A to Z Challenge: M is for Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word these days. You see it ascribed to a number of activities. Lately I have found it associated with eating, as in slow down, think about your choices, savor the experience.  Sounds good!

We can also apply this to other areas of our daily lives, and not just when we are eating. You don’t have to be in a pretzel formation, chanting a certain word for this to work! The goal is simply really. SLOW DOWN. Be present, in the moment. mindfuldog-wide

This is not a new concept, just newish to the Western world. The roots of mindfulness and meditation is a decidedly Buddhist concept and entered into American practice in 1979. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded MBSR -Mindfuness-Based Stress Reduction. Since then there have been thousands (yes, thousands) of studies that document both the physical and mental benefits of practicing mindfulness.

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The toughest part of mindfulness is loosing the judgment component. We tend to assign “good” and “bad” to the random thoughts that flow across our minds. This is a big issue for me in particular, I can get caught up in a negative loop that will drive my mood straight into the dumps. And, fast too!Mindfulness

Many experts believe that mindfulness can help people accept painful experiences, after all you can’t change them, they happened. Mindfulness is a process by one acknowledges the thought or emotion, recognize it for what it is, a past memory or pain, then your thoughts move on.

Why take the time to practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness can improve your mental health

You can reduce stress and anxiety as you focus on your mental state. Recognizing and acknowledging negative thoughts is the first step. Refocusing your mind on positive and healthy events and goals will eventually become easier.  You will find that you spend less time dwelling on thoughts that cause your stress levels to spike. Your overall anxiety levels will decrease. You will be slower at self judgments and passing judgment over others. 40c7b4948342fc7b1cfb1d306a2d7dac

Mindfulness can improve your physical health. This is the essence of biofeedback. Through breathing one can lower their blood pressure, slow the heat rate, and reduce the level of stress hormones in your system. Those with chronic pain also reported less discomfort.  All with just calm, measure breaths.

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Mindfulness can improve your overall well being. Controlling the negative thoughts will lesson the power they hold over you. Being present in the positive moments of the day and focusing your attention on the pleasure in life leaves less time for the negative to take root. People who practice mindfulness report a higher satisfaction in life and deeper connection with the people around them.

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Do you remember, the Mental Health Core Habits of Healthy People? One was that they surround themselves with positive people. For that to happen, you have to be one of those positive people. Practicing mindfulness will take you in that direction. Perhaps not right away. This is a practice after all, and requires some effort on your part.

 

 

There are many books, online tools and apps that can get you started. I prefer Headspace as it is free and these are guided mediations. I have found this to be very helpful in dealing with those times when life is tough, or I am struggling with negative issues.

Practice mindfulness in 15 minutes (1)

Of course a yoga class will also incorporate mindfulness, with the added benefit of exercise! There are also numerous online classes should you want to try that out too!🧘🏻‍♀️

 

Reference:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition

https://centerforchange.com/why-be-mindful/

https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/#benefits

A to Z Challenge: I is for Industry Trends

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Every year the new “it” workouts take the nation by storm. Some are so “different” that they just don’t interest me, like naked yoga-Ya, not gunna happen here!

I was curious as to what was making the rounds in 2018. Some of these predictions rolled out back in January, when most people are thinking about those dreaded resolutions. But it’s April now, and most have fallen by the wayside already. Which trends and workouts are popular now?

I am excited about where the industry is headed, some really great trends are happening. I took a look at a few more lists, just like my H is for healthy habits post, I tried to breakdown those trends that appeared more than just a few times.

Here we go!

 

  1. Functional training. This sounds odd but makes perfect sense. These exercises are centered around the movements that our body performs in our daily lives. Think gardening, grocery shopping and running kids all over town. Your body needs to bend, lunge, squat, push, pull, twist and walk. These motions specifically involve all your core muscles. How many times have you heard “lift with your legs, not you back”? Strengthening these muscles will help prevent injuries as you go about your daily activities. The goal with this training is to perform relatively easy movements with a strong emphasis on having the correct form.
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Twisting exercises are a great example of functional movement

2. Boxing and kickboxing workouts will increase in popularity. I can say this one works for me! I love my kickboxing class. I work every muscle and get an amazing cardio workout all in 60 minutes.  There is a reason boxers are in such amazing shape!😉 It also fits well with the next trend.

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3. Team coaching and group classes will increase. There will still be one-on-one training available, of course. However, there has been a greater demand for small group work. Many people prefer a strong social component to their exercise programs, not to mention the personal training cost is lower for more participants. Group sizes are often capped at 8 to 10 which provides plenty of interaction with the trainer. And, team coaching often includes nutritional advice, which most people need in addition to exercise information.

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4. At home workout options will expand. I know I subscribed to Beach Body on Demand, because there are days when I only have 30 minutes or an hour, and it’s really convenient to be able to turn on my computer, and fit in a good sweat session. Additionally , online coaching works extremely well in this setting. A quick email or text to a coach with a question or two, and you have your answers in real time!

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5. Mindfulness will be incorporated into all types of workouts, not just yoga! 🧘‍♀️ Taking a moment, at the beginning or end (or both) of a workout to still the mind, and slow your heart rate, are great ways to incorporate biofeedback.

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Of course, there are more than just 5 trends right now. The links below provide information about training with 3D technology, Cryogenics for muscle recovery and low intensity training, which is a great alternative to HIIT,  and using exercise to enhance cognitive functioning as we age.

I do hope you find this helpful and informative! I have to go workout now! 🏋🏻‍♀️😊

 

References:

https://www.self.com/story/biggest-fitness-trends-of-2018

http://ffmag.com/fitness-trends-2018/

https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/top-fitness-trends-2018/

https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6892/8-fitness-trends-for-2018