when i’m bored

July 31, 2014 in Blog, Blogging, Guest Post by lindsaymwright

(Reminder:  Make sure you take the day to tag your #15minutesforyou pictures!  The contest ends TODAY!  I’ll be selecting two winners this weekend – with Arctic Zero and Onnit prizes up for grabs!!)

I’ve got another guest post for you today – an addition to the, “When I’m Bored,”series. Take it away, Amy! 

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When I’m bored I…

1. Plan my dream vacations. Like really plan them. I look up flights, hotels, activities, check out restaurants and reviews of those restaurants (I don’t actually book anything, I just do all of the research).  I come up with how much it’s going to cost according to my “plans” and then sit and stare into space trying to figure out how to save up that much money. During these moments of staring off into space, I often think things like…”well, if we sold our patio furniture and only ate beans and rice for dinner, we’d have a good start…”

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2. Organize my kitchen cabinets. Obsessively. Labels need to be facing a certain way, things are sized smallest to largest, there can’t be “too many” items in one place–being evenly spaced is key. I’m a maniac.

3. Look at fashion blogs and make a list of the items I want to buy to make the cute outfits from them. (Between the dream vacations and outfits, me being bored gets expensive!)

4. Crave Chik-Fil-A chicken strips. Almost. Every. Time. It’s like a switch for me—boredom sets in, then my craving.

5. Bake something. Usually it’s this banana bread or these muffins.

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6. Foam roll. For some reason, it’s only when I’m bored that I remember to spend a significant time doing this. But I usually spend the most time looking up new foam rolling techniques so by the time I actually get to doing foam rolling, it lasts about 6 minutes.

7. Brush my guinea pig and talk to him in a high-pitched, weird voice. It’s called the “Otis voice” and he sheds a lot of hair so I want to help him out. Don’t judge.

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8. Paint my fingernails. I have to be REALLY bored for this one because I’m probably the world’s worst fingernail painter. About halfway through painting my nails, every time, I realize what a terrible job I’m doing and wipe it all off.

9. Call my husband to talk about how his day is going. And what he wants for dinner. And what he needs from Target. And about what Otis, the guinea pig, is doing. He loves these phone calls…. ;)

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10.  Re-arrange the furniture. Then I realize that I don’t like that much change and move it all back. Pinterest is just too good at sucking me in. I get so inspired!

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Along with being a certified personal trainer and nutritional consultant in Florida, Amy blogs at The Funky Fork.  Go check her out!

best decisions by caroline

July 29, 2014 in Best Decisions, Blog, Blogging, Guest Post by lindsaymwright

Another “best decisions” post (for more, just search in the sidebar – there are many!)  One of MY recent best decisions was housing a caramel apple from the Kilwin’s down here in Destin!  Is there anything better?? 

Many thanks to Caroline for filling in for me!  Take it away, friend!

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The Best Decision I Ever Made… was getting my master’s degree in clinical mental health and clinical addictions counseling!  Through my two years in my master’s program, I learned so much great information that, when applied, can lead to a fantastic, healthy life!  I really enjoyed all that I learned in grad school (and my subsequent counseling experience since that time), and I’ve been really thankful for all the changes that resulted in my life because of my decision to go to school. Here are some of the biggest changes in my life that have occurred because of that one decision:

Because I decided to go to grad school, I ended up doing my thesis on wellness (yes- it was more specific than just “wellness”) and behavior change.  In writing those 80ish pages, I realized how much work I had to do on myself.  I made a promise to one of the people on my thesis committee that I would start working out as soon as I graduated; I kept that promise.  It’s all about being proactive in our health, right?

Because I did my thesis on wellness, I realized how much my lack of exercise impacted other areas of my life, so I started to work out more and I started to run! It’s truly hard to imagine my life without exercise, as running half marathons is such a big part of my life. (you can read more about “my journey to running” here).

Because I started running, I started to do pilates, which has become a big staple in my workout schedule. I love the mind-body aspect of it, and it is not only a stretching and strengthening activity, but it’s also great as a stress reliever. Doing pilates also lead to me becoming a pilates and pilates/barre instructor, which I really love ( I also love getting to do barre classes for myself! ) IMG_1968

Going to grad school also taught me all about having healthy boundaries and trying to decrease the use of cognitive distortions (especially great for those dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression!)  Not only have I noticed big changes in my mental health and my worries and thoughts since grad school, but these things also impact the physical health choices that we make as well!

There are obviously far more changes that resulted from grad school as well.  Running led to triathlons and connection to some of my family members in very different ways because of this.  Grad school led me to meet some of my very closest friends, led to a speaking and writing career, and led my to my dream counseling job.  I never thought that one “little” decision like grad school would lead to a snowball of other changes as well.

That’s the thing, though.  So many of our decisions, whether big or little, will lead to a cascade of other things in our life.  As you make your decisions- choose wisely.  Think about how your decisions might fit into your future goals, and if it will take you closer to or farther from health.  And once you’ve made your choice, hang on and enjoy the ride!  It may take you places you could’ve never dreamed of or planned!

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one of the best decisions that you’ve ever made? What other things did it lead to in your life? DSC_0563_2

 Hey! I’m Caroline, a counselor, half marathoner, and Pilates & Barre Instructor. If you’re interested in running, biking, pilates/barre, traveling, and mental health issues, you can find me at the following places:

Blog: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com

Twitter: @kalolainastar

Instagram: littlethingscaroline

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/littlethingscar

benefits of swimming & heart health

July 24, 2014 in Guest Post, Workout by lindsaymwright

We leave for the beach tomorrow so I’m sprinting around doing last minute things (one of them being getting my car cleaned out – any other mamas out there with super duper gross vehicles??  It’ll just get dirty on the way down, but I digress.). 

I’ve got a guest post today from Becky on swimming & heart health – makes me want to swim a few laps when we get to Florida!!

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How Does Swimming Benefit Your Heart?

Lots of people talk about how great swimming is as a form of exercise.  But it is supposed to be really beneficial for the heart.  After a co-worker fell prey to a heart attack, I began to study the heart and swimming, to understand the connection, and why swimming was so beneficial for the heart.

Slower heart rate in the water.  I was surprised to discover that the resting heart rate goes down by 10 beats per minute just being in the water.  Even more interesting, the maximum heart rate goes down by 10 to 30 beats.  When someone is swimming, the heart will pump the same amount of blood as in other forms of exercise, but it will happen more slowly.  No one knows for sure why the heart pumps more slowly in the water, but it is speculated that the lower temperature of the water, and decreased pull of gravity may account for the difference.  Here are some great resources with more details about the heart and swimming:

·         Health Benefits of Swimming

·         Swimming For Your Heart

·         Heart Health & Swimming Pools

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Lowered risk of heart disease.  It was pretty shocking to read that heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, it the number one killer in America.  That really got my attention.  Many of the problems with the heart are connected to the buildup of plaque in the walls of arteries, making them more narrow and restricting blood flow.  If a blood clot occurs and gets stuck, it causes a heart attack.  Swimming comes into this picture because it is easy on the cardiovascular system.  With the lower heart rates, improved breathing, better circulation and lower blood pressure that occur from swimming, the risk of artery constriction, blood clots and heart attacks is lower.

Why not live longer?  A study by the University of South Carolina that followed over 40,000 men for more than 32 years found that the men who were regular swimmers had a 50 percent lower death rate than the non-swimmers.  That’s a long study, and pretty startling results.  By strengthening the heart, swimming can allow longer life, which is a pretty amazing outcome.  There are now waterproof heart rate monitors, for those like me who want to see tangible proof that the swimming is having beneficial effects.  Why not see how swimming is extending your life expectancy as you’re doing it?

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Strengthen the cardiovascular system. Anyone who watched Michael Phelps in the Olympics was probably amazed like I was at how powerfully he could move through the water. While we would all like to be able to swim like that, it likely won’t happen.  But he is just a strong visual example of how swimming can improve the cardiovascular system, which makes the body use oxygen more efficiently, and allows the heart to work more easily while moving through the water.  Outside the pool, that effective workout will translate into everyday life, by lowering the blood pressure and reducing stress while you are going about your daily routines.

Stress reduction helps the heart.  Get out of the pool after a good swim, and try to remember what you were so stressed about at work.  It’s hard to do – when I swim, I just let go of all the stresses in my world, immersing myself in just doing the strokes.  That translates to lowered stress, lower blood pressure, and less load on my heart.  One study evaluated blood pressure levels on nearly 46,000 male and female walkers, runners, swimmers and non-swimmers. Swimmers had the lowest blood pressure numbers, followed by runners.  Swimming to lower stress has a tangible outcome.

While I was very sad to hear that my co-worker had a heart attack – like so many other people experience – and it firmed up my resolved to swim and keep my heart in great shape.

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Becky Flanigan writes for AnApplePerDay.com, and her areas of expertise are kids and parenting, exercise and health. She is avid about her workouts, which have ranged from aqua jogging to marathon training. She and her husband Ed also enjoy entertaining, and taking vacations with their 3 kids.

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QUESTION:  Do you swim??  When’s the last time you were in the pool?

restless leg syndrome: know the triggers that wreck your rest

June 26, 2014 in Blog, Fitfluential, Guest Post by lindsaymwright

I’ve got an interesting read for you today about RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME!  I personally suffered through this for the last few months of my pregnancy and it was just awful.  While it occurs in many pregnancies, this syndrome isn’t pregnancy specific and can effect anyone. 

If you’re suffering from RLS or know someone who does, read below to see how you can cope! 

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You have restless leg syndrome (RLS).  It’s unpleasant, but you deal with it.  But, do you have to?  While many medications are out there that can help, they all come with a side of side-effects.  You don’t want that.  Fortunately, there are some natural ways to deal with the disorder that may even help you live a normal life and completely resolve the issue.

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Reboot Your Diet

It might be time to start a new diet that promotes good health.  While it might seem far-fetched, there are many ways in which a good diet can help improve RLS.  For example, if your diet is low in magnesium, adopt a diet that improves this vital mineral.  Why?  Because magnesium is used for over 300 different processes in the body, one of which being nerves – which is a suspected cause of RLS.

Sources of magnesium are green, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, and legumes like beans.  Surprisingly, dark chocolate (85 percent cocoa or higher) is rich in magnesium.  Even so, you may need to supplement because many adults need anywhere between 300 and 500 mg of this vital mineral.  Some people need more, depending on how efficiently their body absorbs it.

Another change you can make is to eat more iron.  Iron is oddly deficient in some diets, like vegan and vegetarian diets.  Even if you eat a lot of plant-based iron, it may not be absorbed properly.  That’s because the body prefers heme iron – which is only found in animal flesh.  If you are iron deficient, you’ll also need vitamin C, because vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron from both plant and animal sources.

Reboot Your Lifestyle

Get out there and be more active.  But, don’t over do it.  According to Irving Asher, MD of the University of Missouri Health System, “People who have RLS function best with the same amount of activity daily.”  So, if you do ramp up your activity, do so slowly.

That means don’t start training for a marathon if you’ve never jogged a day in your life before now.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to start jogging and don’t be afraid to get in the gym and lift weights.

remedies for restless leg syndrome

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Another thing you can do is reduce your consumption of caffeine.  Giving up coffee is hard for most people – sacrilege even.  But, coffee may be too stimulating for you to handle in the evenings (ditto with chocolate, which contains theobromine – a substance that mimics caffeine).

Finally, avoid alcohol. If you suffer from substance abuse, get help immediately. Don’t want to go through the 12 steps? Sites like non12step-drugrehabs.org are filled with programs that use alternative methods that are both cognitive-based and physical-therapy based.

Stretch Before Bed

Stretching before bed can be like scratching an itch.  It can help you settle down and relieve tension from the day.  It may not cure you, but it might help you unwind and feel good.

Look At Nutritional Deficiencies

Getting non-IgE food sensitivity tests can uncover a lot of food sensitivities.  What are food sensitivities?  They’re immune reactions to foods that you eat that are not outright allergies. Instead, they are delayed hypersensitivities.

Reducing inflammation may lead to a beneficial cascade that ultimate resolves or greatly improves RLS symptoms.  It’s worth a try and you may just end up getting other benefits from it too, like weight loss and a general improvement in your overall mood.

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Steve Tucker

Steve Tucker’s research into neurological issues has resulted in many insights.  With a great love of helping people deal with health issues, he often blogs about his research and experience to help others take control of their health with knowledge and suggestions for treatment.  Follow Steve on Twitter.

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QUESTION:  Have you ever suffered from RLS?  Any other ways of coping?

splendid…lindsay

best decisions (a love story)

June 18, 2014 in Best Decisions, Blog, Blogging, Guest Post by lindsaymwright

Stopping in real quick today with a guest post for you!  (Thanks Wendy!!)  It’s a great love story that I think you’ll want to read!!

Come back tomorrow for a “Body After Baby – Two Month Update” for me and Porter’s Two Month check-in!

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When I thought about the best decision I ever made, it took me about half a moment to decide upon it.  Then I nixed it, thought about other “life changing” decisions, and none of them felt right.  It might be cliché, but it’s true.  The best decision I ever made was marrying my husband 30 days after I met him.

If that sounds crazy, well, at the time it seemed it a bit, to me, too.  Yet, it felt right and I trusted.  I’m so grateful that I had faith during that time, for during those 30 days, I just went with it.  Everything went right during those 30 days, and life truly changed after for the best.  Let’s look back on it, shall we?

The Meeting

Scott and I met at RTC (Reston Town Center) at the fountain.  It was our first “in person” meeting after meeting online.  Incidentally, I knew something good was bound to happen, but I was nervous and thought about ditching the meeting.  There was, however, an empty parking space right in front of the fountain, so I took it as a sign and followed through.

We sat in the cold, talked a bit, and then moved inside to Ice Berry.  On the walk to Ice Berry, I noticed his walk was off and he said, “it’s from muscle atrophy.”  My heart sank, but I slowed my pace to match his.  We talked and talked.  He ordered coffee.  I ordered nothing.  Everyone at Ice Berry knew him.  It was comforting.

The Back Story

Scott was riding his bicycle on 29 April 2010 when a woman made a left turn and hit him.  It was a catastrophic event for everyone.  The woman had no intent to hit him, the intersection was a nightmare with sunlight and trees, and Scott was going about 40 mph (per the police report).  Shit happens.  It did that day.

Before the accident, Scott was a sub-3 marathoner, a sub-5 70.3-er, and about a sub-18 5k-er.  He was working in the financial services world and going through a divorce.  That all changed that day.

My life on 29 April 2010 was a bit more calm.  I was a middle school Spanish teacher almost married to my job.  I loved the structure, but hated it, too.  I was a teacher through and through, so leaving the job at school was tough.

My life was missing what I sought most:  my best friend and the father of the children I knew in my heart.  I was yearning for that perfect partner and to start a family.  I wanted more in life than rubrics and conjugations.  I knew I needed to tell stories, but I felt attached to the stability of a public school teaching position.

To 30 Days

In those 30 days Scott and I solidified our love and respect for each other.  It was warm, it was familiar, and it was built on trust and faith.  We married on a pier at Leesylvania State Park at sunset. The winds were fierce and it foreshadowed a move we’d make two years later.

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Life Beyond 30 Days

Life changed when I met Scott.  I welcomed a step-son. We moved eight months later to Utah.  We lived there for five months before we were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Susanna Hope.

Just after her eight month birthday we moved again, to Enumclaw, Washington at the base of Mt Rainier before moving finally to the coast of Washington where we’ve been since September 2013.

Scott and I both work as writers and are stay-at-home parents now.  It’s crazy, but we do it.  We love it. We have a gorgeous piece of land about half a mile from the Pacific Ocean.  Susanna adores it!  The girl has always been an outdoors girl, as is evidenced by our running on the BoSho (Bonneville Shoreline Trail) the day before we went to the hospital for her birth.

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There are moments when I sit back and go, “Wow! Thank you!”  The moments of, “what the *&^% are we doing?” have lessened.  We know what we are doing and we believe.  Just as we did when we met and married in 30 days.

Some things are just right.

Some things just need to be accepted.

Some things change life forever for the better.

(A few Scott accident side notes.  His injuries were extensive, but he’s defined by more than a TBI, paralysis, crushed ribs, broken legs, punctured lungs, a coma, etc.  All of which have mostly healed, though the TBI remains an ever prominent reality along with a lingering affect from many others.  The driver of the car is an amazing woman.  She’s one of our dearest friends.  We e-mail at least once a week, and she’s a true light in our lives.  She had no desire for that moment to happen, none.  It just did. It changed Scott’s life for the better, but P refuses to accept any good responsibility from it.)

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Wendy is a Spanish and Special Education teacher turned writer.  She lives on the Washington coast with her writer husband, toddler daughter, and baby-on-the-way.

how to use hills to enhance your training

May 29, 2014 in Blog, Guest Post, Workout by lindsaymwright

Any cyclists or runners out there??  Today I have a guest post that should be of interest: using inclines to enhance your training

While I’m not hopping on a bike anytime soon, I have been using hill sprints as a “finisher” to most of my workouts lately.  Killer on the legs and lungs, but helpful in SO many ways. 

Read on to learn WHY.

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Up, Up and Away: How to Use Hills to Enhance Your Training

A good hill will take your fitness program up a notch or two.  Uphill training builds leg strength, prevents injuries, increases stride power, increases your running efficiency, and reduces the impact on your legs.

Hills, including stairs and stadiums, provide an excellent training tool for runners.  You can incorporate a variety of workouts on a long hill and develop the skills needed for almost any race – hills are particularly helpful for long distance runners.  Hills are powerful as long as you take a gradual approach and choose the right workout routine.

Hill sprints

Steep hill sprints are short but intense and provide two key benefits.  They strengthen your running muscles, so you’re less prone to injury.  They also improve the efficiency and power of your stride, so you’re able to cover more ground with less effort.  The results of a few minutes of uphill sprints are definitely worth the effort.  Check out the brands online at www.SportPursuit.com to ensure you have the right gear for hill sprints.

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Uphill bike riding

When you’re riding uphill, it’s you and your bike against the hill.  The ride stretches your body to extremes as you defy gravity and make your way up.

Hills pose a serious challenge on your muscles.  The ride is considered a high-intensity activity that expands the strength and definition of the muscles in your legs.  The individual muscle cells in the legs become enlarged in a process called hypertrophy, and immediately increases your physical power.  The workout also tears myofibrils (individual fibers) within the muscles and stimulates the release of repair cells.  The repair cells attach to damaged fibers and increase the diameter to build your muscles over time.

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Going up

Most runners cringe at the idea of running up a steep, imposing hill.  You must prepare mentally and physically to attack the hill ahead.  Maintain your rhythm and you’ll make molehills out of the steepest mountains.  Here are some tips for uphill training.

  • Shorten your stride.  You need to modify your stride when you’re moving from a flat surface to a hill.  Shorten your stride and slow down your pace so you won’t feel exhausted in the middle of your run.
  • Posture is crucial when you’re going uphill.  Keep your head, shoulders, and back in a straight line over your feet – do not lean back or pull forward.  Your feet should be low to the ground.
  • Pay attention to your breathing.  It says a lot about what your body is feeling.  Faster breaths mean you’re going too fast or bounding too high off the ground.
  • Explosive motions are a waste of energy, so keep your motions light and shorten your stride even more if the gradient increases.  A short and smooth stride is the best way to keeping your breathing in check. You can extend your stride once the gradient decreases.
  • The benefits of hill training depend on the size of the hill.  In general, the training will develop muscle elasticity and power, promote strength endurance, develop control and stabilization, and improve lactate tolerance.
  • Don’t forget to warm up and cool down after your hill sessions.  Two sessions a week will do a lot to improve your running speed and overall fitness.

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Rosemary Schiller has a strong passion for running. From technique to equipment and goal setting, she enjoys blogging about the ins and outs of a successful running program.

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QUESTION:  Do you incorporate incline work into your training protocol?  Any other things that you do to increase speed/strength?

splendid…lindsay