Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day...what do you love? Taking care of what matters most.

This is the week of love. Valentine’s Day is always centered around telling and showing those you love how much you care about them, but what about yourself? Do you love and care about yourself enough to take time each week to take care of your health and nourish your soul? I know, life gets crazy! And most of the time, the person to sacrifice when time gets scarce is the person who needs it, us! Yes, we all have so many hats to wear that it’s hard to take time for each of them. But here’s the key, for the things (people) most important to you, your absolute top priorities, you really need to take time to nourish and nurture them every week, each day even if possible.
For me, that is my family, my husband, my business, and myself. Most of us can successfully manage two of these, or maybe even three of these, but all four? Whew! Here are a few thoughts:
For your loved ones, don’t wait until a special day (like Valentine’s Day) to tell them and show them how much you love them. This has to be a daily thing! Give gratitude to each other, talk and listen to each other, and chose each other, even if means doing something that wouldn’t be at the top of your list of ‘most favorite activities’. Relationships take work, communication, and love…every day; carry that expression of love from Valentine’s Day with you always.
For yourself, you have to take time for your health and your own well being (sanity time!). Again, I know how busy we all are these day, but here’s the thing: If you don’t take the time each week to relax, exercise, de-stress, and do something for you, when it comes time to play with your kids, grandkids, play after you retire, etc., you are not going to have the physical, mental, or emotional ability to live life to the fullest, to truly live! Doing the right kind of exercise will keep you young, really! Taking time for yourself each week to relax and de-stress will keep you happy and young, really! This might sound strange, but I used to be the person who would carry the weight of the world, and everyone else, on my shoulders; it took me until my Junior year of college to realize that I couldn’t live the rest of my life like that. If I just kept giving, caring, and taking care of everyone else, eventually, I wouldn’t have any more left inside me to give. Taking that little bit of time each week will restore your reserves and make sure you can keep giving, caring, loving, and playing for as long as you live.
Since exercise is vital for taking care of your health and future health, we come back around to our exercise of the week.

Strong Arms and Shoulders - Powerful Backfist

Read the next blog entry for your exericise of the week.  Happy Valentine's week!  This week we are working arms (better for hugging with, right?).  Although this is a relatively easy-to-do exercise, if you add weights you will increase the challenge and the muscle building and if you increase the speed you will add a more cardiovascular component; I recommend both options.

Powerful Backfists
Begin with our legs in a mid-squat position; belly pulled in toward your spine, chest open, shoulders down and back.  Bring your left hand up by your armpit and your right hand up by your left ear; you want to keep your elbow up and pointing forward.  In class, I always describe it as being like Count Dracula with a cape.  Keeping your knees out and pointing forward, twist to the left (like you are winding up).  For the strike, explode from your legs, then hips, then core, and lastly, out your arm; use your entire body to generate power (and a better workout).  You can either alternate sides for 1 minute or do 30 seconds on the right, then 30 seconds on the left.  Repeat for 2-4 more rounds.

Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stong Core - Ab Circles

Oh how it feels like Spring!  I know it is only the beginning of February but give me a little bit of warm weather (we’re talking 50s here) and “Spring Fever” is upon me!  So far this week my family has played in the backyard, done yard work, enjoyed our patio with fire pit, gone for a walk, and played at the park; yay for time outdoors!  Being out in nature with the ground, fresh air, and sun shining is invigorating, energizing, and calming to the soul.  If you haven’t yet gone outside for a little bit of TLC, I thoroughly recommend it; now is the time to get outdoors and recharge your batteries!

This week we are going to focus on your core.  I like this simple exercise because it works all of your abdominal muscles: inner/outer, upper/lower, and sides.  That said, this is not a cardiovascular exercise so make sure you add it in with other moves that will get your heart rate up.

Ab Circles

Begin on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor.  Pull your belly in toward your spine, relax your neck, and put your hands palms-down on the floor.  Now, place a ball (preferable a weighted ball) between your knees and press your legs together to hold the ball in place; you should feel this activate your inner thigh muscles.  Keeping this position, lift your feet off the ground slightly to begin your Ab Circles.  Pretend you are going to draw a circle with your knees, bringing the ball to the left, up into your chest, to the right, and back to an inch off the floor.  To really get the most out of this exercise, really twist your hips to each side and draw as big of a circle as possible.  Do 10-20 circles counter-clockwise, then 10-20 circles clockwise.  Repeat 1-2 more times.