Posted in Mental Wellness

Exercise more than your body…

Exercise comes in all different shapes and sizes. There’s yoga for more meditative and flexibility-focused individuals, Zumba for the dancers at heart and those that just love to move and grove to good music, HIIT for people who love to sweat their bums off and get the quickest bang for your buck, and the list goes on and on…

However, something that many of us tend to forget, is that your physical body (arms, legs, core, etc.) is not the only thing that needs to be exercised. Correction – I don’t think we forget this, I think we remind our students of this daily, but forget to practice what we preach. Think you know what I’m referring to yet??

Get ready for it…

YOUR MIND! That’s right – your brain, your noggin, your good old think tank. Your brain is ESSENTIAL to your daily life. College is prime time to exercise your noggin, which is why we consistently remember to encourage our students to think, think, think – but what about YOU? What do YOU do to workout that mind of yours?? It’s not just college students who need this, so below are three main ideas for anyone to workout the think tank without cramping your already busy and overwhelming schedule.

 

1. READ, READ, READ

Read for pleasure, read for knowledge… read novels, read journal articles, read magazines… read as a group or read on your own… It doesn’t really matter what, why or with whom you do it, it matters that you do it!

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One of the many student affairs focused books currently on my personal “to read” list

In the Student Affairs realm I often fall into the trap of collecting tons and tons of scholarly journal articles, names of books and authors that have written highly suggested books to help in our line of work, and even names of tons of books suggested by coworkers, supervisors, students and more. So, what’s the trap? The trap is… I never find time… correction – MAKE time … to actually sit down and read. My challenge to you — make the time.

Need a few suggestions? Join Goodreads.com and connect with friends, coworkers, and family to not only track what you read, but see what everyone else is reading so you can get suggestions, encouragement and much more.

2. MEDITATE 

I’ve learned that meditation is one of those things that right away someone either says they love or they hate. What I’ve come to realize is it’s more like some have tried it and it’s helped, others have tried it, got frustrated and gave up, and others have never tried it and just don’t like the sound of it.

No, you do not have to be a zen-minded yogi to practice meditation. No, meditation does not have to require you to sit and listen to ocean music for an uncomfortable amount of time. Meditation is simply you taking a few minutes (or more if you are a seasoned meditator or simply a natural) to sit comfortably, sit silently, and focus on thinking about nothing.

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New to meditation and need some guidance? Check out this quick 5-minute guided meditation for beginners on YouTube.

3. Reflection and Gratitude Practices 

Feel like you don’t have enough happy go lucky feelings in your life? Do you find your mind immediately going to negative thoughts when something not so great happens in your day? Wish you could see the positive in all things? The first step to a more positive outlook on your daily life is to take five minutes every day to reflect and practice gratitude.

Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, has tons of suggestions for activities to help you reach a more positive life. One that I default to and have found to be extremely effective is keeping a gratitude journal, by recording five things (big or small) that happened in your day that you are grateful for/ about. The key here, consistency! Make it a habit! Once this is a habit, your mindset could shift from feeling negative about small life events, to seeing the gratitude within them.

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For more how to’s: http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Gratitude-Journal

 

Featured Imagine found at: http://youqueen.com/life/fitness/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-dumbbell-exercises-for-women/ 
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Posted in fitness

If healthy food is beautiful, will you eat it? 

Is there something to be said about the appearance of our food? Is the reason why we all love and crave unhealthy food because of the appealing appearance? If all of us had enough money to eat at five star restaurants and have glorious and well-balanced meals prepared for us in beautiful presentation, would we be more likely to stick to a healthy eating way of life?

So I ask the age old questions… Do looks matter?

Posted in fitness

It’s time for Broad Street

I’m not sure if any of you are from the Philadelphia area, but I live right outside of it. For the past three years now, every February and then every May I hear about this highly sought-after race called the Broad Street Run. It’s a simple 10-mile through downtown/ historical Philly. Why is this race so sought after, you ask? Because they handle it in a unique way – each February, approximately 2-3 months prior to the race day, they hold a week-long sign up for the lottery. This is no ordinary first come, first serve race. You have one week to enter your name into the running lottery and then shortly thereafter you are notified if you are one of the lucky ones CHOSEN to have the PRIVILEGE to run.

Now, every year I forget this race exists and every year I forget to enter the lottery. Seems silly because in comparison to a marathon, 10-mile should not intimidate me. So, this year for the first time since moving to the suburbs of Philadelphia, I am entering the lottery and you should too!!

–> LINK : http://broadstreetrun.com/

To any of you who do decide to enter – Good Luck! Wish me luck as well 🙂

Posted in fitness

Do it for your dog

The first month of 2017 has almost come to an end and it is clear that New Years resolutions are starting to fade as gyms get slower, workout classes don’t fill up as quickly, and fruits and vegetables are fully stocked in grocery stores. Why does this always happen? Why do so many Americans lose their motivation to stick to their healthy resolutions so quickly into the year… it may feel like a long month to you, but there’s 11 more that we’re ignoring!

I understand this wavering motivation, believe me… each and every day of my holiday break I woke up wondering if I would be easily driven to hit the pavement and get a few miles in or if I would talk myself out of it. I would tell myself it wasn’t necessary if I was not going to a family party or that as long as I did something that involved walking for a bit of the day, I didn’t need my morning workout. Then I wondered… what motivation technique could I use to push me on the days where I wasn’t easily self motivated? Then it hit me… well I guess you could say she licked me.

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My baby girl Kitt (she’s the cutie above) LOVES it when I workout. She loves running to my room after I finish my run and helping me stretch and cool down (AKA she licks the salt on my arm from sweating and sits right next to my leg so she can feel included, and probably because it’s warm). She not only loves it when I workout, but loves it when I take her too. Dogs, especially small dogs, can be ignored workout wise because if you don’t walk them they don’t get as crazy as medium or large dogs, so you don’t feel like you HAVE to walk them, but you do! She LOVES going outside and loves exploring. She may not be the fastest pup in the world and may not be able to go 5 or more miles, but a walk up and down the street makes her the happiest dog alive and guess what – that’s exercise for you too!

So when motivation is waning… take a long look at those beautiful little eyes of your favorite pup, get a leash and get outside!

Posted in fitness, Mental Wellness

The First Step is the Hardest

It’s never easy to start a new lifestyle. Everyone wants that immediate result or the quick fix, but nobody wants to admit that the real way to get lasting results and the greatest way to earn results is to do so bit by bit and day by day. Changing a lifestyle is not easy and nobody will try to claim that it is; however, it is effective and it is possible if you just take that first step and take another small step every day after that.

I am currently enrolled in three mini-series webinars at my work, mostly to get points towards our health program to try to earn a $100 gift card (if I’m going to be honest!). This week two of the three programs focused on what are called “micro habits.” Micro habits are exactly what they sound like, they are small habits that a person can add to their lives bit by bit until they grow towards a large, main life goal. For instance – when I set out with the goal to run the Philadelphia Marathon last November, I did not set my goal to simply run a marathon because if I did that I would have tried to run as far as I possibly could each week and I would have not only burned myself out and possibly injured myself, but I would have lost hope in myself that I could make it to that goal. Instead, it is advised to use micro habits to slowly build towards that eventual goal. This is the reason why marathon and half marathon training plans start you at 2 or 3 mile long runs and not 17 miles. They understand that if you build slowly, you gain confidence in yourself and are more likely to stick with the program.

So, now that you got a little “insider information” into how to effectively work towards a large goal – it’s time to do it! AKA — Here’s the hardest part, TAKING THE FIRST STEP! So get up, get out and do what you want the most, just do slow day by day and bit by bit. Be proud of yourself along the way and smile because you’re making a big difference in your life!

Posted in Mental Wellness

WAKE UP and ACT!

It’s six am on Friday morning, what is going through your head? Doubt? Desire to go back to sleep? OR motivation to kick start your day with a fantastic workout to push you one step closer towards your 2017 New Years resolution of getting more fit!?

I know many of you probably related more with the first two, but I’m here to tell you why it is beneficial for you to begin changing your thought pattern to relate more to the final idea in order to see more results.

Progress is mental. Success is mental. Physical strength and endurance can even be mental! It’s. All. In. Your. Head! (Which is both a good thing and a bad thing). It’s all in your head, so therefore YOU are the one in control. BUT… it’s all in your head, therefore if you do not have a strong grasp on your own self thoughts, this is not going to be an easy feat.

When I began training for my first marathon, whenever I hit a wall during a workout I immediately thought it was because my body was not in shape enough to handle what I had hoped to achieve that day. It took until my 15 mile long run to realize that what was actually happening was if I told myself I could run 15 miles, I ran 15 miles. If I doubted myself and thought 11 would be the furthest I could go that day, wouldn’t you know – that’s how far I would go.

Working out can be such a mental game to play with yourself. Starting with the mental game of whether or not you are feeling up for and motivated to workout in the morning. DO IT! WAKE UP and get your butt into some workout clothes and get to a gym or outside for a run. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment to start your final day of the work week off with then overcoming your mental doubt and doing something physical. Get those endorphin’s flowing and start your FRIYAY off right!

 

Posted in fitness

Make Fitness FUN

Nothing is worse for motivation than fitness being perceived as a chore. The real question is, why do we make fitness a chore? When you were a child, what did you do for fun with your friends? Let me guess some answers include — going outside, playing basketball (maybe a little friendly competition through HORSE?), playing hide and seek, competing in a riveting game of tag or maybe just running around through a local playground. Our idea of fun with friends was fitness, we just never recognized it as such. So why did things change? Why did growing up mean fitness had to become monotonously running on a treadmill while listening to the same playlist day after day? The truth is – IT didn’t change, our MINDSET changed! And we can change it back!!

Earlier this month, I took a weekend trip to Tampa, FL to visit some friends from college. A mere two days before my plane took off, my one friend sent me a Facebook message with a link and a text saying “want to do a 5K fun run this weekend??” And wouldn’t you know – the link was to the Insane Inflatable 5K! A race I have wanted to do for months now, but never found anyone who had the same mindset that a 5K could actually be fun. So, we did it! And boy did I feel like a kid again!

Nothing is quite as exhilarating and hilarious as a bunch of grown adults flopping around endless inflatable obstacle courses. I must admit – the kids present were much more coordinated than us, but it was clear that we were having a heck of a lot more fun! Why is that?Because as adults, this isn’t the normal. We don’t typically run around for fun through obstacle courses. We don’t get to act silly and wacky on a regular basis anymore, life has gotten in the way. Then on this day, for a mere hour, we were allowed to be kids again. We were allowed to be silly and ridiculous and have the time of our lives.

What I want you all to take away from this is that this does not have to be a rare occurrence. This could be the normal instead of the abnormal. Find something active you love doing and make fitness fun again!