Tag Archives: wellbeing

Sleep – it does a body good!

19 Jan

In the November/December issue of IDEA Fitness Journal, there was a 5-page article that went into depth about sleep and what it does for a body.  I think many people are working on their food choices and activity choices when it concerns their well-being, but I know a lot of people do not factor in the importance of getting enough rest and quality sleep.  I know we have long to-do lists, and it seems like there’s never enough time to do all that we need to do. However, I’m hoping that after reading this, you will see how important and vital it is to your total body health to put sleep at the top of your list.  

Most adults need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, but most people only get about 6.5 hours per sleep.  Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, memory loss, high blood pressure, diabetes, overall fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and has been found to influence how well one can pay attention and focus.  One big important thing that sleep does is it allows the body to release the human growth hormone (HGH) which can improve fitness and sports performance. When HGH is being released into our bodies, the body does its repair and regeneration work.  It helps build and repair muscle mass, tissue and cells.  So, see, a lot is going on while you are sleeping; and you are actually helping your body out by choosing to set a bedtime for yourself every night.  I know I hear a lot of people say, “well, I can sleep when I’m dead.” Well, guess what?  By choosing not to get adequate rest, you could speed up your time to get that eternal rest.  I think I would rather get my vital sleep and live a while longer.

IDEA suggested to share the following list with clients, so I’m choosing to share it here:

~ Limit caffeine, particularly in the afternoon and evening.

~ Limit alcohol.  Especially avoid excessive consumption before bed.

~ Try to quit tobacco use; nicotine is a stimulant.

~ Don’t use a computer, cell phone, or handheld device in the 90 minutes before bedtime. LED lighting “tells” the brain to stay awake.

~ Limit television viewing before bed.

~ Lower the temperature in the house or bedroom before and during sleep.  The body likes cooler temperatures.  Many sleep doctors suggest lowering body temperature 90 minutes before bedtime.

~ Take a hot bath 90-120 minutes before bed.

~ Use the bed for only sleeping, lovemaking, and perhaps reading before bed.

~ Nap only 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon, if necessary.

~ Keep a sleep diary to track patterns.

~ Eat 3-4 hours before bed and avoid heavy meals. Some evidence suggests that a light carbohydrate snack before bed helps sleep.

~ If possible, protect sleep from intrusions (unexpected noises); consider wearing earplugs.

~ If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until your body and mind feel tired.

~ Meditate, listen to soothing music, or create other nighttime rituals that signal it’s time to sleep.

~Use blackout curtains to block light.

~ Buy and use a reliable, effective alarm clock.

~Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow.

(Source: Rosekind, 2008)

Try these suggestions and begin to put sleep at the top of your priorities.  If problems still persist, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible sleep disorders and get the correct tests/studies to see if you do have one.  Sleep isn’t just for babies and children; it’s for all of us. The hours we spend resting and sleeping will benefit the hours we are awake.  You will see results by choosing to get the right amount of sleep. Try it!  You’ll like it cuz sleep – it does a body good!

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I was one of the 1 in 3….

26 Nov

I recently read an article in my Women’s Health Magazine that brought back a flood of emotions and caused my heart to tighten in my chest as I remembered a time not too long ago where I was living some of what was written in the article.  I hesitated to write this blog but decided to write it because someone else could be one of those women and trying to deny what is happening to them. 

Domestic Terror is the issue and the statistic is 1 in 3 women in the U.S. experience violence at the hands of a man in her life.  1 in 4 U.S. women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (hit with a fist, beaten, slammed into something, etc.).  1 in 2 have experienced psychological aggression (insults, humiliation, name-calling, coercive control). 1 in 6 have been stalked by an intimate partner. These numbers are way too high and something needs to be done.  Women need to be educated and taught that is okay to walk away and to seek help. 

Thankfully, I got out of the relationship before it turned into physical abuse but mental/verbal abuse is just as bad and does as much damage on the emotions and wellbeing of a woman.  I was blessed that my recovery time was short and I had a great support system that was there when I decided to be open and honest and admit what was going on.  Also, I am blessed to have an uncle who is a retired cop who had a “one-on-one” conversation with the guy and let him know what would be done if he tried to contact me ever again. 

You may wonder how a woman would allow herself to be in a situation where a man could abuse her….it’s easy.  You ignore the red flags, and you are willing to overlook certain behavior because you want to prove to that person that they are wrong in what they say about you or think about you.  You also observe him being kind, friendly, charming with others so you begin to think the issue is with you or that maybe you are overreacting and being petty.  Most often, after an argument or episode, he will be very charming and make you forget about what just happen.  You will keep your opinions to yourself to avoid an explosive argument….even stating my opinion on a certain book sent him into a rage one night. 

The article  gives some behaviors to watch for…warning signs that a man could be an abuser.  The Source is Debby Tucker, executive director of the National Center on Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence:

1 – constantly checking up on you

2 – Isolating you by criticizing close friends.

3 – Driving a wedge between you and family.

4 – Acting overly charming.

5 – Monitoring your social media accounts and pushing for access.

6 – Moving too fast in a relationship.

7 – Wanting to control the finances.

8 – Putting down your appearance.

9 – Dismissing your opinions quickly – or worse, calling you stupid.

Ladies, if the man you are dating exhibits ANY of these behaviors, please break off the relationship completely and get counsel.  When I say break off the relationship, I mean to break it off and have no more communication at all with him.  The guy I was with had several of these behaviors – and I wish I had read this list to know and be aware before I got in too deep.  Again, I am very blessed that we broke up before it turned physical – I remember the last night…a conversation turned into him exploding with anger because he was convinced I was lying to him and was going to a conference to meet someone. He proceeded to yell, cuss me out, and  throw a piece of furniture across the room.  I remember thinking, “what am I going to do if he hits me?” I think that is the moment things started becoming clear to me. 

Another reason why I almost didn’t write this blog is I realize what could happen should the wrong person read this and report back to him.  But the day I cut off all communication with him is also the day I stopped allowing him to control me in any kind of way.  I will never share his name or give away his identity but I will share my story to help other women get out of abusive situations because I believe everything we go through in life is to help someone else.  I never want any woman to have any of those feelings of low self-worth and that nothing you do is good enough.  Please don’t be a statistic.  Be Smart. Be Safe. Value yourself, your wellbeing, and your health.  Don’t be one of the 1 in 3.

WSSC13 Thoughts

7 Jun

I had the privilege of attending and volunteering for the World Spin and Sport Conditioning Conference in Miami.  Although I have been certified with Mad Dogg Athletics for a few years, I never had another Spin enthusiast to go with me until this year.  I could have went by myself but it’s nice to have someone with whom you can discuss lectures, workouts, workshops and rides….someone who “gets” your love and enthusiasm and craziness! 

For anyone who may not be aware of what Spinning is (no….it’s not twirling in circles and getting dizzy!!! I really have had people ask me that.) here is a brief explanation.  Johhny G is the man who was a cyclist enthusiast and wanted to be able to train indoors when it wasn’t feasible to be outside on a road bike.  He is one of the creators of the Spin bike and the concept of Spinning.  For detailed info, go to this page http://www.maddogg.com/history.html

Spinning is a trademarked name; and an instructor has to be trained through Mad Dogg in order to call himself/herself a “Spin Instructor”.  I am totally a Spin snob…..there are other indoor cycling programs out there but …. I’ll just leave it at that. 

The conference is one of the best that I have attended and I’ve been to several different conferences.  There were 17 different lectures/workshops/workouts/rides to choose from every block of time – barefoot, mind/body, boot camp/circuit, dance/barre, nutrition lectures, Spin lectures, Peak Pilates sessions, Spinning, stretch & restore, yoga, and mind/body business of fitness lectures. The presenters were some of the best in the fitness industry and were there to help us become better at what we do and were always willing to spend time answering questions.  Over 80 countries were represented at the conference and that diversity sparked great conversations and connections were made and friendships were formed. 

The conference began on Thursday night with over 256 energized and enthused people in the Grand Ballroom on Spin Bikes as master instructor Josh Taylor led them on the Fighter Pilot Ride.  He worked over 18 month creating the ride, putting it with music, and with a multi-media presentation that started you on a aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, had you up in the air flying, switching over to scenes of our men and women in the military and their families, back into the air and finally landing back on the carrier.  The crowd was energized to begin with; but when he started the ride with Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” from Top Gun, it escalated to another level.  I was not able to actually ride but volunteered to fill water bottles just so I could be in and be part of the epic ride.  I could never adequately describe the energy, the camaraderie, and the fun that happened during those two hours.  I loved watching the hotel workers observe people “working out” and having a blast.  No one should ever suffer through a boring run on the treadmill with just one’s iPod for company!!!

I hit the ground running and ran hard.  If there was something going on, I was there.  I am not one who can attend a conference and go to my room and rest when there’s a lecture, workshop, or workout going on.  I’ll rest and recover when I get home – I’m there to learn, grow and become a better person….can’t do that when I’m going to my room to rest! I started two mornings with a ride….Friday morning, Master Instructor Elsa Storm from South Africa, created a ride called, “E = mc2”.  We challenged our body and our brain as we explored Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  Saturday morning’s ride was SoulSistas….led by four fabulous female master instructors – Wow!  Once again, words fail so I’ll quote part of the description from the program guide:  “A strong woman works out to keep her body in shape.  A woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape.”  It was the first ever and I was lucky to be part of it. 

I gleaned from business lectures that I attended and from the valuable connections made with female studio owners.  It was during Vito LaFata’s session that I realized I had not changed my mindset to “I am an entrepreneur…I am a business owner” and that was quite the revelation.  I walked away from his lecture knowing what I need to do and how I need to think. 

The last session of the conference I chose to ride with Scott Schlesinger in Rare, Remixed and Mashed up.  During part of that ride, he had us envision another rider in the distance and he took us on a mental imagery journey.  He talked us through getting closer and closer to the rider….then coming up to the back of their bike….then starting to pass the rider….being side by side and looking over….seeing our old self – the person we were before the conference…and then pulling away from that rider and leaving that person behind and going forward with all we had learned and discovered to be the person we want and aspire to be.  I know I left the old me in the dust….I appreciate her but I’m ready for this next part of journey….in this ride of life. 

I’m still going through my notes…making contacts and connections via social media…processing everything I heard…and deciding what two things I am going to focus on in the rest of this year. 

I’ll finish this blog with some of the thoughts that stayed with me from Elsa’s Ride and SoulSista’s ride: 

As long as you’re moving, you are going somewhere.  ~Natasha

We’ve all come through struggles but we keep climbing. ~Elsa

Being strong is the ability to endure tough times but stay soft.

Life’s greatest mistakes bring blessings and we should capitalize on them.

It’s in the journey that women of strength become strong.

When it all falls into place, you wonder why you ever doubted that it would happen.

~Angela

Epiphany

6 Jan

Today is Epiphany Day. Many Christians around the world celebrate this Holiday and in many countries it is a public holiday. I’m not sure that many of us in the United States or especially those of us who are not Catholic, Orthodox or Anglican Christians have an understanding of what it is. Many different cultural and denominational customs are practiced; however, in general the feast celebrates the manifestation of God in the form of human flesh through Jesus Christ. The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation” and is commonly linked in Western Christianity to the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the Gentiles. In Eastern Christianity the emphasis is on the baptism of Jesus by John. Epiphany is also called, “Three Kings Day,” or “Twelfth Day.” It’s quite interesting to read how different countries celebrate – Wikipedia gives a great rundown of the countries that celebrate Twelfth Day and how they celebrate.

According to dictionary.com, one can use the word to refer to: 1) a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. 2) a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

Wikipedia gives a definition of Epiphany as it relates to a feeling. The word can be used to describe an experience of sudden and striking realization. “Generally the term is used to describe breakthrough scientific, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective…Epiphanies are relatively rare occurrences and generally following a process of significant thought about a problem….”

Now I know that few of us have epiphanies as defined by Wikipedia but I do believe during our lifetime we experience several occasions where we have our own personal epiphanies that change our lives, our thinking, our goals, and our spirituality. In my own personal life, my deeper understanding moments have occurred during or right after a very difficult time and they also did not happen while I was in my teens or twenties – no, most of them have happened in the last two years. I thought I knew what life was about and what I was doing and where I was going and then my world was shaken up. Maybe this happens so we have to stop, refocus, figure out if the path we are on is going in the right direction, figure out what really matters and what does not matter, and check in with ourselves to see if we are being true to our mission/purpose/passion.

As I reflect upon the holiday and feeling of Epiphany today, I hope that this year will be one of enlightening moments, deeper understanding, insight into situations, and more revelation of who God is and His love for us. Blessings!

I want to be like you when I grow up….

6 Nov

 

This past weekend I was privileged to meet an extraordinary couple who attend The Rock Church in Sunnyvale, California.  They are proof that age is just a number and that wellbeing can be achieved no matter your date of birth.  I did not get their first names so I’ll refer to them as the people there refer to them…..Momma and Papa Leaman.  He is a spry 90-year old gentleman and she is an energetic 85-year old lady.

There are several choices they make that enable them to live such full lives.

1.   They recognize the importance of moving their bodies.  They attend their local health club three mornings a week and walk for 45 minutes and participate in an aqua fitness class.  Because of the ladies conference this past weekend, they were not able participate in their typical Friday morning fitness routine, and Papa Leaman was disappointed that they had to miss.

2.  They are active members in their church.  They attend services and special events that their local church sponsors.  They help when they can and where they can – they know that they are a part of a community and you can see how the other members of the congregation interact with them and let them know that they are loved, honored, and appreciated.  I was there this past February for a dinner at the church and they were both in the kitchen helping out….and Momma Leaman is quite the chef.  She helps with the food when she is able.

3.  They are madly in love with each other.  They have been married 66 years and she refers to him as her “latin lover” 🙂 (He is Italian and Spanish.)  Upon meeting him, he will proudly pull out a picture from his wallet to show you–it’s a little worn and faded but the beauty of the young lady is breathtaking.  It is one of the first pictures she gave to her sweetheart.  As I watched them talking to other members of the congregation, I saw that they still like to hold hands.

4.  Travel and adventure is still vital in their lives – they don’t leave that for the young people.  The last few years they’ve went with family members to Hawaii for one month to vacation.  Then last year, they decided to take a cruise all by themselves without any family members.  They refuse to let fear of the unknown keep them in their comfort zones.

5.  They realize they have talents and abilities to share with others and realize that hanging out with children can put some energy, fun, and laughter into your day. She has a workshop behind their garage and once a week she has girls of all ages come to her workshop and she teaches them to knit, embroider, sew, and crochet.  Many of these young girls will make Christmas gifts for their family members during these weekly lessons – the week before Christmas, she has wrapping paper for them and they prepare their gifts.  Then they go into the kitchen and she all the ingredients ready for homemade gingerbread men.  They decorate their cookies and then clean up the mess before she takes them out for lunch. I told her I wished I live there so I could go over her house once a week 🙂

6.  They refuse to allow health issues to run their lives and they make whatever changes they need to in order to keep disease from diminishing their quality of life.  When he was diagnosed with diabetes, they went to informative sessions for two weeks to learn everything they could do to help the symptoms from escalating.  They made lifestyle changes and it’s working….he is only has to take one pill a day.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer and she did her research and made her choices and is cancer free.  At age 85, she is only on two prescription meds per day.

This couple radiates warmth, love, and well-being.  I wish all of you could meet them because I know they would inspire you as much as they inspired me! Momma and Papa Leaman, I want to be like you when I grow up!

Alignment

28 Sep

This morning I made my way to Dr. Eddie, my chiropractor, so he could make some adjustments and continue helping my spinal column to be in good alignment.  The vertebrae in our spinal column can get out of alignment due to lifestyle, poor posture, stress, weight, etc.  The spinal column has a very important job of protecting the central nervous system; our central nervous system is VITAL to our well being….it’s how we live, move and breathe! I’m very aware of the importance of good alignment in the spinal column.

Another important alignment that has to be made every so often is on the tires of my car.  This has to be done so that the tires are set to the car maker’s specifications.  It reduces tire wear and ensures that my trusty, little Toyota Corolla will travel straight and true and not pull to one side.

I have to make alignments in my spiritual life, as well.  I have to align my thoughts, my hopes, and my purpose with God’s.  I have to put my trust and hope in Him and know that He is my provider and works all things out and brings about good things in my life.  When I neglect to keep myself in proper alignment vertically (between God and I), the relationships in my life get out of alignment horizontally.  I begin to put people into a position that is not fair to them.This puts unrealistic expectations on them as I begin to expect them to meet my needs or make me happy.   My peace of mind is not dependent on what others do and don’t do; my happiness is not based on people.  However, if I’m out of alignment spiritually, my emotions, thoughts and feelings will be based on others and their actions.  This makes for a very rocky/bumpy roller coaster ride….it’s not fun for anyone – me or the people in my life!  When I’m out of alignment, doubt, fear and worry will fill my mind and these things will make me want to react in negative ways.

As I align my thoughts with the Word, peace, contentment, joy, purpose, hope, trust, faith, and rest enter into my life, my heart, and my mind…..no matter what is going on around me, in me, or in my life.  The following scriptures come alive and bring peace:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:18

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble. Psalms 46:1

I sought the Lord and He answered me.  He delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him.  Psalms 37:4-5

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

And there’s many more words that bring value, rest, peace, contentment and hope.  That is why it is imperative that I keep my vertical alignment at my top priority…when that is in perfect alignment, all is well.

How’s your alignment?

Lessons learned in the classroom

14 Aug

As a group exercise instructor, it is my mission to give each class participant motivation, encouragement, a challenge, and a fun time during class so when he/she walks out of my class, he/she feels better, stronger, more energetic, and glad that he/she made the effort to attend my class.

Last Wednesday morning in Zumba at Northside YMCA, I had a new class participant and she had never tried a Zumba class before.  I made sure to chat with her after class and encourage her to come back.  She proceeded to tell me that it’s the first class she has been back to after losing her mother unexpectedly at the end of June.  I could tell she wanted to talk, so for 20 minutes I listened….shared a little bit of my story of losing my grandmother a few weeks ago…and shared how being physically active can help us through dark, emotional moments. We both shed a few tears and then she gave me a hug and a little kiss on the cheek and thanked me for listening and said she would be back.

In this same class I have a senior lady who attends….I figured she was in her late 60s…she has been attending for a few weeks now…always smiles…has a great time….and makes sure to thank me after class.  I was moved to tears when another participant shared me the story of this lady, Phyllis.  Phyllis is 79 and is the caregiver for her husband who has Alzheimer’s.  She hires a sitter once a week so she can attend my class. I was overwhelmed with emotions after hearing the stories of these two ladies.

That is why it is vital for me as an instructor to give 110% in every class…no matter how I feel or no matter the day that I am having.  It is not about me….it is about my class participants.  Health and wellness is more than just physical fitness….it is emotional wellness…..it is mental wellbeing….it is experiencing moments of joy, happiness, and fulfillment.

I want my class participants to leave my class feeling like a better person…a stronger person…a healthier person….and feeling empowered, encouraged, and motivated to face the rest of their day no matter what may come their way.

More lessons I’m learning from the classroom….