Healthy Lifestyle

Getting Back Into Physical Activity

Getting back Into Physical ActivityThis summer has been an extremely busy time for my family. While we have routines in place to keep us on track nutritionally, physical activity has been a different story! Other than the occasional walk, I am not getting much physical activity. 

I know how important it is to get enough exercise and speak with my patients about it regularly. But the struggle is real, and my lifestyle is not reflecting my values in this area.

As I reflect on ways to change this in my own life, I thought I would invite you into the process with me. Here are some ideas that we can use to make exercise a reality in our lives.  

Clarifying Our Motivation

Sure we all know that being active is “important for our health,” but what is your true motivation for putting in the effort? What is it that you want to accomplish by being more active? Would you like to be able to keep up with your friends when they go hiking? Are you a competitive person who wants to be able to race? Do you simply desire to avoid the chronic pain that “runs in your family”?

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The Gift of Solitude

solitudeThroughout history, opportunities for solitude were built into a person’s daily life. There were no cell phones to look at while waiting for appointments or social media accounts to keep connected with friends when they were home alone. Solitude was often a person’s default mode. 

In our ultra-connected society, this is no longer the case. Modern technology gives us the ability to fill our time and minds endlessly. There are many benefits to these technologies, but is there a hidden cost that we are paying?


What Solitude Really Is

Solitude is often referred to as a state of being alone without being lonely. This lovely definition of solitude conjures up images of sunsets on top of a mountain or leisurely walks along the beach. But in reality, we don’t need to be alone in a remote location to enjoy solitude. To complicate things more, sometimes being alone in and of itself does not result in solitude.

In the book Lead Yourself First, authors Kethledge and Erwin define solitude as “a subjective state in which you’re isolated from input from other minds”. In other words, solitude is when you are left alone with your own thoughts. It is more about your internal experience than what is going on around you. 

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Simple Ways To Have An Active Summer

Simple ways to have an active summerWith the beautiful days of summer ahead of us it’s time to get outside! Enjoying the weather can naturally lead us to be more physically active, which is good for both our minds and our bodies. Let’s intentionally embrace these opportunities and find pleasure in our movement this summer!

There are ways to  incorporate physical activity into your daily life and make it fun, so that it doesn’t feel like work. With so many amazing places to explore physical activity doesn’t need to be repetitive, boring, or expensive.

Let’s look at some ways to make this a great, active summer!


Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Everyday Life

If you live a busy life and struggle to find time to be active, try to incorporate it into your daily life.

  • Choose a parking spot far away from the building when out and about.
  • Walk, or bike, places if possible when running errands, getting together with friends, etc.
  • Carry your child or give them a piggy back ride to the car, the lunch table, or bedtime.
  • Race up and down the stairs in between other less active pursuits.

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Planning an Intentional Summer

planning an intentional summerThink back to the end of the school year when you were a kid and had the entire summer ahead of you! For many of us it was an exciting time to dream of all the fun things we would do and adventures we would have during our break. As we get older, responsibilities tend to crowd out the childlike wonder that comes with summer, but what if we could reclaim just a bit of it?

What if we let our imaginations take flight and listened to what our hearts really want for this summer? We may not be able to do all the things on our summer bucket list (a trip to Hawaii, or vacation at an all inclusive resort), but we may be able to clarify what is important and lean into those things in little ways.

Clarify Your Values

Think about your priorities! If you don’t clarify your values it is easy to allow other people’s values to direct your days. Here are some exercises that can help you think through your values and decide what is really important to you.

  • Take some time to think through what activities you would enjoy this summer, things that bring you life.  Do you notice a theme?

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It’s not just the whales: How plastic impacts OUR health!

plasticEarlier this week it is estimated that over a billion people from across the world celebrated Earth Day! This year Earth Day’s theme was “Protect Our Species”. We were encouraged to do our part to protect endangered animals. One of the ways we can do this is by reducing our use of plastic.

When it comes to plastic, small changes can have a big impact on these animals, as well as the environment. In addition, reducing our use of plastic can have a great impact on OUR health!

The Impact of Plastic on the Environment

Our culture’s reliance on plastic is having a major impact on the environment. Many people do not think about the fact that plastic is made from crude oil. The manufacturing process emits a substantial amount of pollution and, once created, plastic is not biodegradable. According to the Natural Environment website, it takes about 400 years for a plastic bag to break down.

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Are You Listening to Your Body?

Body awarenessIn our fast paced society, many of us have lost the ability to simply be present in our bodies. We go through our days following our schedules, and to-do-lists, never really noticing what is going on inside. From an early age we are taught to ignore our body’s sensations. While these sensations can be convenient to disregard at times, if we consistently disregard what our body is telling us, there may be a price to pay!


We Are Taught to Ignore Our Bodily Sensations

We’ve been taught, in subtle ways, to ignore our body since we were very young. Most of these messages were given by well intentioned adults in our lives.

  • Having to wait until mealtimes to eat.
  • Being required to clean your plate.
  • Waiting to go to the bathroom until between classes.
  • Being taught to hold back when you have to pass gas.
  • Having our feelings minimized, dismissed, or punished.
  • Being pushed to keep going when we were tired and needed to rest.

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