Friday, March 16, 2012
I've been meaning to write about my favorite exercise benefit of all time: how you feel. And, ironically enough, I haven't been feeling well lately and so I've put it off. I re-started an exercise routine early in the year and I was quite frustrated that I wasn't "seeing" any benefits. The scale barely moved at all. I've spoken with friends and family a lot about their weight loss goals and that always seems to be the biggest complaint. "I'm not seeing any change!"
In my limited personal experience, I was feeling the same frustration. However, I did notice one thing different. It may not make any sense, since there were no physical changes yet, but in my first few weeks of working out, I felt different. The perfect way to describe it would be that I felt less fat. My skin felt tighter, I felt more compact. Four weeks into my work out schedule, the scale still hadn't moved but I lost inches. Not in all the places that I was "feeling thinner" but enough to give some motivations to keep going.
In my battle with anxiety and depression, I've also noticed that the way I feel when I'm on a regular exercise schedule is like waking up to a sunny sky every morning. Its been my best cure to a bad mood or frustrations with life.
Now I'm the first to tell you that I don't believe in cure-alls. This blog is called "The Balance" because I sincerely believe that happiness in daily living comes from a balance of all health aspects (Social, Spiritual, Physical etc). But I can tell you that when one is lagging, like Physical, the others suffer as well. And the opposite holds true. When one is improved, it improves the others.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
My degree geared me towards a career in Corporate Wellness. Most companies provide some type of Wellness Program for their employees to help prevent sick days and insurance payouts (yep, its all about the bottom line for them). But because they worry about the bottom line, you can take advantage of the program as an employee to worry about your health bottom line.
My current employer has a wonderful Employee Wellness Program. It provides use of their on site facilities, testing to measuree your current health status, consultation on that status, nutrition classes, and even some personal training, along with monetary rewards for participation in health improving activities (such as physicals, yearly check ups, dental check ups, reading a health/nutrition book, taking a fitness class, etc). See? Wonderful!
Here's my confession: I don't currently participate. There are lots of complicated, justifiable reasons why, but that changes as of today! Yes, today I seek to rectify my hypocrisy and begin my participation in the program. I'm actually looking forward to it because of the other element of the program: 3 hours a week of work-release wellness time. I get to be off work for three hours this week just so I can go and do my workouts. This is going to greatly increase my ability to stick with it. If I want to leave work early, I HAVE to get on the treadmill. What's more motivation than getting paid to work out?
Okay, on to the observations.
Yesterday, after a particularly stressful day at work, I had 1) a headache and 2) a very big wish to just go home and veg out in front of my TV. The headache and the work frustration started building off of each other to the point where I started justifying why it would be okay for me to skip gym night and just go home. But thanks to some internal motivation and not wanting to disappoint my work-out buddy, I went to the gym anyway. And here is what I observed at the end of my work out:
1.) My headache was mostly gone. It still ached a little but the pounding and squeezing had stopped. Now, this isn't entirely scientific. I'll admit to taking some headache medicine before my work out, but I took a lot less then my body is used to having.
and 2.) My mood was considerably brightened. Again, it helps that the headache was almost gone but I want to chalk it up to my favorite type of mood altering chemical: Endorphins. It seems silly, and for me it might be a placebo effect but who cares? I felt a ton better. Actually more upbeat and cheerful instead of gloomy and depressed. I felt more powerful physically (we'll have to discuss my work-out power trip another time), and thus more able to overcome my difficulties at work. Now did anything at work really change? No. Me moving a stack of weights up and down didn't change a single thing about my life. However, it did change my attitude. Boiling things down to one simple action, moving a stack of weights, counting to 20, can bring all of the crazy into focus. I've always seen it as a form of meditation.
And here's the happy quote of the day:
"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't."
Friday, February 10, 2012
Here's the full article:
If you just want to just watch the videos:
If you try them, let me know how it goes!
Well, I started reading it in January and while I haven't finished it yet, it is one of the best books on the subject of physical health that I have ever read. Including every text book in my college career (I have a health and fitness degree if I haven't mentioned that before). It clearly illustrates what the current never ending and always conflicting science supports as to what actually promotes health.
I could give you the simple summary equation but I don't want that to deter you from reading the entire book. Its not a very long read neither is it complicated. The author is very good at summarizing the research without falling into diction that is hard to understand. The research that he refers to is simply astounding and as a student of health, I was even surprised at what I learned. Now I will tell you the equation to good health because I don't want it to sound like his book is the same as all the others that claim to be the cure-all for every disease or body malfunction out there. This equation certainly wouldn't cure my own personal physical disorder. And when I tell you what it is, you're going to have two thoughts. You're going to think "That's it?" and "But there are so many reasons why I can't do that".
Okay, if that wasn't enough of a drum roll, I give up. Here it is:
Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grain and Regular Exercise
That's it in a health-nutshell. You can't get more simple than that but you're going to think "But I only like a few vegetables, whole grain is expensive and I don't like the taste, fruits are so hard to eat before they go bad and I am so busy already how could I find time to exercise all the time?" Well, if you're like me at all, you'd think some of those things. But my response to that is: READ THE BOOK. It will give you the motivation to strongly consider a change in your habits. If not change them right away.
Oh, I guess I should tell you the name of the book. Its called The Culprit and The Cure by Steven Aldana. It was a very well spent $13. I'm considering it as my standard birthday/Christmas/Wedding/Baby Shower/St. Patrick's Day/Any-other-event-I-can-think-of present.
1.) I've become clinically overweight
2.) I've written a new exercise program for myself
3.) I'm having a hard time motivating myself
4.) And everything else that has happened in the "time" that I've been neglectful
So here I go again!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
A lot of times the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle is retarded because we start asking the “why” questions. When we stop seeing the point to all of our hard work, it makes it easier to give in to our immediate satisfaction demands. Questions like “What’s the point?”, “Is it really going to make a difference?” and “Is it even working?” are good because they make us pause and re-evaluate what we’re doing. But if we don’t have the answers to those questions our resultant conclusion is “it’s not worth it” and we stop.
“Is it worth it?” is the one question we always need to have an answer to or our own motivation will suffer and decline into nonexistence. No one can successfully illicit a permanent lifestyle or behavioral change if they do not value the change or the end result. Everyone at times gets discouraged and experiences disappointment in their attempts to live healthier. It happens to everyone. Seriously, it wouldn’t be life if we didn’t fail every once in awhile.
But the key to success, however cliché it may be, is to get up and try again. The key is perseverance and endurance. My favorite motivational phrase I use when everything just seems like too much is “keep on keepin’ on”. Sometimes the only thing we can do is just keep on going no matter.
In our journey towards a permanent change, we have extra help. It’s called a purpose. When we truly believe that what we are doing will get us to our end goal and that our end goal is worthwhile we will be successful. And when times hit that make it hard to continue and we begin to forget the goal or forget how much that goal means to us, we give ourselves a reminder.
These reminders can be simple words or phrases posted in our rooms and on our mirrors that help us remember the “why” or they can be more powerful written anecdotes in which we realized we needed a change. Maybe a picture of us that showed us how unhealthy we really are. Or maybe a picture of the new dress we really wanted but are afraid to buy because of the way we would look in it. Maybe it’s a picture of our spouse, who we wish we could do more with. Or our kids, who we want to be able to see graduate, marry and have kids of their own. Maybe we just don’t want to live in fear of dying early.
No matter what our reminder is, it is personal and motivational to us. Here are a few common examples of benefits of a healthy lifestyle. They may mean nothing to you or one may mean a lot. I would like to issue you a challenge though. Try and find a potential benefit of living a healthy life that is specific and motivating for you. Then use that benefit as your reward for your achievement and a way to help you keep on keepin’ on.
- Increase positive thinking and improve mood
- Reduce the risk of developing chronic disease
- Get sick less often
- Reduce healing time when you do get sick
- Get better sleep
- Have a better sex life
- Save money in medical bills, health care and clothes.