Feb 20

Embrace Your Environment

snowshoe7As the temperatures look to go back into the 30s again next week, it is obvious we are in the thick of winter. Unlike bears however, we do not have the luxury of going into a cave and sleeping for the next few months. We must not only survive, but try to thrive through the cold. I’ve always found the best way to take on the challenge of something hard, it is to make it fun. Therefore, I encourage you to not fight the winter, but embrace it!
How does one make winter more fun? Well, you need to find something you enjoy doing during this season that you cannot do any other time. You really do not look too far in order to find a long list of things you can do in the winter that are both active and fun.
From personal experience, there were two things I couldn’t wait to do once the snow fell. Chase rabbits with my beagles, and snowboard. Not as many people went to the state park by my house in the winter, so I was actually able to let my beagles off leash. Stomping through the snow chasing my beagles, who were chasing rabbit tracks, was not just fun, but great exercise. Right before my accident I tried out snowboarding. While not an expert by any TechniqueSkate2means, I loved it! Likewise, my brother has recently become addicted to what is called skate skiing. It is a hybrid made up of a combination of skating and cross-country skiing. Incredible exercise, with the ability to go pretty fast along the trails in the woods.
These are just a few of the outdoor activities available right in the area. Traditional cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and for the extremists I even read about a new one called Snowkiting, are a few more to add to the list.
Another good thing about most of these activities, is that they can be tried out fairly inexpensively at many local Metro and state parks. Most of them offer rental equipment, and explain the types of offerings they have on their websites. For those of you in this area, you can go to this link to find out quite a bit.
http://www.metroparks.com/Winter-Sports
If you are in another area, I am sure your local parks have a similar page on their website.
Don’t forget, you are not a bear, and the winter can be something to look forward to. You live in Michigan, embrace it!Snowkiting

 

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Nov 22

Shop online and support my cause at the same time!

cropped-SOSLIFE_logo.jpgAs I have been informed, the shopping season has already begun, let me remind you of our affiliate program. With just a few extra clicks of your mouse, you can support my cause with no extra cost to you while doing your online shopping. Simply click on affiliates up above. From there choose from several companies that have agreed to work with my cause. Amazon, REI, Drugstore.com, and Moose jaw are a few of the big names we have teamed up with. Click on the logo and you will be taken to that company’s site where you just shop as you normally would. By going through our site first, the company will send a small percentage of every purchase back to the website and my charity fund. In each of the last two years, we have been able to receive over $1000 to help with the costs of my care! I am grateful for your continued support!

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Jul 20

Exercise Combats Aging Affects Of Chemotherapy

As if we needed another reason to exercise, research now shows that exercising while going through chemotherapy treatments for cancer can help combat the premature aging that is the usual result.
We all know someone or have gone through ourselves a battle with cancer. This usually includes chemotherapy treatments. Though often effective, these treatments tear the body down. Dr. Lee Jones of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that “12 weeks of chemotherapy is equivalent to 10 years of aging.” That is a very extreme effect on the body! Fortunately, Dr. Jones also says that if patients perform exercise training throughout their chemotherapy regimen, they can negate the aging devastation almost completely. The amount and intensity of exercise is of course relative to each persons situation individually, and should be monitored by a doctor. The benefits, however, are clear, and well worth it!

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May 21

Spotify’s New Feature Matches Your Workout Pace With Your Music

running_screenshot_1-750x1334Yesterday, the music streaming company Spotify introduced a new feature it will be now offering. It is called, “made for running.” It is an incredible system that will help people put together the perfect playlists for their workouts. This technology measures the rhythm of your running/walking/workout pace using sensors on your phone. It then searches your most recently listened to songs and selects the ones that match your rhythm and exercise pace. If you change the speed you are going during the workout, the music will change right along with it. It has been proven that listening to music while exercising improves performance. This innovation takes the improvement to another level. The playlists created will be instantly saved as well, so that if you want to start right off with them the next time you work out, you can. Chief Product Officer Gustav Soderstrom also said that the company has teamed up with Nike and RunKeeper to expand and continue work enhancing this system of combining music and exercise.
The company’s website offers a short video explaining it, check it out!
https://www.spotify.com/us/running/

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Apr 18

App Review: Map My Run – Keep Track, Keep Motivated, Keep at it!

map my run logoIn our new modern tech world, where there is an app for everything, it is sometimes hard to navigate the masses and find one that is right for you. Map My Run is one that I think fits some important criteria. It is free, it is easy to use, and it is effective.
Our main goal here at My Symbol of Strength Life is to encourage healthy lifestyles. This app falls right in line. You simply download the app, answer a few questions, and you are ready to go. It measures time and distance of your walk or run. By using your phone’s GPS, you can begin your workout anywhere you are, simply by selecting your activity (walk or run), and pressing the start button. When you are finished you press stop. It is as simple as that. Along the way, you can glance at the screen and see how far you have gone. It also shows an easy to read map of the route taken. Of course you can also sync your music collection with it so you can listen while you are working. When you’re finished, it gives you total distance traveled, total time exercised, average speed, and a final map. You’re finally given the option to record the workout and also to send it to friends or family you have chosen to connect with.
I think it is a great device. Most of us like the immediate feedback of knowing how much we have accomplished. met my run time and distanceThe ability to connect with others to show them what we have done and likewise see what they are doing provides reward as well as motivation. My mom and her sister both have this app and have had a lot of fun with it. Even though they are several states apart, they are able to both motivate and encourage each other in their efforts. If you don’t already have it, I recommend you check it out. If you already have something that works for you, stick with it. Just don’t stop moving!

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Jan 31

The Small Plate Movement

Smaller plates = smaller portions = smaller waist

Perception of portion size can affect your sense of satiety.

Perception of portion size can affect your sense of satiety.

From his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, author and the founder of The Small Plate Movement, Brian Wansink could have an extra large affect on your health.
Through research, Wansink and his co-authors concluded that “larger packages in grocery stores, larger servings in restaurants, and larger dishware in homes are the key drivers of larger portion size.” They in turn increase the appropriate perceived portion size, and reduce the ability to monitor food intake. This ultimately ends with an increase in the amount of food eaten. These results inspired the group to come up with a way to combat these problems. Thus, The Small Plate Movement was born, and has now been going strong for 10 years and hopes to reach 10 million participants by the end of this year!
People tend to serve themselves, and correspondingly eat, according to their plate size. Unfortunately, since the year 1960, dish sizes have increased 20%! By simply reverting back from a 12 inch plate to a 10 inch plate, one could decrease their caloric intake by the same percentage. Also, by using the smaller plate and filling it accordingly, one will still be under the perception of having a full portion size. With this perception in tow, one’s feeling of satiety or fullness will not be affected by the actual amount of food consumed. Wansink has determined that by using the smaller plates for just your largest meal once per day alone could yield you an 18 pound loss over the course of one year!
For continued research, support, and information about The Small Plate Movement, visit their website at www.smallplatemovement.org.

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Nov 25

Thanksgiving Day Tips To Keep The Plump Where It Belongs!

2014_TPC_turkey_finalHere are a few reminders to help you make it through the holiday without adding an extra belt notch!
This is a repost from last year, but always worth remembering.
1. Do some form of exercise before you eat the big meal. The more intense the workout the better! Remember that exercise will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.
2. Exercise as close to the time you are going to eat as possible. I realize this one could be tough for some of you helping in the preparation. Studies show that the first hour after exercising the appetite is usually suppressed, and it will keep you from wanting to eat too much.
3. Drink a full glass of water about 15 min. before your meal. It will make you feel more full.
4. Eat slowly. Enjoy the conversation and let the food settle during the meal. Again you will gain the feeling of fullness and ultimately eat less.
5. Do not take second helpings of anything! One plateful of food will be more than enough. There’ll be plenty of days to enjoy the leftovers.
6. Enjoy the turkey, and minimize the rest. Gravy, biscuits, butter, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are where a lot of the extra and bad calories will come from. The turkey is a low-fat protein source which will bring on satiety [feeling of fullness].
7. Exercise after your meal. A good 15 to 30 min. walk with family would be great to increase your metabolism and aid in your digestion.
8. Be thankful for your health, knowledge, and will power. They will help you get through this day without needing a group of pilgrims to help get up the stairs!

In addition to these tips that you can do on your own, you may also wish to join the many who participate in one of the multiple turkey trots in your area. Starting the morning off with a long walk or jog will pay dividends throughout the day, giving your body something productive to do with your food intake. Just go to runmichigan.com to find out where the closest run is to you. Having done the Detroit turkey trot several times, I can vouch for that one being a fun one. Many people sport Thanksgiving themed costumes and the last section takes place along the parade route where the streets are already lined with people.

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Nov 15

Shop Online And Support My Cause At The Same Time!

_MG_7203As I have been informed that the shopping season has already begun, let me remind you of our affiliate program. With just a few extra clicks of your mouse, you can support my cause with no extra cost to you while doing your online shopping. Simply go to (or stay on it since you are already here) our health and fitness blog site, www.mysoslife.com and click on affiliates. From there choose from several companies that have agreed to work with my cause. Amazon, REI, Drugstore.com, and Moose jaw are a few of the big names we have teamed up with. Click on the logo and you will be taken to that company’s site where you just shop as you normally would. By going through our site first, the company will send a small percentage of every purchase back to the website and my charity fund. I am grateful for your continued support!I

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Nov 11

Bounce Back To Health With Trampoline Fitness

In my continual quest to find more ways to get people moving, I stumbled upon a newer type of fitness class that seems to be gaining some popularity. Trampoline exercise or what is also known as “rebounding” fitness might be worth adding to your arsenal of ways to stay away from being sedentary. There are clear physical benefits to this activity that most of us think of as something that is just fun to do.
trampoline fitnessMini trampolines have been around for a while as a potential personal exercise tool. It is a little harder to workout on these as they are not large enough to allow one to perform many movements. The rebounding classes however are performed in large facilities [sometimes called trampoline or bounce parks] with the entire area being a giant trampoline. An instructor leads the class through many types of exercises as they would with any other group fitness class. The benefits are very similar. Muscular strength, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance, core strength, and balance can all be included as possible outcomes from participation. In a study done by the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation moving on a trampoline while pumping weights can yield an average heart rate of 156 to 178 bpm. This is a similar exertion rate to that of jogging or swimming.
What separates trampoline fitness from other group exercise classes is the perception of fun associated with it. Even though we are contracting muscles, exerting force, using balance for landing, and increasing our heart rate, we’re doing it on a trampoline! Most of us associate bouncing up and down on a trampoline with something fun we did as children. Certainly this couldn’t be good for us also? Well, it is good for us and yes it is still fun.
Though rebounding or trampoline fitness may not be the answer to all of your exercise needs, it can certainly benefit you. We know it is better for our bodies to have variety in our workouts. Adding one as fun as this is worth a try.
For locals, there is a place called Sky Zone in Canton that offers Skyrobics classes for $10 apiece several days a week.

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Aug 08

Made With “Real Sugar!?”

Sugar-boosts-cancer-riskEven though when watching a baseball game I try my best to ignore the everlasting stream of moronic commercials that come on in between innings, the other night I couldn’t help staring in disbelief at the television. The product being advertised claimed that it was made with “real sugar!” This was actually touted as a selling point and positive aspect of said product. Though my mind went straight to questioning many things about our society today, I will only rant to you about this issue of celebrating an item being made with “real sugar” as being really wrong!
We have done a great job of researching and realizing the problems connected with extra chemicals and artificial sweeteners being used in our products. I wrote a previous article in detail about these, but can highlight a few of the major issues. The artificial sweeteners make the body think they are to receive a full sugar but then do not follow up with delivering it. This in turn creates even more craving for sugar and sweets only to be satisfied by eating or drinking more. In addition the chemicals used as artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancers and other diseases. It goes with without saying much more that artificial sweeteners are bad. However, that does not make “real sugar” something good! I credit the company with its marketing strategy. Society has embraced the “all-natural” concept. As usual, our society takes anything that it decides is good or important and overdoes it. As long as it is all-natural, we are made to believe it must be good. Therefore, made with “real sugar” must make it better for us. This is genius marketing. Thankfully, you are not too naïve to fall for this. I will give you a few reminders anyway though. Sugar is not good for you. It is not good for you on a train, is not good for you in the rain, it is not good for you here and there, it is not good for you… Well, you get the idea. Sugar is one of the main causes for us becoming overweight and fat. When sugar enters the body, it must be processed like all other parts of food. The way the body deals with sugar is through the production of insulin. Insulin combines with sugars and must be either used or stored. Since sugar is not a very efficient source of energy, most of these sugar/insulin combinations are stored. When the body doesn’t have any open places to store them it must make new ones. These new storage compartments are fat cells. Thus, though oversimplifying to a degree, even though sugar isn’t fat, it causes fat!
“Real sugar” is still sugar, and is still bad for you. Maybe at the end of the commercial they should just say, “Don’t just get fat, get fat naturally!” I know, I probably won’t be getting a call from them wanting me to come work for the public relations department. Looks like I’ll stick to writing articles for you guys. Stay healthy!

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