5 Things to Think About Before Summer Chores or Play

It’s finally summertime! When I think of summertime I think of play. I think of lazy fun. And I think of easy days. I think I romanticize it a bit, don’t you?

Summertime is full of work, too! We’ve got gardening, lawn care, maintenance around our homes and land. There’s a possible painting job and maybe a big project like building a garage or home. All this activity takes a toll on the body. We often don’t think about our “work” the same way we think about taking care of our bodies during exercise but it still matters. Here are 5 things to do think about and do before doing summertime chores or play dates.
  1. Think about stretching. Move the body gently and stretch any muscles you will be working.
  2. Make sure you are strong enough to lift that bag, carry that cooler, move that log. If not get help. Use proper lifting techniques – keep the item close to your body, use your legs, and center the weight.
  3. Pay attention to your joints. Pay attention to the direction of your knees – they go in the same direction as your toes and nose. Trying to make them bend sideways ends up with a torn ACL. Shoulders are our most vulnerable joint. Care for it by making sure you aren’t over-extending or overloading it while lifting out and to the side or behind you.
  4. Your feet matter. It’s important to wear appropriate shoes for the activity. Going to be in the river? Make sure your feet aren’t slipping all over the place putting you at risk for a knee, ankle, or back injury.
  5. Hydrate! It’s important to drink enough liquids – the kind that aren’t diuretics (like alcohol) in the summer. The added heat and humidity drains us and our bodies need water to work well. Drink up often throughout your play or work.

And maybe we need a 6th – Don’t forget to have fun! Enjoy the long, lazy, dog days of summer this year!

How Will You Give Thanks This Season?

The season of giving thanks for the abundance we have is upon us.  How will you be celebrating what you are thankful for this year?  

You could:

Take a walk in the woods. Listen to the silence and notice the peace which surrounds you. We are lucky to live in an area that allows us to get into nature easily. The Superior Municipal Forest off 28th street, Wisconsin Point, Pattison Park, Amnicon Falls, and more are available within minutes.  Beware of hunters!

Collect fallen leaves and write what you are thankful for on them. This is a wonderful  activity I do with my children. After collecting leaves I write what each is thankful for, then paste them to a “tree trunk” made of construction paper.  Their Thankful Trees become our decorations for the season. It is a wonderful way to help children understand the abundance which surrounds them and to talk with them about what is meaningful in life.

Make a list. Write down all the things you are thankful for and say thank you. If you can tell the people responsible for the items on your list. If not say thank you out loud – no one has to hear but say it and feel it.

Get out and do a Turkey Trot, a Christmas Fun Run, or another active event for charity.  This is a great chance to feel your own strength, give thanks for it, and help others in the process. Not to mention the friendship and camaraderie you gain and can give thanks for as you build relationships in your life.

When cooking meals for those who will share your spaces this holiday season, create healthy meals and do so with love and enjoyment. As Kahlil Gibran states in The Prophet, “For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.”  Give thanks for your friends and family by cooking healthy foods for them.

Watch the snow fall.  I know snow means winter has arrived, but without winter we would not have spring.  As the days turn colder we move within ourselves.  Think about the amazing task it must be to create snow, and so much.  Think about how beautiful the land looks when covered by a blanket of white.  Think about how quiet it is after snowing – to me it is always more quiet.  Enjoy the quiet and give thanks that you are able to watch this moment.

I know I’ve been a bit more philosophical this time, but I do believe we are surrounded by abundance if we chose to look.  Even in these times of economic crisis, crazy politics, and uncertainties we are surrounded by beauty and in beauty we find abundance for the spirit. It takes us to realize the abundance in our lives and through activity and rest we are better able to see what surrounds us, feel what moves us, and give thanks for what we do have in our lives.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

What to Do When You’ve Got A Minute

Many of get strapped for time sometimes. This doesn’t mean you have to leave your fitness behind. A few well placed exercises throughout your day can help keep you on track and keep you energized through your crazy schedule.

1) Do a few sets of squats. Add some external weight by holding canned goods, water bottles, or other things lying around you can hold and which add more weight to your frame.

2) Run stairs – in the office, in the park, around town, at home – where ever you can find them – run them.

3) Park and ride (a bike), walk, run, skate a portion of your commute


Track your movement everyday:

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4) Do step-ups – using a sturdy bench, chair, or step step up and down as though your were participating in a step class or doing a strength training exercise – see #1 for overloading

5) Carry a kid – don’t have one of your own – borrow one. Playing with your kids (or someone’s) can add fun and creativity into your busy day and get you quality time with a child who needs you.

When you’ve got more than a minute try this routine:

10 Ways to Add More Activity to Your Day

Here are 10 Ways to Add More Activity To Your Day:

1) Park and Walk
2) Take the Stairs
3) Play with your children or other people’s children
4) Walk the dog
5) Take a stretch break every 90 minutes – get up from your desk and do a couple of simple stretches
6) Pace with you are on the phone
7) Carry your own groceries out
8) Make your lunch or break an active one – replace a sedentary meal with an exercise routine and smaller lunch – if you sit down and eat healthy following a workout you might enjoy it more than a long, sedentary, routine eating habit
9) Each time you go to sit down do a squat first – Act like you are going to sit down but when your butt hits the chair stand back up. By the end of the day you’ll have done a whole set!
10) Add some intensity to your house cleaning routines. When picking up around the house add lunges, squats, and rows to your chores. If you are feeling really good add some jumps or run stairs.

Get creative about your movement and watch your energy rise, your sleep get better, and your motivation to move grow!*

*no guarantees, though 🙂

20 Things to Do This Summer

Summer time is the perfect time to get outside and get active. Here are some ideas on what to do to keep moving toward your perfect health.

  1. Go for a walk – fast enough but you can still check out the flowers
  2. Grab a friend and run
  3. Take a bike ride
  4. Hike a new trail
  5. Backpack and camp
    or just camp any old way – tent, RV, or car
  6. Water ski or wakeboard
  7. Go fishing
  8. Climb a tree
  9. Walk a round of golf
  10. Kayak or canoe
  11. Enter an event – find local 5k, 10k, triathlons, and other races – even if you are on vacation!
  12. Build a fort
  13. Climb trees
  14. Plant a garden – or participate in a community garden. You could also help a neighbor weed, plant, and harvest.
  15. Push mow your grass
  16. Play flashlight tag
  17. Catch fireflies
  18. Swim
  19. Join the kids on the playground and play just as hard
  20. And most of all … make sure to laugh, smile, and enjoy yourself