Today Kyle and Jeff talk about heat illnesses, specifically heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and how to recognize them as well as avoid them altogether. Then we visit with Chanda Vaniman, a Hatha certified practitioner and coach about the importance of flexibility and how yoga might fit into that. Give it a listen. You might learn something new. ;-) Check it out Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life podcast.

 

Kyle Case:
Hello and welcome to Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. My name is Kyle Case, and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in the studio today is my copilot, Jeff Harding. Jeff, how are you doing today?

Jeff Harding:
I'm doing well, Kyle and yourself?

Kyle Case:
I'm doing good.

Jeff Harding:
You're looking well.

Kyle Case:
Thank you. Thank you. I feel good. Summer.

Jeff Harding:
It is summer.

Kyle Case:
It's the middle of summer. It's hot.

Jeff Harding:
Summer is winding down.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. We're coming to the... We hope-

Jeff Harding:
Well, the heat.

Kyle Case:
The tail end of the heat. Right. We still got a lot of good warm days in front of us. For most of us around the country, summertime means heat for us.

Jeff Harding:
It does, it does.

Kyle Case:
And that's okay. Heat can be great, but it can also if we're not careful, be a little dangerous.

Jeff Harding:
Well, it certainly can.

Kyle Case:
And so today I want to talk a little bit about heat illness and what it is and really how to avoid it.

Jeff Harding:
Okay.

Kyle Case:
You're good with that?

Jeff Harding:
Well, I think I've had it before, so yeah. It's not contagious, but I think I had it.

Kyle Case:
Are you immune or contagious?

Jeff Harding:
Not immune, but I think I did have some heat stroke once.

Kyle Case:
You haven't built up an immunity to it. But listen, here's the deal. Our bodies always want us to be as close to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit as they can. Like that's the regular temperature.

Jeff Harding:
It works very hard to keep us there.

Kyle Case:
That we want to be at. And for the most part, our bodies do a really good job of regulating that temperature. However, on a hot, especially humid day, it can be a bit of a challenge.

Jeff Harding:
Yes, it can.

Kyle Case:
So when your body loses its ability to self regulate, you run the risk of developing what we call a heat illness, and heat illnesses happen most often to people who are exercising or doing some sort of physical activity outdoors, especially for long periods. Elderly people are at risk and people who are taking medications that increase their sensitivity to high temperatures, all of these people at risk, but given the right conditions, it can happen to any of us.

Jeff Harding:
Sure.

Kyle Case:
So we want to understand what it is and ultimately how to avoid it. So here's the deal, when your body has to work extremely hard to cool you down, you develop what they call heat exhaustion. And during heat exhaustion, the body's core temperature is usually less than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, but your blood pressure is low and your heart is not pumping blood as efficiently as it should. At this stage, the body is still doing what it's supposed to. It's still really working hard to cool you down. You'll feel very fatigued, you'll be sweating a lot, you'll feel thirsty. Heat exhaustion does not necessarily lead to heatstroke, which is the one that you referred to earlier.

Jeff Harding:
Yep.

Kyle Case:
And that's the bad one. But heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.

Jeff Harding:
It can.

Kyle Case:
Exertional heat stroke is a clear medical emergency affecting multiple body symptoms. It usually occurs when the core body temperature goes above that 104 degrees that we've been talking about. Heatstroke causes the central nervous system to malfunction. It can also damage, listen to this, this is pretty serious stuff. It can damage the brain, the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the spleen, and even your muscular tissue so your body loses the ability to thermoregulate, and at that point, it's much more difficult to reverse itself.

Kyle Case:
The first signs of heat illness are often stomach cramping or nausea, which can indicate dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance in your body. Headaches are also a common first sign of dehydration. Heavy sweating could be a sign that you're heading to heat exhaustion. It's worth noting that heat is more dangerous on humid days. So you know, we talk about here in our area, in the St. George, Utah area, it is a dry heat.

Jeff Harding:
Yes.

Kyle Case:
That can still be dangerous, but humid days are tough because sweat can't evaporate off the skin and that evaporation of the sweat is what normally produces a cooling effect for our bodies. So when the body reaches a certain internal temperature, again, that's 104 degrees or higher, its natural defenses like the sweating and the ability to release heat begin to shut down.

Kyle Case:
So if a person's been outside exercising or working in the heat and their skin is totally dry and they're exhibiting the headache or dizziness, that's a red flag.

Jeff Harding:
It is.

Kyle Case:
That's something serious there. So a few safety tips to keep in mind. Number one, listen to your body. If you're outside in the heat and you're just not feeling well, you might want to stop doing what you're doing or maybe slow down on the thing that you're doing. You want to get out of the sun and into the shade if you can. And most importantly, drink plenty of cool water.

Jeff Harding:
And my rule of thumb is if you wait until you're thirsty, you've waited too long.

Kyle Case:
It's too late, right? So if you're feeling thirsty, definitely don't wait any longer, get some water, but drink before you get to that point. Just drink plenty of water, period. That's going to help you avoid the heat illnesses in the first place and hey, it's hot out there.

Jeff Harding:
It is.

Kyle Case:
So be careful.

Jeff Harding:
And it's hotter than you think.

Kyle Case:
Yes, absolutely. Today's guest is Chanda Vaniman. Chanda received her BS degree in exercise science from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, which is incidentally known for its hot and humid summers. About 10 years ago, she received her 500 hour Hatha Yoga certification and has been teaching yoga focusing on older adults ever since. Chanda currently works at the Intermountain LiveWell Center and as the co-owner of Sun Rock Yoga, and Chanda, thanks for joining us again today.

Chanda Vaniman:
I'm happy to be here with you.

Kyle Case:
You've been on the show before and shared some very interesting and useful information about yoga and we're hoping to do the same today. So again, thanks for joining us.

Chanda Vaniman:
You're welcome.

Kyle Case:
So if you've listened to this show at all, you probably know that Jeff and I are chronically inflexible when it comes to our muscles and joints. Not in other areas of our life, right?

Jeff Harding:
No, no, but I did show off just a few minutes ago and touched my knees.

Kyle Case:
He did. I watched. It was...

Chanda Vaniman:
Impressive.

Kyle Case:
Impressive. So anyway, yeah, flexibility is maybe not one of our strong points for either of us. However, I do subscribe to the idea that it's important. I just haven't yet figured out how to get myself there, and perhaps yoga is one of the ways to arrive.

Jeff Harding:
You know, Kyle, she's probably going to remind us that she invited us to come to one of her classes last time she was here.

Kyle Case:
I know. I figured she might.

Chanda Vaniman:
It's true. I was waiting for that moment. So this time next year we could see the progress. You could try it this year. So from last year to this year, maybe the same, but maybe if we try it for a year, see what happens?

Kyle Case:
In fairness to the situation, I did not visit Chanda at the LiveWell Center or at Sun Rock Yoga where she works. However, I did do a yoga session since we last met.

Chanda Vaniman:
Oh good.

Kyle Case:
And I'm just going to be brutally honest with you, I didn't love it. I didn't love it. But again, I know that flexibility is important. I know that it's important and I know there's a lot of great benefits from yoga. So for those of us who are not familiar with the exercise or the activity yoga, of yoga, excuse me, let's just talk about it. What is yoga, just in its essence?

Chanda Vaniman:
So first I want to say too, I think it's important that you just said you don't like it because there are so many different styles of yoga.

Kyle Case:
Okay. Well, so that's good for me to know because the one that I did I didn't love.

Chanda Vaniman:
So don't give up. Try again.

Kyle Case:
I didn't love that one, but...

Chanda Vaniman:
So I think for a lot of people... just to getting down to the core, the idea, we're trying to just connect our mind and our body, right, and be able to build flexibility. But for some of us, we need to do it more actively and be moving, and so more of a power style class where you're in there and you're moving and you're not just hanging out being really still and quiet for an hour, because that can be really hard for a lot of us. But for some people, that's too much. They're already really active in their lives and they need to slow it down a little bit and take the time to restore and just a more gentle class, and so it would be some longer holds and things. So there are all sorts of yoga. You mentioned already my focus, even since I've seen you last, has been on the seniors and doing even chair yoga, which is important to know.

Kyle Case:
Chair yoga. Now let's talk about that. I'm not familiar with chair yoga at all. So what is it?

Chanda Vaniman:
So you utilize a chair, so for people who need the chair, that's an essential piece of equipment. But for those who maybe don't need it, it can just be utilized to help get into the body, help to open up. But particularly for like balanced poses, you can utilize the chair, but for a lot of people, especially as we age it's hard to get on the floor or maybe you can get down but the chair would help you get down and help you get back up. But for some people with knee issues and hip issues and back issues, it's just not possible to really be on the floor comfortably for that time, so the chair really opens up a whole new world for people to be able to come in and still get the benefits of moving the joints, because it's so important that we move them in all these different directions.

Kyle Case:
So chair yoga isn't necessarily sitting in the chair for the entire session, it's using it for balance, using it for aid to get up and down, those kinds of things.

Chanda Vaniman:
It can be both.

Kyle Case:
Okay, okay.

Chanda Vaniman:
So it can, for those who just need to be in the chair, it can be just that. But for those who just maybe need the assistance of the chair but could still stand up, because it's important if you can get down and you can get up, it's important to keep doing those things because otherwise, we lose that ability and we don't want to lose it.

Jeff Harding:
I find with the gravity that getting down is the easy part.

Kyle Case:
I was going to say, getting down...

Jeff Harding:
It's the getting back up that's the hard part.

Chanda Vaniman:
So the chair would assist you with that.

Kyle Case:
It can almost happen by itself.

Jeff Harding:
Yes.

Chanda Vaniman:
And gravity... it's pulling on us constantly and so we want to be able to keep lengthening out so that we've got space in our spine and our joints so that we can continue to move and do the things that we enjoy doing, but we must work against gravity.

Kyle Case:
So yoga you said is an attempt to connect the body and the mind, which I appreciate that part of it. I think that's an important part because I think sometimes we underestimate just how important our mind and our brain is to our overall health and wellness and anything we can do to strengthen our minds, whether that's meditation or mindfulness or whatever that is, I think that's important. How long has yoga been doing that, connecting minds and bodies? It's an ancient practice.

Chanda Vaniman:
It is ancient. The scripts go back, that we have, go back 10,000 years,

Kyle Case:
Ten thousand years. That's a long time.

Chanda Vaniman:
It's a long time.

Kyle Case:
So that makes me feel like I shouldn't have just tried one and then been done with it, I should have given it a little more of a chance.

Chanda Vaniman:
Absolutely.

Kyle Case:
You agree with that, right?

Chanda Vaniman:
I do agree with that, especially because like sometimes I think as an American... Well, really anybody who's training for something, you're used to a program that maybe is three months, six months long, maybe even a year-long, which is a pretty long training program. And I remember when I was in teacher training, the whole class is doing something and of course I'm the only one that can't do it. It's at least what it feels like. Right?

Kyle Case:
Yeah. I know I felt that way.

Chanda Vaniman:
Right? I thought, "I'm never going to be able to do this." And my teacher just was like, "Well, just give it 10 years."

Kyle Case:
Okay, there you go.

Jeff Harding:
Relative.

Kyle Case:
Just give it 10 years.

Chanda Vaniman:
But she was being dead serious because I was like haha at first, right, I'm like, "Ten years?" And then I thought, "Oh wait, I am in this for the long haul. These are the bodies we have."

Kyle Case:
It's a commitment.

Chanda Vaniman:
Yes.

Kyle Case:
And one that does take some commitment. The class that I went to was actually during a wrestling practice. I help as an assistant coach for one of the local high schools on the wrestling team. And so like you said, we kind of have a routine that we go through normally for warmup and even for stretching, and then, of course, the skills. But we thought, well let's take a day and we'll do a yoga class. And so we had a teacher that came in and I've got to say, I did enjoy the concept and the aspect. The personal experience of trying to hold the poses and do the different things and find the balance and just stretch was difficult for me. But that idea of staying independent throughout our lives and fighting against gravity and a commitment to a long haul is really important.

Chanda Vaniman:
Important. And it's just essential like daily movement. And it's not, you don't always have to go into a class, but for most of us, when we need to know what to do and then to having a teacher have their eyes on you to help you make adjustments when something doesn't feel good to you, it's not... Sometimes we just think, oh this is supposed to be painful.

Kyle Case:
Oh, so it's not?

Jeff Harding:
I thought it was too.

Kyle Case:
These are misconceptions that we've been carrying around for too long, Jeff.

Jeff Harding:
In my case it is painful. It's not supposed to be, but it is painful. So yeah.

Chanda Vaniman:
So I like to say noticing the difference between sensation and pain. So sometimes we mistake sensation for pain.

Kyle Case:
Yeah.

Chanda Vaniman:
Because, oh, I haven't opened this up in a long time or maybe ever, you know, and so taking the time to go through it, breathe through it, but not getting to the point of pain, because it shouldn't be painful and we're not trying to create more pain in the body but to open it so that we don't have that pain. But it is the consistent practice of it, and even, I can speak back to 10 years ago, when now it's been 10 years since I was in that training, that things have started to open up. My hamstrings are looser than they used to be, but 10 years later.

Kyle Case:
But it's taken 10 years. There's the frustrating part maybe. So I do like that idea of opening up though. I'm starting to notice for myself, you know, as I'm getting older, as we all are getting older, how things that used to be simple and just a no brainer and not even a thought are now becoming a little bit more difficult. I've noticed that even backing up a vehicle is different than it used to be. I used to be able to just turn my head around and that was no problem. And now I'm starting to feel like, wow, I just don't have-

Jeff Harding:
Now you're grateful for rearview mirrors, aren't you?

Kyle Case:
Yeah. I just don't have that range of motion that seemed so simple and thoughtless before, which is why I understand again, the importance of some kind of flexibility training, yoga or otherwise. And I just need to convince myself that I can do it. I've said this before, but it's just... It's the kind of discomfort that it is. Like if you, you know, you punch me in the armor I'm running and I get a side ache or whatever, like wrestling, that kind of pain doesn't bother me that much, honestly. Like I can work through that pain, but you ask me to like touch my toes and just that ripping, tearing, excruciating kind of pain that I feel in my hamstrings is unpleasant enough that it steers me away from it.

Chanda Vaniman:
Well, I think it's important again, to find the right class for you because there's... I've definitely been in classes where I feel that same sensation and I'm like, this doesn't feel good, it doesn't feel right, but when you find the right class for you or know how to adapt your practice to what you need, and you can ease into it and you can breathe through those things, then it's a lot different. The idea is not to rip and tear.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. I use that a little facetiously. I'm not injuring myself.

Chanda Vaniman:
But it's true.

Kyle Case:
But it is a kind of pain that I just find very, very disquieting.

Jeff Harding:
Did you notice that I've heard this word several times, she said to breathe through them. Maybe we shouldn't be holding our breath when we're bending over trying to touch our toes. Maybe keep breathing. Maybe that's the problem.

Chanda Vaniman:
That's when you find out it's too far and so maybe the knees are far enough right now and you breathe while you're at your knees.

Jeff Harding:
I should go to my shins, but I don't want to push it too much.

Chanda Vaniman:
Then you can breathe into that as you move through. But I mean it's the consistent practice. But I'll say the other thing, Kyle, is it's hard to be still sometimes. When you're active and you're moving to sit and breathe feels like a waste of time a lot of times too.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. That may be my problem. I don't know. You're listening to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life we're visiting with Chanda Vaniman about the benefits of yoga and flexibility training.

Kyle Case:
You've mentioned several times now that there are multiple classes, different styles, different approaches to yoga. Let's talk about some of those specifically. You mentioned the chair yoga, which is a great one. What are some other classes of yoga and how do you find the right one for you?

Chanda Vaniman:
Excellent question. So I think some trial and error is part of the process of kind of figuring out particularly maybe what teacher you resonate with too, and just the location and such as well as the style. But for most of the time when we're talking yoga, we're talking the physical aspect of asana, doing postures. So that's the Sanskrit word is asana, and in general, that's what you're going to come across. We do have quite a few Kundalini classes here in town, which is more meditative, chanting type classes. But in general it's going to be the movement, but within that, we mentioned chair yoga and then there's a restorative class and in that class, you use a lot of props to help you get into a position that stretches you, but then you're supported in it. You don't just... Gravity doesn't keep pulling on you. You have a stopping point and that can be a fantastic class.

Chanda Vaniman:
I mentioned power yoga, lots of movement with power yoga and then there is... so power kind of falls under this... it's called Vinyasa and that's moving, you're flowing, and so a lot of people know up the dog, down dog.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, those are... greet the sun. I know there is some standard as you say, poses, I don't know very many of them, but the upward dog and downward dog, I know those.

Chanda Vaniman:
And you mentioned greet the sun, so like a sun salutation that if you're flowing through that in general, that's a Vinyasa class so it can be paced slow or it can be paced faster, but you're moving through it.

Chanda Vaniman:
I'm Hatha certified and all of these fall under Hatha, but sometimes you'll have a class that's just a Hatha class, which means you're just going to go from pose to pose versus connecting it with this Vinyasa, this down dog, up dog movement. So it's a pose to pose, and there's a ton of different kinds, different styles, and then each teacher has their rhythm and pace and personality.

Kyle Case:
Their personality.

Chanda Vaniman:
Right.

Kyle Case:
So it sounds like what you said at the beginning is it's worth a little trial and error.

Chanda Vaniman:
Definitely.

Kyle Case:
Yeah.

Chanda Vaniman:
Especially because flexibility is essential. We know we need it. That's what I mean, who doesn't want to keep driving their car, looking back behind them? You've got to have that.

Kyle Case:
Right.

Jeff Harding:
Or bend over and pick up your grandkids or whatever.

Chanda Vaniman:
Absolutely.

Kyle Case:
Or a penny.

Jeff Harding:
Oh, a penny's not worth it.

Kyle Case:
That's good luck man.

Jeff Harding:
It doesn't matter.

Kyle Case:
Find a penny, pick it up. The rest of the day, your thighs will hurt.

Jeff Harding:
Yes. Thighs, back, calves, hamstrings. Yes.

Kyle Case:
So I do think that that's an important element to emphasize is that you said this is our body, this is the body that we have, we need to take care of it, and mobility is so crucial to living the active life and just enjoying your life. Certainly no question about that. Do you feel like... And we're going to get back to a little bit in just a second back to yoga specifically, but aside from yoga, do you feel like just stretches can be helpful or are there a certain method that you should follow in just trying to stretch your muscles?

Chanda Vaniman:
Just movement period is good. I'm doing a chair yoga training right now from a lady, Sherry, who I enjoy, but kind of like the little rhyme is north, south, east, west, twist, twist, feel your best.

Kyle Case:
I like that.

Chanda Vaniman:
So the idea is that you're reaching up every day, you're bending over, you're reaching down every day, you're doing a lateral stretch, you're going sideways and that you're getting a little twist in the spine. Because we're as old as our spine is and as healthy as our spine is, and so if you can do that movement every day, whether you're in a class or not, will be beneficial.

Kyle Case:
Now we tend to work at the Huntsman World Senior Games with the senior population and you know, senior athletes of all different skill levels and all different ages, 50 and above. Are there classes that are better for seniors, or does that depend on your starting point? What are you finding in your working with an aging population?

Chanda Vaniman:
So it's dependent, right? I have an 85-year-old that comes to my power class and he rocks it.

Kyle Case:
Oh, wow.

Chanda Vaniman:
It's really impressive.

Kyle Case:
Yeah.

Chanda Vaniman:
But then I also people who are like, "I can't do that," and so they don't want to go to yoga because they think that's the case. So, particularly over at Intermountain, we have a lot of props and things to help people that have back issues and hip issues and knee issues and shoulder issues so that they can be successful in class. That's the other thing about finding a teacher. If you find somebody that you can work with, then they get to know you and they can help you make those adjustments and changes that you need to make it a successful class for you.

Kyle Case:
Now we've talked about some of the available locals, a lot of our listening audience is from outside of the area. What's the best way that they can find a class that would work for them?

Chanda Vaniman:
Hmm, that's a really good question. So there is... You can definitely... There are lots of YouTube videos and things even that you can just do, but I do recommend going into a teacher, but just a Google search for yoga, and depending on... I kind of mentioned a few keywords. So if the restorative sounded good, lots of props, then you would look up a restorative yoga class or Vinyasa is kind of the other, if you want a lot of movement would be another word, or chair yoga and just do a Google search. It's great. They'll usually have reviews and things. You can kind of get a good starting point for what the studio's like.

Kyle Case:
Awesome. That's great advice. That sounds good. Many of our aging population has experienced a joint replacement and knee replacement, a hip replacement. Is yoga still for you if you've got a new joint that you're working with?

Chanda Vaniman:
It's essential and that's been the thing I've enjoyed the most recently working with the older population is that that is the case. A lot is going on, but it's so important to move and if we don't keep moving, then things just keep getting stiff and we can't move, and everybody wants to still be independent.

Kyle Case:
So the idea of I've had a hip replacement, I don't want to injure it further, that should not enter your mind when you're thinking about yoga. It's beneficial.

Chanda Vaniman:
Beneficial, but follow the doctor's guidelines, what he gives you or she gives you and communicate with the teacher so that they know and make sure you're comfortable with the teacher. At the end of the day, we know best and it goes back to that whole feeling of pain. You shouldn't be in pain and so if you are, either you need to make the change or ask the teacher to help you make the change.

Kyle Case:
That makes sense. I like that idea of you shouldn't be in pain because that's always been the thing that's driven me away from it.

Jeff Harding:
Me too and just general stretching.

Kyle Case:
Maybe I'm just pushing myself harder than I should, I need to be a little more patient and give myself 10 years to be able to reach down below my kneecaps, perhaps.

Kyle Case:
We're running a little short on time, Chanda, but any last-minute advice that you might give somebody about yoga or flexibility as we're all just trying to sort out what the act of life means to each one of us?

Chanda Vaniman:
I think going back to what you mentioned even before the mindfulness, that yoga is mindful meditation, a moving meditation is a word I'm looking for, and so you get that meditative, that connection back to the mind, body and it's not easy. For most of us, we'd rather be distracted than be connected. But it's so essential to us, to our physical wellbeing, our emotional wellbeing, super beneficial.

Kyle Case:
I like that and I appreciate that, and I think that can't be overstated. I think for most of us when we think about yoga, we are thinking about the stretching of the muscles and the flexibility and, you know, I think most of our minds go to that guru that we saw in the movie that's able to put their foot behind their head, that that kind of thing. Realistically, that's not the yoga that most of us are practicing. We're not there yet, we're not to that point, we may never be there, but I like that idea of strengthening your mind and connecting your mind to your body. I think that's so important. So again, Chanda, thank you so much for joining us.

Chanda Vaniman:
You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

Kyle Case:
Hopefully, we'll be able to have you back another time. So, Jeff, today is August 1st.

Jeff Harding:
Yes, it is.

Kyle Case:
And as of August 1st that's the last day to get the early bird registration for the Huntsman World Senior Games.

Jeff Harding:
That's right. You can do it now.

Kyle Case:
So it's late in the game, but it's not too late in the game. If you want to save $20 off of your regular registration fee, now is the time to register. Don't delay. It's easy to register, very easy to do. Just visit the website, which is seniorgames.net and click on register. The process itself is very simple. You choose your sport, you choose your division, you're ready to go. It's fast, it's secure. Before you know it, you'll be ready to become one of the more than 11,000 athletes who will compete this year in the Huntsman World Senior Games. We're on track to set a participation record.

Jeff Harding:
We are.

Kyle Case:
So be a part of that. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Jeff Harding:
It will be.

Kyle Case:
The dates for the 2019 Huntsman World Senior Games are October 7th through the 19th, so put that on your calendar. Get some stretching in and get ready to go for your competition on those dates. Remember to tune in live next to and every Thursday at 5:30 PM Mountain time on AM 1450 or FM 93.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. You can also subscribe to our podcast pretty much anywhere that podcasts are found. Once you subscribe, give us a rating and write a quick review. You can make a difference in helping us spread the word about the Huntsman World Senior Games and the show.

Kyle Case:
Jeff, our inspirational thought for the day is very simple, but it's powerful.

Jeff Harding:
I'm ready.

Kyle Case:
And it is this. You are not too old and it is not too late.

Jeff Harding:
That's a good thought.

Kyle Case:
Until next Thursday, stay active.

Jeff Harding:
Bye, everyone.