Here’s to a healthier May!

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Let’s face it, this month just did not go as planned. I was injured, and am still healing from tendon and ligament damage, and one of our cats who was a mammary gland breast cancer survivor had a relapse and didn’t survive the second round. My fitness challenges went out the window. Life happens. 

My ankle and heal are still unstable so I don’t want to commit to too many online challenges, or worry about advancing miles or speed. But I need to commit to some plans for the upcoming month. My body feels neglected. 

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Plans & Goals

💠I already started a new meditation challenge 5 days ago. The *21 DAY MEDITATION For Weight Loss Challenge. The meditations are very simple, very easy going and inspiring. I’ve actually focused a lot this month on personal development and meditation. Perhaps my injury in the end was a good thing because I feel amazing mental focus now and seem to be handling anxiety challenges better and better. I really recommend this challenge, and it’s FREE!

After the 21 Days I’m going to try and do *Gaia’s am/pm meditations with Rodney Yee. Since we subscribe to the channel I should make more use of it lol. They are each about a half hour long. I know it’s an added chunk of time taken out of the day, but when it’s for making the quality of the days and my life better, it doesn’t seem like lost time. I’ve done some Rodney Yee meditation before and I’ve really enjoyed it. His delivery is very calm and gentle. 

💠*Potterhead Running Club’s *Penseive 10k’s (virtual running event) official date is May 2nd. I am not at all able to do all the miles for a 10k (about 6.3 miles) all at once with my injury or it will just delay healing even longer, but the nice thing about the PHRC is that they believe it’s perfectly ok to run it in chunks and even have a tracker for it. I plan to start on Monday and do a little every day. I have to build strength in my ankle back up. I ripped it up pretty bad when I twisted it weeks ago. 
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💠I also have a new schedule set up for May to get back into setting a routine. This is kind of my go to schedule. It works with our lifestyle. We don’t normally have time for hikes or climbs until the weekend. 

Monday: Run/Walk & Yoga or Les Mills Bodyflow
Tuesday: 90 minutes - Les Mills Bodypump
Wednesday: Short Run/Walk & Les Mills Bodyattack
Thursday: 90 minutes - Les Mills Bodypump
Friday: Run/Walk & Yoga or Les Mills Bodyflow
Saturday: 30 minutes - Les Mills Bodypump & other (hiking/yoga/climbing/etc)
Sunday: Rest day or hiking/climbing/etc

💠 And weekly sound baths, meditations and tea with Buddha (weekly sangha) is always on schedule for mental health, physical well-being, furthering my own sense of zen, and expanding my spiritual knowledge. 

Photo by Paul Davis.

*Thich Nhat Hanh explains that sangha is more than a community, 
it’s a deep spiritual practice.
A sangha is a community of friends practicing the dharma together 
in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. 
The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, 
harmony and love

Here’s to making May a healthier month that April!

*Reference
21 DAY MEDITATION For Weight Loss Challenge
Potterhead Running Club
Penseive 10k
Lions Roar
Gaia – Rodney Yee’s am/pm meditation

In This Present Moment

MEDITATE | JOURNAL
Being present is really about focused awareness of what you are feeling and experiencing in the present moment. Meditation is a great way to become aware of your inner thoughts and emotions that are bubbling to the surface. You can use meditation to quiet your thoughts that are taking you out of the present moment. Thoughts like worrying about something that’s in the future. As time passes that “thing” you are focused on in the future could alter anyway due to all sorts of variables, so why are you worrying in the NOW? Use candles and either some sandalwood or palo santo incense to help you relax and refocus.  I write, journal and blog as a way to release thoughts and emotions. It releases stress and also allows me, once I’ve written it out, to bring myself back to the present moment.

 

MOVEMENT | BODYFLOW
Some times we all need to get out of our own head. Stop thinking and move! Go to a yoga class or pick any from YouTube for free to do. They have them for every level and you can even find short 15 minute Vinyasas. Take your meditation outside and do a walking meditation. Put some music on and dance like no one’s watching. If you’re at the office, take a short break and use the stairs! Or stand up right there by your desk and shake it out, move your shoulders and neck. Workout, hike, go for a swim, something to release pent up energy. Pent up energy can cause things like writers block and can get your mind stuck on something, release that block with some movement. This will help your energy to become fluid and can be like a breath of fresh air!

 

NATURE | GROUNDING
Nature never stops, it may move slowly but it keeps flowing. Connect to the earth’s natural energy, it will ground you. Earthing can diminish fatigue, so put your bare feet to the ground, the sand and soak up those free electrons!

FEEL IT | RELEASE IT
We have a bad habit of compartmentalizing things and minimizing the feeling of negative emotions by not focusing on what specifically we are feeling or wanting. We have to honor ourselves by facing our feelings. Only then, can we either release it our find forward momentum and flow down a path to fixing it or getting whatever it is. We aren’t robots. We have emotions that we need to share with ourselves and others with honesty and grace. 

UNPLUG| JUST BE
Step away from the phone. Step away from the computer. Put down the laptop. Turn off the TV. How long has it been since you’ve just spent time with yourself in a moment without all the constant input visually and audibly from the constant hum of, at it’s basic, electricity? We have a constant barrage of sensory input every minute of the day. And most of that isn’t related to nature or even meditative or relaxing music. Take a sensory moment to just stop inputting data and just be. 

What Are You Carrying?

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What are you carrying around with you on your back!??
❓Problems
❓Fears
❓Doubts
❓Insecurities
❓Failures
❓Mistakes
Did you know… exercise is the greatest form of FREE THERAPY!?! 🙌🏽🏋️🏽😅 When you’re into your workout you will notice your problems seem to melt away or seem less significant, or smaller than they were. And answers you were searching for can suddenly appear💙‼️Take the weight off your shoulders and go for a walk. Hit the gym, or stream a workout. But do something for at least 30 minutes a day. As your mind and body get used to the new habit, stress will have its release and you will be able to focus and reach for your goals with a better attitude and a healthier mind and body!

 

Hiking/Walking

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BENEFITS YOU GET FROM HIKING AND WALKING

Improved cardio-respiratory fitness for your heart, lungs, and blood vessels

Improved muscular fitness

Lower risk of early death

Lower risk of coronary heart disease 

Lower risk of stroke

Lower risk of high blood pressure

Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Lower risk of high cholesterol

Lower risk of high triglycerides

Lower risk of colon cancer

Lower risk of breast cancer

Increased bone density or a slower loss bone and bone strength

With kids it lessens the chance of developing obesity

Reduced depression

Better quality sleep

More vitamin D absorption

Get out and walk 💚😀

 

Exhausting Workout Day

 

 

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⚡⛈️The thunderstorms we had and my workouts today were kind of symbolic of this quote in many ways. Life can be hard and workouts can be hard. They can really hard. But we get to decide how we deal with it. We can grow from it or let it defeat us.⛈️⚡

💫You Decide!💫

Those are some sleepy eyes lookin at you. This day kicked me in the a$$. First I woke up early for how late I went to bed last night. But I had to get up because I’m doing Zumba now two days a week with one of my besties. So an hour of Zumbaing and dancin my booty off, followed by a huge thunderstorm and then home to do my workout program, followed by more thunder and lightening!  Talk about POWER!

I was so sleepy when I got home, but knew I had to get my workout done. And I did. I kicked it’s butt, but I think mine suffered the most lol. I was totally exhausted after day one of increasing from a 35 minute workout to a 45 minute, especially with doing Zumba right before. I think I pushed myself a little too hard and was totally unprepared for the powerhouse of Speed: 45. Talk about challenging! But that’s one of the things I love about my at home programs. They aren’t just beginners stuff and then useless. There is a constant challenge as you get stronger. You get your money’s worth + 

I am super duper sore and really sleepy. And you know what that tells me? I pushed myself to failure and that where it gets golden. In a couple days when I go to do my program I’ll feel the change today made because I will be able to do the moves with more better form and more power. That happened a few days ago. I pushed to where I just could not do anymore and then two days later I felt like Wonder Woman. 

This is all a process. And you have to trust the process. I have to believe in myself and all that I am able and will be able to achieve. I think most of all this program has shown me what I’m capable of overcoming and how key nutrition is to success with a workout program. It’s a marriage and one without the other is nowhere near as successful alone.

 

MOVE

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My Intention Word for the month of January is MOVE. Since the 1st I have diligently woke in the morning and immediately started the day with warm water and lemon (a new thing for me, even before my morning coffee. I’m liking this new morning ritual a lot more than I thought I would. And liking it so much, my morning coffee seems to be becoming more a beverage of taste choice more than necessity. I kind of am amazed by this. It’s the same feeling I had when I first decided to quit smoking. I though, nahhh that’ll never work. But even being healthy and making healthy choices can become a habit. Also since the 1st with my water I am heading directly for the elliptical and spending a half hour or so waking up my body with movement. This will likely get replaced with a morning yoga sequence later this month but will stay a part of my weekly movement schedule!

The other thing I noticed is that the less bravado I seem to have about starting a new habit, the easier it seems to accomplish. I took this new year to be a reset for myself. A complete re-alignment of my body, mind and soul. I’m one of those people who rush headlong into something with lots of fanfare and gusto and then I get bored or uninspired. So I needed to learn to work within my own boundaries and roadblocks to learn how to overcome them. And to learn to be my own inspiration instead of searching for outside sources. So I begin anew.

MOVE being the word for January had different meanings to me, multiple ones. For one, we are physically moving in a few months and making some decisions as to where later this month. Also move…ment out of my own negative head space that I’d been in regarding my progress with races.

You see I know a lot of very fast runners. I even know quite a few very fast race walkers. And I found myself kicking myself down for not achieving things as fast as others do. This again is another bad habit of mine. Never feeling good enough for myself. Not embracing my progress because my progress did not meet MY expectations.

Well, enough of that nonsense. I am only damaging myself and slowing myself down. So, MOVE…ment away from self deprecation and negative self judgement. And replace it with embracing accomplishment and even minuscule advancement.

I entered this challenge for this month. I adore yoga and have been avoiding it knowing that yoga makes me come face to face with the underlying issues that trouble me. But my new mindset has me excited to take this journey . Some times you have to take steps backwards to move forward and this is my step back. (If interested, click the image to find out more about the free challenge).

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And also this month I’m setting up my new running schedule and cross training schedule. Instead of doing what I read others say to do, instead, I’m going to do what feels right and what inspires me and absorbs me in a fabulous way! More on that as the year progresses!

But for now I’m just happy that I am inspired with movement and feeling the joy again as I begin my re-set year! The last six months of this past year were pretty rough. I’m happy to say it’s 2017!

 

7 Best Alternatives For Running From Bearbody Living Plus My Additions

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This is an awesome list from Bearbody Living to get you started on a great cardio fitness routine that isn’t running. Most of these are a mix of cardio and strength training. That is exactly what everyBODY needs! You need both for optimal fitness and health.

 

 

 

So why no running you may ask?

  • Boredom – everyone needs a break from the run once in a while. And it’s a good thing to add in strength training and to work on different muscle groups.
  • Adventure – Some, like me get restless with routine. If and when the run starts to lack joy I quickly move on to another type of workout. And just as quickly I’m then wanting to run again. But I tend to try and incorporate 3 or 4 different types of activity so I never get that restless feeling.
  • Injury – With some running injuries running is out for a while, but other types of physical activity are allowed.
  • Group Activity – It’s nice to get out of solo stuff and be with a group training or enjoying an activity, like repelling or climbing.
  • Just Don’t Like It – Enough Said…

 

I have a few additions to Baran’s list

hiking

Hiking

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CrossFit

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Indoor Rock Climbing

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Stair Repeats

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Skateboarding (at a rad skaepark, not just rolling down the street)

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Zumba 

Running out of my darkness

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 writer for New York Magazine wrote this article “How Running and Meditation Change the Brains of the Depressed” and exercise helping depression is something I knew was real but something when you’re slipping into that dark place, you forget.

I’m not a full fledged “runner” by any means, yet. But I know just lacing up my shoes and stepping out the door were some of the first moments I was reminded, I am alive and I breathe. So I’m thankful just for the training, for the ability to step out into nature and move forward. It was hard at first. I cried. I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating a few times. But every day was just a tiny bit easier. Easier to live beyond the sadness, or despite it. Easier find bright moments in a day that would remind me that I needed to thrive.

Something about feeling the sun beating down on my face (vitamin D is awesome) and leaving the emotionally cocooned safe  walls  of our apartment allowed me to not have anywhere to hide from the vulnerability of grief. And I think that’s a necessary step in battling depression. Allowing the vulnerability to release itself maybe is where you find renewed strength of spirit. That comfort of four walls are like arms embracing you with a huge hug when depression begins to set in, especially from loss. But soon the walls become a prison cell locking you into a moment in time. Maybe we do that because we fear we are letting go of that which we lost, that last spark of life remembered.

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But we don’t. All the good memories remain as long as you choose to be brave enough, vulnerable enough to remember. I still cry. I still hurt. And I think when we lose someone (this includes furbabies as someone’s) who is close to your soul, you always will hurt, there always will be tears. But you have to find a way to smile despite it all. You have to choose to live the life they can’t. It’s the very best way we can honor them.

So how does it all work this running (exercising, walking, aerobics) help with depression? What’s the proof, or scientific mumbo-jumbo?

 

 

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Running

• It elevates the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, slowing cognitive decline and strengthening your capacity for and rate of learning, and protects neurons against the corrosive effects of cortisol (exercise boosts BDNF ) 8 Ways To Increase BDNF Levels (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

• It promotes brain growth. Not like, your heads gonna get big lol. Running and the chemicals release while going through very physical things stimulates new nerve growth. Endorphin’s are an amazing fix for depression! 5 Ways Running Boosts Brain Power .

• It helps ward off stress. If you include some sort of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, like walking and running your body and mind is better prepared for whatever comes at ya in the form of stress or depression triggers. If everyday stress is minimized coping skills are much more effective and with easier transition. Physical Activity Reduces Stress

• It’s kinda the closest we have to a Fountain Of Youth (naturally) Physically, the effects are obvious. But also mentally. Following a half hour of strenuous exercise, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex works harder to resist distracters and performance on tests of attention improves. Studies also show that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve.  Think Better: Exercise

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•It interrupts the mental feedback loop of stress, anxiety and depression within our brains. When we are stressed in our everyday life, or depressed because of a loss of some kind or dealing with anxiety because of something life has thrown unexpectedly at us, we can get “stuck”. Our brains go on a loop and doing a vigorous activity can be just the thing to snap our brains back into problem solving, or at least into acceptance of a situation if no other resolution is possible. Along with this, when depression sets in our bodies produce less Cortisol and that is bad news for our body trying to help us out of that loop, exercise increases Cortisol levels! The Brain on Stress

• It reduces muscle tension. Ever notice your body when you’re stressed out, or depressed? We tend to contract muscles and hold them in tense states. It’s all a part of that fight or flight mode ancient humans carry within them. Our body is ready to defend us against the perceived threat. Even if that threat is coming from ourselves being depressed or stressed to the max. Exercise, running, gives those muscles something to actually do. It then tires them out, they feel they fought the good fight and finally they can relax. Exercising to Relax

• It improves your self esteem which in turn gives you the confidence you can move forward away from the depression and anxiety. Developing Self-Confidence Through Running: How I Found Myself Out on the Road

 

So I don’t run very well, nor very fast or far (yet). But lacing up those shoes and putting your best effort in is what matters. You don’t have to be skinny, or already healthy. And you don’t have to be happy either. But your mood will lift as you continue running out of your darkness and into a better state of physical and mental health.

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A Mindful Hike

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Hiking. I like hiking more than any other physical exercise. And that in itself says a lot.Taking in nature in all it’s grand forms; mountains, trails, beaches, parks, etc… is very grounding and calming to me. Very meditative and gives time for introspection or even just the ability to shut the chatter of the mind completely out and just take in the scenery and feel the earth below my feet. I recently learned there is a term for what I like to do and it’s called Mindful Hiking. I like to let the experts do the talking so here is more info and ideas about stepping out on a meditative type of hiking experience!

 

 

 

hike_spot2Physical activity. Beautiful scenery. Who doesn’t like the occasional hike in the great outdoors? And when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your outing can benefit both your body and your mind.

Take a Mindful Hike

 

 

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