live it active


I’m Inspired by YOU

Two of my loyal readers messaged me to say that this summer, they plan to walk to work more. One actually emailed me while walking to work. Oh, the power of modern technology.

This is awesome.

I’m inspired by you. I’m inspired to have inspired others. I think this weekend I need to do something to celebrate this. No, not with champagne (well, maybe later), but with a mini activity challenge.

As I am home this weekend, I am going to challenge myself to a hike. I will walk from Eggcetra to my parents place. This is about a 10 KM hike, not a biggie, but a goodie.

Thank you to my readers for inspiring me.  Have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the sunshine (or rain).

Take a moment to think about what inspires you.

M

 


Wednesday Workout Tip: Walk to Work

No, not a startling revelation. The advice of walking to work has been heard countless times before, but it is good advice. I understand that walking to work is not possible for everyone, especially my parents who live a good 20 minute drive outside of town. However, there are many that live close to work, but still drive. I am not trying to shame or guilt, merely trying to present the case of why it is beneficial. So here I go.

The benefits of walking to work (if you live within walking distance and my definition of walking distance is 30 minutes max. If you live farther, there is always the bicycle.):

1. Accomplish the government recommended amount of physical activity (PA) which is 30 minutes per day. Yay! Getting the recommended amount of PA per day is associated with improved health and increased life expectancy (if you want the source, ask me). However, as you know, the more you do the better.

2. Get to experience the elements of nature (some more than others, depending on where you live). Being in nature has been found (I don’t have the research paper in front of me…sorry) to reduce levels of stress.

3. Stimulate the senses and energize you prior to starting your work day.

4. Increase in resting metabolic rate (i.e. calorie burn per day).

5. Benefit to the environment.

6. Social interaction if you walk with a friend – another great stress reducer (will depend on the friend…).

7. Provide you with necessary and restorative alone time (if you decide to walk without said friend).

8. Save you money as you don’t have to pay for gas. Sweet, sweet bonus.

9. Lead to increases in lean muscle mass (this will take a while if you’re walking 20 minutes max per day, but it will happen).

10. Feel good medicine. Yes, walking to work instead of driving, will make you feel good. Trust me.

This post isn’t meant to preach, guilt, or judge. I understand that walking to work isn’t always possible and that the car is a necessary piece of equipment. However, when the opportunity presents itself, I strongly encourage you to take it. Walk to work – you’ll feel good.

M


Tuesday Funny: “Grinding the Crack”

I know, the title sounds ridiculous, but it isn’t what you’re thinking…and get your minds out of the gutter. Geesh…

I realize that the following video clip has absolutely nothing to do with health in the sense that it isn’t about running form, stretching tips, meditation advice, etc. It is about making you laugh – which I sincerely hope it does. And laughing as we well know, is very good for our health as it releases a variety of feel-good chemicals (very technical term) that help with stress management. To make it an even better laughing experience, watch the clip with coworkers, friends or family. Laughing in groups is so much better than laughing alone.

What a kitty, eh? Yes, I use ‘eh’ – I am Canadian after all.

Happy Tuesday.

M

 


Apologies for the dearth in posts

Currently, my routine is a little out of sorts. Due to this lack of consistency, my blog posts have been extremely irregular and may continue to be so for the next month or so. For this, I sincerely apologize.

As I settle into a new job and new city, without a permanent residence I will require a bit of leniency on your part. I am going to assume that you are OK with this and that your life/happiness/routine does not rely on this blog…

I wish you all a lovely weekend. I know the weather is a little on the toasty side in Ontario, so try to find places to cool down while being active. Lakes, swimming pools, water parks – basically anywhere/anything where water is present/involved. And remember to wear sunscreen and to reapply post-swim. For those who are in more mild climates (such as myself), find an activity that will warm you up – hiking, cycling, jogging, nordic walking (a.k.a. urban poling), canoeing, kayaking, horse-back riding, rock climbing – you get the picture. Be sure to bring a friend or family member along for safety and companionship. I can’t stress how important the social aspect of exercise/physical activity is.

Happy week-ending. Enjoy each moment.

M


Part #4 of Making a Big Change: Soaking up the Love and Support of Family & Friends

As those close to us know, we have arrived in Calgary. It has been a bit of a whirlwind, but very exciting.

For those who have made a big change before, you will know the transition period can be tough. Packing up, leaving home, parting with close friends and family is no easy task. It’s stressful. You feel emotionally and physically drained. You catch yourself drifting off in the middle of the afternoon, losing your train of thought, feeling as though you have recently encountered the undercarriage of a large vehicle. And you’re supposed to deal with everything with a modicum of grace and dignity. It’s a tough process.

But there is something that can make it better (well, there are a number of things, but one major one) – the support, care, and love of friends and family. We have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of gifts, thoughts, cards, words of encouragement from friends and family. For those that are reading, thank you, thank you, thank you. You will never know how much your kind words, wishes and gifts have meant and helped us.

Having a support network has been unbelievably helpful during this period of transition. Knowing that people are interested in your wellbeing and are happy (well, maybe not happy but open) to listen to your trials and tribulations throughout the process, makes everything so much easier.

While the majority of adult human beings don’t often like to rely too much on the generosity and time of others, sometimes we need to. Sometimes we need to soak up the love and support of our family and friends during times of high stress, change, and need.  And at other times, when someone else is going through a major change/transition, we can reach out and provide them with the comfort, love and support they require.It’s a good system – I definitely you encourage to develop and maintain one.

In summary, a support network is key. Everyone’s support network is going to differ in number, composition, and geographical location, but no matter the size/type/location of your support persons, you will receive benefit (and a good number of them too).

M


Part #3 of Making a Big Change: Managing Time Efficiently is Hard

As my regular blog followers will have noticed, I have been a little low on the posts as of late. It has been a busy time – moving to Calgary is no small feat.

I have had the work week off (thank goodness) which has allowed me to pack, say some goodbyes, do my last week of Zumba, attend book club, be present at my amazing friend’s dance show, and today I will attend a very special ceremony – my partner is getting called to the Ontario bar. It has been a busy and at times, overwhelming week.

I have tried hard to manage my time efficiently and I think I have been somewhat successful. Here is what I did to ensure a successfully time-managed week:

1. Got a good amount of sleep

2. Didn’t drink a lot of alcohol

3. Made ‘To Do’ lists

4. Didn’t sleep in

5. Packed in stages so as to avoid burnout

6. Said ‘goodbye’ in stages

7. Cried only twice

8. Yelled at Evan once (as opposed to 10x)

9.  Let go of plans that didn’t work out (i.e. didn’t waste mental energy)

10. Didn’t make new plans

11. Said ‘no’

12. Used my Blackberry to email people while waiting or in between tasks

13. Ate regular meals (albeit a little on the unhealthy side)

14. Exercised

15. Booked a trip to Lake Louise to keep me motivated on the packing front

Were you expecting some earth-shattering list? I hope not. Each of you will have your own items and ideas on how to better manage your time, but these definitely helped me to have a somewhat productive week.

I believe that my week of mindfulness meditation (last week) definitely helped me to stay present and focused on whatever task I was performing this week. I say this because I was able to read a book in one day for my mid-week book club. If I wasn’t being mindful (i.e. engrossed in the present moment of reading the book) and instead, thinking about what needed to be done, or that I was being lazy, or that going to book club would be a waste of precious packing time, I would not have been able to complete the book and enjoy it as much as I did. I know, I know, I am tooting my own horn a bit, but my reason for sharing isn’t to brag, but to demonstrate the benefits of mindful practice. There are just so many.

Happy time- and task-managing.

M


“The Sacred American Right to Overeat”

The title of this article is misleading (article published on CBC’s online news site). I thought I was about to read about how being obese/overweight is a choice and that we have the right to that choice. Instead, the article is yet another attack on the fatness of Americans, especially those residing in the South (of course, no comment was made on the increasing size of Canadians).

To me, the purpose of the article is to shame and scare – to elicit a visceral response to fat. The way in which Neil MacDonald describes and writes about it demonstrates a number of his own issues with weight/fat/etc. But that is beside the point. I blogged about fat shaming a while ago and I think Macdonald crosses over into fat shaming territory a number of times throughout the article.

I do agree with his sentiments about the increased strain on the health care system and the economy as increases in weight can affect health and influence one’s ability to work. Not good, no. Yet, what Neil failed to mention or discuss is that weight isn’t always an indicator of health. Furthermore it is important to point out that many skinny/slender people are unhealthy as well. I feel that this point is always missed when discussing the fatness of Canadians/Americans.

Yet, I have to wonder about the number of Americans/Canadians who are fat and fit. Other than sports players (who often classify as being obese due to large amount of muscle mass) and a small proportion who eat well and exercise (but not to lose weight), I don’t think the numbers will be staggering. I need to do more investigation into this.

I think the point of this article will be purposely ignored by those that it is trying to target. And rightfully so. No one likes to be bullied. No one likes to be shamed into doing something. Guilting people into action is not the answer. What is? I don’t know yet. If I can answer that question, I know I will secure my spot in the health industry for years to come.

No two bodies are alike. No two minds are alike. We each work the way we work. We eat the way we want. We move the way we feel is right. But sometimes we get out of sync with the needs of our mind and body and this can result in a number of health consequences. I think a large proportion of Canadians and Americans (fat or skinny) are out of sync with their respective minds and bodies.

Only when we check in with ourselves can we determine what it is that we need/crave/want to be healthy in our own way. I think the more self-aware we become as a whole, the better able we will be in moving in a more healthful direction. Or perhaps not. I really don’t have the answer. I just know that getting more in tune with my mind and body as resulted in a number of wonderful health consequences. And by wonderful, I mean truly life altering.

Let me know what you think of Macdonald’s article. I’d love to know.

M


Part #2 of Making a Big Change: The Importance of Staying Mindful

This morning I managed to get myself up for a 1-hour mindfulness session from 7-8 AM with my momma and mindfulness guru, Barbara Wilkinson. If the name sounds familiar that is because I conducted an interview with Barbara a while back, you should read it.

Before I start writing, I want to apologize for the “me” focus of my blogs recently. I just think my current story may resonate with others going through a big change, whether it be moving, or starting a new job, or getting married – you get the point. I will get back to my writing about relevant and interesting health information, Wednesday workout tips, and all things wellness very soon. I promise.

Last night was most definitely a restless one. With only three hours of sleep in addition to one massive mid-night scare (will explain if you ask me…in person), the morning did not promise to be a good one. Yet, I decided it was important I attend the mindfulness drop-in session as I had committed to two people. More importantly, I thought it might do my racing mind some good.

Turns out, it did. I sat for almost 30 minutes in quiet. I cracked my back and shoulders a few times and enjoyed a few rather loud sighs of relief throughout the meditation, but all in all I managed to remain fairly still.

During the meditation, Barbara stated that we were performing a similar act to farmers who let their field go to fallow after many good years of crop production. During this time of rest, the field undergoes a period of regeneration, allowing the fertility of the field to be restored and prepped for a new year of planting and growth. This cycle is imperative for the long-term success of the field and the farmer. I thought this a beautiful analogy to the process of meditation and its restorative effects.

My morning was less hurried. Much less stressed than the night I had come from. While the stress and fatigue mounted throughout the afternoon, I managed to successfully navigate my way through the trenches of work and make it back home via Highway 7.

If performing 30 minutes of quiet meditation per day will help me to better cope with stressful life experiences, count me in (and hopefully you (my lovely reader) one day as well).

M

 



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