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"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious."
– Stephen Hawking  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 1 January 2020  

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  Keep moving
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.

   
   “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” - Edith Lovejoy Pierce
   
   We find ourselves in another new year and another clean slate. As is customary, it’s time to choose new goals and write the new chapters of our life.
   
   Looking at last year’s vision board, I was successful in obtaining my certification as an EMT, made good progress toward retirement financial goals and was originally successful in the weight loss category.
   
   While cleaning out our medical supplies, I found two automatic blood pressure cuffs and wanted to see which one was still working. They both showed my blood pressure was in the 160/105 range — stage 2 hypertension.
   
   Looking back, I am disappointed at how I dealt with the news. I had been going to the gym regularly, watched what I ate and used intermittent fasting to lose 12 pounds. While I should have continued in the gym — best thing for hypertension — I stopped everything as if I was broken. Voila! Tight muscles, back pain and 11 pounds right back on.
   
   Compounding matters were budget reductions at work, which meant I was laid off on Dec. 6. Merry Christmas, right? Thankfully, my new job search was successful, and I have my part-time EMT duties with Dispatch Health.
   
   While I wait for the new job start date, Andra has regularly reminded me I need to renew the consistent efforts to stretch, breath and move.
   
   From her 200-hour yoga instructor training, Andra shared how movement is so important for activating your lymphatic system. It is your body’s built-in sanitation center — the plumbing that carries away and filters out poisonous waste products from every cell, tissue and organ. It is also an essential part of the immune system that maintains fluid levels, fights infection and produces disease fighting white blood cells.
   
   While it is the largest circulatory system in the body, it doesn’t have an automatic pump like the heart. The lymphatic system needs your help to move the fluid (lymph) through the body. The only way to transport lymph fluid is through movement i.e., exercise, breathing and hydration.
   
   “C’mon now.” You know we can’t get through the new year without someone mentioning the need to exercise!
   
   As I have written previously, you can harness the power of small wins. Begin with 10 minutes each day dedicated to exercise in order to help yourself.
   
   From the website, Branch Basics, we also learn the lymphatic system depends largely on large muscle activity in the body for its circulation. Stagnation from sitting all day is a major problem. The good news is any exercise helps — walking stairs, knee bends, go for a walk during lunch and/or stretch throughout the day. Create the habit of a regular exercise routine.
   
   Proper breathing is the most important facilitator of lymphatic function. Breathe in slowly through your nose, deeply pushing the stomach out. Slowly let your breath go out through your mouth. Deep breathing for even just five to 10 repetitions will oxygenate the blood, circulate the lymph especially around the liver and provide many other benefits.
   
   Lastly, dehydration is a common cause of lymph congestion. Lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when you are dehydrated. Only water can adequately rehydrate the body –- just say no to the sodas and high-fructose, corn-syrup-laden juices!
   
   I sincerely wish you the best in 2020! You’ll find success in your endeavors if you take good care of yourself and keep moving. Now, go write new adventures and goals on the blank pages of this new year.
  
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