live it active

Live It Active – On the Radio TODAY!

Good morning, good morning.

OK, I promise to establish my regular posting schedule next week. It has been slightly nutty around here, but that is just no excuse.

I wanted to let you (my lovely readers) know that today at around 1:30 PM or so, I will be on the show Accessibility Matters on CFRU 93.3 FM.If you click on the link and go to the top right hand corner of the radio homepage, you will see the PLAY NOW button. Click on that and you’re golden.

I will be mainly talking about my business (also called Live It Active – very original, I know), but I know the blog will likely be featured.

The show is hosted by Susan Wheeler, a very well-known educator, speaker and author who received a YMCA “Women of Distinction” award for her entrepreneurship. I am excited to meet this woman and have the opportunity to chat with her on air.

As I slurp down a mouthful of coffee (actually grinds; good job on the coffee-making Morgan) I am reminded how lucky I am. Lucky to have coffee to drink, a computer to use, the internet to publish my thoughts, but most importantly, an audience. Thank you for your support, loyalty and feedback regarding the blog, my new business venture, and life in general. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The progression of the blog, business and my life would be utterly impossible without you.

Happy Wednesday and I promise, I will have a Wednesday Workout Tip next week.



Do something nice…for someone else

I firmly believe that we need to be good to ourselves before we can be good to others. I believe that this blog has provided a plethora of material on how to be good to yourself. So now, I think we can be good to someone else or perhaps a group of others.

The bonus? By being good to others, you’ll likely experience what I (and many others) call the warm fuzzy. Here are some ideas on how to experience the warm fuzzy:

1. Make scrambled eggs for your partner before they get up. The delicious scent of breakfast simmering on the stove will have them up in no time.

2. Pick up your partner’s wet towels off the ground without complaining.

3. Send your grandma a hand-written letter.

4. Write your colleague a wee note thanking them for something (that they actually did) and leave the note on their desk when they’re not there. That way it becomes a delightful and unexpected surprise upon their return from the washroom/staff meeting/lunch.

5. Take out the trash (if it’s not normally your task).

6. Watch the movie that your friend chooses (without complaining).

7. Ask your boss if they want a coffee on your way out.

8. Start a lunchtime conversation group and discuss about topics of interest (e.g. philosophy, the classics, the Kardashians, horticulture, aquatic life, etc.).

9. Compliment someone on something (but truly mean it).

10. Bake cookies for friends and colleagues without reason.

Get the idea? OK, good. Now go on and do something nice for someone else!

Happy Friday.


Being mindful can be lonely

Tonight at mindfulness class we discussed how becoming more mindful can be lonely. Allow me to elaborate.

As you develop a greater awareness of your self and your surroundings you begin to become more mindful of others. This is largely because you are now checking in with yourself more and more, which is allowing you to get a better picture of how others make you feel. Once you get a handle on how others make you feel, the more conscious you are about what they are saying, doing, expressing.

And too often, when we become aware of what others are saying, doing or expressing we realize that they are making us feel, well, not that great.

A large proportion of our time is spent with whom I call, fun sponges. More bluntly, people who suck the fun and joy out of every and any situation possible. Most of you will be nodding your head as you recall an individual from your daily routine who does just that. Some of you may not; that is a wonderful thing.

When we become more mindful of how we feel and the power that others can have on how we feel, we take more notice of these fun sponges. And then we begin to take notice of our friends, family, and friendly colleagues who are not necessarily fun sponges but spend a lot of time complaining, grumbling and groaning.

This can be scary. This can be upsetting. As we begin to notice the constant flow of negativity around us, the stronger our desire becomes to get away. And by getting away, we are removing ourselves from friendships or partnerships that have been present for a long time. Such change can be daunting and unwanted.

Yet, you must ask yourself, “do I want to be around negative individuals all day long?” The answer is likely no.

Thus, becoming more mindful can initially be quite lonely. Yet, you will find others like you. You will build new, more powerful friendships and partnerships on the tenets of acceptance, peace and loving compassion. That sounds pretty darn good to me.

So while difficult at the beginning, stick with it. I think the rewards will be far greater than the losses.


The bento box – a sodium goldmine

So you like sushi? More specifically, you enjoy the delicious bento box. Even more specifically, you like the chicken supreme bento box. Even if you don’t partake now, this article will likely you prevent you from ever doing so.

Featured in the Toronto Star, the article discusses the merits or perhaps the lack thereof, of the chicken supreme bento box. What does the meal contain? A bowl of miso soup (I honestly cannot stand this stuff), a small iceberg lettuce salad with yummy ginger dressing, crispy tempura, six slices of sushi, rice, and a portion of chicken Teriyaki. If this collection of goodies has got you drooling, please read below before heading out to the nearest Sushi establishment.

OK, are you ready for the calorie count? This delightful chicken bento box contains 1,685 calories in addition to a whopping 3861 mg of sodium. To me, the sodium content is the most concerning part of this meal. The dietician quoted in the article states that this is equivalent to 2 1/2 days worth of sodium. Um, yikes.

I assume chicken supreme bento box lovers are hating me right now. But seriously, that amount of salt in one meal is absolutely frightening. Imagine you have undiagnosed hypertension and mow down on this particular bento box? Not good, not good at all.


P.S. Thank you to my momma for sending this article my way!


On Getting the Operating Room Staff Grooving

I just got back from a breakfast session with the operating room staff at Guelph General Hospital. The session focused on stress management techniques. I focused on two techniques – mindfulness meditation and structured/unstructured physical activity.

I have to be honest, I was very stressed for my stress management presentation. I was concerned for a number of reasons but namely because my activity break for the group was a Zumba number.

Last night, after reviewing the presentation with my partner, he said that the Zumba component may not be well-received. He wasn’t being negative, just honest. I had to agree with him; not everyone wants to Zumba. So I decided to call it an activity break and tell them it was Zumba afterwards. Regardless of this slight change, I was still nervous for how it would be received.

Well, guess what? They loved it. I had a room full of Type A, highly-intelligent and achieving individuals moving, dancing, laughing and smiling. When I told them they had just completed a Meringue, they were fairly impressed with themselves. I was too.

The energy in the room improved. A feeling of connection with their fellow colleagues appeared to be present. And I think (and hope) that the stress level became somewhat lessened as laughter and joking took over.

To me, it’s amazing that a three minute activity break/Zumba dance can change the mood of a room. My point with using Zumba was that something is better than nothing; that if you cannot make it to the gym after a strenuous shift, do a short bout of activity at home.

Something is better than nothing when it comes to your health. Standing while watching TV is better than sitting. Walking from the third floor to the second floor bathroom is better than staying on the third floor.

By making small and steady change we will become better able to manage our stress. Physical activity is beneficial for a number of reasons when it comes to stress management, however, the bonding and social aspect of activity is perhaps the key motivator to start and stick with something.

Remember, something is better than nothing.


Getting a workout in on holiday

Taking a break from work (i.e. a vacation or staycation) is a necessary part of life. You need to rest. You need to relax. You need to rejuvenate. If you don’t, you won’t be as productive at work or home and likely, not be as contented with your life overall. My point – it’s important.

When we go away however, our routine changes considerably. Our days become filled with lying, sitting, eating, eating and more eating. We tend to eat a lot and sit a lot more than usual. Based on the activity of everyday North Americans NOT on vacation, this is pretty scary. Scary because we already sit and eat enough.

Yes, I know, I’ve presented two conflicting messages: 1) You need to rest and 2) We sit and eat too much already so you don’t do anymore of that on vacation.

Let me clarify my messages. It’s about balance. And resting on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean ALL sitting or lounging in the sun. You need to rest both the body and the mind. And resting the mind does not mean zoning out watching television. It’s about engaging the mind in activities/adventures that you wouldn’t normally do at home. It’s about taking your mind out of the routine and presenting it with something novel, challenging and exciting.

So what type of activities am I referring to? A walking tour of the local city/town/village. An exploration of local galleries/museums/interesting venues. If that sounds dreadful try out some local activities like a dance class, hang-gliding, zip-lining, swimming with certain aquatic animals – you get the picture.

Yes, resting the body is important. I think a few beach days or time spent around the fire are necessary in order to fully recharge. However, I don’t think you vacation should be spent solely on your behind. I think it is important to give your mind a rest from the regular routine and explore. The best part of resting the mind? You will likely incorporate some physical activity into your vacation. An awesome bonus if you ask me.

Who knew resting the mind could be so beneficial for the body?


Belated Wednesday Workout Tip: Sleep – your hunger hormones need it

I was chatting with a good friend of mine who mentioned her weight seemed to be slowly increasing, yet her workout hadn’t changed. I guess you could call it somewhat of a plateau, however, a plateau is usually associated with little change in weight. She mentioned that when she was sick and managed to sleep, her weight went down (she’s a momma and sleep comes second to her babies).

I found this interesting and wanted to explore further.

Using data from the Nurses Study (massive longitudinal study), researchers have found that women who slept less, gained more weight over a 16 year time-period. There was a 32% greater risk of weight gain in women who slept 5 hours versus 7 hours.

So what’s going on biologically that we can attribute this weight gain to? In the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study researchers found an association between sleep duration and the metabolic hormones that affect appetite and satiety. Leptin, released from your fat cells, lets your brain know how many fat stores you have in place. Low leptin secretion signals to the brain that energy levels are dwindling and that it’s time to eat. Ghrelin (not gremlin), released from the gut, is highest prior to eating, once again letting the brain know that you’re hungry.

Researchers found that individuals (both men and women) who slept 5 hours versus 8 hours had 15.5% and 14.9% higher levels of leptin and ghrelin, respectively.

What does this mean? It means that the less you sleep, the greater your hunger signals become and the more likely you are to eat.

While a no brainer, it is important to realize that the less sleep we get, the less energy we will have (both physically and mentally). Sleep is restorative and necessary for us to function and function well. The less energy you have the less likely you will be to exercise and/or exercise intensely to surpass a newly reached plateau.

Be sure to catch some sweet zzz’s tonight.



Patel et al. 2006. Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. Am J Epi: 264(10); 947-954.

Tahari et al. 2004. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. Plos Med;1:e6.


Learn to Zumba with Morgan (me)

Hello my lovely readers.

Starting December 5th, I will be teaching Zumba at A.C.P. clinic located in Guelph, Ontario.

What’s Zumba? It is a Latin-based fitness program that is fun-filled, energizing, and challenging. Do you need dance skills and/or coordination? Nope. Yes, your dance training will help, but as the creator of Zumba (Beto) repeatedly states, Zumba is about feeling the music. Having fun and enjoying the Latin flavour are the only things you need to worry about.

Still unsure? Check out this video…

Notice the incessant smiling? Notice the laughter? Notice that not everyone is getting the routine perfect? Are you smiling? If you’re smiling just watching the video, just imagine how much greater your smile will be in class!

Click Zumba Fitness Poster for more details on my class times, payment options, and enrollment details. Please email me with the class you are interested in.

I look forward to seeing you there. Please let your friends/colleagues/family know; the more the merrier!



Act the way you want to feel

I recently finished the book, The Happiness Project and have started to re-read Spark. The former is fairly self-explanatory and the latter discusses the association between physical activity and a variety of psychological conditions.

Interestingly, both books touch on the important, and often overlooked, influence that the body has over the mind. We more often think of the influence of the mind over the body – if we’re feeling blue we tend to feel lethargic, fatigued, etc.

Quite simply, acting the way you want to feel is a fairly powerful strategy to combat a variety of emotions/feelings that you perhaps do not want to feel at certain times.

Some of you may think this an effective strategy to ignore your emotions. I disagree. On the whole, I believe that we spend too much time analyzing why we feel the way we do. This can lead to an unfortunate and never-ending cycle of questioning. This is exhausting and not always effective. Actually, this can often lead to increased feelings of apprehension, sadness, or anxiety.

In Spark, the author talks about one of his clients who was getting into a habit of drinking to combat her daily stress. She came to him concerned about this pattern of behaviour. He suggested that when she felt the urge to drink to pick up a skipping rope. At her next appointment she explained that she had skipping ropes scattered across her house. She didn’t always feel like skipping, but she did it each time the urge reared its ugly head. The result? She felt more in control, masterful, happy, and her drinking habit had gone by the wayside.

The next time you’re feeling blue, grumpy, angry try very very hard to act the way you want to feel. This takes work, so do NOT expect perfection on your first go.

Keep practicing.


Keep those words coming!

As some of you may know, in celebration of my 100th post a while back I asked you (my amazing readers) to send me the words you use to describe physical activity. I have received some fantastic ones so far, however, I need more!

Ask your friends, family, colleagues, or partner and send in their words for them!

The most frequent word thus far: energizing. Love it!

Happy Friday and weekend,


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