Tag Archives: well-being

Motivation Monday: Why Do I?

In the slew of life, it’s easy to lose motivation. Hungry and I know that very well recently, as we’ve been caught in the whirlwind of the move. We’ve been pulled this way and that to try to get everything in order before we leave for California in 11 days. We haven’t been as set on our fitness regimen as we usually are. Some days, you can’t even find us at the gym! That always stresses both of us out as fitness is a huge part of our life. Motivation can dwindle when life gets busy, but we can always find a way to see the light.

Even when life catches up with you, the power is always within you to beat it back down. We have tons of pathways for motivation and sometimes you have to search all of them to really draw that inspiration to keep going and get back on that horse. You’ve seen our previous Motivation Mondays, so I want to bring you in a different direction and ask you to ask yourself a question. 

Why do I?

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Why do I what? I want you to ask yourself, why do you exercise? And be honest! Write down all the reasons. Is it to get strong? Is it to get thin? Is it to keep off that heart attack that lies in your genetics? Is it to be the best in your sport? Is it to put off that extra weight? It is to balance your wine indulgence? Is it to stay mobile? Is it to be an example to your kids? Is it the ticket to winning your crush? It could be anything. We all have tons of reasons–some vain and some rooted deep. 

Take out a piece of paper and pen, your laptop, your phone–something that you can write this list down. I want you to read it over and make sure you get it all out. Then print it if necessary and put it up where you will see it every day. It could be the fridge, the mirror, the dresser, and so forth. Put it in a stand-out place. Remember, this is for you to take back your fitness and ride that motivation wave. 

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Let us know how that works out for you. I know I will be doing this list as well. It’s important to stay connected to the roots of our fitness. Why we started this journey and why we never want it to end. Motivation can be drawn from many places, but a big source is yourself. I hope you enjoy making this list. Keep on it to stay hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: What’s one reason on your list for why you exercise?

BONUS PUPPY PIC

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How to Choose the Right Dentist for Your Kids

Having the right dentist for your children is important. Choosing a dentist for your child is like choosing a doctor; taking the time to research your options to decide on a specialist is the best way to make sure everybody has a good experience.

If your child is reaching the age where it’s time to start seeing the dentist regularly, or you’ve moved to a new area and find a new dentist for your kids, you likely understand how stressful it can be finding a new dentist. It isn’t a process to be rushed, however, because if you don’t get the right dentist for your child, there could be problems down the road. Check out these tips on how you can find a good dentist for your kids.

Ask for Recommendations

One of the best ways to find a dentist for your kids is to ask friends and family for recommendations. You likely have some family friends with kids that are going to the dentist, so asking them which dentist they go to and whether they like the services is a good way to find a dentist.

If you’re moving to a new city, you can ask your current dentist for recommendations or referrals to a new dentist. Even if you’re moving to some far away city like Olathe, your dentist might have a recommendation for a Kansas City cosmetic dentist that he or she knows through conferences or conventions. If you like your child’s current dentist, this can be a great way to find a new dentist because you’ll be getting a valued opinion on a new dentist.

cosmetic dentistry bonding

Find Out Policies

If your child has trouble going to the dentist, you likely know the nightmare that it can be whenever a checkup is required. Before settling on a dentist, check out certain policies that relate to your situation to see if the dentist is a good fit for you and your child. For example, if your child is too scared to sit in the chair by his or her self, see if you’ll be allowed to go back there to hold hands. Some dentists might have a policy against parents doing this, which is why it’s important to check policies before making a decision.

On the flip side, some dentists might require the parents to be in the back room. Whatever the situation is, make sure you double check the relevant policies so you can find a dentist that fits your and your child’s needs.

Richmond Hill Dentist
Check the Accreditation

This should be a no-brainer for parents searching for a dentist for their kids, but sometimes it’s often overlooked. Check to see if the potential dentist you’re considering is accredited with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This is the most respected accreditation for child dentists, so make sure that the dentist has this accreditation before agreeing to any sort of agreement. All it takes is a simple question to find out if the dentist is accredited.

cosmetic dentistry

Image credit: http://www.bcdentalcare.ca

3 Ways to Cut Bad Energy from Your Life

We all have times where we get down, stressed, or angry. It happens, it’s part of life. Bad energy is all around us and can consume us. But there is a way to control the bad energy that is around us. We do have control over our lives and mostly who surrounds us. Can you think of that one person or place that seems to simply drown you in that negative energy? Is it really necessary? Let’s look it over.

Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t want to be rude in cutting someone out of your life. Or you just think it’s all in your head. Believe yourself–it isn’t. The feeling of being overwhelmed with negative energy is awful and it sucks the life out of you. Why is that ever worth it? No matter what your situation–working, retired, in school–you don’t deserve to be plagued with that bad energy. The kind that drains you, makes you tired, gets you grumpy, makes you unproductive, and changes you into a person you dislike. It makes you feel choked, cramped, and tied down. It even drives the hope out of you.

energy

energy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Look back at that list. That is not how you want to live your life, even if it’s only part of the time. If you can immediately picture that person who drains the life out of you and smothers you with bad energy, think about if you really need them in your life. This may sound selfish, but sometimes to be truly happy and feel free, we need to be selfish and take the time to re-examine all components of our life. I have done this a few times and there are different ways to cut these people out:

1. Slowly release them from your life. Maybe it’s that one friend who complains about everything and makes you want to tear your hair out. Or that co-worker that nitpicks your everyday activities. You know that they aren’t necessarily trying to drag you down and throw bad energy at you, but–bottom line–they are. And because you know they aren’t evil people, you don’t want to straight-up shut them out immediately. So let’s be diplomatic and slowly cut the line. Maybe start declining outings they ask you on, spend less time near their cubicle, or make yourself busy and not available to chat. Don’t do all this immediately, do it nice and slow and before you know it, that connection will be dusty and you will feel clean and renewed.

2. Approach them and talk to them about it. This is risky, but worthwhile for both of you if you still want this person in your life. Do not be aggressive or confrontational about it. Have a private setting, maybe a small coffee shop, a lunch date, or simply a walk in the park. Bring up the topic slowly, saying something like, “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I really feel dragged down when you do this, or when you say that [obviously interject your own things]. I want to find a way to make our relationship [whether it be family, friends, or lovers] work so that we can both be happy.” That is a good way to start the conversation. If you find yourself getting quick to anger, maybe it’s just not going to work out as the bad energy spreads.

3. Take yourself out of the situation. So, yes, you can cut people out of your life or you can talk to them and try to make them aware of it so they can change. But what about yourself? Give yourself a good think-over and run over any times where you exude bad energy and where or with whom. And maybe you need to take yourself out of the situation. Out of an apartment, a job, a location. I know those sound like big things, but this is about mental health. Take the time, take the step, take the move.

English: Good Energy logo

English: Good Energy logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our mental health affects our physical health–nothing is by itself. If one is altered, then the other will be too. So never ignore your physical or mental health. Cut away the bad energy from your life and live free and happy!

Starting a Balance Program: It’s Never Too Early!

Working at a YMCA, I work with an older population a lot of the time. This means lots of balance work. Using different exercises, different times, tempos, and so forth in order to prevent adaptation or plateauing. But the thing is, they seek me out because at their age, they have awful balance. However, if you start balance training earlier than later, you will be a happy camper. Proper balance training prevents falls and increases muscles endurance and strength in hips, buttocks, core, and small muscles of the feet. It’s time you started a balance routine today.

It doesn’t have to be a huge long thing. It could even be one balance exercise before your workout to start out. However, if you have the time, I would suggest doing a 20-minute balance routine 2-3x a week. At least!

Benefits of doing a Balance Training Program:

  • Better strength in smaller muscles
  • Stronger core
  • Reduced chance of falling and injury
  • Helps improve the connection between brain and muscles
  • Burns calories as your body struggles to stabilize

Yes, even my younger clients have complained of tiny muscles in the feet, or their hamstrings, or their hips being sore the next day due to efficient balance training. So now it’s time to start your own. Like I said earlier, at least do one balance exercise before your workouts, better to do more, if possible. Here is a list of great balance exercises to add to your routine:

  • Single-Leg Balance. This one is simple. Stand on one foot, posture straight, shoulders back. If you have poor balance or feel unsteady, have a wall nearby to hold onto when needed. 30 seconds each leg.
  • Single-Leg Balance, Eyes Closed. Same as above, but with the eyes closed. Closing the eyes throws the body off, makes it unsure of where it is. Thus, you get more wobbly. Working on this will improve your proprioception (aka, your body’s awareness of where you are even with eyes closed). 30 seconds each leg.
  • Airplane. Stand on one leg and lean your body forward, spreading your arms like wings of a plane. The goal is to get your body (torso) completely parallel to the ground, including the leg that is off the ground. This one is a killer for the glutes and hamstrings. 30 seconds each leg.

  • Heel to Toe [Drunk Walk]. Yes, it’s what you think it is. Imagine you get pulled over and a cop makes you walk in a straight line. I want your heel to touch your toe every time. Back and forth twice.

  • Windmill. Similar to the single-leg balance, but instead of keeping your arms still you are going to cycle them like a windmill. 30 seconds each leg.

  • Supine Leg Raise. For this one you need a foam roller. Place it along your spine, and far up enough that you can rest your head on it. You can touch your hands on the ground, but the goal is to do it with no hands. Slowly raise a leg up and lower it. Then alternate. 12 reps on either leg.

  • Single-Leg Rotation. Stand on one leg, raise the other so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. You can hold your arms out or put them on your hips. For me, it helps to hold them out. Now, slowly turn either to your left or right (depending what foot you’re on). Then come back. This is all on one leg. And you need to do it slowly. Control the muscles. 12 reps on both legs. 

  • Single-Leg Lift & Chop. Same position as the previous one. But this time I want you to lift your arms up and chop across the body, far down. Look at the picture, but without the medicine ball. It is important to not use your momentum. Use your muscles. Control. 12 reps on both legs. 

  • Seated to Standing. This one is simple. Without pushing your hands on your knees to get up, stand from a seated position. 12 reps. 

  • Stability Ball Leg Raise. Most gyms should have them. If you don’t have one, and don’t go to a gym, get one–it’s worth it. There are lots of exercises you can do with it. For this one, preferably with your hands up (you can hold your hips if you need extra stability), slowly raise your leg to full extension. Then slowly lower. Alternate. 12 reps on either side. 

  • Bosu Ball Stand. This one is simple, but there are many variations. Simply find a bosu ball, and stand upright. You may feel wobbly but attempt to stabilize yourself. If this is too easy, close your eyes. If this is still too easy, march your feet. 30 seconds. 

Remember, folks, you don’t have to do all of these. I’m giving you a big list so you can pick and choose, try new ones different days. And if you have poor balance or need more stability, do these with a wall, a rail, or a chair to hold on to. Safety first. Always. You are never to old to start balance training. There are so many benefits. It’s not a waste of time and it will save you big time in the future. Try it out.

Cheers!

A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

I am no master of meditation. But it is a goal of mine to meditate every day for at least a few minutes. When I was doing it “religiously,” during college, I found such peace and clarity at the end of each session–even if it was just for a few minutes and I had struggled to focus. It was so worth my time and effort. I am slowly getting back into it now and I hope to expand my time each day meditating. Meditation can sound intimidating and weird. Why would I want to sit down and fight with my mind for 20 minutes? Good question. You hone your body through physical exercise, but ignore the mind. Meditation is exercise for the mind, making it strong and honed. It allows you to take control over your mind and emotions when usually they take control over you. It is worthwhile for everyone to try. Let’s start with baby steps.

"Gathering the Light" from the Taois...

“Gathering the Light” from the Taoist book The Secret of the Golden Flower, translated by C. G. Jung and Richard Wilhelm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best way to start a meditation practice is to devote and hold yourself to doing it just for 2-3 minutes per day. That’s not a whole lot of commitment time–you can definitely do that. I usually do it just before bed and it allows me to go to sleep in a peaceful state. You don’t have to do it at the same time every day, but make sure you get some time in.

So now we’ve got our homework time set of 2-3 minutes per day. It really is the best way to start. Okay, I’m sitting here, closing my eyes–now what! 

1. Understand the monkey mind. Our minds are not easy to control, they go this way and this, seemingly whenever they want to. We need to appreciate the mind for what it is–and not try to fight it by saying, “Empty my mind, fill it with nothing.” Because plainly speaking, that ain’t gonna happen. Especially when you’re just starting out. My Yoga teacher taught me that the mind is like a monkey–it’s jumping around, excited, trying to do and focus on a million things at once. That isn’t going to work for you. So, it’s simple–give it a task. Give it a task so that it focuses on one thing instead of seventeen. That will lead to clarity of the mind. What task should you give it? Read on.

This Statue of Shiva is Approximately 65 feet ...

This Statue of Shiva (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Start with breathing. Bottom line. Once you’re comfortably seated or laying down (everyone is different)–it’s all about your breath. You may find that when you sit down and close your eyes, ready for meditation, your mind is screaming in a bunch of different directions and that everything that you know you need to do swarms your head. Calm that monkey mind down, and begin deliberate breathing. If you’re still struggling, ease your focus by counting with your breaths. I like to start with four counts inhale, four counts hold, then four counts exhale. That way, you’re concentrating on counting the breath, putting all your mind power into regulating it. As you breathe, put a hand on your chest and stomach, and feel how the breath pushes and pulls your body. Putting all your focus into your breath gives your mind a task. It is always that when we don’t try to “empty our minds” do we actually find clarity by devoting it to one thing. If you want, keep this counting breath practice your whole 2-3 minutes–it truly helps.

English: show the shallow breathing. Dansk: vi...

English: show the shallow breathing. Dansk: viser vejrtrækning i brystet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Focus on an image. There are many other ways, beyond breathing, to focus the mind. I will list a few. One is focusing on an image. For example, I usually go with a flame or a grain of sand. I picture in my mind, while keeping my breathing steady, and picture every single thing about it–how it feels, if it’s warm or cold, what it looks like, how heavy it is, etc. It helps your mind when you imagine just that image and try to delve into it. Your mind can devote it one way, and it is a meditation to lead to meditative state. Another version of focusing on an image is staring at a real flame, either candle or fire–it can be captivating.

A flame

A flame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Focus on a word or mantra. This can be anything. A word that means most to you, a word or phrase you try to live by, something you want to see out of yourself–anything. It should focus on positive energy because it will determine your state of emotion and mind once you stop meditating. For me, I usually pick peace or be. I just project it in my mind, let it sound there, envelop all of your senses and focus. Another good way to concentrate.

5. Focus on a sound. Ever hear crickets from your room? Or maybe there’s a creek running out back. Maybe you have a buzzing air conditioner, heater, or humidifer. You could even put on ambient music to focus on as well. Find that sound, listen to it closely, let it be the only thing your mind focuses on. Try to detect where it is, and all the layers that make that sound. Make it so it is the only sound you hear.

6. Scan your body. Another great way of tuning in to your body and mind is doing an imaginative scan and feel of your body. Keeping your eyes closed and breathing deliberate, focus first on your feet. How do they feel? Are they sore? Are they hot or cold? Answer those questions and slowly move up the body, feeling out each part until you reach the top of your head. This may not seem like meditation, but it is–you are focusing your mind on something, excluding any other distractions and strengthening your mind power.

7. Return to your breath when frustrated. Sometimes, it’s just not working out. You’re focusing on the flame, but something in your mind is pulling it away from where you want it to be. Stop, re-center yourself. Count the breaths again and return to the start.

8. Congratulate yourself. Nice work! Meditation is not easy. We often underestimate the challenges for the mind. Once again, as you keep going, it will be easier. Soon that 2-3 minutes will turn into 5, and that 5 into 10 and so forth. Whenever I finish a meditation, I feel as if I could just float upwards on a cloud of warm peace and clarity. It sounds strange, but just 2-3 minutes can do that for you.

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_be_back_on_Jan_20th)

Remember that success in meditation is not “emptying the mind”–it is focusing it. Give it that task, whatever of the above you would like and you will venture into the meditative state. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions or comments!

How I feel after meditation

How I feel after meditation