Sunday, June 10, 2012

Terrain Training

I often use exercise as a metaphor for life because in a short span of time you experience a microcosm of many of the same struggles, triumphs, frustrations and euphoria, and at the end, you will recognize the results of your work.

I started running when I was 16. Now at the age of 52, I am very comfortable with running. Sometimes I approach training with dread, but now I know in the back of my mind with certainty, that I will feel better when I am done. After all of these years of using my muscles and strengthening myself, I feel sluggish if I go too long without exercising.

As I dress for training I still experience anxiety, because I always run rigorously. (I'd rather stay sitting on the couch). I remind myself that as soon as I walk out of the door everything will change. The first steps are always easy and rhythmical. Usually when I hit the first hill, my body locks up. It is hard to breath, and my legs don't move. I have learned to  to relax here. This phase is short-lived and I will be moving effortlessly again. Every time I do get fatigued I try to think of ways to inspire myself to work through that moment... I make a short-term goal like "run to the next intersection, or around the next corner" and by the time I am there I usually feel better already.

I also know my limitations. I am not the greatest runner, and I do not want to spend my whole day exercising. But I do place regular demands on myself which I know are good for me mentally and physically.

There will always be uphill terrains in life. The key is to welcome them as positive events that challenge your spirit and your ability, teach you perseverance, and make you stronger. Remember that on the other side of every hill is a view from the top and an easy run down.



QUOTES
Dr. Peter Snell - Dir. Human Prfm. Laboratory, UTSwtrn. Med.Ctr.,Dallas,TX., and Triple Gold-Medal Olympian
"When it's pouring rain, and you're bowling along through the wet,there's satisfaction in just knowing you're out there and the others aren't."

Henry David Thoreau - Philosopher
"Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."

Joe Catalano - Coach
"Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Levity Effect

Authors Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher have written a book called The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up, where they elaborate on how "levity" is an effective tool for helping people in the work place. It turns out an atmosphere of light-heartedness helps people pay attention better because it eases tensions and enhances  feelings of connection.
"Levity" is having a sense of lightness. To quote Gretchen Rubin, the best-selling author of "The Happiness Project"  This means "less about being funny, and more about being able to have fun and see the humorous side of everyday situations - especially difficult situations."
Some people instinctively have the ability to include  levity in their daily lives. Those that don't, benefit from the company of those that can bring it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dalai Lama on being "Wise Selfish"

So, it is OK. to be selfish!  It is good to be wise-selfish.

Selfish behavior can bring about forward motion and positive behavior. It is motivating. It can advance our knowlege, experience, physical prowess, or even our status. These efforts require us to focus on ourselves alone.  They are only wrong when they bring others down.

So remember to be selfish every day!
Dalai Lama said, "it is important that when pursuing your own self-interest we should not be 'foolish-selfish.' Being foolish-selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow short-sighted way. Being wise-selfish means taking a broad view and recognizing that our own interests are ultimately linked to the welfare of everyone. Being wise-selfish means being compassionate."




Sunday, January 29, 2012

Every Child Should Have A Dog and Parents Who Let Him Have One

This title says it all, though some may need further clarification. It's my belief that parents set necessary guidelines and structure for children's development, but through the ups and downs of life, a dog can be a special kind of reliable and supportive sibling!

A dog can be ignored all day, and still lick your face and wag its tail, just because you walked through the door. A dog will stare straight in your eyes as if in agreement with everything you are thinking, no matter what you're thinking. And it's soft, and cuddly.

Under the ideal situation, bringing a dog into the house gives kids the opportunity to learn responsibilities and to learn what its like to care for someone that's dependent on them. People with dogs learn to look for signs: of hunger, or thirst, of the need to be let out, of illness - there are no other ways to know them. Learning to observe the needs of others can be a very powerful lesson for young children.

Having a dog for a friend growing up, is like having a stress ball to squeeze as an adult. It's an outlet for fun and entertainment, a furry blanket to snuggle with when you want, a fixed set of understanding eyes when no one else seems to understand, and, a conduit for nurturing. But more than that, it is that special gift your parents gave you even though it brought inconvenience and chaos into the house! Another valuable life lesson!




Saturday, January 21, 2012

Utilize Your Endorphins

The expression "bodies in motion stay in motion" is so true!

I have spent a few days where I knew I was busy, but not efficient. Those seemed to be days when I was tying up lots of lose ends. At the end of the day I definitely accomplished good work, but not at my maximum potential.
It seems like the days that I was the clearest and worked the best were after I exercised. Those days I probably took on bigger tasks, and finished them!

That excitement I felt, and the vision I had, may have been the result of the increased hormones which were produced during strenuous exercise: endorphines, serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine, as well as others!

During exercise serotonin is released into the brain where it activates receptors that sense heightened emotions. After only 20 minutes of exercise my mind feels more "awake". Phenylethylamine hormones also cause heightened brain activity and elevated moods. Endorphines are pain camoflaugers. Dopamine is a neuro-transmitter that controls the brain's reward and pleasure centers and help regulate emotional responses, enabling us to see rewards, and take actions to move toward them.

No wonder some rigorous exercise helps me set my focus for a really productive day moving in the right direction! Doesn't hurt that I burned some calories while I was at it!

Tip: Keep a note-pad by your exercise bike, or make sure you write your clear-headed ideas down right after you come back from your walk or run, because they might be your best ideas!