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So this #summeroffitness is off to a good start — and I’m tired! My goals this summer? Get healthy. Lose weight. Get in shape. Within those goals are smaller goals to help me focus on success, so I don’t get discouraged. Here are a few: 1. Work up to swimming a mile, 3 times a … Keep readingDisplay Comments Add a Comment
I have never been the world's best dancer, but I like to think I make up for it with enthusiasm. Witness my dancing childhood self, at right, all gussied up for a dance recital.
These days I don't do any recitals, but I still love dancing, especially for fitness. At home I'm hooked on Dance Central and the Zumba X-Box games, and at the gym I like Zumba. But what I LOVE is Body Jam.
Body Jam is a group fitness class that I've heard people compare to Jazzercize, conceptualized by fitness megabusiness Les Mills. It has a set routine to current music--a lot of dance and house music, plus some pop and salsa--that every teacher must teach in the same way. You do the same routine, or "cycle", for four months (I wish it were three!). So at first pretty much everybody in the class is a total mess, missing half the moves. But by the end of the fourth month, if you squint, you could pretend that you're all in a Glee number. I mean, if you REALLY squint.
The feel of Body Jam is a lot more "street" than any Zumba class I've taken. A lot of that comes from the music, but also from the moves, which can include a lot of body waves, sassy snaps, and hip swirls.
Zumba is a lot of fun, but the quality of the class depends on the instructor. I've been to classes that barely lifted my heart rate, and others that wiped me out--all at the same gym. But with Body Jam, the instructors go to special classes to learn how to teach, and they are tested pretty rigorously. They get very detailed videos and tip sheets with each cycle, showing them just how to teach the class. I find this means you get a much higher quality of instruction.
I also find that Body Jam is a lot better workout than Zumba. It's carefully mapped out to keep your heart rate up, but it also offers breaks just when you need them the most.
You can search the Les Mills website to find a Body Jam class near you. If you try it, be sure to tell me how you liked it! I'll be the one in the front row, flailing and jumping and grinning the entire time.
And here's a teaser video for one of the recent releases:
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I was stopping myself from posting any of the nude figure drawing I’ve been doing this past year because this blog originally started as a place to talk about our books for children (it has obviously changed focus over time). I’ve come to decide that kind of thinking is totally ridiculous. It’s like saying you should not take kids to a museum because they might see a breast. I have more faith in the parents of the children that read our books, and I’m sorry I ever doubted them.
This is one of the pieces of artwork I’ve done in the past year that I am most proud of. I never attended art school and have had very few chances to do any figure drawing in my life. I now see the attraction of it, and have experienced the incredible learning that happens while participating in it. I look forward to doing more and I will share some here, now that I have come to my senses.Add a Comment
As a new YALSA blogger I should begin my first post with a short introduction. My name is Kim Anderson and I’m the Library Media Specialist at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, Illinois. I’m a two-time graduate of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois (MLS, CAS), and I received my National Board Certification in 2008. I’ve been in education for fifteen years, seven in the classroom and six in the library. I was thirty-something when I finally found my calling in the library and have not looked back once. I love my work. Love it. When I’m not working, reading or thinking about the library I enjoy doing yoga, P90, Insanity Asylum, and gardening. I recently decided I wanted to learn French and to play guitar. Wish me luck. Anyway, it is my love of talking and thinking about the library that lead me to start blogging here at YALSA.
At the beginning of each year our administration takes the JMS staff off campus for a retreat. I always arrive a bit early so I can walk out onto the docks and enjoy the peace of the lake while I think about where I want the school year to lead. The solitude is short-lived though since the peacefulness doesn’t last long once the rest of the staff arrives. The day is always full of lively discussion, laughter and inspiration. This year our discussion centered around the research of Dr. Charles Hillman of the University of Illinois. Everyone was inspired by the idea that getting students moving could improve their academic gains. (You can check out “A Fit Body Means a Fit Mind” if you want to read more). The question is, how can I, the school librarian, help increase student fitness? Last week the answer came in the form of two exercise bikes. In just under one hour we had two stationary bikes assembled in a corner of the library. They are battery operated (so no chords) and the wheels are completely silent.
The student interest was immediate. Now teachers just have to send their students to the library with a pass to read and ride. For now, the kids are enjoying a new place to move and I am happy to support a building-wide initiative.
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My YMCA started offering a new class in January: Burdenko water walking. The schedule was perfect for me--right at my lunchtime--and it promised that Burdenko burned lots of calories. A girl with a cupcake habit is always looking for ways to burn off a little buttercream, so I decided to try it.
I'd never heard of Burdenko before, so I did a little research. Burdenko is a Russian therapist who designed a physical rehab program that includes water and land exercises. A number of athletes, dancers and figure skaters (including Nancy Kerrigan and Paul Wiley) have done some sort of Burdenko program. The water walkers are a part of that program, as far as I can tell from their website.
At left you can see my water walkers. They cost $45. Think light-weight plastic boards that strap to your feet like sport sandals. My instructor suggested wearing socks with them, which may look dorky but it really helps to prevent them from slipping around your foot. As you can see, I have to pull the straps super-tight and even then they wiggle a little once I'm in the water.
You also wear one of those blue water flotation belts, strapped as tight as you can get it. The belt is supposed to help you align your core muscles.
The walkers take a little getting used to. They feel a bit like flippers, but they fight you a lot more. As the instructor says, the walkers want to float. But that's the point. Part of the workout is just keeping them from floating! Much to the disappointment of Little Dude, the walkers don't let you walk on TOP of the water. Sorry, kid.
The class takes place solely in the deep end of the pool. You start with five minutes of "thermal acclimation", which pretty much means gently moving in the water and letting your body adjust to the temperature. Since our Y keeps the indoor pool at a toasty 84 degrees, it doesn't take too long to adjust. Once everyone is warmed up, the instructor takes us through a series of exercises. Some are pretty familiar things you do on land, like walking and jogging. But others are completely new to me. Yesterday we did something called "hearts", which is basically like doing the breaststroke while sitting. The class lasts for a half hour.
The lifeguards, I noticed, had their eyes glued to our class. I couldn't decide if they were amused by our antics with the water walkers, or if they were convinced that any fool who straps big plastic boards to their feet might drown at any time.
Overall I like the class. It's a entirely different workout and I can tell it's really working my arms and shoulders. I can't decide if it really burns as many calories as the Burdenko website claims--20 calories per minute. If it did, I would definitely stick with it. But I've got limited time to work out and I want to maximize my buttercream burn! So the jury is out. I will definitely stick with the class for the duration of the Y's winter session. After that, we'll see.
If you're curious about Burdenko, I'd definitely recommend trying it out. See if the instructor will let you borrow some equipment for one class before you commit and buy your own. Wear socks. And have fun!Add a Comment
We are failing to deal with one of the most important issues of our time – in every country we are getting fatter. Although being fat is not automatically linked to illness, it does increase dramatically the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other so-called non-communicable diseases. We are starting to see very high rates of these diseases in some places, sometimes affecting 50% of the population. Even in some of the poorest parts of the developing world, where such disease itself is not yet common, we nonetheless see warning signs of its arrival. There is great concern that it may soon outweigh the burden of communicable disease such as HIV/AIDS. The humanitarian and financial cost of this non-communicable disease in such parts of the world will be unbearable, and made even worse because the risk is passed across generations, so children born today and tomorrow will have a bleak future.
It seems that we don’t know how to tackle this problem, because current attempts are obviously failing and obesity continues to increase. Governments, doctors, and even NGOs seem to have adopted the same strategy – to focus on our sins of “gluttony and sloth” and to transfer the responsibility for slimming down to each of us as individuals. Of course it’s true that we can’t get overweight unless we eat more than we need to, and the wrong types of foods, and get too little physical exercise. Our biology did not evolve to protect us from obesity and its consequences in today’s sedentary world with such easy access to food. But why is it that we find it so hard to lose weight and, if we do shed the kilos, it seems very hard not to put them back on again?
What we are missing is a focus on our early development. We’re just not adopting the right approach to the problem. And it seems that the generals who are leading us in this global war on obesity and disease have adopted the wrong strategy, and they stick resolutely to it as if they were wearing blinkers. They blame us for the failure to win the war, for our greed and laziness; they blame parents for letting their children get fat; they blame the food industry for peddling unhealthy food, and so on. As if we choose to be fat. It’s important to realise just how limited this way of attacking the problem is on a global scale. Does the little girl force-fed before marriage in Mauritania have any choice in her life? Does the 12-year-old child bride in rural India have any choice when she becomes pregnant and drops out of school? Does the little toddler in Detroit have any choice when his mother feeds him French fries? Does the little boy from Tonga whose mother had diabetes in pregnancy have any choice about developing obesity? Does the little girl in Beijing have any choice in being an only child? And yet every one of these scenarios, and many more, sets that little child up to be at greater risk of becoming obese and to have non-communicable disease.
But new research is uncovering many things that will give us new tactics and strategies for the war against obesity and non-communicable disease, and so we’re hopeful. We now know that we will have to give much greater focus to the mother and unborn child. We may well have to give emphasis to the lifestyle of the father as well. And most importantly of all, we’re starting to realise that behaviours such as propensity to exercise, or appetite and taste for certain foods, which we previously thought to be based on individual choice, have a large constitutional component – in part based on inherited genes, in part on epigenetic changes to gene function in response to the developmental environment, andAdd a Comment
SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE
PLAYING IN THE POOL
SCENE: A SWIMMING POOL FILLED HALF WAY WITH FEMALES
We have a lot of people in the pool so spread out and give each other room
AQUA FITNESS PARTICIPANT (AFI)
Sorry - didn't mean to bump into you
AQUA FITNESS PARTICIPANT II (AFII)
No problem. Not much room to move around. Maybe some of us should go in the deeper water
Not me! I swim like a rock. Don't wanna be a headline in tomorrow's paper. "Woman drowns in deep end of pool during aqua fitness."
We're like sardines here!
Don't let me stop you from moving out further
Um...I'll just stay here
(jumping in water
Okay ladies - it's time to rock
Rock, huh... Okay...let's rock. Should we snap our fingers, too?
You don't have to do anything with your fingers. It's all in the leg movement
Actually that was a joke - obviously a weak one. You know...rock'n'roll music... Snap your fingers?
'Okay - left jog...center jog...right jog. Now cross-country moving forward...now backward...'
Don't know about you but I'm having trouble moving backwards while cross-country-ing facing the right...
Do what you can
I can't see her legs. Can you see her legs?
You don't have to see her what she's doing. Just follow her instructions
Maybe it's me but I have to see in addition to hear. Why doesn't she do exercise outside the pool on the deck?
(female climbs stairs to leave pool)
'Hey - where you going? This class ain't over!'
I have an appointment...
'That's what they all say! You're gonna miss a lot!'
Like...that is soooo embarrassing! I mean, maybe she really did have an appointment
Oh she's just kidding! She always acts like that1
'Okay now we're gonna work on our upper thighs...'
Maybe it's me but I can't for the life of me figure out what she means
(turning to person on other side)
(Cont'd.) Do you mind if I watch your feet? I mean, I don't want you to think I'm a pervert or anything. I just can't follow the instructor
(woman ignores her)
(Cont'd) Ohmygawd - I'm exhausted. Maybe I should stop here...don't wanna tire myself out or anything... Yup. That's what I'm gonna do...
(Aside to AFII): 'Nice aqua-ing with you. Maybe we'll aqua fit together again'
(AFI starts to climb pool stairs)
Hey - you there! You're leaving me too? They all leave me in the end
Maybe there's a reason for that...
Did you say something?
Look - I have to pee. We have a choice here. If I stay as you want me to and continue exercising, you can use your imagination as to what might or could happen. So now you make the choice. Do I stay or go?
Don't let us stop you
Thought you'd see it my way. 'Bye all. Remember to always keep your head above water'
After a month-long break, I'm baaaack! Did you miss me, mis amores? Yes, yes. I know you did. I know you cried everyday, missing my charm...my voice...my wit.
Hey a girl can dream, right?
Anyway, the month of June will be my challenges month. I'm challenging myself in three areas: physical, writing, and reading.
Physical: I've been inspired by a close friend of the family. Last month, she challenged herself (and those who wanted to participate) to do 5,000 crunches in one month. Everyday, she did 167 crunches. This month, she's doing 5,000 squats. Since I missed last month's challenge, I'm doing both crunches and squats this month. Everyday, 167 crunches and 167 squats. Lord, help me! My body is already sore. Oh, but when I see the results, it'll all be worth it. And to celebrate my success, I'll be treating myself to the Pitbull concert in Dubai on the 29th. Who am I kidding? I'm going to see Pitbull whether I'm successful or not. But seriously. Failure is not an option. I will be successful. And getting to see Pitbull will just be the icing on my low-fat cake. Hehe!
Writing: I've gotten behind on my writing again. So, for this month, I plan to dedicate an hour everyday to my novel. Right now, I'm back to the planning stages. The actual writing will start sometime this week. I have to be done with this novel before the year ends. I'm talking about finished with draft #1, sent in to a professional editor, and back to draft #2 or 3 by the end of this year. I can do it. There's no doubt in my mind. Especially since my first year as a teacher in Abu Dhabi is practically over. Things will be a bit easier for me. Prayerfully.
Reading: I've gotten behind in my reading, also. Shocking, right? My family would think so since I'm such a book nerd. But alas, tis true. I've only picked up books (or my Nook) sporadically these last few weeks. Soooo, I will catch up on my reading. Ten books. That's how many books I will complete by the end of this month. More if I can swing it. Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I can read waaaaay more than that in one month. If the book is good enough, I can finish it in one reading. But this whole year, I've been too drained (physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally) to even think of reading. Or writing. Or anything fun.
So, there you have it. My personal challenges. Of course, cos I know you all are so interested in my life (heehee) I will keep you updated.
Yes, I love you too.
Este bichito nació de un ejercicio que estoy haciendo. Dibujé todas la letras del alfabeto y a partir de sus formas básicas ilustré personajes. Este es el primero y está basado en la letra A. Eventualmente tendré una familia completa de bichitos raros.
This creature was born from an exercise that I´m doing. I drew all the letters in the alphabet and from their basic forms illustrated characters. This one is the first and it´s based on the letter A. Eventually I´ll have a complete family of weird creatures.Add a Comment
On Monday, Forrest and I drove to Silver Falls for a little hiking adventure.
It was beautiful, and it was so nice to spend some uninterrupted time with this fella…
I will say this about hiking, despite the beauty of nature, I think I get tired a lot quicker these days. Is it any wonder when I’m carting around an extra person?
However, Forrest is the best encourager in the world.
“You can do it!”
I think he is going to be a pretty spectacular labor coach when the time comes, don’t you?
At one point, we were able to walk behind the waterfall you saw in the first picture.
So far, baby and mom are doing great. I had a doctor appointment on Monday, and it was one of the best appointments I have had so far.
First of all, getting my blood pressure taken is always an ordeal. I’m always so stressed out by the hospital environment, and the numbers always reflect that. This time, my favorite nurse was on duty (yes!) and she let me sit in the exam room for a few minutes before taking my blood pressure. Then, I focused on my breathing, and my b.p. was the best it has been.
Midwife, husband, and everyone involved were extremely happy.
Then we talked to our midwife about some labor stuff, and it was all so positive.
I was worried about not being able to eat during labor, but my midwife said that as long as baby’s heart rate is good I can definitely eat!
I would like to be able to sit in a tub in order to relax during labor, and Kaiser has two tubs and virtually no waiting to use them.
Then, I really want the baby to be put directly on me as soon as he/she makes his/her entrance, but I had heard that some hospitals take the baby right away to do whatever they need to do. But, my midwife said that as soon as baby comes out, he/she will be placed on my belly and Forrest can announce the gender.
Huzzah again… again!
Anyway, it was all so encouraging, and it made me feel more confident about a hospital birth and thankful that I will have a midwife.
(I’m purposefully leaving out some other “huzzah” moments so that some of my readers will not be grossed out and then be forever horrified by my blog. If you are interested in those “huzzahs” let me know and I’ll message you!)
Now, I am focusing on my final two weeks of grad school (say what??) and nesting and reading and crocheting.
Also, I have my first shower tomorrow afternoon, and I feel blessed beyond measure by my church family for celebrating baby’s life with me.
I’ll post pictures and stories about it next week.
Love,Add a Comment
To kick off Fitness Week I have 'My Gym at Home - Fun with Monique' by BabyFirstTV.
Holy wow, am I in pain.
I know I've mentioned several time that I started taking Combat Aqua, which is sort of like kickboxing in the shallow end of the pool, this past spring. I really love the class. It's got great music, fun gear, and I honestly get a real workout from of it. And it's not just me; one of the bikini clad newbies that showed up to last Monday's class grumbled, "I can't believe I'm freaking sweating in the pool."
Two weeks ago I decided to check out the Western Family Y's version of the deep water workout. For these classes, you're in the deep end, wearing a floatation belt and do things like try to balance on pool noodles and do bicep curls with foam weights under the water. The normal Thursday night teacher was on vacation, and his replacement apparently hadn't taught the class in a while. She spent most of the hour talking about how she hated Delaware and was interviewing for a different job in D.C. My heart rate? As still as it is when I'm watching TV. By the end I started swimming laps just to try to get a little bit of cardio in, which is the main reason I've been taking these water aerobics classes. Afterward, I told Joe that it had been the biggest waste of time ever. He confessed that he'd peeked in through the window and saw that we were all just sort of bobbing in place. I was so upset about this wasted hour that I ended up filling out a comment card for the first time ever. (To the Y's credit, someone emailed me within a week to apologize, and assured me that they'd speak to the sub instructor about what I'd said. I made sure to gush about Paula, our Combat Aqua instructor, who always tailors her workouts to who's there. Like, if when the bikini-clad newbies showed up, Paula used our warm up time to show them the basic moves. She rocks.)
Anyway, the week after Wendy attended a Tuesday night deep water class. The regular instructor, Richard, was still on vacay, so the Wednesday night teacher, Jess, filled in for him. Wendy's experience was the opposite of mine; in her class, Richard's Tuesday night regulars were complaining that Jess was too hard (whereas his Thursday night regulars that I encountered told me Richard's workouts were much more intense). So, Wendy and I agreed to take Jess's class this past Wednesday.
I should explain that this particular class is billed as a combination of Aqua Jog and Burdenko Water Walking, both of which emphasis using your own weight as well as the water for resistance. You still wear the floatation belt, but you rarely stop moving. Ten minutes into the class, as "Itty Bitty Pretty One" blasted from the portable speaker, Jess was screaming, "Level 8, Ladies! Push it harder! Go all out now!" Jess, I should explain, is an older woman, pretty tall and stick thin. She's also quite buff and a little bit of a drill seargant, but in a good way. I was grunting a bit as I cross-country skied cross the length of the pool, and I'm fairly certain my face turned purple when we were Level 10 "jogging." By the time we got the part of the class where we were using the foam dumbbells, I wanted to die - always the mark of a good workout, if you ask me. I told Jess I'd definitely be back, and I will.
Yesterday, though, I started to feel the effects of my first Jess-run Aqua Jog class. It started with a little bit of soreness in my hips and my bum. Not pain, just the kind of tender you feel after a new kind of workout, where you're moving muscles that haven't been moved in a while. The tenderness increased as the night went on. Then, today, I woke up in a world of hurt. Like, seriously, my butt hurts, my hips hurt, my upper back is sore, my arms are sore - I think the only part of my body that doesn't realize it received a workout is my forearm. Seriously.
Did I mention that I dropped two full pounds since I took the class? That's after ONE CLASS. I most certainly will become a devoted disciple of Jess.
Exercise is such a funny thing to me. I'm one o
I was going to finish cleaning my kitchen floor… but then I thought, why not add a blog update? ha!
Today I went for a walk. There is nothing like walking in leaves! I love fall mornings.
As usual, even on my walks I am working. All I could see were color palettes! I picked up leaf after leaf to add to my fall collection.
I'm a hopeless fitness video addict. For awhile, I subscribed to Netflix JUST to get new fitness videos, for I also have very short-lived enthusiasm for most videos. These days I'm obsessed with the dance fitness classes at my local YMCA--Body Jam and Zumba--so the videos are getting a little rest.
(And may I say that the new Body Jam workout kicked my butt this morning?)
But I always return to videos by this one instructor, Amy Dixon. The workouts are hard but not impossible and she manages to exude a totally inspiring attitude without being annoying. There's this one thing Amy says that has wormed its way into my daily thoughts: just as you're about to start a round of difficult moves, she says, "go get it".
OK, I know, probably cheesy as all get out. But it gives you permission--permission to do your best. And it's a reminder that we're not spectators in our lives. We're in charge. So we need to go get what we need, now. Don't just stumble your way through things half-heartedly.
I thought of this today because I have the rare chance to spend an entire weekend afternoon on writing. My husband's home supervising a playdate, so all boys are occupied and only hazily aware of my absence. I could fold laundry or write overdue thank-you notes. OR... I could go get it.
So I'm writing and already 1,500 words in. Partly because I can hear Amy Dixon in my head.
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I have been doing a little running reconditioning program lately, because I'll be running the Parkway Classic 5K in early April. So running is definitely on my brain.
I do best when I listen to music when I run. Headphones are controversial, on race courses--organizers worry that runners won't hear race instructions or other runners coming up behind them. But I keep my music low and do a lot better with it. Besides, it covers up the sound of my gasping!
My favorite music is at 140-180 Beats Per Minute--that lets my synchronize my footfalls to the beat of the music. I run faster and longer when I've got BPM music.
While I'm getting ready for the race, I'm listening to the free JogTunes podcast. It lasts for 30-40 minutes and starts out with slower music that eventually ramps up to a full-out running pace.
Then, once I'm running my face, I'll make my own BPM list with some of my favorite music. Here's the playlist I used for my last 5K, on Thanksgiving:
Know of some great running music? Please share! April 10 is coming up fast.Add a Comment
Review by: Chris Singer
About the author:
Steve Ettinger is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Personal Trainer. He currently runs his own private training company in New York City. Originally from Southern California, Steve has always enjoyed staying active. Forever an avid soccer player, he has earned several coaching certifications and has spent years working and volunteering in youth sports and physical education. He began training clients while earning a psychology degree from Boston University and worked as a children’s behavior therapist before deciding to dedicate himself to fitness full time.
About the illustrator:
Pete Proctor graduated from Baker University with a degree in Elementary Education. He is a former middle school science teacher and current freelance illustrator. When not busy painting active animals, he enjoys music, fishing and travel. Pete is a Kansas City native where he still lives with his wife, Jennifer, and two kids, Ben and Sarah.
About the book:
Wallie is mostly a wonderful dog, but his super-laziness has become a problem. So his boy convinces him to go on an adventure to get fit. With a little help from a big friend, Wallie learns how to exercise. Will he enjoy the change from pudgy pup to healthy hound or will he return to his lazy ways? Learn important fitness concepts while following Wallie on his hilarious journey to get in shape. A special section with more information and original exercises (performed by Wallie) will get every kid (and pup) excited about exercise.
My take on the book:
Wallie Exercises is a wonderfully engaging and fantastic book for young children! Steve Ettinger’s catchy rhymes had me laughing out loud, and I had a blast reading it aloud to my daughter. Here’s a little sample:
Again Wallie worked without much success,
“Guys, I think I’ve had enough.
For an out-of-shape pup with a big ole gut,
This stuff is all way too tough.
While I was captivated by the author’s rhymes, my daughter adored Pete Proctor’s bright, boldly-detailed illustrations (complete with a fantastic centerfold illustration of Edwin the Exercising Elephant. Seriously, a must see!!!) which matched the action in the story brilliantly.
I think preschool and young elementary children will truly enjoy this light-hearted look at a pivotal issue for our young children today: obesity and fitness. With a little help from his friends, Wallies comes to the conclusion that exercise is fun and good for him. He reaches this conclusion without being lectured too or force-fed exercise regimes. Instead, Wallie sees for himself that exercise can be fun and something he enjoys. IAdd a Comment
In the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds posed the question, “Does exercise really boost your mood?” There is a clear, clean answer to this question – yes! In fact, the evidence that regular, moderate exercise can boost your mood is overwhelming. From population-based studies to well-controlled clinical trials – exercise is associated with better mood. Specifically, exercise is linked with less depression and improved well-being, decreased anger, decreased anxiety, and greater feelings of social connectedness. Exercise also improves brain functioning, and has dramatic effects on overall health. These findings have been documented repeatedly in both human and animal studies (in animal studies, depression and anxiety are assessed by behavioral responses to specific tasks). So if the evidence is consistent, why question the effects exercise has on mood?
The motivation behind this question was a recent paper from German researchers that investigated the effects of a 3-week intense running schedule in mice. The mice really were churning it out on the running wheel – pawing their way to an average of 12 kilometers (over 7 miles) each day. But apparently they were not feeling cheery; the mice showed an increase rather than a decrease in anxiety behavior. It is not clear what to make of these findings, and they don’t parallel findings in humans. Even among marathon runners, who put in long distances similar to the mice in this study, the effects of exercise on mood appear to be positive.
This is not to say that exercise will always improve mood. For example, over-exertion and worries about physical appearance are great ways to sap motivation to continue exercise. Also, feelings during exercise are highly variable, especially when the intensity of exercise is vigorous. The beauty of exercise for mood is that you don’t have to run yourself miserable to get the mood benefits. Moderate exertion is enough to help you experience the desired mood benefits after exercise.
Yet the real challenge of exercise for most Americans is actually doing it. Focusing directly on the immediate mood and stress-reducing effects of exercise can help with this challenge. Instead of drudgery directed at a distant goal of a fitter, slimmer you; exercise can be used to achieve the immediate goal of a happier, less-stressed you. But still people need to learn how to manage the thinking and procrastination patterns that can derail good exercise intentions. Motivation has been well researched, and there is an increasing role for psychologists in aiding the physical and mental health of Americans by helping them understand and change the many factors that can sap motivation. It is now timely for Americans to take advantage of this accumulated wisdom for their own direct benefit, on or off the running wheel.
Michael Otto, Ph.D., and Jasper Smits, Ph.D., are behavior change experts and authors of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being.
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Garden weeded √, Zinnia Seeds planted √, Veggie Seeds planted √, Herbs planted √, Flowers planted √, Talked to neighbor over the fence √, Hornet traps set √, Mulch spread √, Flower planters planted √, Watered everything √, DONE!! Now the wait… hoping it all LIVES! ha!
The “Great Garden Planting” happens every year around Mother’s Day. It is a lot of work, but when it’s done it’s great to kick back with a glass of iced tea in hand.
It’s time to get back to work for the Licensing Show in June. There are baby albums and greeting cards to finish designing, another book idea to finish up and a new line to introduce to the world!
“Lae Dee Bugg” debuts in July!
Using my phone drawing software (Magic Brush) I came up with another fun sketching activity. I guess I’ll call it Seismosketching.
On a long, bumpy van ride from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia into the Gobi desert I wanted to to pass the time drawing on my phone, but the road was just too rough. I decided that instead of fighting against the bumps and jostles I would use them to draw. More accurately, I guess you could say I let them use me to draw.
All I did was open the new file window and let the bumps choose a background color. Then I opened the brush color palette and let a jostle choose a brush color. Then I put my stylus against some area of the screen and let them both do their thing. I closed my eyes and left my hand loose. Every once in a while I would pick my hand up and move it to a new part of the screen. Other than that, there was no plan and no design on my part. By the last picture (the first one in this series) I tried multiple layers of color and let the drawing go on for a long time.
I think this will be a new ongoing experiment of mine because the bus and car rides here in China are often long and bumpy. Now instead of getting mad at the drivers and road conditions, I’ll team up with them and see what we can create together.
NOTE: I had the program setting on “Mirror” that is why the drawings are so symmetrical.Add a Comment
By Michael Otto Dear First Lady Obama: I am writing this letter in support of your Let’s Move campaign against obesity. As you well know, traditional recommendations for physical activity and good nutrition have met with failure in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, rates of adults who engage in no leisure time physical activity have been in the range of 20-30% for over 20 years. Moreover, over 75% of individuals do notAdd a Comment