Athletics, Health

How You Could Benefit From Mindfulness

How often do you start off your Monday morning feeling stressed with a long list of things to do? Do you feel like you have lots to get done and not enough time? How often do you miss what’s going on around you as you zip through life?

If you answered “Yes!” to any of these situations, then you could benefit from creating more mindfulness in your life!

Recently when I was training for a half-marathon race, I took advantage of the long runs to practice mindfulness. This practice has helped me to feel more balanced, less stressed, and more connected with what’s going on around me. This could be you too! Keep reading to find out how.

Facebook Live video I did on mindfulness

So what is mindfulness?

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad.” (As defined by Psychology Today)

“The practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.” (As defined by Cambridge Dictionary)

In essence there are two components to mindfulness:

  1. Being in the present moment
  2. Non-judgement

Great, now we know what mindfulness is, then how do we be mindful?

Let’s start with being in the present moment. Here are ways that you can do it:

  • Connect with your breath. Are you breathing shallow, deep, or quickly? Your breath is so automatic that you can forget about it, yet it is essential for to be alive right now in the present.
  • Observe your surroundings. Are you indoors or outdoors? Are there plants, people, or furniture? You may see things on a daily basis but not really notice or connect with them.
  • Do one task at a time. Focus on this one task fully. You may notice that you can do a better job at it, which can be more rewarding.
  • Bring attention to your body. Are you feeling energetic, sore, or tired? How is your posture? Are your shoulders scrunched up to your ears or are they relaxed?

Doing any of these exercises helps you to be in the Now, by observing and connecting with what is happening in that present moment.

Did you know that being in the present moment increases feelings and emotions of positivity?!

When observing my surroundings I saw this cascade of flowering trees.

Now that you’re more present, here is how you can create non-judgment:

  • Observe your surroundings. Then describe them objectively without using judgemental words such as beautiful, slow, or friendly.
  • Notice your feelings and emotions. Are you feeling happy, excited, or sad? Simply notice your feeling without judging it, such as happy= good or sad= bad.

Doing any of these exercises will help you to cultivate non-judgement.

Did you know that practicing non-judgement decreases feelings and emotions of negativity?!

So there you have it. You now know what mindfulness is and the two aspects to creating it in your life. Practice this regularly and soon you’ll feel less stressed, happier, and more in tune with what’s going on around you. Not only that, you will also develop an ability to live in a more enriching way.

Practicing mindfulness is an enriching journey

Happy Practicing!

Athletics, Health

The 3 benefits of running

What are the reasons why you started running? Were they to loose weight? Or to get fit?

While running can help you achieve those goals, it can also produce many other health benefits. Isn’t that great! Read on to find out more.

Auckland Half-Marathon

Here are the 3 benefits of running:

    1. Cardiovascular: Probably most commonly known are the cardiovascular benefits of running. Your heart is a muscle, and as such it gets stronger with exercise.  Running is a great way to get the blood pumping through the body more efficiently…and it can also lower your resting heart rate.
    2. Peace of Mind: Whether you experience it as a runner’s high, getting in the zone, or melting away of stress, there’s no doubt that a long run can be meditative. With regular runs, you may find yourself feeling more focused in doing everyday tasks or getting a better night’s sleep.
    3. Slimming: You can put your body in the fat burning zone with long slow runs. Running is a great way to use up excess calories, and when combined with a healthy diet, can help facilitate slimming and weight reduction.
    4.  [Bonus] Whole body workout: Running works your legs (which are the biggest muscle group in your body) and your abdominal muscles. What a great combination!

What I’ve also found is that running gets me outside in nature, which is a bonus anti-stress buster. Over the years I’ve also been able to combine running with travel…recently I learned that there’s a half-marathon race in Hawaii!

Can you think of other benefits? I’d like to hear your comments!

San Francisco Half-Marathon

 

Athletics, Health

Why timing is important: after workout tip

For a speedy recovery after doing sports or a workout it’s not only stretching that is important. Also be sure to supply nutrients to those tired muscles.

Here is an excerpt from a great fitness magazine:

“Timing Is Important

At the end of your workout, your body is screaming for nutrients. The sooner you refuel the tank, the quicker your body will recover and your muscles will grow. One simple strategy is to place in your gym bag a post-workout recovery mix and a shaker bottle that you can mix immediately following the workout. “

After workout 
My fav post-workout recovery mix

Personally I’ve found using a sports recovery mix to work very well, most notably for reducing next-day soreness.

You can read the full article about building muscle here.

#AthleticHealthyU

Check out additional tips on my Facebook Page here

 

Athletics, Health, Healthy Recipes

Have you tried Protein Power Porridge yet??

This porridge is not your Momma’s old fashioned stove-top porridge!

It’s a quick, easy, one-bowl tasty meal packed full of protein, fiber and vitamins. This is one of my favourite things to eat after a morning workout or run! 👟👟

Protein Power Porridge Recipe

Ingredients & Directions: 🍴📃

  • 1/3 C quick oats
  • 1 serving protein shake mix
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seed
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 serving fiber boost
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • Mix together in a bowl.
  • Then add
    1 C almond milk.

Cook in microwave oven at medium heat 1.5 minutes. Stir. Cook another 30 seconds.

Garnish with:
Cinnamon sprinkled to taste
1/3 C blueberries (or strawberries)🍓
Bonne appetite! 💚
#athletichealthyu #proteinmix #healthyfood #porridge

Athletics, Health

Getting Back in the Game

Re-starting and getting back in the game can sometimes be a scary thing to do. The fear of not being as good as you were before and comparing to one’s former-self can inspire procrastination. This challenge is what I encountered when I set my goal to start running at the beginning of April after taking a break for 1.5 years from running. (The reduced running was because I was intensely focusing on salsa dancing). After a week of procrastination I went for my first run along the Lochside Trail. I found exercising in the sunshine and nature was helpful and inspiring.

Lochside Bridge

The most important thing is to stay focused on your goal of getting back into the game, and go for it no matter what! When you take actions towards achieving your goal, the fears start to melt away. With a little effort soon you’ll enjoy being in the game…and enjoying the post-exercise good feelings and improved health. Also, the next-day stiffness is a good reminder of accomplishment and a job well done! As I was reminded the next day after my run.

Lochside Trail

Feel free to leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on my Facebook Page

#athletichealthyu

#running

#fitness

#goals

Athletics, Health

Have you tried doing micro-workouts?

Do you ever find yourself waiting for a few minutes here and there? Well you can make use of that precious time and become fitter all at once! And did I mention this can be fun too?

Introducing fun micro-workouts: These are very small workouts when you only have 2 minutes or less.

Consider this, your dinner is heating in the microwave oven and you’re supervising it and counting down the minutes  (as I find myself doing occasionally). The food can heat perfectly fine without you staring at it…so instead while you wait do a micro-workout!

Walk stairs

What I found works for me is lung-walks back and forth across the living room. While my meal heated I was able to squeeze in a few laps.  Here are some other ideas:

  • walk up stairs holding can(s) of soup
  • laps of lung-walks across living room floor
  • calf raise holding can(s) of soup
  • chair dips on dinning room chair
  • squats with a bag of flour

Go on then, get creative, and have fun! And don’t let me catch you staring mindlessly at your food as it rotates around in that microwave oven.

Have any other ideas? Feel free to comment on the post or on my Facebook page 

(other version previously posted April 3, 2017)
Athletics, Health, Healthy Recipes

Why would you put that in your recovery smoothie?

Last post you received a tasty smoothie recipe to help you recover after a workout.

Recovery Smoothie

So now you’re going to find why you would want to use those ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Banana: electrolytes Potassium and Magnesium
  • Mixed berries blueberry/strawberry/blackberry: are anti-inflammatory and contain Vitamin C
  • Ground flax seed: contains omega-3 fatty acid which rebuild tissue and also is anti-inflammatory
  • Protein shake mix: delivers amino acids for muscle support (may also have vitamins and minerals)
  • Fresh ginger root: anti-inflammarory and anti-oxidant, promotes good digestion
  • Cinnamon spice: powerful anti-oxidant polyphenol and anti-inflammatory
  • Kale: an anti-oxidant with vitamins, minerals, calcium, and high-fibre
  • Papaya: anti-oxidant, Vitamin C, electrolytes Magnesium and Potassium
  • Water: hydration

So there you go, not only are these ingredients tasty they also serve a helpful purpose…to get your body healing faster so you can feel better and be stronger for your next day of workout or exercise!

Have any comments or other favourite ingredients you like to use in your recovery smoothies? Please leave a comment on my Facebook Page

(previously posted April 19, 2017)