Whether you read a book, article or watch a show on health and fitness, all avenues to wellness include exercise. If the benefits of exercise could be packages in a pill form, the product would sell out. But what if all of those well known benefits could be achieved in an entertaining and virtually pain free way. Mirabai Holland has created such a program with her Moving Free Longevity Solution DVD set.

This program is created for beginners or anyone who has had trouble getting on or staying on a fitness program. Mirabai’s Moving Free system can take you from being a sedentary person to an active one in only 5 minutes at a time. Mirabai has a pleasant personality and uses gentle coaching as she encourages you along the way to better fitness.

The Cardio Dance Level 1 video in this DVD set is especially motivating. Her use of beautiful seaside scenery and engaging music ensure the participant will not become tired of this video any time soon. It begins with the necessary information to make this a safe experience. A brief description of the circulatory system as well as easy to follow directions on taking your heart rate. This video and all of her other videos can be used in small increments, starting slow and building until a person can do the entire program.

Mirabai is a certified health coach and certified exercise physiologist. Her Moving Free approach to exercise is designed to provide a movement experience so pleasant it really doesn’t feel like work. People say of her “Mirabai makes me want to exercise.”

Seniors know that when they now go for their annual Medicare fitness check, they will be asked how often they exercise. How wonderful at any age to be able to say you spend 20 minutes three times a week dancing your way to fitness.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing


Boxing and Parkinson’s Disease

I recently saw a news show on television that highlighted the benefits of boxing, for persons with Parkinson’s disease. While everyone interviewed identified positive results, all the way from; moving better, to being motivated and at times being pushed to participate.  Those who strongly recommended boxing never really hit the nail on the head, and told us why this sport would work so well.

Boxing and Crossing the Mid-line

Picture an imaginary line from your head to your feet cutting your body in half. Every time you do something with your right hand and arm, swinging to your left and therefore crossing your mid-line you also increase the right-left connection in your brain. Watching the show and seeing the participants either hitting a punching bag, or in a ring hitting an instructor, you can easily see the therapy involved. When they punched with their right hand they frequently crossed over their body and hit the opponent on the right side of his body.

The brains two sides coordinate with their opposite side of the body. All of the connections happen in the middle of the brain called the limbic system. Exercises that cross the mid-line, reinforce and support  the connections in the limbic system. The limbic system is also the site of emotional intelligence, explaining why people feel happy after exercise.

Creating exercises that cross the mid-line

A simple balance exercise turned into a brain exercise can include swinging arms across the body. Kicking a leg across the mid-line while holding on to a chair is a simple brain movement. Bouncing a ball in front of you, with your right hand and then switching to your left hand, crosses the mid-line. Starting with a larger bouncing ball and then scaling down to a smaller and smaller ball also improves balance.

Great games with small children such as a bean bag toss when done crossing the mid-line, is a fun way to exercise the brain. Older children enjoy playing catch, and can start by just bouncing a large ball back and forth. Till they then can catch a ball in midair and switch up to a smaller ball.

Take that even further by hitting a tennis ball, volley ball, anything that provides that movement of crossing the body. Especially so for the confused elder who enjoys just throwing a beach ball around the family circle, or maybe a wild game of balloon toss. The easiest mid-line exercise for just about everyone, is to cross your arms and give yourself a big hug. The limbic system, is why that feels so good!

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing


There are consequences to living a risky lifestyle. The wellness check list tells you what a healthy lifestyle is and isn’t. Taking a close look at the areas that the wellness check targets, tells you what behaviors are ultimately going to cause disease.

Many of the tests check for cancer. Cancer is caused by external factors such as tobacco, infectious organisms, eating an unhealthy diet as well as internal factors such as inherited genetics, mutations, hormones and immune conditions. These factors may act together or in sequence.

What this tells us is that a substantial proportion of the cancers diagnosed could be prevented. All cancers caused by tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption could be prevented.

Of the over 589 thousand deaths predicted in 2015 from cancer in the United States, 178 thousand will be directly caused by smoking alone. A third of the cancer cases will be directly related to obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

Seventy-eight percent of all cancers diagnosed are in people age 55 and older. The cost of cancer in 2011 in the United States alone was 88.7 billion.

So what about the wellness check? Will it make a difference? Only, if people are able to make the changes recommended. The best place and most obvious place to start are with smoking and diet.

Increase fiber, vegetables, fruit, (only if you do not have a sugar problem) reduce the use of red meats and eliminate processed foods and meats. And with winter behind us, time to increase that physical activity they talk about.

Virginia Garberding RN
Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing


Part II

Preventative care under the ACA is offered by the insurance provider – but when is it free? When isn’t it free?

There is a list of 15 preventative services that are recommended by the Affordable Care Act. These are things like blood pressure screenings, testing for cholesterol levels, mammograms, colonoscopies, vaccines and so on.

These recommended preventative services require no; co-pay, out of pocket payment or meeting any deductible. The goal here is to offer these screenings/services to catch a disease process before you have any symptoms.

So what isn’t considered preventative and so isn’t free?

Any change in your health that is found through the preventative screening, requiring follow up testing and treatment, is not free. This could include lab work or other testing to manage or treat a condition. Medical treatment for a specific health condition and any on-going care is not included in “preventative” care. Any future diagnostic care or treatment is not part of preventative care.

Once a condition is identified, that will require any on-going or future treatment, it now is covered under your health care policy with the deductibles you selected.

Wellness checks serve an even greater purpose through organizing your healthcare. Instead of the burden being placed on the patient, to always know what is significant to report to the doctor. The wellness check will now ferret out those facts. If you are uncomfortable bringing up unusual bowel movements with your doctor, the wellness check will bring it up for you.

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing


Part I

Several seniors have asked me lately about the “wellness check form” they have received from their health insurance provider. This wellness check is a direct result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obama care) under “preventative care”.

Why is this coming from the insurance company instead of the doctor?

You would think that a health insurance company would want to catch a disease process early when it is not only easier to treat but cheaper to treat. But this hasn’t been the case. Standard medical practice has put a large burden of medical care in the hands of the consumer. A person would need to know that they have a problem and then seek out the physician.

Once at the doctors the individual would have to be a good communicator as well as historian to recount their symptoms. Now with ACA the first move to identify a disease could come from the insurance company, through a screening process. The screening might be a questionnaire as well as some routine lab tests. The burden of identifying illness then rests with the check list and starts with your insurance provider.

The thinking behind creating the wellness check, assumed that people are slow to contact their doctor for financial reasons. This is why the screening for many disease processes are considered preventative and are free. This could be true, based on the many seniors who once on Medicare, spend a considerable amount of their time visiting a round of doctors.

But for the people who are in denial about their health, it has been easier to avoid thinking about the consequences of a risky life style, by just not going to the doctor. For these people the check list might also make a trip to the doctor easier. After all, you received this form from your insurance company and “they” want you to see your doctor.

Part II – Preventative care is free? When does it stop being free?

Part III – How does the check list tell you what is a healthy life style?

Virginia Garberding RN

Certified in Gerontology and Restorative Nursing