Sunday, September 10, 2017

When you lead a good life the things you worry about are different than if you don’t.
You don’t worry about someone finding out what you did when you live with honor and integrity.
Being rejected isn’t an issue when you extend your hand in friendship to all that you meet. Respect is returned when it’s given freely.
Worrying about health issues doesn’t keep you awake at night when you give yourself a stress test several times a week with exercise.
Money concerns are better controlled when you live without wasting. Earn your own way, seek a hand up when it’s needed, not a hand out.
Boredom is never a problem when you live with a purpose. We all have something to contribute and it’s discovery is our destiny.
Making the right decisions is easier when you look first at the possible results of those decisions and ensure that is what you really want.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Disaster Ready

When writing this article, Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on the southern Texas coast. The news channel reported how the grocery shelves were already emptied out for miles around. FEMA recommends families keep a three to five day supply of food and water on hand. It's always a good idea to be as ready as possible for any emergency. Another good recommendation for staying prepared is to maintain an adequate level of physical fitness. First responders are heroes; however, they may not be able to do their jobs after the predicted thirty inches of rain leaves massive flooding in it's wake. Many of the people in the path of this storm will need to fend for themselves. Before the flood waters recede most will be tasked to exhaustion.

Those evening walks will take on a whole new meaning when the strength and stamina gained allow us to help ourselves and others out of harms way. A disaster can test the full measure of our endurance. Being able to help others in an emergency situation is an amazing honor to be remembered always. Walking to safety, after the car breaks down, in an isolated location, is nothing more than a minor inconvenience for someone who walks several miles regularly. Carrying a child to safety, or helping an elderly person from danger, can take a toll on an untrained body. But a strong body, with a healthy heart, is going to be more resistant to injuries, such as muscle tears or sprained ankles.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association recommend regular moderate intensity exercise as the best prevention for injury and sickness. There is actually a National Physical Fitness Plan, put together by organizations such as these, to improve the fitness of our nation's population. One of their most successful efforts in this endeavor is the system of recreational parks with walking trails. Walking or running thirty minutes a day, five days a week, is their recommendation to achieve and maintain an adequate level of fitness. Adding two days a week of strength training will enhance the conditioning results even more.

There may come a time when we must be the first responder for ourselves or others. The minutes and miles spent on those walking trails will give us the peace of mind to know we are ready should an emergency occur. The best way we can prepare, for any life challenge, is to be physically and mentally ready. There is an old saying, “A hero will come when a hero is needed”. We can train to be our families' heroes, as well as, set a good example for them by maintaining a regular exercise program.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Friday, August 11, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

Our bodies are the forever home we will live out our entire lives in. We might change addresses several times, but our bodies will make every one of those moves right along with us. Shouldn't we treat our bodies with as much careful attention as the wood and brick houses we call home. Hours are spent every week mowing the lawns, trimming the walk ways, cleaning inside and out, just to give our house a pride of ownership look. Imagine how much better we would all look, if we spent the same amount of time toning and strengthening the body we live in.

When our houses need more than we can provide, we hire people to decorate or maintain them. The same thing can be done for our physical bodies. Personal trainers can help get us started and provide motivation along the way. Motivation is very important, since we can't store physical fitness. As soon as we stop exercising, we start losing it. The trainer can change up our routines to keep them fresh and fun. Most health clubs have trainers on staff, and it can be well worth the time and money spent, because they can sometimes be the reason we succeed. Often the advice and assistance of the personal trainers are even included in the membership fee.

The people who live in beautiful homes will tell you that it took a lot of work to get them that way. The lawn of thick green grass, without a weed in sight, didn't happen by accident. It needed the good nutrition of fertilizer coupled with regular watering. Our bodies will also thrive and grow stronger with good nutrition, and proper hydration is especially important. When repairs are required, we use good quality materials and have a knowledgeable person do the work. Sometimes our bodies also need attention, so we go to a professional to ensure we are getting the proper treatments. Treating our houses or bodies properly will make them last longer and function better.

Maintaining a healthy body starts at ground level with correctly fitting shoes. Sore feet will throw the rest of the body out of balance, because they are the body's foundation. Our homes, both body and house, must be strong, with a solid foundation to withstand the occasional storm. Storms will usually come when we least expect them. Being strong and flexible means we will be better prepared to face them. It's never to late to start treating our wonderful bodies properly. Years of neglect can be erased once we do decide to properly care for the homes we carry with us.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Doing The Disney

Morning comes early on this day of truth and challenge. The amateur racer wakes to the alarm, but stays in bed a few more minutes, pondering what lies ahead. This day has been a long time coming, beginning several years and many pounds ago. The starting hour of the marathon nears. Fear and self doubt have been replaced with the courage that accompanies determination. Where does one go to celebrate such accomplishments, Disney World of course.

A bagel filled with sliced chicken awaits in the hotel room's fridge. The calories will be needed for up to seven hours on the road. Clothes are laid out on the bed, so nothing will be forgotten. The race number is already pinned to the front of the T-Shirt. Now a hot shower to wake the rest of the way up and smooth out any lingering soreness from those many days and miles training. This kind of preparation is vital for a good race. These next few hours, before the start, should be stress free.

Many thousands of amateur athletes come to the House of Mouse every January to challenge the distance and to enjoy the warm Florida winter weather. Buses bring all the competitors to a staging area by 4am. The racers then walk about a mile to the actual race start. Once arriving at the start, everyone goes to their prearranged corrals, assigned by predicted finishing time. The fastest runners will be in corrals A and B, while the slower walkers are all the way back in G or H. At 6:15am, fireworks announce the start. Wheelchair athletes will begin first, followed fifteen minutes later by corral A. The rest of the corrals will start at five minute intervals.

The first leg of the course begins at Epcot and follows the road to the Magic Kingdom. The racers make a complete tour of the Kingdom, even getting to go through the world famous castle before exiting out onto the road to Animal Kingdom. Before the race is over, they will travel through all the parks and the Wide World of Sports Complex. A special treat is the race car track lined with vintage muscle cars. The final stage is at Epcot with a lap around the World Showcase. Just as the finish line comes into view, there is a choir of ladies singing gospel.

Disney has themed races throughout the year, ranging from a Princess race for ladies, to a Star Wars, dark Side, challenge. They are a wonderful way to celebrate hard earned fitness, and a nice family vacation as well. The January marathon is also a great break from the more northern winter weather and my favorite time to go.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hobby Health

People spend a good portion of their time and money on hobbies. Many don't realize that perusing health and fitness is also a hobby, one which can reward us with a greatly improved quality of life. Not only is increasing strength and endurance an interesting past time, but it can be an inexpensive one as well. One of the things which originally drew me to a life long pursuit of fitness was the level playing field. I would really enjoy collecting antique cars or traveling the world searching for amazing works of art, but my finances won't allow it. Almost everyone has the potential to increase their fitness level. Something as simple as regularly taking an evening walk around the block is relaxing, inexpensive and will make us more physically fit. However, just like any other passion, it can become more costly by purchasing exercise equipment and specialty clothing.

Hobbies are one of the best ways of coping with the stress of modern living. Work is a fact of life, usually topping our list of anxiety producing activities. Even the commute back and forth can be stressful, since it takes even more of our precious time. A bad day at work can follow us home and feel like a weight that must be carried until we can find a way to put it down. Moderately intense exercise, after a hard day, is an effective way to lighten that load. Leave that baggage at the curb and go for a brisk walk. The stress will seem more manageable, or be gone completely after a good walk. We usually can't play a round of golf or go fishing after a rough day, but we can get moving and let the therapy of motion do it's job.,

Those who pursue a hobby of healthy living have their own opportunities for collecting goodies. Normally distance events like a 5K or the marathon have participation medals. Each of those awards will have memories which go along with them. A distance medal is a badge of honor, showing we conquered our fears and finished the event. Some people carry a small camera when training or racing and take pictures unique to that particular day. A person who spends time surrounded by nature's beauty is going to see some amazing things. Every exercise session is different. There will be days when the wind is brisk, the sun blazing or the cold is biting, but each has both challenges and memories. Other days are going be so pleasant we will not want our walks to end.

Discover the benefits of living healthy and the relaxing power of being in motion. Time spent burning calories out in the clean, fresh air is addicting. It is a hobby we can live with.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

As each new day arrives we stand at an intersection. There are several paths we can take, including the option of not moving at all but just remaining where we are. The decisions we make as we stand at that intersection will not only dictate how that day will go but could very well affect the days that come after. We can make a decision to accomplish what we know we need to in order to advance our goals. Or we can make an excuse why we can’t.

It’s not so mysterious, we ar...e creatures of habit and if we are in the habit of making good decisions then we will live a happier more productive life. Yes we can make a choice to be happy and productive, or we can allow life to push us along. There is a huge difference in taking a rest day to recharge and just being lazy and not wanting take responsibility. Move with a purpose or rest with a purpose but make it your choice.

It's not just a step, it's a start.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Run What You Brung

When I was a teenager, almost fifty years ago, the local drag strip would have racing for the residents on Friday nights. They called it “Run What You Brung”. It was informal drag racing. This was the era of the Hot Rod, and most of the manufacturers produced a hot car or two. Those days are over, mostly because gas was about twenty eight cents a gallon then, and people could afford to drive those super fast, gas guzzling, cars. Walk and run races are informal like that. We race with the body we brought with us.

Going to races are a wonderful way to test our fitness, because we can keep track of the time it takes us to finish a measured distance. Next time we challenge that particular distance, we can try to better our previous time. It's called going for a personal record or a “PR”. This concept is what racing is all about, being stronger and faster today than the last time we raced. Some never grasp the significance of racing against themselves and feel bad about their finishing place. But if their finish time was better than their last attempt, then it's a win, because it's a new personal record.

Racing takes on a whole new meaning, once realizing that the competition is a distance or a time and not the others who came to race. Then the experience becomes amazing.
Hundreds, even thousands, of people meeting at one place with the desire to do better. Then the other racers are no longer adversaries, but a support group, since it's common for competitors to encourage each other.

I learned a lot from those Friday nights at the track. Taking things out of the car made it lighter, so it would go faster. Buying premium gas, instead of regular gas, helped me get better times. Even putting extra air in the tires gave it less rolling resistance. Lessons learned at the drag strip work well in preparing for races a foot. Eating better to shed some pounds helps us to go faster. Just as a more efficient carburetor helps the car's engine to breathe better, an aerobic training program helps our heart grow stronger, giving us more endurance. Weight training strengthens our muscles giving us more power.

Exactly like showing up to those Friday night races of long ago, when we decide to try a walking or running race, we race with the body we have, “Brung”, with us. A strong, properly trained body will perform well over the distance. If we don't do the training to prepare then it's going to be a long day.

It's not just a step, it's a start.