Is It Obvious?

20150131_135823This festive door is decorated for a Mardi Gras celebration.  The wreath is a collection of bright colors and varied textures.  Visitors would immediately know that the people in this home are in a festive mood and ready for a holiday party.

When people walk by you on a public street can they immediately sense what is going on inside?  Are you healthy?  Do you exercise on a regular basis? Have you taken time to reflect on your personal needs?  Have you chosen your favorite form of exercise and designed a routine that fits your lifestyle?

We all are faced each day with a variety of choices.  How we make those choices determines how we spend our time.  Hopefully, when we are walking down the street, doing our grocery shopping, going to the library or attending a social event the general public can visually see how we are spending our time.  It should be obvious that we are making the correct choices if we are standing tall, walking straight with shoulders back and feeling healthy and well-rested.

Next time you are in the position to make a quick observation, it should be obvious.

 

 

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Summer Routines

20170528_124438We all have routines that we practice when the warm weather engulfs us. Beach visits, holidays at the theme park, playing at the community park, checking out books on the library summer reading list, enjoying outdoor sports, spending time with our family pets, enjoying more time in the sun and just relaxing in the lazy days of summer  – all of these activities offer enjoyment.

Some people pick a more sedentary list such as bird watching, gardening or feeding multi-colored humming birds.  On a recent trip to a arboretum I observed the consummate bird watcher.  This person was equipped with every facet of his routine.  Hat, shoes, clothing, glasses, change of clothes (in case of an emergency), binoculars, camera, tripod, cooler with appropriate snack (so as not to miss that perfect view), and small folding chair.

He had arrived early so that the perfect spot could be located and dedicated to his endeavor. Each item was carefully placed in its’ designated place (i.e., camera on top of the tripod ) before he attempted to make himself comfortable.  It was obvious watching this bird watcher that the items of his summer routine were as important to him as the routine itself.  He made sure that each item was in the correct place so that it could do its’ job.

This observation made me reflect that we all have summer routines.  When we go to the beach, we take our towels, sunscreen, swimming suits, hats, drinks, coolers and ice.  These items and the part they play in our summer routines are important and each is a “place holder.”  If we forget to bring the ice, no one gets a cold drink, if we forget the sunscreen, we get a sunburn, if we don’t have a beach towel things get really sandy real quick…

So, as the days of summer are heading for their final days, let’s give a final nod to our routines and decide whether they are good or bad.  Do we want to “shake” them up a bit or do we want to continue on with our “tried and true” routines because they work for us in our enjoyment of summer?

Little Children & Young Animals

20130627_110722Children and animals seem to innately understand that exercise and moving their bodies are automatic – part of life.  If they want to get from one place to another, they simply move their legs and feet in that direction and go.  When they see something good and happy they join the activity.  Their brain tells them to use their bodies to go to the happy thing.

Medscape (June09,2017) states that “senior citizens who enjoy dog ownership increase their physical activity in a meaningful and healthy way.”  This means that as people match their movements with our animal friends both enjoy the benefits.

I wonder why we as humans forget the idea that movement helps us?  A University of Lincoln study in England found that dog owners walked 23 minutes more a day than older adults who did not own a dog – enough to meet U.S. and international exercise recommendations for substantial health benefits.

If you take some time to watch small children in a play ground, you will find that they share a trait – spontaneous joy in movement.  So, if we as a young children receive a positive feeling when we move, why do we forget about that feeling when we get older?  Could it be that we get too busy?  Is it too many intrusions from electronic devices?  Do we create too many excuses?  Are we too tired?  Have we forgotten how good that spontaneous feeling of joy actually feels?  Have we let our aging bodies rule our mind?

Well, it could be a collection of reasons.  In reality, we don’t move in our adults years as often as we did in our childhood.  So, if movement is good for happy little children and feisty young animals, it might just be good for us.  Just a thought…

Summer Time

20170528_130156.jpg” Summer time and the livin’ is easy…the frogs are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.” Well, as we all know, the lyrics from this song in “Porgy and Bess” is introducing the audience to not only a new way of life but a change in the seasons. The axis has turned and we are in the throws of summer time.

It’s time to consider that during this time of year, we are all prone to the health issues that come with this season – sun burns, dehydration, insect bites and stings, falls, sprains, broken bones, traffic accidents, boating mishaps and camping casualties.  People are just more active when the weather is warmer – it’s a fact of life, at least in this area.  Not only that but we tend to “let our guard down” when we are enjoying ourselves.  Which means that we are less vigilant with our safety issues and health maintenance rules.  We drink more alcohol and less water.  We eat more carbohydrates and less protein.  We get less refreshed sleep and stay up later watching more sports activities.  We move around more and aggravate our muscles more than we are used to.  Let’s face it, there are a lot more “week-end warrior” out there on the playing field in the summer time.

So, let’s all be more vigilant.  Make that extra effort to drink more water.  Before deciding to be part of that week-end football or soccer game, you may want to spend some time in the gym and tone-up a few “under-used” muscles, first.  When taking that beautiful boat out into the pristine lake, stop and think – did I pack the sunscreen, insect repellent,  life vests and extra batteries?  Your friends will ask you to go hiking and you will say, “Sure, and I’ll wear my good hiking boots and bring a current map of the trails – don’t want to get lost.”

It’s really very simple – be prepared and stay aware!  Have a great summer.

 

Stress Response

Today’s environment is stressful.  The pace of life is fast, multiple options compete for our precious time, our attention span seems to be shortened as we age, and instant gratification is expected.  We are even told how to manage our sleep – dark, quiet room with no electronic distractions.

Often we feel as though someone has set us down in the middle of a raging tornado and said: “Now function at your peak, have a positive outlook and soothe your inner beast.” We are expected to not respond to the tornado but we must acknowledge its presence.  We must understand that the power of the whirlwind could easily destroy us but we pretend that the raging surge isn’t literally dancing at our doorstep.

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It’s understood that eventually we will be part of the tornado but somehow the destructive force of the beast won’t affect us – because everyone will eventually be part of the beast.  The stress of today’s society causes constant adrenaline releases.  This hormone surging through our body sets our internal rotations moving at warp speed.  Much like the driver of a car rotating the tires at a high speed without forward movement of the vehicle.  We are psyched-up with no where to go.

Every organ in our body responds as though we are cave men in the Neanderthal period of civilization trying to defend our cave from the attacking bear.  We must instantly kill the animal or turn and run or we will be killed, ourselves. Every tissue in our being, every organ in our body in geared toward our survival and we must answer that call.

However, there is no bear and we are no longer in our Neanderthal period of civilization.  So, we still have our survival response.  Thankfully, we can use that process.  We use it to motivate and move our body.  We develop a routine of regular exercise that is compatible with our life style.  We use our brain to compile information to regulate our waking and sleeping routines.  These routines monitor our bodily systems and provide us with appropriate feedback to the incoming stimulus of the outside world.

When we encounter the approaching tornado, and we will, the coping mechanisms that we employ will help us to survive when we are sucked into the whirling cycle – staying calm in a stressful world.

 

Making Sense/Cents

When we use the power of our mind to perform an action or deliver a response we are making sense.  This may seem like an obvious statement but in reality a cascade of reactions occur before a visual action is observed.  Most of these reactions are invisible to the “naked” eye.  They occur within our brain.

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A stimulus initiates a response which triggers a cascade – much like a line of positioned dominoes.  When the first one tips over, it nudges and topples the adjacent ones.  Making sense in our daily life, makes us successful.  It gives us a direction in which to put our energy.  We know that if we are truly aware of our basic  bodily senses – smell, taste, touch, hearing, vision, balance and coordination  we will avoid danger.

Logically, it should follow that if we use our senses we can avoid danger when talking about “cents” also.  Using understanding, logic, good management and consistency should illicit a response much like the cascade of reactions that occur within our brain.  However, the challenge comes when we look at “who” developed each of the systems.

The system in our brains seems to have been developed by a “higher power.”  It is in place when we became who we are.  It is part of our package when we arrive.  The system was designed by a master programmer.   However, we are the “masters of our own destiny” and develop our own plan for making cents.  We decide how to arrange and deliver our talents when searching for, or making, cents.  Maybe that is the challenge…

 

“Filling Up”

As we enter the holiday season I am reminded of not only the emotional but also the physical feeling of being full.  There is a certain contentment that comes over a person when their needs are met.  Not so much a reference to “Maslow’s ” hierarchy of needs but just the ordinary daily living kind of needs.  The response that tends to answer the questions –  Is my tummy full?  Do I feel warm?  Am I safe in my home?  Are my family members o.k.?  Can I protect the one’s that I love?  Can I identify where my next meal is coming from?

When I think about these “needs” I understand that now all people can answer “yes” to these questions.  However, most people can respond yes to some of these issues.  What a great world we would live in if all the people that we met every day could respond that way to all of their needs – both emotional and physical.  That could be called nirvana.

I’m not sure exactly sure what “nirvana” would look like, but possibly everyone in it would be secure and be filled up both physically and emotionally.  So, as I look toward the holidays and view the increase activity of everyone around me, I pine fondly for possibly the unreachable “nirvana” but at least I can dream.

 

Daily Habits

Women tend to experience low vitamin D levels as they age.  If they are dealing with chronic diseases it is even more probable that that level will show signs of deficit.  Therefore, it is important to have your level checked on a regular basis.  Your medical provider may recommend a supplement.

Rest and restful nighttime sleep is also important and beneficial for all people but especially women.  There is a health term which recently has appeared in the literature, “sleep hygiene”,  which encompasses the idea that good, prolonged, efficient rest adds to a person’s general good health.  This makes sense since we all need to have a way to recharge.

Develop a “sleep routine.”  Avoid stimulates, perform certain routines when bedtime occurs and make sure that you get enough natural light throughout the daylight hours.  These habits, performed on a regular basis,  will signal your body that it is time for sleep.

These daily healthy habits can assist your body’s natural defense system to use vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals, to help ensure that if you are dealing with a chronic disease condition you are stronger in your defense.

Just a thought.  Remember our bodies are made to move.