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Author: Coach Sid

Healthy Body, Healthy Brain (Because Your Brain is Part of Your Body!)

Healthy Body, Healthy Brain (Because Your Brain is Part of Your Body!)

Have you ever known anyone with dementia? have worked with individuals who suffer from it, and have had several loved ones suffer from it too. It is not an easy thing to cope with— either for the individual who suffers from it or the individuals who love and care for them. 

I remember the day I realized a loved one could no longer remember me. She was in the hospital at the time, and I periodically visited her there. As usual, the nurse excitedly announced my arrival. Instead of breaking out into her usual warm smile, my loved one seemed lost. Taking the nurse’s excitement as a clue, my loved one guessed that the nurse was introducing her to one of the nurse’s close friends. It was heartbreaking to watch her struggle and sad to know that I too was now a stranger to her. 

Most people recognize that exercise is beneficial for the body, but not as many are aware of how is benefits the brain. So many studies show that exercise can reduce your risk of dementia. According the the Alzheimer’s Society, exercising in mid-life can reduce the risk of developing dementia — in general — by approximately 30% and Alzheimers — in particular — by 45%. If dementia runs in your family or you are concerned about your memory, I encourage you to begin an exercise routine if you haven’t already.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.

Adjust for the right reasons

Adjust for the right reasons

Have you ever made a goal that seemed amazing when you made it but stopped resonating with you? As we learn and grow, our interests may change. When you have a goal that no longer resonates you, it may be a good idea to pivot and find a new goal. Maybe being a conductor was your dream job growing up, but you realized being a pilot allowed you to travel and explore more. Maybe you wanted to be a pediatric nurse growing up, but you realized being a teacher would allow you to work more closely with students. 

At other times, our life experiences make our goals seems even more important to us. This was the case for an acquaintance of mine who wanted to be a singer. She was a bright student and a talented singer who had applied to several prestigious schools as a music major. The competition was tough.  She was determined to get good grades, great test scores, a moving essay, impressive extra-curricular activities, and a flawless audition and interview.  She told me after working so hard to achieve these things, she fumbled the audition to her first-choice school. She got nervous, sang too quickly, and missed a couple of notes. 

After that performance, she wasn’t optimistic about her chances of studying music at her dream school.  She thought about walking out before the interview and giving up on her dream. She only stayed because her ride wasn’t ready to pick her up. When the interviewer broached the subject of her audition, she admitted that she messed up. She explained that she was still learning.  She wanted to learn how to perform better, and thought that she would best learn at that school. She got in.

This year I encourage you to evaluate any goal(s) you may have. If you’re working towards an important goal this year— especially if it is a large goal—chances are you will probably have some obstacles or setbacks. When this happens, it can be tempting to throw your goal out the window. However, if your goal is important to you, don’t let those obstacles or setbacks prevent you from moving forward.  Don’t give up because you don’t know what the future may hold. If you need some help navigating obstacles or setbacks, don’t be afraid to ask a coach or other qualified professional for some assistance.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.

Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue

Life is full of choices. Some choices are clearly better than others in the short run and the long run. Some choices leave you in a better place now and in the future. How easy it is to make these choices. However, we must be cautious when things get confusing, and — let’s be real — real life is confusing. Some choices are good in the short run but detrimental in the long run, and some choices are good in the long run but detrimental in the short run. Other choices are less clear-cut. For them, there are too many factors, and it isn’t remotely clear how you’ll be affected.

Making choices is hard, which is why some of us avoid making choices. Have you ever found yourself mindlessly agreeing with someone just so you didn’t have to make a decision? Have you ever put off your decision so long that time eliminated one option and the decision was made for you? 

Deciding to get a healthier body is a big choice that involves a lot of smaller choices. Making all of these choices can be overwhelming. If one of your goals is to get a healthier body this year, don’t be afraid to seek the assistance of a health coach, personal trainer, or other fitness professional. They may be able to guide you to the good choices that work for you, and support you in making them.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.  

the common struggle

the common struggle

Have you ever felt like you were completely alone with your problem? Have you ever thought that everyone else was doing great, but somehow you weren’t competent? It can be hard to know that others are struggling too when you don’t directly interact with other people.

Teaching is usually an isolated endeavor. One of the sites where I taught outdoor education had a meeting that began when the buses took the kids home. Despite being exhausted from the long week of work, I truly enjoyed the Friday meetings. During the meetings, we could share our most memorable stories of the week. Some were heartwarming, and some were funny — many were heartwarming and funny. 

The stories that really stood out were the stories of struggle. At first I was shocked to hear stories from some of the most experienced and talented teachers. I realized that they too sometimes struggled to reach the children we all wanted to teach and inspire. We had a common struggle.   

Unless you are working out with a trainer, workout buddy, or very social group, exercise can be an isolated activity. It may be tempting to look around and feel like everyone else is comfortable in the gym, knows how to use the equipment, and has a great workout that will produce results. If that’s the case, let this be your abbreviated Friday meeting. You are not alone. I’ve interacted with many people at various fitness facilities, and I’ve found that many people feel uncomfortable in the gym, many people—including some gym regulars— aren’t familiar with how to properly use some of the equipment, and many people don’t know how to come up with an effective workout for themselves.  

Hopefully knowing that you’re not alone is comforting. However, if you would also like some direction, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a fitness professional. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week. 

Cramming

Cramming

Many students recently finished finals. I remember my first round of finals in college. I watched as the majority of students hunkered down and studied. They pored over their books and laptops—barely taking breaks to eat and sleep. Except for the library, which was packed to the gills, campus was dead.  

Determined to tap into this endless focus that seemed to have washed over campus, I sat down and got to work. After about an hour of concentrated studying, I felt like I wasn’t focusing too well. Still, I relentlessly hit the books until I realized beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wasn’t learning. I needed a break. My roommate was shocked when I told her I was heading to the store.

As I walked to the store, I questioned my decision to take a break. Studying constantly seemed like the right thing to do. There was a lot of material to cover. Plus, everyone was doing it—not just the freshmen. Surely the juniors and seniors knew what it took to do well on finals. 

I almost turned around before I even got to the store, but then I had an epiphany. I had taken challenging courses before, and I actually got worse grades on the tests that I had crammed for. By taking breaks, I was more productive. I made it to the store, got what I wanted, and continued to take other short breaks throughout finals week. My strategy paid off, and I ended up doing well.

Research is showing that learning and exercising are similar. Cramming for extended periods of time doesn’t work well (for most people :). It won’t help most people do well in school, and it won’t help most people develop a healthy body.  I encourage you to listen to your body and find your own path. If you’re still unsure which strategy works well for you, don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance from a fitness professional who stays up to date on research.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week. 

The time is now; Now is the Time

The time is now; Now is the Time

I had the privilege of watching a colleague undergo a major health transformation while we were teaching at a science camp. We were working long hours in a remote location. There was only one gym somewhat nearby, and it couldn’t usually accommodate our odd schedule. Our short meal breaks meant that, unless we had the day off, we had to eat in the temptation-full cafeteria.

Still, my colleague had decided that, now was the time — he would not wait for a “good time.” He wanted to get a healthier body. He developed an action plan. He found a workout that consisted entirely of bodyweight exercises.  Knowing he needed support, he got his very active roommate on board and together they got up early to perform exercises in their room every day before work. He also informed his other colleagues of his goals, so that we could motivate him and hold him accountable. We cheered him on as he bypassed the corndogs and cookies and looked for the healthiest choices available.  

To get a healthier body, you will need to overcome some obstacles. At certain times, there may be more than others. At certain times, there will be fewer obstacles. However, if we’re honest with ourselves, there will never really be “a good time.” 

Our health might decline while we wait for this supposed “good time.” Why wait until the New Year? Why not get started now? Yes, it’s the holidays. Yes, there’s a plethora of tempting sweets available. Yes, it’s getting dark early.  Sure these are obstacles, but just think—if you are able to overcome these obstacles now—you will start off the New Year with a healthier body and strategies in pace to help you overcome future obstacles. Overcoming obstacles makes overcoming other obstacles easier.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week. 

Buddy

Buddy

A while back a gentleman told me that he knows our food choices are important because of his beloved dog, Buddy. Buddy’s fat to muscle ratio had increased, and he wasn’t moving as well as he used to. He tried to walk Buddy more in an attempt to burn off some of the excess pounds, but Buddy didn’t have much energy. 

Worried that something was seriously wrong, he took Buddy to the veterinarian. One of the first questions the vet asked was what Buddy ate. The vet sent the gentlemen home with a prescription for dog food, a sample for Buddy to try, and a list of healthier over the counter dog foods options in case Buddy didn’t like the prescription. It worked. Buddy burned fat and gained energy, and now begs the gentleman for his daily walks.

Many of us have also seen our fat to muscle ratio increase and our energy level decrease. There are many components of health and wellness, and they all complement each other. If you’re focusing on one component and not seeing results, you might not be addressing that component correctly. However, there’s a chance you’re overlooking a different component that is actually the one that is preventing your progress. If you need some help along your journey to a healthier body, please don’t be afraid to reach out to a health coach or other nutrition or fitness professional for guidance. They may help you see the big picture and help you devise the right strategy to address all of the components. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.

Huh?

Huh?

Are you being heard?

As a child, my mother always took me to the same place to get my haircut. It was conveniently located, affordable, and the two hairdressers that worked there were very friendly and fast. While it did have many positive attributes, there was one serious downside for me—they couldn’t understand what I was saying. I tried my best to communicate with them using hand gestures to help illustrate my request. It never worked—I always came back with the same haircut. Sometimes it was a little shorter than others, and sometimes way too short, but it was always straight all the way across. If it looked good, it would have been great, but it didn’t look great —I hated it. 

After getting another one of those dreaded haircuts, I decided to take matters into my own hands. It was time to cut my own hair. I set up mirrors all around me me so I could see the back of my head. If you’re cringing right now, it didn’t turn out half as bad as you’re imagining. My amateur haircut looked surprisingly decent.

After realizing what I had done, my mother decided it was time to try a different hairdresser next time. It wasn’t fancy, but it was perfect for me. I recall the first time I went in and my hairdresser asked what I wanted. She asked follow-up questions and summarized her goal. I had found someone who listened to me. 

If you’re currently seeking help from someone that is unable or unwilling to understand what you’re looking for, feel free to look for a better fit.  

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week. 

It’s Okay

It’s Okay

Have you ever tripped, bumped into a hard surface, or done something else that left you throbbing with pain only to insist seconds later that you were okay? Did you ever act like moving was easy when it was the hardest thing you could do?

How many times have you heard a response to “how are you?” that didn’t include the words good or great? We have a tendency to insist things are dandy—even when they may not be. 

No one wants to be labeled a Negative Nancy or a Pessimistic Peter, but constantly insisting that things are wonderful when in reality they aren’t has its own drawbacks. It’s challenging to find the energy to fix a problem when you are spending so much time and energy convincing the world that you’re doing great. 

I realize that it isn’t appropriate in polite society to unload your burdens onto colleagues or acquaintances. However, hopefully you have at least one person in your life that you can be truly honest with. Maybe it’s a friend, family member, coach, trainer, or therapist. If you are lucky enough to have one of those people, don’t be afraid to ask them for help. It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re not okay, because acknowledging the problem is the first step to overcoming it. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.     

It’s Easier

It’s Easier

Have you ever made a choice to do something because it was easier in the moment. However, you later regretted that choice because you didn’t learn or grow? Maybe you wish you had accepted the cooking lessons from your grandmother instead of zoning out in front of the tv — because now you find cooking intimidating. Maybe you wish you had given your new bike a try instead of insisting that you preferred your tricycle — because now can’t use the free bikes to get across campus at work. Maybe you wish you had signed up for your company’s softball team — because they had so much fun and developed great relationships. Sometimes choices that make life easier in the short run make life harder in the long run.

It’s usually a lot easier not to exercise. Exercise is challenging and — let’s be real — most of it’s uncomfortable, but if it’s done correctly, it will make your life easier later. 

Invest in your future, and choose to exercise today.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.