Buteyko breathing exercises, the first thing that you’ll learn is how to measure your control pause. This gives you an idea of how much oxygen is in your body. The longer the control pause, the better health you will likely have.

Below is a video demonstrating how to measure your control pause.

I personally use the Buteyko breathing exercises. The simple Buteyko steps exercise is one that can be done while walking. You simply exhale through your nose and plug your nose. Keep your mouth closed and count how many steps you can take before you feel an air shortage. You ideally want to make it up to 80 steps. Each time you attempt this it will get easier and easier.


Breathing Devices

Another great tool to improve your breathing are breathing devices. As I was learning to slow my breathing down, I used the BreathSlim device. It is a simple device that is used to slow down the breathing. While it is done using your mouth to create resistance, it traps the carbon dioxide and you breath that back into your body. It is only meant to be used for about fifteen minutes at a time. Afterwards, you will notice that your breathing is slower and if you are mindful, you should be breathing through your nose. The BreathSlim device is no longer on the market, but one that is very similar is the Frolov breathing device. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” identifier=”B00W35AX7A” locale=”US” tag=”mcurle08-20″]

Another great breathing device that I like to use is the Elevation Training Mask. The great thing about the elevation training mask is that it creates a resistance for your lungs and you can do the Buteyko Steps exercise while you are wearing it. The elevation training mask is the tool that I used to train myself to breathe through my nose while I exercise.  It is very effective and will improve your endurance and overall workouts. [easyazon_infoblock align=”left” cart=”n” identifier=”B008B91KH4″ locale=”US” tag=”mcurle08-20″]

As you practice Buteyko breathing exercises, you’ll discover that your sleep becomes much easier. You will discover that you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. The exercises tend to energize you. You may not need that afternoon nap after doing a few Buteyko breathing exercises.

Active Sitting Chairs for Good Posture

As much as I love my cheap treadmill desk workstation, there are times when I want steady hands while working on the computer. There are times when my legs are sore and screaming at me to take a break! During these times, I rely on chairs. However, for many years, I didn’t pay attention to what type of chair I was sitting in or how I was sitting in that chair. As time wore on, I discovered neck and shoulder pain. This came from slouching in a traditional chair, straining at a computer screen and inventing creative ways to study in the library.[easyazon_image align=”right” cart=”n” height=”332″ identifier=”B000NV7SYM” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”500″]

Needless to say, I developed quite the slouchy posture during high school and college. It didn’t help that I was six feet tall and towered over my friends, so I felt that I had to slouch a bit to better hear conversations. As an adult, I realized my posture was bad. I worked with a chiropractor to help me correct some scoliosis that I developed. In addition to straightening out the sideways curve that I had, my chiropractor recommended a product for active sitting. It is inexpensive and I still use it. It is called the ergo sit. Instead of relying on the perfect ergonomic chair for support of my back, I was going to be removing the supports and strengthening my stabilizing muscles. Cool concept.

At first, active sitting was a chore. I was working muscles that had been neglected by chairs with lumbar support. My muscles were not use to sitting in chairs for good posture.

Ergo Sit

With the ergo sit, I could swivel my hips from right to left and front to back. My chiropractor gave me some simple exercises that I could do to engage my core. I twisted to the right and left and curved my spine from side to side. I did these exercises before I began work, during a break and as I was finished working. Active sitting really started to improve my posture and make being seated more tolerable. My shoulder and neck pain were going away!

Balance Balls

As I learned more about the damaging effects of staying seated all day, I began to consider replacing some of my chairs with active sitting chairs for good posture. There a bunch of them on the market! As I talked with my brother, I found out he was doing active sitting as well. He had started using a balance ball instead of a chair! This gives you the freedom of a bit more motion while you sit. You can slide forward and backward without much trouble. Your core is challenged to keep you stable. If you start getting antsy, there are plenty of small exercises that you can do while you are seated. [easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B019730QQI” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

One of the great things about using a stability ball as a chair is that you can also use it in your workouts and get double duty from it. Stability balls are often used in yoga and there are even stability ball workouts. For people who want to take their push ups to the next level, a stability ball will have you working your arms and targeting those core stabilizing muscles at the same time!

There is a downside to using a stability ball as your desk chair. It has a tendency to roll away. There are a few active sitting chairs for good posture that don’t roll around as much and still provide wonderful benefits!  [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”B0007VB4NE” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

Stability Ball Chairs

For working at a desk, the Gaiam Balance Ball chair is perhaps one of my favorites. This chair is a little less challenging than a simple balance ball, but it does challenge your core muscles. There is a back rest for those times when you want to lean back away from your computer and stretch. In my opinion, it is the perfect combination between stability ball sitting and the average desk chair.

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If you aren’t keen on sitting on a ball, there are active sitting stools. Learniture has an active sitting stool that provides the same active sitting benefits in a stool that the balance ball chairs provide. This is a great alternative for someone who has minimal space. Some people may feel that stools are a bit more stable as well. [easyazon_image align=”none” height=”160″ identifier=”B00934G9RW” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

For people worried about whether or not their chair will suddenly burst, there is the Zenergy Ball chair. It is created with a mesh design that prevents it from being able to burst. Additionally, it has wheels that stabilize it and prevent it from rolling away on its own.

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The ErgoErgo sit chair. This chair is ergonomically correct. The ErgoErgo is quite springy as well, so you must be focused to stay on it and not just bound right off of it. It is perfectly balanced, but you must constantly engage your muscles to stabilize yourself in an upright position. This has the benefit of strengthening your muscles as well as increasing blood flow to the vital areas of your body. Increasing blood flow means that your organs are more oxygenated and your brain is able to focus better. The Ergo Ergo is available in kids sizes too! Kids will have lots of fun with this design!

For Better Health, Breathe Correctly

Most people overlook the aspect of breathing correctly. Breathing is taken for granted until you can’t breathe. There are a lot of diseases that people are diagnosed with that are breathing disorders. There are a number of reasons why people can’t breath correctly, but often it comes down to incorrect breathing at rest led to the diseases. I should know. I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies. As a child, I had almost constant congestion and routinely breathed through my mouth.[easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”n” identifier=”0954599616″ locale=”US” tag=”mcurle08-20″]

After learning about Buteyko breathing and some simple strategies to keep the airways open, I have eliminated colds and congestion from my life. It is the most wonderful thing! A sickness that creates congestion is often the start of poor breathing techniques. We feel the pressure in our nose and open our mouth to get air. This is our first mistake because it leads to poor health and chronic overbreathing.

Buteyko breathing focuses on improving the concentration of CO2 in our blood. This helps our body to utilize oxygen better. Every cell in the body needs oxygen. When cells don’t get the oxygen they need, they don’t function as well. Disease starts to form. It can manifest itself as inflammation or neurological dysfunction, such as epilepsy, as it did in myself.

Buteyko breathing exercises are free, but they aren’t always easy to learn and implement. Many people hire a Buteyko certified coach to teach them the exercises. There are plenty of resources to learn the skill from and master the technique. Online videos are a good way to learn breathing exercises.  Books can help you understand the concept of why you need to breath correctly and how your health will be impacted if you don’t.

One of the books that I recommend and have is, “Close Your Mouth,” by Patrick McKeown. It is simple, direct and to the point. I enjoy Patrick’s writing and his youtube presentations. He has an Irish accent, but I enjoy his explanation of how he helps his clients breathe correctly.  Patrick McKeown also has a program and book out now called the Oxygen Advantage. [easyazon_image align=”left” cart=”n” height=”500″ identifier=”0062349473″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”329″]

There are a lots of other Buteyko books to learn the techniques from and learning from a practitioner can be costly.  One of the more budget friendly options is to get a book and DVD. While you won’t get personal feedback as to how you are doing, you will be able to learn in a visual manner.

The Buteyko method has helped me to control seizures, eliminated my asthma and drastically reduced my allergies. Buteyko breathing exercises help me to fall asleep quickly and get very good restorative sleep. I have eliminated my yearly winter time cold as well. I raised my control pause to between 30-40, so I still have a bit more practicing to do before I achieve optimal health and my autoimmune hair loss comes back, but I am optimistic.

The premise of Butyeko breathing exercises is that as  our cultures have evolved, we have started breathing incorrectly. Our modern lifestyle promotes poor posture, overeating processed foods and carbohydrates and oversleeping. These things can be corrected with lifestyle changes such as Buteyko breathing. Increasing our body’s ability to utilize oxygen helps us to use nutrients better.  

Clear, nasal, diaphragmatic breathing can have the greatest impact on your overall health. All of your organs rely on your ability to breath correctly. Any disease that you currently suffer from will likely improve as your breathing improves.

Buteyko breathing can easily be done at home or at work. It requires absolutely no equipment. You will simply decrease the volume of your breath. Some of the exercises are small breath holds or taking steps while you hold your breath. They are simple to learn and easy to do. The biggest challenge is remembering to do them consistently.

Elevation Training Mask Review

[easyazon_infoblock align=”none” identifier=”B0096JXT0E” locale=”US” tag=”mcurle08-20″][easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B01DMFBL02″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″] I may be a little late on the elevation training mask trend. It seems as though the videos on the elevation training mask are kind of old and about half of them are about people telling you they are great and the other half tell you that they don’t work.

First and foremost, I must let you know that the name of the elevation training mask is misleading. The mask does not really simulate elevation conditions. It does not change the composition of oxygen in the air. It does not mimic training at higher elevation. If you are looking for the benefits of training at higher elevations, this mask is not going to give you what you are seeking.

When the person exercises at high altitude, he or she has increased ventilation, which causes reduced CO2 levels in the lungs, arterial blood and other body cells.

Why did I purchase the elevation training mask?

I was learning the Buteyko breathing exercises. It was highly recommended and promoted on the website. I loved the touted benefits of breathing easier and less that were discussed on the website. So, I made the purchase.

I was looking achieve optimal health by using the elevation training mask. At the time, I was not a runner and I wasn’t really much of an athlete. I simply wanted to achieve optimal breathing to obtain optimal health.

Working out with a training mask was more challenging to me that doing hours of breath holding exercises. It was also a lot more fun!


Does the elevation training mask live up to the hype?

I have been able to reduce my breathing and achieve almost optimal levels of health using the breathing mask. I have not gotten the common cold in years. My energy levels skyrocket when I am consistently using the mask. I have increased my control pause, or the amount of time between breaths, by using the elevation training mask.

The elevation training mask helped me train for a half marathon. I used it consistently while training. I discovered that it became easier and easier to breath with it the more I used it. I found working out without the mask was incredibly easy.  When I did run my race, I felt that my endurance was much improved due to training with the mask.


What does the elevation training mask do? 

The elevation training mask creates a resistance to breathing. This resistance helps you to strengthen your diaphragm. By using the training mask while you exercise and strengthening your diaphragm, you develop better breathing habits. The mask forces you to breath slower and in doing so, your body starts to use oxygen more efficiently.

When a person breathes with resistance, he or she gets less oxygen for the lungs.When a person uses the Altitude Training Mask, he or she also experiences reduced oxygen flow. However, in addition to lower O2, the mask increases body-CO2 content. Breathing is mainly regulated by arterial CO2 (with the exception of people who are severely ill due to chronic diseases).

One of the important effects of consistent training with the Elevation Training Mask (often referred to as the running mask) is respiratory center adapting to higher CO2 and easier and slower at rest breathing. Slower and easier breathing at rest leads to improved-oxygen transport as a result of CO2-vasodilation and the Bohr effect (more effective release of O2 in cells).

The impact that correct physical exercise will have on your body-oxygen content will be evident the next day in a simple body-oxygen test. You can do this test by timing how long you can comfortably hold your breath between breaths.  The more seconds that you can hold your breath, the more oxygen is getting to your cells. Many people believe that breathing more air improves the brain and body oxygen content, however, this leads to hyperventilation and creates disease in the body.

How does the Elevation Training Mask work?

The elevation training mask increases the dead volume when you breathe.

This greater amount of dead volume makes the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 similar to other breathing devices such as the Frolov device, Samozdrav, and Amazing DIY breathing device. However, these breathing devices are used at rest. Breathing exercises can be done while walking, with often better results than at rest.  The Elevation Training Mask creates an ideal method to combine most effective breathing exercises with physical activity for increased health and a higher-body O2 and VO2max. For this reason, the elevation training mask is much more effective than simply training at elevation.[easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B008B91KH4″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

High altitude training is often referred to as hypoxic training.  This is because high altitude training provides adaptation to hypoxia, which an increase in hemoglobin levels.  This is due to the fact that at high altitude reduces O2 content in the inspired air.

The Elevation Training Mask reduces O2 in the inspired air, but it also increases CO2 content in the lungs. An increase in CO2 in the lungs is not seen in high altitude training. For this reason, using the elevation training mask creates an example of hypercapnic hypoxic training.  Hypercapnic hypoxic training has additional benefits due to the adaptation to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. [easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B008B91KH4″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

Is the elevation training mask worth the cost?

When you go to Amazon, you may be shocked by the cost of the Elevation Training mask. They are currently asking for about $70 for the Elevation Training mask. Although, they have it discounted to $49.99. Serious athletes who want to gain an advantage with their health will happily pay for that tool. Many others will balk at the price.

You don’t need the elevation training mask to improve your breathing technique. You can use breathing exercises while you exercise without making the purchase. However, I have discovered that often when you invest in a tool, you become more committed to your goal. The training mask is only one tool that helped me stick with Buteyko breathing exercises and improve my health by increasing my body-oxygen levels. I have been able to wean myself from all my medications, increased my energy levels and eliminated colds and coughs from my life with consistent use of the Elevation Training Mask and Buteyko Breathing exercises.


Challenge Yourself on a Personal Trampoline

Today is the fourth day of my rebounding journey to regain my health and reverse my autoimmune disease. This morning as I ate breakfast, I dreaded working out for some reason. I knew that I would be energized, but there was something about watching the news that made me want to curl up and forget about getting back on my personal trampoline and bouncing.  I’m still in the mode of discipline and forcing myself to do it. Eventually exercising becomes a habit that you start to love, but I’m still in the early phases of changing my lifestyle.

I selected a very difficult rebounding workout for a personal trampoline today. The difference between the bellicon rebounder and the personal trampoline that I have was evident in this video.

The bounces were higher and these ladies were able to do more fast footwork than I was able to do. I’m not sure that they should have labeled it “beginner.” It was challenging! After ten minutes, I grabbed my water and took a short break.

The fun part of this workout was that they selected upbeat music from the nineties, which was from my childhood. I always find that having upbeat music to listen to while I am jumping on my personal trampoline helpful.  It increases my mood and my desire to exercise and workout harder grows and grows if there is great background music!

As I was getting exhausted by this “beginner” workout, I started thinking about ways that you can challenge yourself on a rebounder.

  1. Increase your time each day. As you use up your ATP and your mitochondria produces more every day, your endurance will grow and grow.
  2. Try challenging moves.  The simple health bounce will provide your body with lots of health benefits, but after awhile, it will get boring. Start to add squats, twists and arm lifts.
  3. Add weights to your workout. You will start sweating very quickly in your rebounding workout on your personal trampoline if you add weights while you bounce.
  4. Speed it up! Pick music with a faster beat and start jumping faster and higher.
  5. Shoot for multiple sessions per day.  Often our lives are so busy that we become complacent and stay pretty much seated the whole day.  Try to jump for a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes in the afternoon.  You’ll discover that even just two minutes will energize you, help oxygenate your brain and focus your mind.
  6. Learn more about the biological effects of what you are doing.  Read books about it, check out informational blogs and watch youtube videos about the health benefits. This will focus your mind more intensely on your goal and the path towards your goal.
  7. Check out my last blog Health Benefits of Rebounding Trampoline Usage

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Health Benefits of My Rebounding Trampoline Usage

Today is Day 3 and I’m still seeing health benefits of my rebounding trampoline usage!  Ok, let’s be real.  It is easy to be consistent for three days in an exercise program. Three months can be a little bit more challenging.  However, I’m still enjoying the noticeable benefits that I gain from jumping on my rebounding trampoline.  It is awesome and I love it, so I’m sharing my results online.

I slept really soundly last night.  I didn’t wake up during the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  I felt like I needed less sleep as well.  (This could be confirmed with my Fitbit the next time I remember to use it!)

When I felt stressed out, I was able to refocus my mind on the task at hand.  For example, yesterday I wanted to upload a video to youtube. My technology was giving me fits.  Instead of giving up, I spent a few minutes on my rebounder. I expected to spend a long time on my rebounder and just give up on the task and put it off until another day, but my mind was working through the problem as I bounced. I successfully uploaded the video to youtube and even put some keywords with it so people could discover it online. For me, that was a win!

My breathing with my rebounder is calmer. I learned the Buteyko breathing method and always breath through my nose when I exercise and throughout the day. I’m noticing that my breath is calm and slow, which is what I want!

I’m feeling more alert and focused. I’m getting more done and it is better and better quality! Even though I am only on the rebounder for a few minutes at a time, the amount of oxygenation that the brain receives enables it to focus more throughout the day.

One of the benefits that people share about rebounding is that it improves your posture. Even though it has only been 3 days of consistent usage, I am starting to believe that there will be a great impact on my posture. Why? A few times during the day, I found myself standing up straighter. Psychologically, I am believing that this is beneficial, so I am tending to correct my posture subconsciously as the muscles strengthen.  Is it a real benefit? Not yet, but a perceived benefit can be just as great!

What are other sites saying about the health benefits of rebounding trampoline usage?

1. Rebounding increases the G-force, or gravitational load, which strengthens the muscles.

2. Joints are protected by rebounding due to the softer landing.

3. Rebounding can help you improve the muscle to fat ratio of your body composition.

4. Rebounding increases lymphatic circulation by stimulating the one way valves in the lymphatic system. This helps the body prevent future illness.

5. Rebounding is effective in circulating more oxygen to the tissues.

6. Rebounding is able to establish a more effective equilibrium between the oxygen required by the tissues and the oxygen made available.

7. Rebounding increases respiration.  You will sweat quickly during a rebounding exercise!

8. Rebounding tends to reduce the height to which the arterial pressures rise during exertion.

9. Rebounding reduces the amount of time that your blood pressure is elevated due to aerobic activity.[easyazon_image align=”none” height=”85″ identifier=”B000JC2ZHA” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

10. Rebounding assists in the rehabilitation of existing heart problems. Rebound Exercise also benefits recovery from heart procedures, providing gentle, low impact circulation.

11. Rebounding increases the functional activity of the red bone marrow in the production of red blood cells.

12. Rebounding gradually improves resting metabolic rate so that more calories are burned for hours after exercise. Related, Rebound Exercise benefits the post-exercise “Glycogen Replenishment” process.

13. Rebounding causes core muscles and large muscle groups to contract, resulting in the rhythmic compression of the veins and arteries, which more effectively moves fluids, both blood and lymphatic, through the body and back to the heart, lowering peripheral blood pressure and lightening the heart’s load.

14. Rebounding decreases the volume of blood pooling in the veins of the cardiovascular system preventing chronic edema.

15. Rebounding encourages collateral circulation by increasing the capillary count in the muscles and decreasing the distance between the capillaries and the target cells.

16. Rebounding strengthens the heart and other muscles in the body so that they work more efficiently.

17. Rebounding decreases the heart rate by strengthening the heart muscle.

18. Rebounding lowers circulating cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

19. Rebounding lowers low-density lipoprotein (bad) in the blood and increases high-density lipoprotein (good) holding off the incidence of coronary artery disease.

20. Rebounding promotes tissue repair.

21. Extended rebounding (rebounding for more than 20 minutes) at a moderate intensity  increases the mitochondria count inside muscle cells. This increases your endurance.

22. Rebounding benefits the alkaline reserve of the body, which may be of significance in an emergency requiring prolonged effort.

23. Rebounding improves coordination between the propreoceptors in the joints.

24. Rebounding improves the brain’s responsiveness to the vestibular apparatus within the inner ear, thus improving balance.

25. Rebounding on a mini trampoline offers relief from pain due to lack of exercise. Rebounding has also been shown to improve a person’s posture by strengthening the core muscles.

26. Rebounding improves digestion and elimination processes by increasing peristalsis.

27. Rebounding enables deeper sleep and relaxation at night.

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”B005CAIY92″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”84″]28. Rebounding can improve learning processes and mental focus.

29. Rebounding helps to alleviate premenstrual systems i women.

30. Rebounding reduces the number of colds and allergy symptoms.

31. Rebounding slows down the aging process and muscle atrophy.

32. Rebounding improves your self image.

Let’s get jumping today!

What is Kefir?

This morning, I awoke and created a wonderful probiotic beverage for myself called kefir.  It is a routine that I began when I started doing the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet and it has helped keep my digestion in check for quite awhile.



Kefir is a cultured drink that is made from milk or coconut milk.  I prefer to make mine from coconut milk because I often have it on hand more often, but it can be tasty either way.

Kefir has a tart and refreshing flavor that is similar to yogurt. I like to mix a banana in with my kefir to sweeten it a bit.  Kefir contains beneficial yeast and bacteria that help your gut digest foods.  The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir will combine in a symbiotic manner to produce superior health benefits when you consume them regularly.  Kefir is also filled with essential vitamins and minerals.  It also contains easily digestible complete proteins.

Many people who have lactose intolerance tend to avoid kefir because it is made from milk. However, it may be just the thing that you need to overcome your lactose intolerance. Kefir’s abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide lactase, which is an enzyme that consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process.  I have read many accounts of lactose intolerant individuals who were able to tolerate kefir.


WHY SHOULD I DRINK KEFIR?[easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B002ZIDELM” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

In this day and age where people have demonized bacteria and become self-proclaimed germophobes, you may be surprised to discover that many bacteria are not only helpful in promoting good health, but essential in assisting digestion.  After a course of antibiotics, people often have difficulty with their digestion.  We are seeing an upsurge in the number of people who are suffering from diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.

Kefir is a cultured beverage that can help you reestablish the microbiome in your gut. It provides essential vitamins and nutrients for your brain to function better. Regular use of kefir will relieve intestinal distress and reduce flatulence. In addition, its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity.

Kefir cleanses the intestines.  Kefir contributes to a healthy immune system.  It has been known to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer and herpes. Kefir has been known to have a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and benefitted many people who have suffered from depression, sleep disorders and ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Kefir helps your body become more nourished and balanced, which in turn helps to eliminate unhealthy food cravings. Kefir’s excellent nutritional content promotes healing and helps to maintain health in people with almost every condition.



Kefir starts with a base of milk.  This can be any type of milk.  You can use goat’s milk, cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, coconut milk, rice milk or even soy milk.  The milk gives the bacteria something to consume. To the milk, you add what is called a kefir grain.  [easyazon_image align=”left” cart=”n” height=”500″ identifier=”B00ZD4QB60″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”313″]

Kefir grains are made from gelatinous white or yellow particles that contain live cultures of bacteria and yeast.  Kefir is unique in this aspect as no other milk culture forms a grain. Casein, or milk proteins,  and complex sugars keep the grains together.  A kefir grain will appear like a small cluster of cauliflower.  The size can be as small as a grain of rice to the size of an acorn. Grains continue to grow as you use them.  There have been some grains that have been grown in large sheets and become big enough to cover your hand!  The grains are the essential part of culturing and fermenting the milk.  They incorporate their friendly organisms to create the cultured product.  Prior to drinking the kefir, the grains are removed with a strainer or a fork and then added to a new batch of milk.

The grains are actually alive. You are creating a symbiotic relationship between yourself and bacteria. It is almost like keeping a pet alive. The kefir needs to be fed each day with new milk.  However, unlike a pet, you can put kefir to sleep for awhile. If you are going on vacation or want a break from drinking kefir, simply place it in the refrigerator. This slows down the activity level of kefir.



This is actually a personal preference.  While it is extremely easy to make and very inexpensive, some people would prefer not to have fermenting products on their counter or in the cupboards. You will tend to lose out on some of the nutritional benefits if your kefir has gone through the bottling process, as heat tends to kill off some bacteria or yeasts. However, many people still enjoy store bought kefir and still see benefits from taking store bought kefir.  It is a matter of convenience.  [easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B00CHTWFIM” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

Kefir is now easy to find at most grocery stores and even in some convenience stores.  Kefir is a staple in health food stores with many carrying more than one brand of kefir. It is not difficult to find. It is often located in the dairy case, or in the store’s health food refrigerated section.

If you want to learn more about kefir and have some time on your hands, check out this handy youtube video:



Surprising Health Benefits of Rebounding

Yesterday, I started my journey to better health on my Stamina 36 inch rebounder. I actually bought the least expensive rebounder that I could find. I still think it has been a great purchase. There are better quality ones out there, but I am enjoying the fact that I didn’t spend a lot to get my bounce on!  Check it out by clicking on the picture.[easyazon_image align=”right” height=”266″ identifier=”B000JC2ZHA” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”500″]

Honestly, I had a ton of fun.  I put on my favorite leggings, cranked up Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and got to jumping!  I decided to use light weights with my exercise to maximize the benefit.  This helped to really stimulate my lymphatic system.  After two workouts yesterday, my legs were sore!  My arms and core were sore.  Not immensely, but somewhat. During the workout, I was surprised by this because I didn’t feel like I was working out too hard at all.


Surprising Benefits from the Rebounding Workout:

  • I slept really well at night.
  • My mood improved considerably after being on the rebounder for just a few minutes.
  • My concentration and focus was much better for a few hours after rebounding.
  • My throat seemed to be a bit sore in the morning.  This seemed more like a cleansing reaction than the initial symptoms of a cold because after a few minutes the throat improved and that symptom is no longer there.
  • I worked up a sweat really quickly.  Sweating helps to eliminate toxins.

As you can see, even though I haven’t been rebounding for a long period of time, I was able to experience some wonderful rebounder workout benefits.  There are plenty of fun workouts on youtube that you can emulate if you get bored with just bouncing.  Here is one of my favorite rebound workouts to do.  It is great for beginners and only 15 minutes.


My Favorite Online Rebounding Workout

For longer workouts, you may want to purchase one from Amazon.  Here are some cool rebounder workouts to check out.[easyazon_image align=”none” height=”110″ identifier=”B005IVFSXU” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”110″][easyazon_image align=”none” height=”160″ identifier=”B009FAXWT2″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_image align=”none” height=”160″ identifier=”B000HWXAG2″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”112″]

Get your jump on!  Better yet, commit to a daily routine of rebounding!

Rebounding for Healing Alopecia Universalis

Before you get to far into this post, let me emphasize that I have not yet cured my alopecia universalis. I want to be up front and honest with people.  It has been a six year journey of trying and failing to regrow hair. However, I have decided to put my exercise efforts into rebounding for a number of reasons.

  1. It is fun!
  2. People have used rebounding to cure cancer and heal from other diseases.
  3. One of the health benefits of rebounding is to oxygenate the body.
  4. Oxygenating the body helps to reduce inflammation.
  5. Alopecia is simply inflammation of the hair follicles disrupting the growth cycle.
  6. Rebounding helps improve digestion by increasing peristalsis.
  7. Rebounding improves the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system.
  8. Alopecia Universalis is an autoimmune condition. Improving immune function will help to improve the symptoms of autoimmunity.
  9. Rebounding rids the body of toxins.  Toxins often are the cause of autoimmunity.

Before you start telling me to do the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol.  I have already tried that.  I stuck with it for about three months with no noticeable difference. I did not stick with it because I had a seizure.  I have done the raw vegan diet.  I stuck with that for six months.  I have eliminated gluten and milk for months at a time.  I have done the ketogenic diet most recently for about two months. I used nutrition response testing, where they pushed on my arm and tried to detect nutrient deficiencies and correct them with specific supplements, for two years and no hairs grew back. I actually have more energy than most of my friends and feel great.  The only problem is that my hairs are refusing to grow and I have the occasional seizure.  It bums me out quite a bit.

The latest supplement that I have started taking is Restore4Life.  I’m excited by the science behind this product, but I’m a bit cautious about getting my hopes up.[easyazon_image align=”none” height=”160″ identifier=”B01DVACA1C” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

I have something working on the “tight junctions” of my gut and preventing the zonulin from glyphosate and gluten from further damaging the lining of my gut and allowing it to leak and wreak havoc with my immune system.  I have been taking Restore for about seven and a half weeks now. While I’m not seeing a lot of results just yet, I’m optimistic because this morning I saw a few non-terminal pubic hairs.  What are non-terminal hairs?  They are white hairs.  I’ve seen more than I have ever seen on a diet before, so that is encouraging.

I want to turn my results around and make this work, which is why I am sharing my experience with you. Now that I have a supplement that is working on my gut and nutrient deficiencies, I’m going to focus my exercise efforts on rebounding!  [easyazon_image align=”none” height=”85″ identifier=”B000JC2ZHA” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

I read up on how Chris Wark beat cancer.  He did have surgery, but he also rebounded three times a day.  His diet was whole foods based. Most of the foods that I currently consume are green veggies and meats, so I’m not going to stress out any more about my diet.  I will be rebounding as much as I possibly can during the day though.

There are a wealth of workouts and rebounding videos online.  This morning, my inspiration came from this cute lady teaching people how to rebound and use weights at the same time.  As I listened to her, her message really resonated with me.  I am trying to fix a condition that not a lot of people have. I think I will have success as I stick with rebounding and restore.

I whipped out some light weights this morning, and turned on this youtube video and got to exercising.  I rebounded for about half an hour and walked for about half an hour on my treadmill.  I will share my results with you online.  [easyazon_image align=”none” height=”113″ identifier=”B0013TNG26″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”160″]

How to Get Back on Your Diet

I am a serial dieter.  Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that I have epilepsy and alopecia universalis.  I’m always trying to up my health to optimal levels.  My theory is that once you obtain optimal health, your health problems disappear.  For the most part, that has been true for me.  I no longer deal with asthma or eczema.  My seasonal allergies, which used to trigger massive asthma attacks, are almost non-existent. I haven’t found the “magic bullet” to trigger hair regrowth after losing my hair six years ago.  That is a huge disappointment for me.  When I don’t see an improvement in my hair regrowth after a couple months, I tend to give up on whatever diet I’m doing.  I’ve done the Autoimmune Paleo diet, Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, Blood Type Diet, Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw Vegan and now ketogenic. The only diet that was relatively ineffective for me was the raw vegan diet.  I lost too much weight on that and looked sickly. However, you learn something every time you try something.

This last week, I slid off my diet. I’m doing the ketogenic diet. One thing that I’ve discovered by doing the ketogenic diet is that fat isn’t necessarily going to make you fat. My weight on the ketogenic diet actually fluctuated based on my activity level more than anything. I also learned how to love greens and get creative with the few carbs that I was allowed on the diet.

This week, I’m working on going back on the ketogenic diet.  I’m going to start on Saturday.  The reason for this is that it is the day that I shop for food. The key to successfully staying on a diet is having a plan. What are you going to eat when you start feeling bored and want a snack? What are you going to eat for breakfast? Will you make breakfast for the week or each day? Another great tip is to stock up on your favorites that are allowed on the diet.  For me, that means bacon for breakfast and cream cheese and celery for snacks.  While I love a good pot roast for dinner meals, I did that last week and will be buying a chicken this week to use in my fabulous power pressure cooker.  [easyazon_image align=”right” height=”110″ identifier=”B00MZZXO4W” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”110″]

Here’s my meal plan for the week:

Monday Breakfast: Bacon, broccoli

Monday Lunch: Salad, nuts and cheese

Monday Dinner: Chicken Soup

Tuesday Breakfast: Bacon, mushrooms, broccoli, deviled eggs

Tuesday lunch: Salad with tuna, celery and cream cheese

Tuesday dinner: Chicken casserole

Wednesday Breakfast: Bacon, sauteed spinach, mushrooms and onions

Wednesday lunch: Salad, deviled eggs

Wednesday dinner: chicken casserole

Thursday breakfast: bacon and sauteed veggies

Thursday lunch: salad with salmon and nuts and cheese

Thursday dinner: steamed spinach and Tilapia

Friday breakfast: bacon and deviled eggs

Friday lunch: salad with tuna fish, celery and cream cheese

Friday dinner: chicken stir fry with broccoli, peppers, onions, mushrooms

I don’t eat dessert everyday. I have lost a lot of the sugar cravings that most people have.  Once I start eating a sweet, they come right back though. That’s why I slipped off my diet. It was so delicious and I’m not going to beat myself up over it though.  So, what do I plan on for a sweet treat?  Panna cotta!  Seriously low in carbohydrates and easy to make!

1 can coconut milk

2 tablespoons of gelatin

2 tablespoons of zero carbohydrate sweetener

Lemon juice from one lemon and the zest of one lemon

Directions: Pour coconut milk into a pan, while stirring, slowly add the two tablespoons of gelatin.  Add 2 tablespoons of sweetener (or to taste).  Add the lemon juice and zest.  Bring to a boil.  Take off the heat and pour into dessert dishes.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Makes 5 servings.

This satisfies my sweet tooth and cuts down on cravings!  Here are the products that I personally use to make this sweet treat[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”B01I8AEUDQ” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_image align=”left” height=”110″ identifier=”B0008D6WBA” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”110″][easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”B001HTJ2BQ” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”mcurle08-20″ width=”105″]

Once you have your plan for your diet, it becomes easy to stick with it.  If you know that you are one of those people that is easily tempted by the bakery at the corner, make a plan to avoid that.  Avoid the kitchen.  You will eat less.  Another great tip that I have learned over the years is that positive affirmations work!  Stick inspirational posters up, write post it notes to yourself, say affirmations.  It will help you focus on eating the healthier foods that your body needs and wants.

One of my audio favorite programs for affirmations is the Think Right Now programs.  I am currently listening to their sales audio, but if you are getting back into fitness, Think Right Now has a great audio to keep you on track.  I’ve noticed that it does start to change your thoughts and that slowly changes your habits to something more positive, so if you are having a difficult time getting started or committed to your diet, this is a great help.  Commit instead to listening to it at night or for half an hour a day for at least 3 months.  You will notice a change in your behaviors.  (I have used them to get more organized and now I’m working on sales.)


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