Welcome back to Building a Balanced Life in 2018 using the Circle of Life Coaching Program. 

In January, we began with the first segment in the circle, NUTRITION. 

Have you made any improvements in your eating habits, in the way you think about food, or noticed how you feel when you make healthy eating choices?  Congratulations! 

Have you added some vital supplements to your daily routine like a green drink, a powerful whole food multivitamin or a quality protein powder?  How about adding one or two fresh juicing days, or a day or week of eating 100% raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds?  Little efforts like these pay off big when you stick to your new regimens. 

 I have been a green drink advocate and daily consumer since 2006. I am certain that this one healthy habit I developed out of desperation to overcome chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, is a major factor in my overall appearance and vitality.  I look and feel a decade younger than my true age. Now, like many of my long-time clients, I feel a drastic difference when I skip my morning greens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I eat mostly fresh, organic produce, support my local farmer’s markets and make sure my diet is widely varied with fresh fruits & vegetables of all the colors as well as raw nuts and seeds.  I encourage you to take this first step to better overall nutrition and add a green drink, preferably Lifeguard Greens, to your morning ritual. It takes seconds to scoop, shake and drink and will set your body up to thrive by supplying it with powerful, organic, gluten-free absorbable nutrients that absorb quickly into your cells and guard your health.  

Welcome to February where our focus is EXERCISE! 

“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise.” Thomas Jefferson

How am I taking care of myself in regard to exercise?

Knowing that Self Care is at the center of directing and managing your health and wellness, this section on exercise is designed to heighten your awareness of how you are (or are not) taking care of yourself in this aspect of your life. 

Below are some Self Care suggestions to get you started. 

  • Replacing sedentary activities, such as watching TV with active ones, such as taking short walks.

  • Knowing the benefits of exercising daily.  Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day can lower disease risk and keep most people fit.

  • Our bodies need a full range of exercises including aerobic, flexibility and strengthening – do you have all three in your fitness program? 

There is an immense amount of information and research in the benefits of exercise for physical, emotional and psychological health and well being.  Studies have shown that exercise can increase brain power, prevent and often cure back problems,increase energy and stamina, reduce heart disease and cancer, reduce insomnia, decrease pain, increase mobility, reduce depression and anxiety and increase the joy of living.

We are all fairly aware at this state in the game that we need to move our bodies more…but how to get started? 

When I work with a client, one of the first things we do is identify what they consider fun and what they consider drugery.  When it comes to designing a change in their exercise life,  I insist that they say goodbye forever to dreading any workouts and furthermore, suggest they don’t even call them workouts but rather their personal ‘moving for fun’ time.  This includes activities that move their body, and preferably let their mind take a backseat and a break. 

 For me, stand up paddle is not only a tool I use to get my clients fit, it’s also my own physical meditation that includes strength training, cardio, flexibility and toning for my entire body.  It’s why I use it extensively when coaching my sedentary clients to make healthy life changes .  It’s something they fall in love with and therefore, stick to and reap the benefits of  – this all over core workout and joyful meditation on the water aka SUP.

Taking my clients on a short downwind stand up paddle session. This works the entire body and induces major smiles.

 

It’s important to listen to what your body is telling you….NOT YOUR MIND.  It will vary from day to day so take 3-5 minutes, and you will hear it asking you to stretch it, to massage it, to soak it, to run it silly, to swim it gently, to dance it, to surf it, to sweat it…just tune in and tune out your mind chatter.  Our minds can be our biggest enemy when it comes to exercise, especially if you have one of those minds trying to derail your efforts with thoughts like, “I really don’t have time for a walk, I only have 15 minutes so whats the point, I look too ugly to be at the gym, it’s too cold outside, it’s too hot inside, I can’t find my walking shoes, there’s no one to go with, etc etc etc.  Your procrastination mind will try its best to convince you now is not the time and today is not the day.  You have to OVERRIDE that by sitting quietly for a few minutes, tuning into your body, and again…feel what it needs and give it that gift of movement! Aim for 10-30 minutes of focused energy on your physical apparatus, gentle or vigorous, but it should be joyful and feel good. 

Your attitude towards your exercise activity is just as important as the activity itself.  Ideally, you will find things that connect your body with your soul. For some it’s a walk in the park with your dog, for others it’s a swim in the pool with your kids, for others it’s a slow stretch yoga & meditation class.  How do you find your happy ‘pace’ in your happy place?  Practice variety.  Experiment with new ways to stretch, pump your heart, feed your soul AND use your muscles.  Stop doing exercise activities you don’t love.  There are so many ways to move your body!  Just pick one that makes you smile and feel alive. Incorporate music, nature, water, wind, other people, whatever it is that will turn it from monotony to a monopoly of powerful, health-promoting movement.

Here are some basic guidelines when it comes to exercise:

  • Do some kind of cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 x a week –  this is anything that pumps the heart and gets your breath inhaling and exhaling fully

  • Develop a flexibility routine 3-5 times per week – yoga or self-stretching to mellow music.  If you need more guidance there are a multitude of free basic stretching videos featuring Tai Chi, Qigong and a variety of yoga disciplines on Youtube.

  • Start with beginner level instruction if you are very inflexible.  You can work your way up to gentle yoga or attend a yoga class for beginners.  Be sure the instructor knows you are new and ask about using props to help you with some of the more challenging poses. 

  • Develop a strengthening and toning routine, and use it 2 x a week or every other day to give recovery time for your muscles.  Draw from these: Calisthenics, Nautilus, Pilates, free weights or weightlifting – don’t let lack of funds deter you from developing a strength program.  There are hundreds of free videos on youtube as well as affordable classes at Udemy.com, where you pay a small fee ($10-12) for an entire class on how to become your own instructor.

  • Start slowly and build up slowly.  Carefully enhance endurance.  Warm up and cool down (which includes both aerobic/heart-rate modulation and stretching) to prevent strain or injury.

  • It can be very beneficial to have a one on one session with an exercise physiologist, personal trainer or a physical therapist.  Make sure they are well trained and educated, so that they can recommend an appropriate exercise program that addresses your body’s specific needs.

Here are a few more ideas of how to get moving without even calling it exercise …..

  • Put on music that makes you smile and dance around the house or better yet, do activities you’ve also been putting off like cleaning.  Scrub tubs & toilets, wash countertops, include windows and reaching up to high shelves to get a good stretch, clean the floors and vacuum with a little more gusto and practice your squats and bends. 

  • Working out in the garden can also be a great workout, stretching up to clip branches and then bending over to pile them up.  Once your house and yard are spotless, you will feel incredibly accomplished and your entire body will feel great too!

  • Park a few blocks away from work or shopping and walk the remaining distance at a fast pace

  • Play tag or throw a ball with a child or dog, or push a child on a swing to stretch and strengthen shoulders, arms and chest

  • Take a 15 minute walk during lunch….find something beautiful in your surroundings or someone pleasant that crosses your path and give thanks for your blessings

  • Forget the elevator!  Take the stairs always

  • Hang around active people. Our friends & family greatly influence how we live.  Set a great example for your people by organizing a walk or group clean up at a park or beach.  If most of your friends are sedentary bar flies, look for some new friends at a fitness center, or a “meet up” group for hikers, or sign yourself up for a retreat that focuses on gentle fitness and adventure. 

  • Trick yourself – sometimes we have to get creative.  There may be exercise options that are readily available to us, but we have either a mental block towards them or have convinced ourselves we hate it.  If walking on the treadmill is your most convenient option but you dread it, bring along your own music…maybe from your highschool days and listen while you walk.  Chances are you will start remembering all kinds of funny things you did with your friends and the time will fly by.  I am not a swimmer and I don’t like yoga either.  So why would I sign up for a yoga/dolphin retreat that featured both daily?  One, to overcome this block and two, I LOVE DOLPHINS!!  When swimming, I get cold &  bored, hate the chlorine in most pools and just don’t get much out of it as far as endorphins.  WELL, by putting on several layers of wetsuits, and letting myself be mesmerized by my underwater friends, I’m sure I swam about 30 miles over the course of 5 days!  I was so entranced with watching them, I completely forgot that I was actually swimming….but I was and I loved it! 

I still struggle with liking all types of yoga but I know I need it and it’s just a matter of finding the right poses and routine I feel comfortable with.  For me,  Bikram Yoga, with it’s very hot room and 26 same poses,  works well because I’ve memorized the routine and can focus on each pose rather than trying to watch the instructor while upside down and twisted.  

I’ll leave you with this quote from Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, 1873

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

You do have time to exercise….just look for the pockets, they’re there.  Make it fun….dancing on a Friday night COUNTS!  Running after your little one in the park COUNTS!  Taking the stairs in your building every time COUNTS!  

Remember FUN is the key word so get out there and find something new that fills your heart with joy and your lungs with fresh air, and your mind with “ya, I’m doing it!”

                                                                                                                  As always, wishing you all a vibrant, balanced and joyful life. 

Alyssa Joy

Ho’omalamalama Pono 

 ‘Let us bring light, love and care to every effort, situation and intention in life.’