JIM WASZAK: Today’s topic is “Don’t Just Sit There.” What we’re seeing is a lot of entrepreneurs today are a little bit older; maybe they’re tired of their corporate routine. We want to talk about some ways to stay healthy while you’re entrepreneuring.
Our guest today is Peggy Kinst from Ageless Grace. I’ve known Peggy for quite a number of years. She’s always been an entrepreneur, and she’s always been in the wellness field. We thought we’d talk to her a little bit about how to stay well while you’re entrepreneuring. Why don’t you first start -- Peggy, tell us a little bit about Ageless Grace. What’s its purpose, and who do you serve?
PEGGY KINST: Well, I’ve been in wellness for 45 years, and I’ve taught just about everything from the Jane Fonda era, and the jazzercise, and the weight lifting, and the race walking, and the pounding of the pavement type thing. I think as we get older, we see so many people with knee injuries, and bad backs, and bad hips. I being – I am 69.
JIM WASZAK: Really? I thought you were 30 now.
PEGGY KINST: I am. I am 39.
JIM WASZAK: So we better all start getting whatever she’s selling.
PEGGY KINST: I’ve always been looking for ways to keep healthy. I actually went into the wellness field because I had an intestinal disease. That’s gone. I want to make sure that I stay -- And my parents both had brain type diseases. So when Ageless Grace came out -- Ageless Grace is an antiaging fitness program for body and brain. That was in itself just an awesome way of looking.
We never talked about brain or neuroplasticity or cognitive decline. We didn’t talk about those things. Denice Medved, who created this program, started this program almost 16 years ago. It took her almost 6 years to create this program, because her mother had Alzheimer’s. When I found out that she had created this program, and she had been in fitness and been a black belt -- actually international trainer and had written a lot of the curriculum. She came up with this. It’s a seated exercise program. People usually think of seated exercise programs: “Oh, no. That’s boring; that’s benign; that’s for old people.” But we’re finding is actually being seated uses more of your core and your core muscles. It also is a way to stave off cognitive decline.
Ageless Grace is unique in that it’s based on 21 antiaging tools. Each tool addresses one of the factors of aging. We have 21 tools, and they each have a primary benefit. Some of them are for body. We want age from ages 5 to 110 now to keep our bodies and our brains functioning, so that we don’t get dementia or Alzheimer’s. We’re starting with the kids. If we can start young enough, we can build a cognitive reserve that will retire getting dementia. Even if we have the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s, we don’t have to get it if we stay active from the time that we’re children from the time that we die.
Now, even if you start at age 55, and you become active: That can build up this cognitive reserve. But we have to keep our bodies healthy because otherwise we’re going to end up in nursing homes. We have to keep our minds active, or else we’re going to end up in nursing homes. This program is unique in that it’s also an education program.
For example, the first tool is “Juicy Joints.” That kind of sounds kind of silly, but the whole premise behind it is that we’re working with joint mobility. Not only are we working with joint mobility, but we’re teaching them – Where are your joints? What’s your mirror joints? Why do we do this? Why do we need synovial fluid? Every tool that we teach -- I’m an international trainer, so I train all over the world teaching people to be able -- actually training them and certifying them -- to be able to teach in any facility that they want from school-age kids to healthy people in fitness clubs to rehab, and hospitals, and even in assisted living, and especially in memory care, because we can start reversing that dynamic if we keep them active.
We have one called “Spaghetti Spine,” which is all about the mobility of the spine and teaching them about the 26 areas of their spine. Then we get into neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is something that we all need to know what that means. Neuroplasticity means if you break up the word neuro- is the nerves, our brain cells. Plasticity is -- Our brains are plastic: We can mold them. It used to be that once you hit 21 your brain wasn’t going to develop anymore; by the time you hit 40, it was already on the downswing; and by 60, just sit in that chair and wait for death because that’s all that was going to happen. Now, excitingly so, the research points out that that’s absolutely unfounded: that we actually can develop our brains. We can build new neurons; we can make new connections; we can strengthen synapses; there is all kinds. I became a member of the Neuroscience Academy, and the research that’s coming out -- But it all points to you have to move your body; you have to do aerobic type activity.
JIM WASZAK: You say you can we can still develop the brain. What kinds of activity help develop the brains? I’ve heard crossword puzzles and things like that that are good to keep doing -- I don’t know if it’s true or not.
PEGGY KINST: Well, let me give you the definition of neuroplasticity. It’s the ability of brain and the nervous system to change its structure or function by doing different activities throughout your life. Yes, if you start doing crossword puzzles, and you keep increasing the difficulty of them, and it challenges your brain, but if you just get up every morning and just go – It’s not doing anything, and Sudoku is not doing anything.
We what need to do -- And some of our tools are tools are team sports. We actually have them -- “We’re going to play baseball now. We’re going to throw that ball.” Not only are we building their bodies, but the brain’s going, “Wow, Jim. You hit that ball.” Well, if you had played baseball as a kid, the brain’s going, “Cool. I remember you used to do that. Let’s restore that neuropath way.” But if I had never played hockey, but I could recall it or think about it, then the brain’s going to go, “Wow, she never did that before, so let’s build a new neuropathway.” We can build neuropathways for even personality and gaining habits. I have a question for you; maybe this will help you understand. Who has a bigger, more developed brain -- A bus driver or a cab driver?
JIM WASZAK: A cab driver.
PEGGY KINST: Absolutely. Why is that?
JIM WASZAK: Because he’s always got to figure out new places new routes, not the same thing.
PEGGY KINST: And that means he’s using his five functions on the brain.
JIM WASZAK: What you’re sort of saying -- Learning new things is great.
PEGGY KINST: Learning new things -- Learning a new language, learning to play an instrument are two of the best things you can do. Also, learning something and then telling someone about it or teaching someone about it. That’s huge in your development.
We have a tool called “Spelling Bee for Body and Brain.” It’s using the same five functions that the cab driver uses: strategic planning, to know how to go from point A to point B; analytical thinking; memory recall; creativity and imagination; and kinesthetic learning. All of those things are what’s activating our brains.
Another thing that’s really important is music, listening to music. You heard about “Alive Inside” where they’re putting earphones and iPods of their favorite music, and they’re getting up; the patients are getting up and dancing and singing and bringing them back to life. That actually lights up their brain like a jukebox. Anything we can do to keep ourselves active – Obviously, to eat good foods and to stay away from all of the research that says about wheat and carbohydrates and sugar.
JIM WASZAK: Pretty much most of the things that I eat.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: So meats, vegetables, and fruits.
PEGGY KINST: The Mediterranean diet. To be social, to go -- Even just going to classes is important and talking to people. Drinking water: Water is hydration. Your brain is 85% water, but it can’t create its own water. If you’re not drinking water, the brain’s not getting water. Sometimes when you’re really fatigued, you’re thinking I’m so tired I just feel like I’m in a fog. You are because your brain’s not getting enough hydration as well as all the other part of your body.
Another thing that all of you should know: that when you’re sitting -- All of us do it. If you’re sitting more than an hour or two at a time, you should be getting up and moving your eyes around getting your body up. We have two tools we love: One’s the “Juicy Joints” -- That moves all the joints in our body. Another one is “Shake It Up, Baby.” -- It’s just totally shaking your body and shaking your legs. But why? It sounds kind of silly, but it builds collagen. It releases tension in the fascia. The fascia is the spider web of connective tissue in your skin all through your body. If you don’t move it, you will not be able to move it. We’re releasing that tension in that fascia. We’re releasing excess cortisol.
Sitting is the new smoking disease. I can go on and on and on. I’ve done lectures on “Don’t Just Sit There,” but it’s damaging to your body. Those of you who are entrepreneurs or sitting at an office job, you have to get up, and move, and drink your water, and go and talk to somebody for a second.
JIM WASZAK: They have what I think is pretty neat -- I don’t know what they call them, but they sit on your desk. It raises your computer, so you can stand up for a while and work.
PEGGY KINST: Yep, they have standing desks and sitting on a ball.
JIM WASZAK: But I want to get back to something else you said: I think I should have you talk to my wife because I tried singing to her, but she just said it annoys her. So she’s not seeing those lights that come on or whatever it is that’s supposed to –
PEGGY KINST: You have to sing songs that she likes, then she can sing with you. That’s the whole thing.
JIM WASZAK: Nobody can sing with me because there’s sounds that come out of this that no one else can make; believe me.
PEGGY KINST: That’s a great idea.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: So what are some tips for those of us who are -- I remember when I was an associate before I was going to meetings a lot. I would be at my desk for 8 or 9 hours. Maybe take a lunchbreak, and by the end of the day you just feel this level of exhaustion where your brain shuts down, your back hurts.
PEGGY KINST: And your feet are swollen and you feel fatigued, yeah.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Is it just getting up and walking around, or do you have some tricks that people can do while they’re working they’re exercising in their chair?
PEGGY KINST: Yeah. They can do the “Shake It Up, Baby.” They should be doing something every 20 minutes to an hour. They should set their timer. It’s not even just the body, but the eyes -- It can damage the eyes. Every 20 minutes you should make a concerted effort to look away from your computer and focus on something else and then go back to your computer. It’s amazing how our bodies can keep us functioning with all the horrible things we do to them. Be good to your bodies and have water by your desk. Get up, and move a little bit; go and talk to somebody, or take a break and read, and tell that to somebody that you just read.
JIM WASZAK: It strikes me that one of the things I enjoy is golf. That would seem to me to be a great thing to take up because that has all the physical aspects as well as the mental aspects.
PEGGY KINST: As long as it’s not just the only thing you do. You should play golf one day, go swimming another day, do some aerobic activity, weight train, any other kind of -- bicycling. What the brain is saying is, “Challenge me; I want to be challenged. If you keep doing the same things over and over again, I’m not going to improve.”
JIM WASZAK: Just like any other muscle it atrophies.
PEGGY KINST: If you don’t use it, you lose it. That’s the term for your brain; that’s a term for your body. Your body is an amazing thing, but we need to learn to take care of it, and nurture it, and exercise it.
JIM WASZAK: I imagine 200 years ago we didn’t have these concerns because life was so different. You had to be engaged just to survive.
PEGGY KINST: Now we have to worry about our kids. Our kids at this point of time are not going to live as long as their parents. It’s the most frightening thing with the obesity rate, and the diabetes rate, and the spinal stenosis with the technology. That is the research: that children that were born after 2009 are not going to live as long as their parents because they’re already starting to show dramatic effects with their bodies.
JIM WASZAK: You know what I noticed. Kids today -- They’re life is so scheduled and organized. I remember being a kid -- We’d invent the kinds of fun games and crazy things to do. The kids today don’t have that.
PEGGY KINST: They’re addicted to technology. Another thing that’s scary -- I just read some research that between the ages of birth and 6 months: That’s one the of most pivotal times for development of the brain. If that child is moving -- Swaddling the babies and keeping them tight -- The only way they can activate their brains and start developing their brains is to move. That’s why they say it’s better for a child not to walk too fast -- to crawl longer than walking. It affects all of us. It affects the children.
The healthy adults look at us and say, “Well it’s chair exercise.” Come to one of our classes. After a half an hour of class, I’m sweating. Plus, I learned so much. Then we get into the active 55 and older: They love working out and being social. Then we get into the nursing homes, and I have sometimes people that are just sitting there like this. But with music, and with movement, and with sociability, we can change their brains; we can improve their bodies and brains, and it’s exciting and rewarding for me. I’ll be doing a demo. I don’t teach classes, but I do lots of demoes for residents or communities, and they’ll look at me. When I say it doesn’t matter how old you are -- I used to say from age 5 to 105, then I had a woman that was 107 in our class just sitting there working out. Now I have to say 110.
They look at you like, “Wow. You mean to tell me I don’t have to just sit here and die? I can actually start improving myself?” That’s not just for the people that are 90, and 100, and 80, and 70. This is for the whole population. Every single person in the world should be doing an aerobic type exercise at least 10 minutes a day. It’s all you need -- 10 minutes to build BDNF: It’s the protein that helps create more development in the brain. That has been shown to increase so much just by moving and exercising.
As far as working -- And it’s a wonderful to be entrepreneur, but we have the same negative things that other people, that corporate people do. We do; we sit; we get involved; we get focus; and we have to start taking some times to do some things for our bodies.
Sleep is another one. We just read an article that made it sound -- We go to bed, and our brain is like a jungle. We’ve got so many synapses going on, and when we don’t have enough sleep, we don’t have these little microglia that come in and prune our brains, so that when we wake up, we have Central Park instead of that jungle. If we are not getting that sleep, we wake up, and we wonder why we feel so foggy-brained and stuff when we haven’t slept. Because our brain’s still a jungle, and then we’re going back into more dense --
It’s important for all reasons to get enough sleep, and the research on that is pivotal as far as if we don’t get good sleep, that can affect not only how we are at this moment, but how we are going to age later on.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: One of the things that struck me that you were talking about both for body and brain was not just doing the same exercise but challenging themselves. Anyone that’s in to weightlifting will tell you that it’s better to do the same exercise than do nothing at all, but if you want actually to grow your muscle or get better, you have do trick your muscles and do a different exercise than you did last week. It seems like the same thing applies to your brain like any other muscle. Really that seems like the big themes to continue. Don’t just golf -- Golf, and then swim.
PEGGY KINST: Even at the pool. I’m a swimmer. One of our tools is “Dive in.” We teach them different swim strokes and different dives because, again, most of the people that are older, even kids, maybe haven’t done the breaststroke before. When we’re doing that, we’re building upper body, but we’re also -- The brain’s going, “She’s never been in the water before.”
What’s really cool is the brain does not know you’re not in water. The brain does not know you’re not playing a piano or playing a clarinet. It doesn’t know that you’re not playing basketball, and you’re not actually throwing a ball. It doesn’t know that you’re not lifting weights. It doesn’t understand. By visualization alone, we can actually build biceps without even moving our body if we actually concentrate and visualize it.
I’m in the pool, and I don’t like to I have eye problems. So I don’t like to get chlorine in my eyes. I’m sitting on the step, and I’m doing all my Ageless Grace in the water. You can do it anywhere. We have one called “Saving Face,” which is using all your face muscles. When you’re stuck at a train just go like this to the person next to you. At least they can smile a little bit.
JIM WASZAK: Well, that’s my role in life is making people laugh.
PEGGY KINST: And that’s it. Laughter is huge; laughter is one of the best ways. That’s another thing: oxygenation. Getting these people to breathe because they’re sitting like this. The kids are sitting like that, and they’re cutting off -- They’re using only a third of their lungs. We need that oxygen. Our body uses 25% of every breath we use to activate in the brain. If we’re cutting that off, that means the brain’s not getting that oxygen either. That’s another whole cause of dementia. It’s not just the hydration, but it’s the oxygenation.
Singing, whistling laughing -- There was a laughter yoga class. I just said “Oh, that’s silly.” But I thought, “But, Peg, you’ve got to do that.” I had to sit down; it was so cardiovascular. My heart was beating so fast. You have to laugh. They say adults laugh 7 to 8 times a day. Little kids laugh 200 times a day.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Usually maniacally from my experience.
JIM WASZAK: I’m definitely closer to the 7-year-old.
PEGGY KINST: I think that’s the way we should live life. If we did what a two-year-old does in activity and laughter, we’d be a lot healthier.
KEVIN O’FLAHERTY: Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
JIM WASZAK: Yeah, Peggy. That was fascinating.
PEGGY KINST: Yeah, it is. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. Just teaching people that they don’t to have to just sit there and wait for death: that they can change. Come and try a class.
Another thing that we’re doing is we’re starting to do hand massage reflexology classes with essential oils. We’re finding that that with any kind of touch. I think that’s another thing that we didn’t leave out is just touching someone, and letting them know that we care.
Well, at nursing homes and hospice and things like that, one of the things that we want to do so much is to be able to give them some comfort and ease. I’m going into nursing homes and bringing in essential oils. With peppermint, with just a dab on the back of your neck, we can get someone who’s had a stroke to be able to react and stay away during physical therapy. With someone who is anxious -- I call them vintage people -- they get real anxious especially at night. Just a little bit of lavender or wild orange and peppermint can relieve their anxiety. We do it with a certain way of massaging. We have all of those things together so we keep bringing all kinds of things in to keep people healthier and happier. So that’s another hope.
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Kevin owns O’Flaherty Law, a general practice law firm with locations in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, and Naperville, Illinois. O'Flaherty Law's attorneys have expertise in many areas of law including but not limited to divorce and family law; civil litigation; estate planning; business and corporate representation; commercial and residential real estate law; elder services, probate and guardianship; immigration; bankruptcy law; and dui, traffic and criminal defense.
Jim owns Success Enhancement, Inc., which is geared toward helping you solve management problems in a way that is fun and engaging by using improv comedy techniques and role plays.
Participants will see how to behave differently in the type of situation identified as an area for improvement.
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