Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Take a Walk Outdoors Day

January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month and today is, appropriately, Take a Walk Outdoors Day. So how do you plan to spend it?

The website Work Smart, Live Smart offers these suggestions for your family:

Outdoor activities such as taking a nature walk together are a great way of keeping the family fit and spending quality time together

Reward each other’s participation in fitness activities. Be each other’s cheerleader.

Start a fitness diary and record how far or long each family member participated in an activity

Be a positive fitness and healthy role model for your children. One disturbing study found that french fries were the most popular vegetable for 15-18 month old children. Children learn about nutrition from their parents. Set boundaries and limits so that it is easier for everyone in the family to make healthy food choices. (Appropriate portions for a typical dinner meal – plate 1/2 filled with fruits and veggies, 1/4 with protein and 1/4 whole grains.)

Drink more water and limit beverages that add needless calories such as pop and artificial fruit juices

Get more sleep. Children need between 9-11 hours and adults need on average 7-9 hours. Inadequate sleep leads to greater appetite, weight gain and lethargy

Have fun. Fitness shouldn’t be boring or feel like drudgery. If it does that you haven’t found the right activities. Some of us prefer activities that we can do alone. Some of us need the watchful eye of a coach. Some of us prefer team settings. Fitness activities should be something that we look forward to.

Research funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found kids spend 2 hours less per week outdoors than they did 20 years ago. With this decrease in outdoor activity comes an increase in health problems, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Kids that spend time outdoors in gardens and nature are more focused, perform better in school and have less problems with ADD symptoms. And all of us feel the benefit as our blood pressure is lowered and mood improved.

I am blessed to have a perfect walking track in a park just outside my neighborhood. We all use it as often as possible. I am always pleased to see how many people regularly use it, and how many different ages.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions Day

Didn't we just discuss on January 12 how to STICK to your new year's resolutions? And now we discover today is the day to ditch them! What?

Based on statistics compiled over at Statistic Brain, while 45% of people make resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving them! Now that's just depressing. 75% maintain their resolutions for the first week of the new year, but by six months, only 46% are still at them. However, people who actually do make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than those who never make resolutions.

So, I think what is called for here, rather than ditching your resolutions, is to reevaluate them. Most people, myself included, tend to make a long list of goals. Most are improvement or achievement goals. Some are general, some are more specific. I suggest you take another look at your goals. Break them down into smaller increments. Say, you want to lose 20 pounds. Sounds kind of reasonable, right? So you start an exercise program. You've been at it two weeks and you've lost two pounds. You become discouraged. This is going to take forever! So, change the goal - just a bit. Make the goal three pounds a month (or whatever you like), and work on that smaller goal. Before you know it, you've achieved your 20 pound goal!

It's like telling your young child to clean their room. They walk in and feel immediately intimidated. But if you say pick up all the clothes, they can do that. Next, pick up all the Legos. They can do that. And on and on until the room is done.

Resolutions are like that.

So, don't ditch. Reassess. And keep on keeping on!

Friday, January 15, 2016

National Hat Day

Today is National Hat Day. My husband, youngest son, and even my daughter-in-law are rarely spotted without a hat. My daughter is frequently sporting something cute or jaunty on her head. I rarely wear them, myself, but I'm entertaining the idea.

In case you didn't know, millinery is the designing and manufacture of hats. The term “milliner” derived from the city of Milan, Italy.  The best quality hats were made in Milan in the 18th century.
Millinery began as traditionally a woman’s occupation, as the milliner not only created hats and bonnets but also chose lace, trim and accessories to complete an outfit.

There are so many types of hats to choose from.

These, though, tend to be more the type I would most likely wear.

However, this is the one I actually own. And wear.

But, for today, I think I will try out something new and different. Why don't you, too?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stick To Your New Year's Resolutions Day

Today is Stick To Your New Year's Resolution Day. It's been almost two weeks into the new year, how are you doing? It is said it takes 21 days to  make a habit, and this is only day 12. Still holding on?

The reasons people don't stick to their resolutions are numerous, but there are ways to do better. The American Psychological Association offers these tips on their website, in the article entitled Making Your New Year's Resolution Stick:

" is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes. “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

Start small
Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.

Change one behavior at a time
Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

Talk about it
Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of coworkers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.

Don’t beat yourself up
Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Ask for support
Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.
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