Weight and Blood Pressures are dropping at Chatham Health & Swim Club
The annual 6-week “Weigh to Better Health” Team weight loss program has helped 80 participants lose 521.7 pounds this year, making a total of 2978 pounds spanning 5 years. Not only that, but this year many lowered their blood pressures too. For example, H.K. dropped her BP from 186/92 to 144/82, M.M from 153/84 to 118/74 and A.C. from 138/98 to 108/72.
Sure, weight loss can assist with a drop in blood pressure, but more immediate changes were noticed. How? By practicing a 1:2 deep breathing technique introduced by Nancy Samotis, MFA, LicSW and RYT (Staff Restorative and Seated Yoga Instructor and psychotherapist) during one of the weekly nutrition and lifestyle medicine workshops. Each participant’s blood pressure was measured by Dr. David Penfield (co-owner & ER physician), then Sally Moore coached the 1:2 breathing practice and a follow-up blood pressure was obtained after 3-5 minutes. “It was amazing to find that it didn’t take long to see a significant difference in almost everyone’s blood pressure” stated Dr. Penfield.
There are multiple forms of yogic breath, but “1:2 breathing” is easy to practice and helps calm the nervous system. The breathing technique involves inhaling through the nose for 2-counts and slowly exhaling through the mouth for long controlled 4-counts.
Practicing this style of breathing during times of physical or mental stress helps to manage the “fight or flight” response to negative stress and lower blood pressure. Taking fewer but deeper breaths each minute temporarily lowers blood pressure and calms the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for generating stress hormones. The mind and body are very intimately connected; when the mind is completely at ease, the whole body also gains complete relaxation.
Other key components of the weight loss program included weekly educational workshops and ongoing support to help the participants to:
- Choose a personal form record/log keeping
- Minimize daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mgs per day,
- Increase daily exercise to 30 – 60 min./day or 10, 000 steps/day
- Eat at least 2-1/2 cups of vegetables
- Take fun new classes such as indoor rowing or water interval classes
In addition to learning how to sustain healthy behaviors each week, a cooking class was included this year. Chef Dana Dunbar, owner of Beach Plum Chef in Brewster demonstrated unique and tasty ways to prepare vegetables with minimal usage of salt.
Interested in learning the 2:1 breath? Come try a Restorative Yoga class Thursdays 5:30 – 6:15pm or a Seated Yoga class on Fridays 10 – 11am. Drop-ins are welcome at Chatham Health & Swim Club.
Thank you to our event T-shirt sponsors:
Acupuncture with Hope,Cape Cod Ambulance, Cape Cod Chronicle, Cape Cod Emergency Assoc., Chatham Candy Manor, Chatham Village Market, Jennifer Eldredge Stello Photography, Kinlin Grover Realty, Pine Acres Realty, Schumacher Properties, Stello Construction Ent. Inc., W. Vernon Whiteley Plumbing & Heating