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Careful of the changing seasons

You have an internal “season” clock that responds to the season’s changing amounts of daylight. It affects your daily rhythm. It dictates the foods you treasure. It even affects your activity levels.

 With winter coming your body is wired to have you get fatter and be less active. Why?  Prepare for the coming winter where millennia ago food was not plentiful and you battled cold day in day out. It has been refined... and refined… and refined over many millennia preparing your body for what’s coming up and what you need to do. Hey, it was refined through a whole long lineage of past relatives, all who survived (after all – you are here), and with the return of this autumn it is preparing you for another winter.

To illustrate this, consider the mountain bear (I ran past one in the bushes on Saturday stuffing its face with mountain berries): Eat, Eat, Eat… and eat some more. What’s coming? Winter. Like chasing down calories for the bear in the fall, so will your internal clock, it will be directing your mind’s eye to focus on loading up for the coming winter.

 So don’t be surprised if you start languishing for higher calorie yummies, and a lot of them. Colder weather is upon us. Incrementally shorter and shorter day light hours are upon us. Like that bear, stuffing its face, not recognizing me run by, your internal season clock that has had many millennia of refining for your ancestor’s survival and yours too BUT… HOLD IT, we live in warm houses now—we don’t need the extra layer of fat (at least I don’t), AND if we choose we can still exercise now (though more of a challenge with more darkness).  Because we’ve created a world where this is possible.

So my advice to not fall into the mountain “bear trap” is this:

1.     First and Foremost SCHEDULE your whole week’s activities before the week starts. Lock it in! Definitely no on the run scheduling!! Your internal clock will have your backside on the couch enjoying another movie night eating buttered popcorn sprinkled with sweet things in no time flat. It is NOT a battle. It is time to schedule AND then you win.

2.     Regarding the food thing:

a.     Eat more non-processed foods—

b.     Veggies and fresh water, very important. Carrots and fresh fruit leave you in a great place to combat the munchies.

c.     Insure you’re Breakfast hardy and Supper lightly (lots and lots of salad)

d.     Finally, pack snacks you make and include cut up veggies. Learn a trick from the smoker’s habit change advise: Put something in your hand to stop you having it filled with a cigarette.  So my advise to you is daily pack a bag of veggie/fruit munchies (carrots, apples, etc) to snack on – and keep the fresh water close at hand.

Happy fall hunting and stay away from the mountain berry bushes when you are out exercising… it can cause quite the fright coming across a bear.

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Balance

Most of us have found ourselves having caught a foot, a near fall, an "ouch, that hurt..." or like Sandra Bullock attempting to navigate high heels in Miss Congeniality movie, tripping and stumbling like Bambi. Losing ones balance often happens so quick, we don't even realize it until we're on the ground. 

Here are some tips to help improve your balance

  1. Slow down (1), especially if you’re on uneven ground or if it’s dark.

  2. Stay organized (1); if you’re working out at home, keep the area tidy so you don’t trip on your equipment.

  3. Pay attention to your environment (1), know what’s around you. Especially if you have a little one, they can be sneaky.

  4. Get your vision checked (1), regular visits to the eye doctor is always a good idea.

  5. Try exercises to improve your balance (2)

    1. Balance on one leg (be sure to alternate), once you feel confident doing this with your eyes open, try closing your eyes. Know your environment, incase you stumble

    2. Walking or hiking on uneven ground helps improve balance

    3. Wide squats and lunges- helps to engage your core

    4. Walk heel to toe - forward and backward

    5. Incorporate strength training into your workouts (3)

    6. Use plyometric exercises to improve your sense of self (3,4)

      1. Try doing some explosive actions, like jumping up the stairs (with a railing for support)

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It’s that time of year again!! What time is that?

Well four times a year we'll send you a reminder to review your contract and update it. (And then modify your weekly exercise commitment of how many workouts and the amount of time committed)

Why is this important?

Because as we grow, our contract may also, but even more likely, as we continue to be more active we may see new possibilities and may be have new motivations for what is “my why” for exercising. Keeping it current, reviewing it quarterly helps in achieving improved physical health, or at least maintaining it.

How is the best way to decide on what will that new contract be?

Well the best way is to discuss it with another person with the aim to clarify, what is your “why” for exercising the next three months. And the best person to talk with is your personal professional who knows you best, likely know some of your challenges you face and is usually the one who supports you and holds you accountable. Or,  talk with a friend about your “why” for exercising. Failing that, take a piece of paper and write down three reasons that move you that are the reasons now that drive you to continue to be active, that is, that motivate you to keep active. Then change your contract on your GoGetFit app.

A few notes:

  • Remember to keep it realistic, but most important,

  • Make it personal (for me, my new commitment this fall is to be active so I can be active when my oldest son comes to spend time with me this year.)

  • Tell someone else. Notify your professional. Tell your friend supports.

  • Go to the mirror and do what I had to do daily when I was on national team-- Say to the mirror, looking at myself, what was my contract with myself, my personal why for being active.  This is mountains to molehills more effective than anything else. Just you have to do it the first thing when you wake up and come across a mirror. Try it?

 

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What would you do without fast food?

Stop take a moment, it’s time to evaluate our food situation. Could you make it a day without going through a drive thru? How about a week? Yes this means not buying your morning coffee at Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s. Ask yourself, could you make an equally as good of a coffee? Or perhaps the bigger questions is, do you want to?

 

 

Is the want or desire to be healthier strong enough to eliminate what is unhealthy in your life?

Take for example your daily cup of coffee. In one scenario you have black cup of coffee (no cream or sugar included). In the second scenario you have a cup of coffee, but this time lots of liquid flavoured sugar and cream as well as whip cream on top. In the first scenario there are no real calories or nutrition has been gained but overall no harm has been done. However, in the second scenario, not only have you not gained any nutritional value, but you have also consumed a significant amount of empty calories. Having a fancy latte every day before work can easily add up to 2000 calories by the end of the week, which is almost a whole day’s worth of calories in coffee drinks alone.

Part of the struggle with fast food is that so much moderation in our eating of treats has been lost. Everything is easily accessible and for the most part relatively affordable. It’s okay to have your fancy latte, pop, or fast food, once in a while as a treat, but having any of these items in excess is not doing your health any favors.  I'm saying this, not to scare you away from what we put in our bodies, but to encourage you to make conscious decisions about what you're eating and to be aware of the effects of what you choose to eat.

The fact is that those few extra pounds we all carry didn’t just magically fall out of the sky and land on our waistlines. We’re responsible for them consciously or not. These additional pounds are a product of our overindulging in food that doesn’t serve us or our bodies. Trust me, I get it. The temptations are everywhere. I run by a grocery store that still makes their own donuts. Let's face it, too much of the sweet stuff  is not doing ourselves or our families any favors. I'm far from the world’s best eater, but I know I want to do better and to live a healthier life. Here are some tips I've begun to use in my own life that have made a big difference in helping me manage my eating in a positive way.

1- Eat a good breakfast at home. Starting your day off right makes a huge difference in how successful you are in eating well for the rest of the day.

2- Make your own lattes (or whatever your guilty pleasure is). This way you can manage and be aware of the additives (such as sugar, cream etc.) that are present in your food.

3- Meal plan -Spend 20 minutes with the family and decide on meals for the week. Then buy the groceries. When you have a game plan that everyone shares you’re less likely to stray from your goals.

4- If your children are old enough to help with the meals get them to do so. Not only does it take some of the stress off of you, but it also teaches them valuable healthy eating skills.

5- Get together with a friend and take an afternoon and cook a bunch of meals to freeze for those extra busy days. This gets caught up on much needed friend time, plus you’ve accomplished a big task.

6- If you don’t have self control when it comes to your favorite food then don’t buy it! Plain and simple if you can’t handle the chips being in the cupboard then avoid the chip aisle. Or if you must buy chips, buy small bags for the once and awhile treat.

While it can seem overwhelming to make these kinds of changes in our lives, especially when convenient and fast food is such a large part of them, my advice is this: start small. Pick one thing you want to change and be realistic. Even if it means that you start out with cutting back one thing or trying to make your lattes at home. Be patient with yourself. Every journey starts with a first step. You can do it.

 

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My Inner Coach - Article 2

Who’s your competition? What’s your biggest challenge? …Yourself!

Yes... you are.

 

Over 30 years ago, while a member of the Canadian national badminton team, I had  my worst defeat ever. An early exit in a national ranking tournament that basically meant I was removed from the national team. Negative thoughts overwhelmed me.  But that loss plus learning about my inner coach resulted in me overcoming the biggest challenge to any one and any athlete-- profound self doubt. I turned it around and I will tell you how just  three weeks later I had the biggest international victory in my career, thanks to my inner coach. And you should know, you have your inner coach also waiting to be called on.

That “biggest challenge” for anyone is the questioning of self, facing that self-doubt . . . or even worse, carrying self-criticism. These all will quickly erode even the best of intentions to get better or move forward.

So what to do when you face that biggest challenge.

First and foremost, remember it starts small. Unrecognizable initially, but you must watch for it. And then one day you will catch yourself in the acting of “questioning oneself”. It is important to call yourself out on this. Address it immediately. Just as a garden weed, starts only as a small initially unrecognizable little seed, it still has the potential to germinate and eventually if left unabated, produce a large infestation in anyone’s garden. If that small self-criticism/doubt is left  unaddressed when it is first recognized, it will infest the best of intentions and best laid plans. Like any weed when it first sprouts, for the successful gardener, looking for it with a watchful eye, or for the successful athlete training those long hours day-in day-out, self-doubt/self-criticism needs to be weeded out immediately upon recognizing them.

 

How to do this:

Fortunately there is this phenomena available to anyone, it is called your “inner coach.” It works like this. It is a voice in your head.  It has had a phenomenal impact on my life. It replaces most of the self doubt when self-doubt shows up to spoil my party. Even sometimes I will yell in my head when I am struggling. “Go for it.” “Keep going.” Or, “Yes, I am tired today but just get started AND I will feel so much better when I DID IT!”

We all have an inner voice somewhere inside of us (the “inner coach” waiting). Open your mind to it initially by just saying those FIRST WORDS: “Go for it” or “Get started” And guess what? It will start to happen!

A little secret on how to do it-- next time you find yourself in front of the mirror- SMILE at yourself and say “I did it!” “I’m glad you’re taking care of me”. Self-competitors use this inner coach as their cornerstone of success.. They all know those external motivators can only carry them so far. External motivators have a short life as motivators. The most powerful force, the most enduring, the one that sustains comes from within, not externally.

If you’re reading this. Let’s activate your inner coach: Find a washroom. Close the door. Look in the mirror and say in a loud voice,  “Let’s get started. Go for it.” What did you feel?? Do it again- look into the blacks of your eyes and repeat it. Well?

A personal story I have not shared often... So here is an exclusive for you.

When I was on the Canadian national team many decades ago I had a dismal result that was going to knock me off the European trip in the coming year. It was three weeks before the Canadian Open. I was demoralized from the early exit from a national ranking tournament. “How could this happen?” The team sport psychologist gave me a call and instructed me to activate my “inner coach”. Each morning I woke up, the first thing I had to do was walk to the washroom look in the mirror and watch myself repeating a phrase three times aloud to get my head in the right space. Seeing myself repeat that phrase while looking into my eyes. Hearing my voice repeat every morning about my potential every day--  Well that loss in that smaller national ranking tournament resulted in my biggest victory in my career at the Canadian Open three weeks later: I beat the number 7th ranked player in the world who had recently beat the number one ranked player in the world. Honestly, I played out of this world. The story here is that had I not accessed my inner coach that was impossible (and I would not have been on that team trip touring in Europe representing Canada).

Your inner voice. It is waiting to be called on to be your inner coach. Psst… just find a washroom, close the door… and you know what to do. It can even produce out of this world performances for you. Take it from me.

Dr. PJ Rawlek
Founder of GoGetFit

 

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MY Inner Coach- Article 1

When I was younger, I was very athletic and coachable. If someone told me what to do on the court, no problem, I was your person to get the job done. I had a great deal of success athletically because of this and internally I felt that I would be fit forever. However, much to my surprise when the coaching stopped, I found I wasn’t as good at maintaining my fitness as I’d thought. While I still aimed to participate in physical activities like road running, without the coaching I wasn’t having the same type of success I once did. Although I received training advice from friends, no one was actually tracking my progress except for me. It was on my shoulders and was my responsibility to see the training through to the race. I had to more or less completely self motivate. This resulted in many missed workouts and when race day came, a very painful completion of 21km route (which I’d previously ran well trained and easily).

 

This whole experience was a real eye opener for me. I realized I’d would have to find ways to self-motivate and become a self-competitor. Essentially, I was going to have to teach myself to coach myself and to compete against the healthier version of myself I wanted to become.

I started this journey by reviewing why I actually wanted to be in shape. First thing for me was, I simply like the feeling of being healthy and active. I have more energy and feel better when I’m healthy. From this basis I was able to begin the process of coaching myself. Whenever I had those days when I didn’t want to do anything, I got my “inner coach” out and she told me “You signed up for this race and you hate sucking . . . remember that race . . . everyday matters- every training session matters”. These little pep talks were usually enough to at least get me started. Then the pleasure of being out there washed away that earlier attitude of “not today.” You know that feeling? Been there before??

Once I got going the next step was to keep my momentum going. In order to do this, I had to train my inner coach to support me even when I began to feel self doubt or became personally self-critical.  For me this meant that my self-doubt was not allowed to say “you will never be good enough”, instead my inner coach would pipe up “I am proud of you, good job taking care of yourself.” I would even take a moment to say it aloud. Hearing my voice say it had a great impact on me during times of dread. “Keep getting out there you’ll feel better when we’re done!”. And I consistently did!!

The fact is, we have to decide how we want to experience life and what’s important to us.  We’ll have periods in life where external motivators (such as a coach) are present, but those can only carry us so far. The rest has to come from within. When I get up to exercise everyday I am not saying it is easy, but it’s something that internally I’ve decided I am going to coach myself through.

I once met a lady, let’s call her Sue, (who had smoked and been overweight her whole life) who began her fitness journey with the initial external motivation of her husband’s ex-wife running a half marathon. That got her started but it clearly didn’t have the power to produce the results. Upon successfully completing her first race, Sue came to the realization that she herself wanted to be healthy, not because her husband’s ex-wife was, but for herself. For Sue, her “inner coach” came alive and was there to tell her that “she was worth it and that she doesn’t have to train to win against others, but to be a winner in her life by her own measure”.

What I really want to say is that you should find the thing inside you that motivates you to live a good and healthy life.  Ask yourself, what do you need to tell your inner coach so that they can train you to be your best self? I know it can be difficult, we have different responsibilities and different things in life we can’t control. However, if you can learn to self-motivate and access the supporting voice of your inner coach, I promise you, nothing will be able to stop you.

Please share this with friends if you think might be helpful for them.
 

Follow us next week with more about how one person leans on their inner coach when self doubt or self criticism is overwhelming.

 

Kerri DeZutter
GoGetFit Communications and Team Coordination lead

 

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Why Quit?

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” ~ Vince Lombardi

Do you believe this quote to be true? I don’t. I think there’s a lot of people who quit things/activities in their life and end up being winners. Take me for example. I always wanted to dance and do gymnastics as a kid. I wasn’t particularly good at either one of these activities, I was awkward and clumsy. I even broke my gymnastic coaches nose trying to do a backhandspring (flying legs - knee to nose). In my parents words when it came to my tap dancing… painful to watch. I wasn’t any good but I didn’t quit right away. I stayed with both activities for 2 years before I called it quits. I gave them both my best truest effort. In the end, I discovered for myself that these activities weren’t for me. As it turned out, by quitting, I actually enabled myself to fall in love with a new sport and a sport that loved me back.

Often the case with starting new things, I certainly wasn’t very good at it right away,  however I was engaged enough to keep going. You may argue that flipping between activities is just how it is when you’re growing up. I think that while the situations may be different when we’re adults, the same concepts can be applied. In life you should try your best, give it all you’ve got, and then at the end of the day,  you’ll then know in your heart whether you should keep with it or quit. Quitting doesn’t have to necessarily mean stopping an activity entirely. It might just mean taking a pause to evaluate and then try again. Or it might mean, thank you for the opportunity and the experience, but now it’s time to move on.

This series of trying and quitting things is something that we’ll end up repeating many times in our lives and that’s ok. What’s not ok is doing something you hate simply because you feel that you shouldn’t allow yourself to quit. There are too many options/opportunities out there to try. [Especially when it comes to physical activity. Take dancing for example, when I was younger there were a handful of options, like ballet, tap, jazz, or Irish dancing. Now, you have hip hop, zumba, aerial, and even pole dancing classes. Try one or try them all? You’ve got nothing to lose. When you discover the one (or two) you enjoy doing, it’s ok to quit the rest. You took the chance. You gave it your best and explored possibilities.] In the end, by quitting something you dislike doing, you haven’t sold yourself short as we’re often led to believe, but instead prioritized living your life to the fullest and given yourself the chance to move on to something you enjoy doing more. I don’t know about you, but that’s a win in my books.
Below are some guidelines you can use to know if an activity is right for you.

Ask yourself...

  • Do I look forward to going or doing the activity?
  • How do I feel when I’m doing the activity or when I’ve finished?
  • Do I need to do this activity?
  • Do I actually like doing the activity? Do I find excuses not to do the activity? (If you’re continually finding excuses instead of doing the activity, then it’s not right for you)

Tell yourself….

It is okay to hesitate when trying something new. It can be scary, but don’t give up. There are always ways to make things work. For instance, if you want to try dancing, but feel like you’re going to be a bull in a China shop consider taking private lessons, before trying a group lesson. Doing one to one lessons is a great way to start because you can ask lots of questions and not feel embarrassed or self-conscious about it. It’s also a lot easier to improve at a new activity in a one-to-one setting.

Remind yourself that you’re brave and commend yourself. It takes both courage to quit something you have always done, as well courage to start something you have never done.

 

 

 

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Rewarding yourself after exercising

Imagine this, you have just worked your butt off at the spin class you signed up for. You’re feeling great and your friends says, lets go for ice cream we deserve it.
Now, if you’re like me, you hop in the car and don’t think twice about it. If your attitude is such that “I’ve earned ice cream and I’m getting a double scoop”. Stop and think. Did you really earn the ice cream or did you earn the workout?
You earned the workout and your body is grateful to be put through the paces and to flush away some of the stress and inactivity of the day.
It’s time to stop justifying poor habits like ice cream after a workout.  Here are some ways that you can set yourself up to be successful in achieving your personal health goals.

Plan ahead
1- If you are going for a workout with a friend, let them know ahead of time that you’d prefer not going out afterward for a sugary reward. This way you can avoid the uncomfortable conversation, especially if your friend is prone to going out for “something social” after the class.
2- If you do want a treat/“reward” afterward, choose wisely. Have something small, like 1 scoop of ice cream in a bowl, instead of the double scoop in a waffle cone.
3- Or If you can take a few minutes before you head out for your workout, pack some food. Consider carrots, grapes or homemade granola with yogurt. So if you do want extra time with your friend and you don’t want ice cream, you’ll have something to snack on. Don’t get yourself in a situation where you’re relying on willpower when you’re inside an ice cream shop (especially, if it’s been a particularly stressful day).

Other ways to reward yourself for a great workout
Pay yourself for working out. We invest in our future, why not invest in your workouts. Make a game out of it. If the workout was great, pay yourself a $1.00, but it was awful and you stuck it out, then give yourself $5.00. Label the jar, with whatever reward the money is going towards. For example: A new outfit, a concert or something bigger like a vacation.
Earn a movie, or couch time. Count your workout minutes for the week and for every minute you exercise earns you a minute of couch time. For example, if there is a movie you want to watch on Friday night and it’s 150 minutes long, get those 150 minutes of exercise in throughout the week before you go to the movie. (modify as desired).
Make a deal with your spouse or friend, once you’ve hit some many workouts in a month you get a date night. Why not make it an activity date, like bowling or a hike. Or have them to go to a workout class with you.
Do you love your morning smoothies and is your blender is on it’s last leg? Set a goal to reach so many minutes of activity before you can buy a new blender. For example, if you typically get 150 minutes in a week reward yourself once you get 900 total minutes (That should take you about 6 weeks). While the appropriate goal length can vary by individual, it's important to make sure the goal you set takes long enough for positive change to take effect while not being so far away as to feel unattainable.
Did you get all of your workouts in this week?  Reward yourself with a new song.

At the end of the day remember to keep your exercise fun and your fitness goals realistic and attainable. Exercise should never be a punishment for food eaten or a life lived.  Instead, remember that even if you need additional positive rewards to motivate you to exercise, that's okay, because you will still experience exercise itself as a great reward. 
We all slip now and again, be willing to pick yourself up and continue working towards your goal.
 

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Summer, kids and physical activity

Did you know that Canadian children are receiving a failing grade when it comes to physical activity? According to the participaction report card, Canadian children are not getting enough physical activity during the day, they should be getting at least an hour everyday. We’ve talked about all the benefits for adults regarding physical activity, but for children it’s even more important. So many great things happen when they’re active. According to the participaction report card physical activity improves children’s overall performance, movement inspires thinking/creativity, decreases anxiety (mild-moderate) and improves their mood.

With all of the technology out there, it’s easy for anyone, not just children to get lost and spend an entire day in front of a screen. How can we find a happy medium for our children, so there’s some time for electronics and more time playing.

Here are some suggestions

1- Unschedule your schedule. Not every part of your day needs to be planned. You might find this stressful and unproductive, but this allows children to feel like they're contributing to the decision making process. If you get lots of ideas for the one day, write them down, so you have back up when your kids look at you and say, “I don’t know”.
2- Consider sending your kids to adventure camps or other camps - opportunity to make new friends and learn something new.
3- If you are leaving your children at home  for the day, create a chore list for them - builds responsibility, time management and trust. This takes a bit of prep work on your part, but it’ll be worth it.
       1. Weeding the garden or flowers
      2. Make their own lunch
      3. Clean the yard or the house
      4. Start supper
      5. Educational work - read, math questions etc

Decide what they’re allowed to do outside of the home

  1. Can they go biking or to the park in the neighbourhood
  2. Play in the yard
  3. Go swimming

If you’re struggling to get your kids to do anything but sit in front of a screen, you will need some support and ideas.

  1. Find like minded parents - who want their kids to be active as well
  2. Set electronic rules - EG- an hour a day, Consider changing the WiFi password- have them earn it. Be Firm.
  3. Make a list of all the activities your family likes to do. This way if they’re “bored”, they can look for some inspiration
  4. Make a friend list, if your child is old enough, have them make the call and set up a time to hang out, or get themselves to their friends house (You may have to ride there a few times with them to show them the way. Teach them to read a map or write down the directions - road safety always important).
  5. Think about all the things you did as a kid that kept you entertained -- make your own list of ideas
    1. Climb a tree- or build a treehouse
    2. Pick up games - like baseball, basketball or soccer
    3. Swimming on their own. Make it to the pool, pay (cash - know what to get for change), get a locker and swim
    4. Build something - Bird houses or a reading bench
    5. Make swords or daggers out of toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls and masking tape
    6. Create their own slip n’ slide
    7. Yard bowling - soccer ball and empty bottles (add a bit of water for weight)
    8. Do a park tour - pack a picnic and try to find parks in your area or surrounding neighbourhoods
  6. Rainy days
    1. Puddle jump, let your kids get dirty. Make Mudpies
    2. Build a fort out of sheets, pillows and blankets -
    3. Go to the library or do story telling
    4. Lego without instructions - who can build the tallest tower
    5. Bake - teach them how to bake, by only using verbal guidance- encourage reading directions (manage the oven accordingly).
    6. Board games - make them read the instructions
    7. Museums- let them wander
    8. Let them sit in silence and let their imagination go, great things come when we ponder
    9. Have them make their own “music video” (yes make them sing and dance- make a routine)- Then have them perform it

For more ideas, here are some websites
23 Activities for Tweens
https://childhood101.com/23-activities-for-tweens/
Top 15 Indoor Games And Activities For Teens
http://www.momjunction.com/articles/indoor-activities-for-your-teen_00351440/#gref
50 Fun Spring Activities for Teens
https://www.verywellfamily.com/fun-things-for-teens-to-do-this-spring-2608967
25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving
https://mommypoppins.com/newyorkcitykids/25-exercise-games-indoor-activities-for-kids

Summers can go by in a flash. Being active and making memories is what it's all about. Looking back at my child, it wasn’t about the sitting around, it was about the adventures, playing games and being with friends and family.

Participation Report Card
https://www.participaction.com/sites/default/files/downloads/2018_participaction_report_card_-_highlight_report_0.pdf

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Sleep

When we were little our parents were forever trying to get to bed on time, because we needed to get our sleep. I hear myself saying the same thing to my son. Those 10-12 hours are so important when we're growing up. But what about now? As adults, sleep is still so very important. So why is it that we take it for granted?
We’ve allowed technology into our bedrooms, a place that should be designed for calm, rest and relaxation. Not just with televisions, but with our phones, ipads, and other electronic devices. It is time to take back the bedroom. Make it a place that invites you to rest. Our lives are hectic and at times we don’t feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Well good news, the work and chores will be there tomorrow and after a good night’s rest you will be even more productive and have a clearer head.
If you're struggling to unwind here are some suggestions to help you reclaim your sleep.

 

1- Make your bedroom an electronic free zone. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, set it far enough away from you so if you wake in the night you aren’t tempted to pick it up and surf.

2- Evaluate how much sleep you truly need and work your schedule from there. For me, I like to workout in the morning before my house wakes up. So the alarm is set for 5:15. That means if I want my 7 hours of sleep, the goal is to be in bed by 10:15. Set a schedule and work hard to stick to it.

3- Turn off the electronics least an hour or more before you head to bed (*For children, it needs to be 2-3 hours before they head to bed). You need to unwind and screens serve as a stimulus and don’t actually help you unwind. Read a book, do some journal writing or go for a small walk. If you need “noise” in order to go to sleep, consider some soft music or a mediation audio or the humm of a fan.

4- Make your room as dark as possible. Your body can relate to darkness and knows we sleep when it’s dark. That’s why we feel like hibernating in the winter-  lack of daylight hours. Also, to turn off unnecessary lights in the house. It will help in the unwinding process.

5- Be mindful what you put in your body after 7:00pm. Having a light snack before bed if you’re hungry is fine, but a 3 course meal, caffeine, sugar or alcohol not so good. It will leave you feeling heavy and restless.

6- Exercise, as always so important. Late afternoon/early evening and from there wind down.

It’s the small things we do that make a difference. Just like making exercise a priority for your overall health, sleep needs to be just as important. Try to make one change with your sleep routine over the next few weeks and see how you do. Be patient with yourself good habits take time to form. A solid foundation for good health is the goal.

 

 

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Inner Strength

What are the things you do in your everyday life that are “automatic”?  Likely, everyday you brush your teeth, put the dishes in the dishwasher (in theory) and put your shoes on your feet. However, while we do these basic things every day, why is it that  it often takes so much effort to habituate our daily exercise?

Take this winter for example; I set a goal to go outside for at least a 20-minute walk everyday, no matter the weather. I thought this would be perfect goal for me because in the past I’ve gone into hibernation mode and have gotten really comfortable there, snuggled in my sweats and blankets waiting for the snow to melt.  

I know it doesn’t seem too difficult, but when the wind chill hit -40, it took some considerable effort to get dressed properly and a load of self-talk to get out the door. Some days, I only made it for 10 minutes; despite not reaching my original goal it was still worth it. Just knowing that I am prioritizing my health, even just a little bit, makes a big difference for me in the way I feel and the way I live my life.

Even now, being on the doorstep of summer, when I wake up and my first thought isn’t about the walk or the work out, it’s about whether or not I really want to get out of bed. I still have to talk myself into getting up and out the door. Once I get moving, I’m good because for me just beginning to exercise makes me feel better.

A great article I read recently was 9 ways to Build Your Inner Strength by Kevin Daum https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/9-ways-to-build-your-inner-strength.html
I thought this article was fitting for me because putting my health at the top of the to do list, like many other people, is something I often struggle with.
This article gets you thinking about you! Something we don’t do when we’re automatic mode. I can tell you for sure, going outside at -40 wasn’t automatic. It was full of thought every step I took to face the weather. Getting out of the automation of life is a great first step to self-care.
If you don’t have time to read the whole article here  are some of the highlights I took away from it.
1-   Ask why? Focus on purpose. This cultivates strength and motivation
2-   Put yourself first. Make your own well being top priority
3-   Train your mental and emotional body as well as your physical self
4-   Decide, commit and act
5-   Don’t let fear factor your decision-making. Don’t reject an opportunity because you’re afraid you can’t do it or something might go wrong
6-   Embrace what scares you. Take that challenge to increase your self confidence
7-   De-clutter your mind. Find a quiet place or try mediation. Turn your brain off for a little while
8-   Become your own best friend. Spend time alone
9-   Practice calm and self control in adversity- Negativity gets you nowhere

For me, getting out and walking first thing in the morning was so many of these recommendations.
Remember to take time this week (day) to focus on you.
 

Cheers,
Kerri


 

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