exercise

Painful Truth?

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Today I am sharing a fantastic blog by Denise Shroka Sanger from “How to Stay Fit Over 50” that discusses times from yesterday (gotta love those years!) and excuses of today.

I really encourage you to be inspired, even though the truth may sting a bit.  Oh, and you should go check out this blog site.  Really you should.  I have listed the link below.

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If You Are Going To Make Excuses, Don’t Start An Exercise Program

by on APRIL 11, 2013

Okay – I will admit it.  I have a pet peeve about people who make excuses for ANYTHING but more so when it effects your health as in diet and an exercise program.  Being born at a time when mom still stayed at home and dad worked, we didn’t just get anything we wanted.  If we wanted something, we worked for it because bottom line, there wasn’t any extra money.  You figured it out and you made it happen.   We had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and dad saved enough money to go on vacation one time a year and vacation for many families at the time was just not possible.  It is the same thing with exercise.  I myself can come up with A LIST OF EXCUSES but I don’t.  I make the time and just do it and when I’ve finished I feel wonderful.

Granted growing up when we did (those of us in our 50′s, near our 50′s or over our 50′s), we tend to view the world just a little bit different.  We walked to and from school, came home changed out of our “school” clothes into our “play clothes” and after homework was done, outside we went.  In for dinner then back outside but had to have our butts in the door or at least the yard by the time the street lights came on.   TV had 3 stations originally and we watched what our parents watched.  Personally, I remember playing outside until the last possible minute before coming in the house.  We didn’t have 500+ stations, computers, IPads, XBoxes, streaming video, video games, and everything else that keeps us sitting in the house on the couch these days.

I think because we do tend to view the world through the eyes we grew up with, we don’t take things for granted.  If you want something, you work your butt off to get it.  I started working when I was 12 cutting grass in the neighborhood.  Why? I wanted a new bike and yes I got that bike by saving my money.  Was it easy?  No it was not but boy was it worth it when I got to ride my new yellow 10 speed bike :)

It’s the same way with fitness. You must make the choice to select healthy foods when you are in the grocery store or at the restaurant.  You must make the time to workout. Yes, we are all busy with different aspects of our lives but if you truly want to be fit, get up and do something.  Tied up after work?  How about getting up just 30 minutes earlier in the morning?  Watching the kids or grandkids?  Take them to the park and play WITH them – don’t sit on the bench and watch them and worse yet? Don’t sit on the couch and watch TV for 3 hours with them – get up, get out and move.

Work is too busy?  Seriously?  Making money for someone else is more important than your health?  TAKE your lunch and go out for a walk.  Working through lunch is not a good thing for so many reasons with your health being at the top of the list. I know how that goes because I used to do it.  I used to put the company I worked for ahead of my family and my health and where did it get me? Working 60+ hours a week, working Saturday’s, eating lunch at my desk and overweight, grumpy and not spending enough time with my kids.   That 4% raise I got? So not worth the time I traded away from MY life, MY family and MY kids and now I’m self employed and will NEVER go back to the way it was and that was just a short 5 years ago. (Ask me how I did it – that’s a whole other topic but when you want it, you work for it until you get it.)

Bottom line is if YOU don’t make the time to put your health and fitness at the top of the list as a priority, no one will do it for you. How many more excuses do you have?

Stop Making Excuses Stop Making Excuses

Medical Brain Disorders~The Benefits of Exercise

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One very important and often highly neglected treatment of a variety of medical brain disorders is exercise.  Daily exercise.  I cannot stress how important this is, yet maintaining consistency with exercise when dealing with mental illness is extremely difficult.  Some days, many people cannot even get out of bed.  Other people are terrified of being in public places (which eliminates a gym or an outdoor walk).

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One way to get moving each day and to stay at it is to have an accountability buddy.  A family member, close friend or even a support group are some wonderful examples to get needed support for a daily exercise regime, especially if you are suffering from depression or anxiety disorders.  Try not to do this alone.  Make it fun and do not be afraid to ask for support.

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The importance of mood-tracking journals are tools in helping manage certain mood disorders, but so is keeping an exercise journal.  Note each day how you feel before and after exercise, your strength levels, energy improvements, how you sleep each night, and especially any changes to your moods and overall look upon life.   I believe you will find that keeping a journal will document amazing and positive results!
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Movement is so good for the body, spirit and mind. Activity and exercise are very important for people living with mental illness.  Most of all, try to find an exercise activity you really enjoy!  Individuals living with mental illness often have a higher risk for heart disease, and exercise can play a key part in a wellness plan. Activity and exercise are great ways to combat factors that are part of heart disease risk, stress, high blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes-all problems commonly found among people living with mental illness. Did you know that exercise plays a key part in elevating your mood and regulating sleep patterns?

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The benefits of exercise does make a difference with depression, including severe clinical depression.  Whether you take medication or choose to manage without, an active lifestyle is important for everyone. This is particularly true for those living with schizophrenia and who are on second-generation atypical antipsychotic medication (SGAs) because they are more vulnerable to obesity.

“Exercise is central to my mental health. As a person living with schizophrenia, stress exacerbates my illness, worsening my symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia. Exercise counteracts the stress, enabling me to see issues clearly, reality test, and judge things more accurately.

Fitness also takes me out of my isolated apartment and into the community. As I interact with people at the gym or along outdoor walks, my torturous inner-voices subside as my mind is distracted by the exercise and more at peace. I began exercising as a competitive runner long before I became ill – and two lessons I learned from those early days that have stayed with me throughout my decade-long struggle with schizophrenia are: “a winner never quits and a quitter never wins” and “there is no finish line.”  ~Lisa H.

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In addition to the countless physical benefits, exercise does have vast psychological benefits. Studies show that exercise can increase the amounts of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in your brain. The increased levels of neurotransmitters can help treat many disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, as well as help you to feel more energetic overall.

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Lastly, just having hope in something healthy, positive and inspirational, as well as setting new goals that will bring about feeling good about ourselves are lifelines to those dealing with medical brain disorders.  Today, would you step out in courage, take those baby steps to implement daily exercise into your life, and remember…you are not alone.  If you would like an accountability buddy, just say the word!  I am rooting for you!

Wendy

Yoga for Dumber than Dummies!

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If you remember, I tried Yoga for the first time a few Friday evenings ago and mentioned I would come back and talk about my experience.  To be honest, I have simply put this off because of how ridiculously dumb I felt after my very first EASY Yoga workout.  Oh, and the aches and pains I had for days afterwards…I have felt so ashamed to even share with you all!  I went at this so ill-equipped.

The workout I used I now have come to love.  It is relatively easy and very gentle, and I especially appreciated that there are three instructors to exercise with based on your level of expertise.  You can find this DVD here:Image

I think the most important thing one can do before a Yoga workout is to review the different postures, especially if you have never performed Yoga before.  That was my first mistake!  It was very difficult watching the TV at the same time as I was engaging in the exercises, which I had never before done, and I truly believe this caused my neck to ache for days afterwards.  Yoga is supposed to relax you, and all I felt was extreme stress during my first workout because I had not properly prepared.

Here is a great site for a simple review of basic Yoga positions as well as more advanced techniques for relaxation, prenatal and back pain: www.yogadownload.com.

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Secondly, water is so very important after a work out.  Why?  Some yoga exercises squeeze and soak your kidneys, which releases toxins in your body. You need to drink water to help flush out those toxins.  I did not do this, rather I had a glass of wine!  Dumber than a dummy!  All my body toxins just settled back to their original locations and it felt like they multiplied because I felt so stressed trying to get the positions right!  I truly could hardly move the next morning.

Breathing is another important part of Yoga.  I found I was holding my breath through many of the exercises!

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You should have the ideal automatic breathing pattern.  This slow and relaxed diaphragmatic breathing pattern provides the human body with superior body oxygenation: about 2-3 minutes for the DIY body-oxygen test (stress free breath holding time after usual exhalation). There are many other effects that correspond to the ideal breathing pattern. You can find them on many Web pages devoted to the ideal breathing pattern for Yoga.

Additionally, the body and cells require oxygen 24/7.  (A Yoga novice can practice in the best yoga sessions, but if he or she sleeps on their back at night, or breathes through the mouth while sleeping, all the positive effects of yoga practice will be demolished by tissue hypoxia and free radicals generated during sleep.)

Here are some other additional Yoga tips I have discovered:

Motivation for Yoga
You should examine your motivation behind trying Yoga. Many students are happy with improved form and physique. To this end, they try impossible poses which may be beyond their capacity. They should remember that Yoga has physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits.  Sometimes, instead of trying a difficult pose, the student may be better served performing a simple one.  

Don’t Try for Yoga Perfection
You may have seen perfect Yoga poses in a picture or video. Do not try to imitate the seeming perfection of the pose. It may have been morphed, for all you know. Striving towards superficial Yoga perfection can be dangerous. So, do not sacrifice your body trying the perfect pose. Rather than trying to contort yourself into a pretzel, focus on how your mind and emotions feel when you do Yoga.

Form Over Feeling
One of the main Yoga dangers is putting form ahead of feeling. This tendency is becoming widespread, leading to increasing Yoga injuries.

Yoga Injuries
Straining too hard can cause back injury, bone spurs or tendonitis. These injuries can be slow to manifest. Even some seniors, denying their age, try to perform poses which are too difficult for them. Take care not to fall into this trap. Trying too hard can cause injuries which may take many years to manifest. And, it may take some more years to rectify the damage. Therefore, do Yoga poses within your limitations to prevent injuries.

Summary

I really hope my mistakes and tips about Yoga have helped you!  Remember to relax, breathe and know your Yoga positions before attempting a DVD, and especially drink your water after your workout!  If you are just beginning Yoga or are interested in giving it a try, taking a class with others is a fantastic idea to have hands on guidance with your session.  Otherwise, if you already enjoy Yoga as part of your lifestyle, I think you would really enjoy the DVD I myself use.

Have a lovely weekend,

Wendy

Love to walk!

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“All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole.” -Hal Borland

I love to walk, especially in the early mornings on a beautiful day with my dog, Buddy.  Walking is my favorite way to get my daily exercise.  I do not listen to music when I am walking, rather I love to hear the sound of the birds and the rustle of leaves from a gentle breeze.  I talk with my dog.  I talk to God. This is my peaceful, therapeutic time just for me.

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Based on research studies, walking on a regular basis has the following health benefits:
Regular physical activity, such as walking, can also make you feel better, because it:
  • Helps keep your bones, muscles, and joints healthy
  • Reduces anxiety and depression, boosting your mood
  • Helps you handle stress
  • Helps you feel more energetic
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Improves your self-esteem
  • Gives you an opportunity to socialize actively with friends and family.

This is my favorite walking partner, Buddy, as a puppy four years ago:

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Pretty cute, huh?

Unbelievably, this little guy walks me!  During our walks we engage in a variety of walking from stopping for potty moments, leisure walking and definitely brisk walking.  Our usual walking dates are about 45 minutes.

This is Buddy now, still a small guy, but boy can he scoot!Image

Beginning to Walk
If you struggle to exercise each day, why not try walking?  Start slowly if you are not active now. Try to walk 5 minutes a day for the first week. Walk 8 minutes the next week. Stay at 8-minute walks until you feel comfortable. Then increase your walks to 11 minutes. Slowly lengthen each walk by 3 minutes, or walk faster.  I find that if I walk 30-45 minutes daily I feel just fabulous.  Additionally, the stiffness and aching from my arthritis lessens dramatically when I regularly move and walk.
Some other tips for walking include the following:
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support, including proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick, flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock. If you walk frequently, you may need to buy new shoes often. You may wish to speak with a podiatrist about when you need to purchase new walking shoes.
  • Wear garments that prevent inner-thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts. Also wear clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable. Look for synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
  • Make walking fun by walking with a friend, family member or pet. Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping mall.  Scenery makes a walk joyous and refreshing.
  • Choose a safe place to walk. Find a partner or group of people to walk with you.
  • Wear a knit cap in winter for extra warmth. To stay cool in summer, wear a baseball cap or visor.
  • Think of your walk in three parts. Warm up by walking slowly for five minutes. Then increase your speed and do a fast walk. Finally, cool down by walking slowly again for five minutes.
  • Do light stretching before and after your walks to warm-up, loosen up and cool-down.
  • Try to walk at least three times per week. Each week, add two or three minutes to your walk. If you walk fewer than three times per week, you may need more time to adjust before you increase the pace or frequency of your walk.
  • Start gradually to avoid stiff or sore muscles and joints. Over several weeks, begin walking faster, going farther, and walking for longer periods of time.
  • Set goals and rewards. Some examples of goals are participating in a fun walk or walking continuously for 30 minutes.
  • Keep track of your progress with a walking journal or log.
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(Hawthorne tree-lined streets in our neighborhood from yesterday.)
The more you walk, the better you may feel and the more calories you may burn. Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. If you cannot do 30 minutes at a time, try walking for shorter amounts and gradually working up to it.
Always be aware of your surroundings and if you walk at dawn, dusk, or night, wear a reflective vest or brightly colored clothing.
Stretch gently after you warm up your muscles with an easy five-minute walk and again after you cool down. Try doing the following stretches. Do not bounce or hold your breath when you stretch. Perform slow movements and stretch only as far as you feel comfortable.
Some nice stretches I do before and after my walk I have listed for you:
Side Reach
Reach one arm over your head and to the side. Keep your hips steady and your shoulders straight to the side. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Wall Push
Lean your hands on a wall with your feet about three to four feet away from the wall. Bend one knee and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight, with your foot flat and your toes pointed straight ahead. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Knee Pull
Lean your back against a wall. Keep your head, hips, and feet in a straight line. Pull one knee to your chest, hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Leg Curl
Pull your right foot to your buttocks with your right hand. Stand straight and keep your knee pointing straight to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your left foot and hand.
Hamstring
Sit on a sturdy bench or hard surface so that your left leg is stretched out on the bench with your toes pointing up. Keep your right foot flat on the floor. Straighten your back, and when you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh, hold for 10 seconds and repeat with your right leg. If you do not yet feel a stretch, lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch.
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The best part of my walk yesterday was loading up my jacket pockets with a few samples from neighborhood trees!  Most of our neighbors have fruit trees in their front yards or overflowing to the walkway paths from their back yards.
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(Mandarin orange tree)
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(Avocado tree)
Wishing you a beautiful week filled with walking!  Enjoy the early spring blossoms!
Wendy

What is Shakeology all about? Healthy Results!

Posted on Updated on

Today I have had many people ask me what exactly is this Shakeology thing all about.  This just delights and excites me!  Why? Because truly I am the product of the product.  I am a natural hard-core skeptic turned devoted believer!

I think I mentioned before, I have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and put too many hours into my work (required!) as a medical transcriptionist.  Additionally, I am finishing my BA degree online.  I have neglected my overall health for quite awhile and then added in too much wine (on a daily basis!), not enough exercise (or none at all for days at a time!) and just lazy, unhealthy eating habits.  When I was introduced to Shakeology I felt physically and emotionally awful, basically defeated and feeling stuck in a rut, and was willing to give it a try.  I will forever be thankful that I did!  I actually find that I worry about future provisions of all these super foods and ingredients that go into making my most important meal of the day with all the global changes happening around our planet.  Anyway…that is a whole other subject to blog about later!

Within the first week of being on Shakeology I noticed drastic changes and differences in my health and how I felt.  I knew I was not imagining this either!  The daily aching, deep and sharp pain I had in my hips was gone, for which I have had multiple cortisone shots over the years to help alleviate this pain.  My feet and my ankles were hurting so much I was reducing my walking, which I love to do with my dog.  Also, the swelling was causing me problems in my lower legs.  This too has completely been obliterated.  Lastly, my shoulders.  I have had shots in my shoulders too, and now I have absolutely no pain.  NONE!  I have had so much energy I no longer feel the need for a nap each afternoon.  I sleep deeper at night and feel refreshed and rejuvenated when I wake in the mornings.  Another wonderful benefit: because my pain is gone, I am exercising more!  I give all my thanks to Shakeology to start this chain reaction in my life.  Believe me, I have tried many, many different products for losing weight, reducing cravings and having extra energy with zero, let me say that again, ZERO results and ZERO benefits.

Because of so many incredibly positive effects Shakeology has given to my life, I want to shout to the world and inspire others.  I wish every person on this planet could be on Shakeology.  I wish it for you, too.  My hearts desire is to be an example, to inspire, to help YOU on your journey for taking care of yourself.

Here are a few results I am sharing from others from yesterday and today:

“Since I have been using Shakeology daily, my digestive issues have disappeared, my overall psyche feels so right on and I have a ton of energy.” -Lee W. (Ventura, CA)

“I will admit, I did take a break from Shakeology for reasons that I just can’t even justify, because looking back, it was not a smart choice at all!  I felt like I had no energy, was craving junk, gaining weight and was just not happy.  Now I know that this isn’t all because I stopped drinking Shakeology, but there is a trickle effect that really does boil down to that one change I made.” -Shannon W.  (Brampton, Canada)

(I am linking Shannon’s blog here: http://cangetfit.com/shakeology-rocks/)

Take a few minutes and quench your curiosity by watching the video below.  If you want more information, please send me an e-mail at: KeepChoosingConsistency@gmail.com.  However, if you just want to sample the product and be a product yourself, please go to http://myshakeology.com/Dbluuendy and look at all the flavors Shakeology comes in.  My favorite is the strawberry, but most people say the chocolate just rocks!  No matter, there is a 30-day money back guarantee and free shipping on home direct orders.  What do you have to lose?  The better question is what do you have to gain?

Thanks so much for listening to my excitement and I am really wishing you all good health!

Wendy

Dust off!

Aside Posted on Updated on

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
~Frederick Douglass

In looking back, I can see so many struggles within my struggle to finally make a firm choice to change my lifestyle habits. I personally do not believe radical changes make for lasting progress. Usually it is the baby steps which do get us there. Really absorb each healthy choice you make and journal your progress. Journaling will help remind you on the difficult days. And, there will be difficult days. I believe each person’s journey holds a different time frame of struggle until we finally break through the obstacles holding us back.

There will be days when we fall back into old habits. Do not let these define you or cause you to feel defeated in your goals. Most importantly, give yourself grace! Be especially kind to yourself. New lifestyle changes are replacing unhealthy past habits. Instead, let these fall-backs be motivators to dust yourself off and begin again. Every positive choice you make for your overall health does not go wasted. Never. It truly is amazing how neglecting ourselves becomes easier and quicker to identify once we have stepped into healthy living.

Did you have a binge meal or a few too many glasses of wine? Journal how you felt the next day. Then re-hydrate yourself with water and green tea. Get back on tract with eating those foods which are good for you.

How did you feel going a day without some exercise? May be take a nice 30 minute walk the following day to step back into your regime and journal how you felt afterwards.

Lastly, has your schedule been so insane (like mine can be!) that you have neglected to take some time to relax with your favorite book, enjoy your hobby or really share quality time with family and friends? What about some quiet time with God?

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Pencil in some time today for some relaxation and Keep Choosing Consistency,

Wendy