Building Muscle, Building Vitality

zip pic

A still photo clip from the above YouTube video link:  I use this zip line far more than my kids (and their tire swing, as well). So glad I did not grow up in this era of video games being more important than outdoor play! Playing outside is the zest of life and builds muscles!  Use it or lose it!

Ok gang, the season is upon us (this was taken just before the snow was all melted, Spring 2014) to get outside and move our beautiful bodies, build muscle, increase lean body mass, and just plain feel better and stronger inside ourselves.

"Why?" you ask, "Why Paula would I want to do that?"

1.  Muscle tissue is healthier than fat tissue.  Muscle cells, each individual cell, is more active than fat cells.  This means each muscle cell has a higher metabolic activity level. That means your whole body, with more muscle, will have a higher metabolic rate.

2.  Muscle is active tissue.  Muscle tissue actively moves fluids around your body, massaging blood vessels and body tissues as you move your muscles, helping blood flow and other fluids to flow smoothly and easily.

3.  Conversely, fat tissue squeezes blood vessels, having more of a collapsing effect on blood vessels.  If the blood vessels running through your excess adipose tissue are being squeezed, this makes it more work for your heart to pump blood through these vessels.  Up goes the blood pressure...

4.  A moving body, with healthy amounts of muscle tissue, keeps your body young. And seriously, who does not want this?

Looking for more reasons why exercise is good for you?  See below for my "Benefits of Exercise" handout I use with clients.

Easy ways to build muscle: (with no equipment or minimal equipment required)

  • walk
  • push ups
  • reverse push ups (back bend push ups, you bet I do them!)
  • power push ups
  • pull ups
  • chin ups
  • yoga squat poses
  • yoga arm poses

How's that for some fun muscle building poses to try out.  One just needs their body and some comfortable clothes that will move with you! Have fun building muscle and zesty health!

Love, Paula

PS  The Benefits of Exercise:

23 Great Reasons to ExerciseBelieve me, I have more if you would like to chat!

Exercise, coupled with whole food eating & whole health lifestyles, may be the closest thing to the fountain of youth. Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells and even add years to your life. Studies show just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days is all that's required to reap big benefits.  A simple walk that we start and finish with a round or two of push-ups and we are on our way to creating healthy fitness.

The range of health bonuses now attributed to exercise has surprised even doctors.  I am completely amazed this is not common sense!  We need research to prove moving our body, the way nature intended, is good for us???  What has happened to human beings' collective common sense???

Ok.... let's look at the benefits of daily exercise:

Keeps you younger than your actual chronological age.  Exercise boosts the amount of oxygen you consume during and after exercising.  This benefit of increasing oxygen consumption is how we increase our aerobic capacity and live longer.  More oxygen to the cells means healthier cells and longer cell life spans.  The longer your cells live, the longer you could live!  Every minute of good exercise and it does not need to be hard, pounding exercise, adds two to three minutes to your life!  Can you get payoffs like that with any other investment?  Aerobic exercise has also been shown to perhaps stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.  Makes sense to me that it stimulates the growth of new brain cells in anyone who exercises!

Healthier, glowing skin.  When we exercise we increase our oxygen intake capabilities (see above) and increase our circulatory function.  This means blood, lymph and intracellular fluids all move about your body more efficiently.  The micro capillary beds of your face (really, your whole body’s skin) work at top-notch keeping you young and vibrant looking.  More oxygen and food nutrients will arrive at your cells and cellular waste products will more efficiently removed from your cells.  This means better waste removal both through efficient respiratory expiration and your fluid circulation.  End result:  healthier cells, including skin cells.  Your skin and whole body will glow with health!

Fewer asthma problems.  Yoga breathing exercises have .long been used to increase respiratory capacity and ease the symptoms of asthma.  When people with mild asthma exercise regularly and increase their  aerobic capacity and their lung strength, they can reduce the need to use their inhalers.

Boost the immune system and reduces infections.  Your immune cells work faster and more efficiently when you are a regular exerciser.  Those white cells rev up their aggressiveness against antigens entering your body.  A better functioning immune system cuts down on the viral and bacterial ills we pick up; cold, flu, etc.

Better blood sugar control.  When you exercise (and eat a whole food diet) your body will shed the extra pounds.  This creates a stable blood sugar regulation mechanism; lower insulin levels, lower and stable levels of blood sugar.  What a great way to prevent diabetes.  If you are an adult onset diabetic, what a great way to heal your body from this lifestyle induced disease.

Lessen your risk for cancer.  Exercise prevents constipation.  A properly functioning colon is less likely to develop cancer.  People with balanced blood sugars, see above, have less chance of developing colon cancer.  When our bodies are functioning well from whole foods, exercise and lifestyle choices, our hormones balance out creating a lesser chance of developing hormone related cancers: breast and prostate.

Fewer heart attacks, prevention of heart attacks.  Exercise raises your HDL cholesterol.  This is the cholesterol that is considered “good,” the cholesterol reading we want to be high.  Exercise is great for reducing inflammation in the body; less inflammation, less heart attacks, strokes and the resultant vascular health problems.

Lowers stress levels. Regular exercise reduces stress levels in the body, mind and soul creating calmer and more centered human beings.  We were meant to move.  Moving helps to burn up those “fight or flight” hormones in a healthy manner.  Exercise is a great remedy for relieving mild anxiety, frustration and depression.  Think of it as movement meditation, movement “medication!”

Better sleep.  A body that moves daily will sleep better for all reasons: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  Make it outdoor exercise and the fresh air and natural light exposure increases this benefit many times over!

Prevents and restores bone loss.  Moving your body keeps the bones healthy and young.  The bone cells lay down more new bone, preventing and reversing osteoporosis.

Stronger muscles, better flexibility and balance.  Exercise keeps your muscles strong. Moving through full range of motion everyday keeps your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints flexible and strong.  Exercise creates balance in body, mind and spirit.  Yoga is one great way to increase your muscle strength while creating better flexibility and balance for ease of movement!

Better organ function and health.  Anything that makes your body stronger is going to make all organs, right down to your very cells, function better.  Better circulation means better oxygen and nutrition being transported to the cells and better waste removal from the cells.  This makes for healthier cells, organs and ultimately a healthier You!

Protect female and male health.  Full body exercise keeps your sex hormones balanced:  this means goodbye PMS and menopausal symptoms, hello healthy life!  Exercise to reduce and possibly remove the symptoms of: PMS and menopause.  Men benefit with lower incidence of erectile problems and increased overall “male” healthiness.   Pelvic exercises, called kegel exercises, help prevent reproductive and urinary organ prolapse, clitoral erectile dysfunction and urinary leaking in females; impotence/erectile dysfunction and possibly enlarged prostate which is a common cause of urinary symptoms in males. Women benefit as they have the same erectile tissues in their external genitalia.  Men, despite not having a monthly menstrual flow, do have a monthly hormonal cycle.  Regular exercise keeps this sex hormone cycle at top-notch function.  Because all body hormones and chemicals work in synergy, healthy sex hormones keep the rest of your body chemistry humming along in great health.  Got those walking shoes on your feet?  Heading out the door?

Weight loss and loss of belly fat.  We are back to the common sense thing again, moving your body, as opposed to sitting on the couch, will keep you naturally thinner.  The body was meant for movement, so it stands to reason it will be thinner with less belly fat than an inert body mass!  Forty-five minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the morning may actually reduce your food cravings so you eat less all day.  That is a healthy body bonus!

Reduces Inflammation.  Inflammation in the body is the precursor to chronic lifestyle diseases.  Reduce your bodily inflammation and you reduce disease.  See heart attack information above.

Regulates your appetite, reduces cravings, promote healthy digestion.  When you feel good from moving, you are more apt to want to accentuate these good feelings with good food, avoiding the junk. When you eat good food and feel great, you are more apt to feel like moving.  What a wonderful catch 22!

Lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raises HDL cholesterol.  Trust me, you want this to happen!  Again, see heart attack information above.

Improve mood, concentration, nervous system function and memory.  Healthier bodies with healthier circulation means healthier brains for both intellectual and mood functioning!  See section, above, on lowering stress levels.

  1. Your body will express its positive, healthy genes (epigenetics) when you exercise and eat 100% whole foods.  Whole Health lifestyles turn off the negative genes that cause disease.  Start flicking those healthy genes switches on today;  Get Moving!

Attraction.  Exercising makes us more attractive to others in mind, body and soul.  We will attract to us people who have similar healthy lifestyles.

Prolong life.  I think we are back to number one:  exercise keeps you young! Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.  You have mitochondria in your body cells; these are the powerhouses of the cells. When you exercise, you produce more and healthier mitochondria.  This means your body functions better energetically, your metabolism is higher and you live longer because of your powerful powerhouses!

FUN!  Exercise increases the fun factor in your life.  Do things that make you happy.  If running is not your thing, do not do it just because it is supposedly “healthy.”  Do whatever makes your heart sing.  Find several options that make you happy to move and mix them up.  Every day do something that makes you feel good inside and out!  This is your dose of daily fun that keeps you happy all day and night.  Remember the sleep and lower stress benefits of exercise?

Exercise with a friend or a group of friends and create community.  Healthy friendships up the fun factor of exercise and give you a positive support group from which to draw strength.

(Can you see how all of these benefits interrelate with each other?  Every benefit of exercise is part of the “web” of creating better health of mind, body and soul.)

*Adapted, revised and added to from Consumer Reports, September, 2007  and Institute for Integrative Nutrition Top 10 Reasons to Exercise handout

Need I say more????  Are you convinced?  Please, keep in mind that over doing exercise, seriously pounding the body from high intensity training is not the same as regular daily exercise.  Intense training,  the type of training that serious athletes do to compete in marathons, triathlon, etc., may actually age the body faster.

Get outside and move.  You get the added benefit of fresh air and natural light.  Your body will thank you in ways you can only imagine so let your imagination run wild (or walk wild!)!

Just a word from Garfield…… “I think that tossing and turning all night should be counted as exercise!” 

Whole Health Healing Academy

Whole Foods Healing Class  

(Please forgive this post being all jumbled together.  It does not want to let go of the word formatting. Technology!)

cooking class

POTSDAM, NY -- The Local Living Venture is working in cooperation with Hands On Health Holistic Healing in launching a Whole Health and Healing Academy for individuals interested in gaining a well rounded knowledge of holistic health issues.

Classes are designed to enhance personal health and inspire confidence in the ability of our bodies to heal itself through good nutrition

- which also means "eat yummy food!"The "academy" will commence in September, but this Spring they will jump start the sessions with 2 classes to pave the way for more sessions in the Fall.

Attendees who successfully complete a certain number of sessions will receive a Certificate of Accomplishment for their personal resume and will take advantage of this opportunity to put health and healing into your hands.

All are welcome to attend if they desire to create vibrant personal health.

  Employers are especially encouraged to send staff members, to reduce and eliminate health issues and insurance costs.  Employers themselves are welcome as well; to enhance their health, providing leadership.  Also welcome are health care workers who wish to learn more about prevention and self-responsibility in health and healing.

The two kick-off sessions are as follows:

"Whole Foods to Heal Everybody and Every Body Cell"

covers: what are whole foods, why it's important to eat them, how to make changes in your life including the why’s of eating seasonally and locally, and how eating whole foods will heal your body from the cellular level.Join in with your questions on 

Wednesday, May 21, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Potsdam Community Room

, located above the police station, behind the public library - park in the lot next to the fire station or street parking on Main St.

The second in the series is entitled "White Sugar Blues"

and covers what sugar is, the forms of sugars, why it is so addicting, how sugar is damaging to body, how to truly kick sugar out of your life, and ways to add “sweetness” to your life without adding sugar. 

Wednesday, June 11, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., also at the Potsdam Community Room

next to the public library.All classes in the ongoing series are 1-1/2 hours long and include a slide show that will also be emailed to all participants  as well as various  educational handouts.  Follow up information will be tailored to also address the health needs of participants in the session.

Pre-registration is suggested, $20 general admission, $10 student, for material fees and to benefit Local Living Venture workshop creation.  A discount will be offered for attendees who register for the full Whole Health and Healing Academy series.

Contact 315-347-4223 for details and to register in advance (not required, but suggested - first come, first served.)  All upcoming events may be viewed on the website at by clicking through to the website for the Workshops / Events page.

Instructor Paula Youmell, RN, MS, CHHC is a NYS licensed Registered Nurse,  author & blogger, Certified Holistic Health, Nutrition & Fitness Counselor, Certified Herbalist, Reiki Master, NYS Licensed Health and Physical Education teacher, and Yoga teacher.  Through her private practice, Hands On Health Holistic Healing in Potsdam, NY, Paula Youmell supports people on their path to whole health and healing and can be found on the web at

The Local Living Venture (LLV) coordinates near-weekly resourceful Living Skills Workshops promoting traditional rural and simple living skills as part of their vision for an even more capable community.  Listings of other upcoming workshops and events can be found on the Workshop Schedule page by clicking through to the current site at

me and chelle

Upcoming Workshops at the Yoga Loft

Healthy Eating Brown Bag Lunches...  Two more to go!

a series of interactive workshops, 12noon-1:00pm April dates listed below $10 each or use your class card

Bring your healthy lunch & learn while you eat        RSVP  265-0961

Paula Youmell, Certified Holistic Health Counselor & Coach and author, will focus on the following Healthy Eating topics:

April 23: Natural Foods Know-How. An information session on how to know what foods really are natural and not just marketing. Real food not food hype. April 30: White Sugar Blues. What sugar is, forms of sugars, why so addicting, how sugar is damaging to body, how to butt kick sugar out of your life, ways to add “sweetness” to your life without adding sugar.


Jackie FosterWorkshop Introduction to Ayurveda: Self-Care Practice with Jackie Foster of Saranac Lake May 3, 1:00-3:30pm $25, payable at the door To register, email or phone 518-339-3008

Ayurveda is often called the sister science of yoga. It teaches practices for a healthy life-style determined by your unique physical, mental and emotional constitution (Dosha). The afternoon includes:

•Self-assesment to determine your constitution •Daily self-care practices to heal physical/mental/emotional imbalances •Yoga postures and breath work suitable for each constitution •Take home sample of Ayurvedic oil


Margaret MartinWorkshop:  Yoga for Better Bones: Fundamentals of Osteoporosis with Margaret Martin of Ottawa, Ontario May 17, 1:00-3:00pm $30, payable at the door To register, email or leave a message with Ellie at 315-347-2401

This workshop focuses on osteoporosis fundamentals for yoga teachers and yoga students. Teachers will learn how to support students in stimulating bone strength and preventing injury. Yoga student will be empowered with the knowledge they need to ensure they are practicing Yoga without increasing their risk of a fracture.

Margaret is the recipient of the 2011 Award of Distinction from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario for her achievements with MelioGuide and her significant contributions promoting Osteoporosis education and awareness with her fellow Physiotherapists, her clients and the broader community.

Healing Health House Parties

Health & Healing Home Party  

What better space to learn health and healing and start the process of taking responsibility for your health back into your own hands... in your own home!

Gather like minded family and friends and invite me over.  Together we create a Health and Healing Home Party to fit your group's unique needs.

It is as easy as that!

Workshop Topics:  (Feel free to create your own ideas and we will put together an inspiring, learning experience!)

  1. Healing with Whole Foods:  What is whole food, why eat it, how to make changes in your life including the why's of eating seasonally and locally, and how eating whole foods will heal your body from the cellular level.  This workshop is the launch point for all work on healing. I suggest starting here.
  2. Natural Foods Know How:  An information session on how to know what foods really are natural and not just marketing.  Real food not food hype.
  3. Healthy Menu Prep: How to prep healthy meals for the week, how to shop for healthy foods.  Shopping and eating seasonally and locally.
  4. Healing with Herbs:  Common herbs for simple healing at home, antimicrobial use, herbal preparations, adding nourishment to your lifestyle.
  5. Herbal Preparation:  A more in depth and hands on class in making several types of herbal preparations based upon the individual or group’s desire to learn.
  6. Gluten Free Eating & Loving It:   Many people find that they are unable to tolerate the proteins found in gluten-containing grains.   We’ll discuss the basics of the gluten free diet, how to do it in a healthy and easy manner, how to avoid hidden gluten and cross contamination, and cleaning out the kitchen of gluten products and flours.
  7. Facial Rejuvenation:  Anti-aging based around whole foods, high mineral herbs, lotion, essential oils, and facial energy work.
  8. Detox Nourishment Diets:  What they are, why they work, how to implement simple and more involved nourishing detoxes.
  9. Divine Weight Loss:  Accessing your divine inner self to get past the "stuck" points and heal around food and weight issues.
  10. Gut Health:  What creates and destroys healthy gut micro-organisms,  how to optimize diet and lifestyle for top notch gut and whole body health.
  11. The Benefits of Exercise: Exercise provides multiple benefits.  Learn how simple, every day movement can increase your vibrant energy and healing in every body system, right down to the cellular level!
  12. Proteins, Carbs & Fats:  What they all are, why we need them, and where to get them (healthiest food choices).  
  13. Give Sugar the BUTT Kick!: What sugar is, forms of sugars, why so addicting, how sugar is damaging to body, how to butt kick sugar out of your life, ways to add “sweetness” to your life without adding sugar.
  14. Perfecting Posture for Pain Free Motion:  Why, how, when…. In everything we do sitting / standing / mowing /vacuuming / etc.  Yoga poses to enhance posture, open space between vertebrae, proper bending.
  15. Maternal Child Nutrition and Health:  My years of Maternity Nursing experience shine here as we talk about how to best holistically care for mom and babe during pregnancy and beyond.
  16. Healing the Feminine Divine: Holistic health from the Wise Women’s perspective around menarche, infertility, fertility, birth control, menstrual products, female sexuality, pregnancy, breast feeding, peri–menopause, and menopause - "the Wise Women Crone".  Workshops are created for the unique needs of the group around these feminine divine topics.
  17. Reiki Energy Healing:  Reiki Certification Classes: Level 1, 2 & 3
  18. Chi - Life Force Energy Healing  Learn about the chakras, meridians, and life force energy in your body.  Learn how to access the energy through yoga, acupressure, massage, reiki, and other forms of body work – energy healing techniques to prevent and heal disease.

My New Reiki Room!

Looking for a little healing energy work?  Come experience a reiki treatment in my new room! Want Reiki training so you learn to share Reiki energy with others?  Reiki training information, click here.

Check out my Reiki page for more information.


Yes, that is Frost, waiting for her Kitty Reiki!

Blessings of healing energy to all, Paula