new year

Get Outside

By Paul Hunter


Fitness goals typically accelerate when spring weather arrives, so as the air warms and the sun shines longer, head outdoors for some fitness fun.  Opportunity for fitness avails itself everywhere, you just have to be willing to notice the opportunities and get up and go!
Sidewalks are a great place to start if the couch has been too good of a friend.  Walking with a companion or listening to your favorite tunes or audio book is a great way to enjoy the spring weather.  Pay attention to your stride, your pace, and your foot placement.  Squeeze the glutes, stand tall, and tilt those hips for a straighter spine so you can lead each step with a powerful core.  After a couple of weeks, add a little circuit training and dynamic stretching to the walk by including walking prisoner lunges (holding your hand behind you head while you progress into a lunge), high knee forward steps (like running with high knees but, you are walking while maintaining your balance), walking while kicking your heel back to your glutes (rear-end) and a quick jog.  Try 5-10 reps per side of each exercise every 2-3 minutes.  Within 2-3 weeks you’ll be feeling stronger with more energy and can continue to pick up the pace as you gain joint and cardiovascular strength. 
Beach days don’t have to be about a chair, an umbrella, and a nap.  Now that you’re feeling stronger, challenge yourself with a 10 minute walk and lung combination in the deep sand.  Add upper body conditioning by digging a hole with the kids, or building a sand castle…and make sure you are the one carting the buckets of water back and forth.  When the water warms and you find your self waist high in the Gulf, try your own version of Water Aerobics.  Stand on one leg and swing the other forward and backward using the water resistance for both balance and power.  Do the same with your hands as you paddle you hands forward and backward.  Finally, try something new.  Stand up paddle boarding has become very accessible at our beaches.  Beach services along the coast rent boards, so when the water is flat, grab a board and discover the benefits of fitness when you realize that the little bit of work you’ve put into yourself translates into a whole new world of activities.  
Bike and hiking trails are plentiful in our area and a great way to add to your outdoor experience away from the sandy beaches.  Load up the family or invite a friend, and remember to pack a lunch, water and the binoculars to take full advantage of the benefits and enjoyment of being outdoors.
Bike and hiking trails are plentiful in our area and a great way to add to your outdoor experience away from the sandy beaches.  Whether an experienced hiker or a newbie to venturing out, search for websites like to find and enjoy new trails. Load up the family or invite a friend, and remember to pack a lunch, water and the binoculars to take full advantage of the benefits and enjoyment of being outdoors.
Staying active is a key ingredient to staying young.  Fitness is a lifestyle that allows you to live stronger.  So accelerate your activity everyday and enjoy the warm air and sunshine in a whole new way.

Make it a great day!

New Year New You

By Paul Hunter

Happy New Year!  I am sure many of you have set a resolution to lose weight, eat better or simply lead a better life.  Resolutions that come to mind easily are made and quickly forgotten as we get on with our daily lives after the holidays.  Statistics show that after six months, half of us who have set resolutions have stuck with them.  After a year, 90% have fallen off the wagon, leaving 10% who have stuck with their resolutions for change.   Seems like the odds are against us.  Change is difficult, and as I heard someone once say, “The only person who likes change is a baby.”  

We are posed with many opportunities to forget about the changes we resolved to make or solidify these changes a little at a time.  Change is difficult for many reasons and we all have a variety of reasons why it is difficult for us.  What got each of us to this stage of our lives are our habits, habits that are now deeply engrained in who we are.  Let’s take a look at some common obstacles to our success and ways to overcome them.

Our engrained daily routines.   As we go to bed December 31st or early January 1st, we have our resolutions and the best intentions.  We wake up to the kids crying and needing to make breakfast.  The Franklin-Covey Institute recommends spending at least 15 minutes in “planning and solitude” the day before.  Why?   By the time tomorrow comes, it is too late.  The day’s events have taken over us and we react to them.  You may have to get up earlier, go to bed later.  Prepare the day before to make the next day easier.  Invest those recommended 15 minutes to plan what lies ahead when you are the most hopeful.

It’s not all or nothing.  Ate a “no-no” piece of cake or missed a workout?  Learn or figure out why you did it, and move on.  Our goals may be set in stone, but our plans should be set in sand because our days ebb and tide and we need to allow ourselves the ability to make adjustments.   Keep your sight on the prize and learn from the obstacles.

No support system.  Our parents told us we would become who we surrounded ourselves with.  These people take the shape of encouragers or nay-sayers.  Those who know the road to change is difficult and root us on, especially when things get tough or temptation is at its highest, are the people we need around us when change is our agenda.  

We let our history control our destiny.  Quite often when charting our course going forward, we inevitably look backward to see how we have done.  Frequently it is our unsuccessful moments that stand out and thus set the stage for our future.  The good news as mentioned earlier is that we can create a new tomorrow when we take time for planning and solitude.

Not keeping goals fresh and in front view.  When we keep our goals in front of us, we are able to chart our course according to them.  I remember, when learning to drive, I was taught to keep my eyes on the horizon, NOT the hood ornament.  Our daily tasks become the hood ornament while our daily goals become our horizon we strive for continually. I also learned what the windshield wipers were for.  Without them, I couldn’t see the horizon, where I am going.   Our daily planning becomes our windshield wipers helping clear our vision for the things we ought to do to get us where we set out to go.

Fear of success.  This sounds a little odd, doesn’t it?  Success is scary because it requires something of us.  With the new success comes change, responsibilities and expectations.  If you have made it far enough to want to change, you are ready for the change.   Embrace it and look forward to it:  You deserve the rewards of your newfound success.

No, change is not easy because it requires something different from us.  If it didn’t, we wouldn't have to change.  Then we’d be where we are right now, only wanting to change.  Set resolutions and change:  for the better, for others and for ourselves.