April 17, 2016

The positive effects hiking has on your brain

What a gorgeous weekend here in the Bay Area! I hope you all made a little time to get out and exercise in the great outdoors. Here is a great article on the positive effects hiking has on your brain – http://www.wimp.com/what-hiking-does-to-the-brain-is-pretty-amazing/

My fourth takeaway from the Equinox

High Performance

Living Symposium was that we compress our time so much to fit everything in, get from place to place with little time in between and this causes major stress. Meditation should be our operating system to help reduce the inflammatory response caused by increasing levels of cortisol. Be aware of your breath and breathing and integrate breath with movement. Herbert Benson, a Harvard researcher said that “practicing conscious relaxation activated many

disease fighting

genes that


fight inflammation and improves immunity.”

I just happened to attend Kelly McGonigal’s workshop at

Menlo Atherton

High School on Thursday night on her new book, “The Upside of Stress.” Of course, I left wondering if “working to achieve a meditative state as our operating system” and “embracing and harnessing our stress” were mutually exclusive since Kelly McGonigal’s work is all about harnessing our stress for better productivity and health. I do think you can do both, especially when you use the meditative state to help you manage the busyness of life, the cram packed days and nights, driving frantically from one activity or meeting to the next, the repetition of food prep,


, meal packing, laundry, and other general chores that seem to never end. But, Kelly’s work seemed more related to mindset as a way of harnessing our stress. For acute stress such as having to do your taxes ;-), taking the SAT, giving an important presentation, talking to your boss about a raise, then being able to change your mindset around the stress by accepting the stress as energy around something important allows you to better channel the energy in a more positive way.

Both of these methods of managing either chronic or acute stress are tools that allow us to go from overwhelmed to feeling alive and empowered. I like to use the meditative operating system to help me stay focused when I might otherwise be scattered. Embracing challenging and stressful events will take a little different effort. If you would like more information or help in learning how to channel and manage stress in more positive ways, you are welcome to reach out to me.

We have another FULL schedule this week! The countdown to Summer continues, and you want to be ready for all of those summer adventures!

Don’t forget to sign your teen up for my summer conditioning camps! You can sign up at http://stellafit.com/summer-skills-and-conditioning-program-for-teens/



Stella Bergan, MEd, NASM CPT
Health and Human Performance Coach
Perfectly Fit