jump to navigation

An Unwanted Visitor August 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: , , , , ,
40 comments

I stepped outside to go for a walk and came face-to-face with a 4-foot-long black racer.

I retraced my steps and raced inside.

Pluto-RollerskatingExercise is over-rated.

 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Change June 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , , ,
42 comments

Chicken-Little-PosterFor many things, it’s slow and steady progress (not perfection) that helps us manifest change.

For others, cold turkey works best.

Gobble.  Gobble.

For example, switching from regular milk to skim milk or from dairy milk to almond or soy milk is harder if we alternate back and forth.  We don’t acclimate to the new milk until we STOP drinking the old milk.

The same is true of other dietary changes.

Our taste buds adapt to less salt and less sugar, but only after we eliminate the “problem foods” from our daily diet.

Also, change is easier if we don’t rely on sheer will power alone.

220px-Pig_roastbeef

Most of us are impatient and don’t want to wait.  Delayed gratification often is not enough to keep us slogging along with the new regime.

If we focus on the short term rewards gained from the behavioral changes we’re making, rather than on what we are giving up, it makes it easier to stick with the new behavior until it becomes status quo.

For example, we can focus on how we feel after a vigorous walk, rather than obsessing about the slow-to-move number on the bathroom scale.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For some terrific tips on mindful change:  What Needs to Change for Change to Happen (Find Your Middle Ground)

Exercise Rocks! June 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , ,
32 comments

250px-Scottish_hammer_throw_illustrationExercise releases endorphins and elevates mood.

It improves our fitness and sense of well-being.

It makes us happy.

Exercise ups our energy level, increases our metabolism, and regulates our appetite.

It normalizes melatonin production and enhances the sleep cycle.

It resets the limbic system, and releases pent up stress and anxiety.

Even if we’re not tossing rocks, exercise rocks!

It’s the fountain of youth.

Get moving!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Work Out Without Working Up A Sweat May 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Fun & Games, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , ,
23 comments

In 7 Ways Water Workouts Work Wonders, we touched upon the many benefits of staying cool while working out and getting fit.

Water exercise, or aquatics, is a terrific non-impact fitness tool.  Almost everyone can benefit from joining an aquatics class, including pregnant women, out of shape folks, the elderly, and patients recovering from injuries or certain surgeries.

* Water’s buoyancy reduces your “weight” by 90%, resulting in less stress on weight-bearing joints, bones, and muscles.

* You’re less likely to have sore muscles after working out in water, which makes it perfect for folks with arthritis, back problems, knee problems, or motivational problems.

* Water exercise, done right, encompasses all fitness components:  cardio-vascular, endurance, strength training, flexibility, and body fat reduction.

* The water’s resistance offers an excellent opportunity to strength train without using  weights.

To create additional resistance, cup your hands and pull or push the water away from you, or just run in place.

* Because of the water’s support, you can perform stretches that would be difficult (or impossible) on land.  As a result, you can move your joints through a wider range of motion and achieve greater levels of fitness and flexibility in and out of the pool.

Being in the water is calming and energizing at the same time.  Instead of creaking and groaning on land, you move with the ease and grace of a kid.

And, if you stay in the shallow end of the pool, you don’t even need to know how to swim!

Aah . . . that’s better!

7 Ways Water Workouts Work Wonders May 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Fun & Games, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , ,
36 comments

For people with arthritis, hip injuries, or other joint maladies, working out on land can be incredibly painful, if not impossible.   Of course, not exercising can cause those conditions to worsen over time.

If you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, consider a third option . . . water aerobics:

1.  Exercising in water improves muscle strength.   The water’s resistance makes movements harder than on land, resulting in faster development of muscle strength, endurance and flexibility.

2.  Participants can control movements more easily using the water’s buoyancy to distribute the weight load, improve their balance, and reduce the impact on tender joints.

3.  Pool exercise speeds recovery after injuries or knee-replacement surgery since the buoyancy allows for full range of motion with less risk of injury.

4.  Water pressure compresses the chest, lowering the heart rate and helping blood circulate more efficiently.

5.  In a cool pool, participants can exercise longer and more comfortably.

6.  Water workouts may also improve mood and mental health.  Being in water encourages a more positive outlook, which speeds recovery from both illness and accidents.

7.  Warm water relaxes muscles, eases tension, reduces stress, and lessens mental fatigue.  It may also promote chemical changes in the brain which maintain critical thinking and memory skills.

Well?  What are you waiting for?

Dive in!

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more on Water Aerobics:  Aquatic Fitness (AARP)

Or watch this video on smooth underwater moves from WaterGym.com

Related posts:  Beginner’s Yoga 1~2~3 * 10 Happiness Boosters * 13 Tips to Stay Healthy & Happy

Need more inspiration?  Check out the Fitness-Photo Challenge on As My Camera Sees It and join the 12 week Fitness Challenge.

21 Ways To Improve Life Balance April 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , ,
35 comments

1.  Nurture your body, mind, and spirit.

2.  Exercise is the fountain of youth.  Regular exercise increases metabolism, regulates appetite, improves mood, enhances sleep, and increases energy.

Need some inspiration?  Check out the Fitness-Photo Challenge on As My Camera Sees It and join the 12-week Fitness Challenge.

3.  Get enough rest.  Go to bed and get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.  Take time each day to relax and unwind.

4.  Simplify and unclutter your life.  Less is more.

5.  “Just Say No” to volunteer requests that don’t fit into your schedule or will compromise your sanity.

You are not the general manager of the universe.  Delegate tasks to others.

6.  Slow down.  Allocate enough time for tasks.  Pace yourself.  Tackle major life  changes and challenging projects in “small bites.”  Don’t dump everything into your wheelbarrow at once.

7.  Get organized so everything has its place, with backups for emergencies ~ an extra car key in your wallet or an extra house key hidden in the garden.

8.  Separate idle worries from realistic concerns.  If a situation concerns you, consider what you can do to resolve it.  If you can’t do anything, let go of the churning anxiety.  Keep breathing.

9.  Take things one day at a time.  Don’t worry today about what might happen tomorrow.  If it never happens, you’ll have worried for nothing.  If it does happen, you’ll end up worrying twice.

Worrying is interest paid on a debt we may not owe.

10.  Live within your budget.  Don’t use credit cards for ordinary day-to-day purchases unless you pay off the bill each month.

11. Talk less, listen more.  Learning to K.Y.M.S. (Keep Your Mouth Shut) can prevent an enormous amount of hassle.

12. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.  Build a library of wonderful memories.

13.  Bring a book to read while waiting in line.  Listen to books on tape or uplifting music while driving.  Or use waiting time for mindful meditation or creative visualization.

Waiting time does not have to be wasted time.

14.  Write down thoughts and inspirations.  Keep a folder of favorite quotes on hand.  Make time every day for a few minutes of quiet reflection.

15.  Having problems?  Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until you’re in bed to worry about them.

16.  Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often just a smile away.

17. Laugh.  Laugh some more!

18.  Be mindful.  Use all five senses.  Notice the blue sky. Listen to uplifting music. Inhale pleasant scents, aromas, and fragrances.  Savor delicious tastes.  Give someone a hug.

19.  Take your work seriously, but yourself not at all.  Sit on your ego.

20. Develop a forgiving attitude.  Be kind to unkind people; they need it the most.  Hanging on to anger and stale grievances doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you.

21. Be grateful for small blessings.  Before going to sleep, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before.  When we look for the best in life, we see it.  Gratitude magnifies the good.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Simplify Your Life * Clearing Clutter * I Don’t Want Stuff Anymore, Only Things (Raptitude)

Cross Train Your Brain April 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Meditation.
Tags: , , , , ,
45 comments

A few weeks ago, we attended a lecture at Freedom Village on Cross Training Your Brain.

We’d heard the speaker, Dr. Kevin W. O’Neill, once before when he presented A Brain Training Symposium.

IMGP1472a

Dr. O’Neill reiterated that what benefits the body, benefits the brain:

* Exercise ~ Ball Room Dancing is #1!
* Eat right ~ a Mediterranean Diet is best
* Sleep tight ~ without popping pills
* Don’t let the bed bugs bite
* Manage stress ~ meditation is great
* Focus on positives ~ don’t worry, be happy
* Interact with friends ~ be a social animal
* Tickle your funny bone chakra
* Learn something new today ~ build synapses
* Share your talents/volunteer/help others
* Develop an attitude of gratitude
* Drinking coffee lowers the risk of dementia
* Eat tumeric ~ curried veggies, please
* Play games, solve puzzles, have FUN!
* Live, Love, Laugh, Learn!

A few key points:

(1) Exercise is the fountain of youth when it comes to brain health.  It lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, increases gray matter, improves blood flow to the brain, elevates mood, and reduces stress.  For a 76% reduction in Alzheimer’s risk, try Ballroom Dancing!

(2) Reducing Stress helps maintain brain health ~ try exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation, or other purposeful pursuits.  And get enough sleep.  Sleep allows neurons to shut down and repair themselves.

(3) A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and omega 3 fats helps keep dementia at bay.  Vitamins C, D, and E are key building blocks for brain health.  As is Folic Acid ~ found in dark green veggies, chickpeas, and pinto beans.

(4) Intellectual Stimulation and Social Engagement are beneficial to brain health as we age.  Playing games and musical instruments helps ward off dementia.

(5)  Go ahead, enjoy your daily dose of caffeine.  According to the research Dr. O’Neill shared, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day will lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease . . . by 65%!

But don’t just sit around drinking coffee, R~E~A~D!  More on that tomorrow.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

What do you do to keep your brain sharp?

“We Rest Here” April 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, People.
Tags: , , ,
29 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

On August 17th, dad got paid for the month of August ~ $71.78 after all deductions taken out.  He sent a $50 money order home for safe keeping:

“The physical training is getting more difficult, but as we are getting used to it we don’t get any more tired than we did the first few weeks. Yesterday, the mile that we run after each physical training period was not alternated with periods of walking.  We double timed all the way.”

“You asked how my score on the rifle compared with the others.  I would say that approximately 15-20% of the company made expert, however there may not have been quite that many.”

On August 22nd, he wrote Margaret:

“The weather here has started to cool off nights.  One army blanket is hardly enough to keep you warm.  We have two if we want them.  It’s a lot nicer sleeping here than at home ~ it is the days that make it uncomfortable.

“This afternoon we hiked 3 miles with 50 pound packs, which included blanket, gas mask, rifle, bayonet, raincoat, mess gear, steel helmet, etc.  Also tents.  When we arrived, we pitched tents, dug water drain around them, took them down, and marched back.  It was just practice in preparation for next week.  We camp out overnight then.”

“Perhaps you and some of the others would like to know what “Alabama” means.  It is the Indian word for “We rest here.”  Pretty good!”

On August 25th, he reported on firing the Browning Automatic rifle:  “It is the type of weapon that most countries call a light machine gun.  I got 67 out of 80 which qualifies me as a sharpshooter.  I needed 70 to get expert. The officers told us that the majority of the company didn’t qualify, that is they got less than 50.”

In the same letter, he shared an interesting anecdote:

“We have one fellow in our company that was in Europe during the war.  He was born of American parents in France.  During the war, he was a spy in the French underground.  With forged papers, he went through Germany and Austria, collected information and sent it to American authorities in England.  He said he sneaked through the German lines 7 times.  He is pretty much of an expert with an automatic because he carried one with him all the time.  That must have been an exciting life for a fellow of only 15 or 16.  The reason he was picked for the job was that he could speak German without an accent.”

As basic training wound to a close, he continued to tease his younger sister Marjorie about being a poor correspondent:

“By the way, isn’t it about time you wrote.  I don’t think that I like your postscripts to Daddy’s letters.  They aren’t very complimentary.  Now you know that I wouldn’t write anything like that to you.  You had better write a good letter back if you know what’s good for you.  Can’t you think of a better signature than Stinky.”

In a letter dated September 2nd, he filled his dad in on the next leg of his journey:

“We have only 32 hours of training left now.  all the hard work is over. Everyone is beginning to spend a lot of time thinking about going home.  The first of us are supposed to leave in about a week.  Don’t be too surprised if after I am home I have to report out west and get shipped to the Pacific.  I think a lot of us are going in that direction.”

“Yesterday when I got off K.P. I found a package waiting for me.  The cookies arrived in good condition.  Tell whoever cooked them that they did an excellent job.  Was it Margaret or Marjorie?  If Marjorie cooked them maybe you had better say that they were just fair.”

Two days later, he sent a follow up letter:

“Today we had a little information given to us in regard to our “delay in route.”  Most of the company, including myself, is going to the west coast probably to be shipped overseas.  They give us a ticket to Cincinnati and a ticket from Cincinnati to our [ordered] destination. When we reach Cincinnati, each of us will buy a round trip ticket home. From this you will probably see why it is called a “delay in route.”

“There are only 2 1/2 more days of basic left.  Tomorrow we fire the 30 caliber machine guns and the 60 millimeter mortars.  This morning we practiced throwing hand grenades.  Saturday it is all over.  We have graduation, parade, and are given our diplomas or whatever you want to call them.”

“The other day we had 4 hours of classes in how to stop riots and house to house fighting.  They even had a platoon cause a riot while our platoon moved in on them in wedge formation, with fixed bayonets and gas masks.  We even threw some mild gas grenades at them.  A lot of fun for us, not them.”

On September 9th, he wrote his last letters home:

“We are really getting ready to leave here now.  We are handing in all the equipment that they gave to us.  Our rifles were just taken.  The only things that we have left are our bayonets and foot lockers. Yesterday, we turned in our packs, tents, rifle slings, entrenching tools, etc.  Did Aunt Pete tell you about my writing to her and saying that I am earning $82.50 a week plus room and board.  This is mostly on account of the G. I. Bill ~ the amount they will pay toward college.”

“This Friday I leave here for home.  I expect to get home Sunday.  I will have to leave in time to get to Camp Stoneham California on September 30th.  Camp Stoneham is an overseas replacement depot.  I am pretty sure to be sent to the Pacific.”

After basic training ended, dad received a furlough and headed north to Vermont for a short visit.  

_0001 (2b)

Aah . . . that’s better!

To be continued . . . Over Hill, Over Dale, Over Seas

Dry Fire in the Pouring Rain April 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , ,
20 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

At first, mile-long hikes alternated walking and running.  With improved stamina, the recruits ran with guns and packs on their backs.  Officers kept the company company:

“Lieutenant Knoll and the other officers run with us every day.  That is one thing about the infantry, the officers ask the men to do nothing that they won’t do themselves.”

Everyone in the barracks rose early.  When asked about his schedule, he shared the following:

“We have to get up at 5:30, wash, make our beds, and fall out at 6:00 for reveille.  We police up the company and have breakfast at 6:30.  7:30-8:30 First Aid class.  8:30-9:30 Military Courtesy.  9:30 – 11:30 Rifle mechanism and cleaning.  12:00 Dinner.  12:45 Fall in.  1:00-2:30 2 shots and 1 vaccination.  Also examination of eyes and teeth.  Mine were OK.  3:00-4:00 Physical Training (slap boxing and mile run ~ they still let us walk and run alternately).  4:00-5:00 Drill.  5:30 Supper.  6:30-7:00 Rifle inspection by platoon sgt.  7:00-9:00 “G.I. Party” (remove all beds and equipment from barracks to mop and clean it).   9:00 Lights out.  Perhaps this will give you a little idea of our schedule.”

Some days were better than others.  In a letter to Margaret, his step-mother, he wrote:

“Monday it rained hard here.  We were out on the range having what they call dry fire (without live ammunition).  It seemed [other than] dry to me.  The showers here are regular cloudbursts.  We were all soaked to the skin.  We had to walk back to the barracks about 1 1/2 miles through 3 inches of mud.  While on the firing range, we had to lie down in it.  We were really a mess.  They let us change our clothes.”

“A lot of the fellows have been sick here on account of the heat, etc.  A few have had pneumonia.  Some of the others were taken to the hospital after having their shots.  So far I have felt perfectly O.K.  I don’t expect to be sick much while I am in the army either.  That is one thing that I am very lucky in.  I have only been sick once in the last five years and that was chicken pox.”

Dad teased his younger sister Marjorie for taking advantage of his absence:

“Do I have any clothes left and is my radio still working?  I haven’t heard from you much so you must be spending half your evenings at Marshal’s and the other half taking things from my room, namely clothes.”

“The fellows drink a lot of coke here.  We sweat so much that we are thirsty all of the time except at night when it cools off.  It cools off enough at night so that we can sleep comfortably with one army blanket over us and one under.  They don’t issue sheets here.  We have pillow cases though.”

“I suppose that you are rich now that you are working.  If I were you I would try to save all I could.  You will never be sorry.  The money that I saved got me started in college.  Without it, I probably wouldn’t have started.  Now that I am started I can see my way clear to finish as long as the government is going to pay part, or should I say all except for clothing perhaps.”

“This letter is too long for me to write.  I might collapse from shock so I will stop.  Daddy mentioned in his letter that you were going to write so I had better hear from you or else.”

“P.S. Tell Daddy that in an emergency, I could get a furlough if the local Red Cross notified the Red Cross here at the Fort.  I think a doctor has to say that you are needed at home.  I don’t want you to think that I am trying to get home because if I did I would have to take basic training over again from the start.  One fellow got a furlough already because he broke both his wrists the first day on the obstacle course.  Enough said.”

_0001d

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . Can’t Stand the Heat?  Get IN the Kitchen!

“It’s a Rifle, Not a Gun!” April 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Lessons, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,
32 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

_0001a

Dad survived 8 weeks of basic training at Fort McClellan in Alabama during the hottest part of the summer, arriving on July 11th and leaving two months later:

“Arrived here early this morning to start basic training in the infantry. It is really going to be hot here this summer.  We started drill today. They have issued us gas masks, packs, battle helmets, etc.  I think we get rifles tomorrow.  On the way down here, we went to Cincinnati, Ohio; then came south.  I have been in 13 states since I enlisted.  We had troop sleepers so the trip wasn’t bad except that it got awful dirty. So did I.”

When writing Aunt Pete and Uncle Webb on July 21st, 10 days after arrival:

“The food on the train was rather poor or the helpings were small.  I don’t suppose they could do much better though as long as the train traveled day and night.  Anyway one rather amusing incident occurred.  The train stopped at a small station.  (We weren’t allowed to leave the train).  A lone man was standing on the platform with his arms loaded with groceries.  It was in Kentucky I think.  One of the fellows asked if he had any cigarettes.  He tossed a pack into the car. When they tried to pay him, he threw in a package of doughnuts and said keep your money.  “I was in the army for four years and I know that they are starving you on the troop train.”  Enough for now.

P.S. They really didn’t starve us.  We just could have eaten more.”

On July 16, he wrote his dad:

“Basic training officially started yesterday.  We have had classes in personal hygiene, diseases, sanitation, the M1 Rifle, map reading, the general orders, etc.  We have done quite a lot of drilling and they have had us out on the obstacle course some.  My watch lasted exactly one day of this training before the crystal came out.  One fellow dropped his rifle today and has to carry it with him all the time for one week. One of the sgts. didn’t like to have me call the rifle a gun.  At least I didn’t get extra detail.  It really isn’t bad here except that they keep us busy all day with very little time off.  Everybody’s shoulders are sore from carrying the rifles.”

_0001 (3a)

Lights out!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Continued tomorrow . . . Dry Fire in the Pouring Rain

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,099 other followers