Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal, Writing

Writing and Exercise Go Hand in Hand

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacationing and writing. We took the boys to a water park. It was fun, but we were ready to come home. Family vacations are important. They give us an opportunity to connect with our kids again. They’re especially important this year because of the pandemic. I’m so glad things are finally starting to open, and we can travel now.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying active, especially for writers or people who sit at a desk for eight hours a day. It’s so important to get up and move. I’m trying to exercise at least five days a week. I was able to achieve that goal last week, but it’s harder when I’m working.

It’s important for writers to get up and move because writing is such a sedentary occupation. Did you know that sitting more than three hours a day can take two years off your life? Even if you exercise regularly, you still need to get up and move around every couple of hours. Take a break and go for a quick walk. Get the blood flowing again.

The benefits of exercise are not just physical. It helps with depression and anxiety. Exercise increases serotonin levels and dopamine levels which explains the fact you’re happier after you work out. I find that when I’m feeling anxious, going for a quick run helps reduce my angst.

I’ve also found that when I get stuck in my manuscript, if I step away from my work and go for a run or a hike, I can usually work out the problem. When I’m running, my brain works differently and I’m able to work out solutions to my story problems.

Any type of exercise will do. I run and do palates, but you could do Yoga or Zumba. Anything that gets your blood flowing. I used to do Yoga when I was younger and I’m going to start it up again just because I need the variety. How about you? What kind of exercise do you do? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Personal

Is the Answer Pre-Packaged Meals?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work, running, and writing. I’m hoping to send a few more query letters out this weekend, so wish me luck!

My hubby bought me a Fitbit so I can check my heartrate when I’m running and count my steps for the day. It helps me keep my focus on exercising, especially now when I can get outside to run. I want to stay healthy, so I can see my kids get married and have kids of their own. So many people my age are having health issues, and I’ve had a scare of my own. I’m trying to avoid any more by exercising and eating right.

The exercise part I’ve got down, but the eating right is another matter. I do pretty good normally, but I still love my ice-cream and chocolate on occasion. Sometimes on more than one occasion. 😉

I have to be careful because when you get right down to it, you can’t exercise a bad diet away. I see a trend cropping up where companies are sending you boxed meals that you just take out of the freezer and put in the microwave or oven. Their claim to fame is that they are good for you with just the right amount of protein and carbs.

There’s also a new diet out there, it’s called Optavia. This is where you eat five fuelings a day and then a lean and green meal at night. You have to buy all your food from the company and by doing this you’ll lose weight. It works, too. I’ve got a friend who’s lost approximately thirty pounds in a short period of time, and she’s still going strong. My question is, when you’ve lost enough weight, what do you do?

According to my friend, you transition back to eating normal meals, but I’m skeptical because it was those normal meals that made you overweight in the first place. This is a new program and people claim they’ve been able to keep the weight off. However, I’ve found the way they keep the weight off is by continuing to purchase the food from the company, and it’s not cheap. Now, this is okay if you feel a lot better and can afford it, but I want to know what’s in the food. What are they eating?

If it’s just low-carb meals. You can do that without spending top dollar for their meals. I have another friend who is following the keto plan. She’s lost sixty-five pounds. It took her a couple of years to do it, but I feel this might be the healthier approach.

Then there’s the fact, that our bodies do need carbohydrates, but they have to be the complex carbs not the sweets so many of us are addicted to. I think if you do that you don’t have to spend so much money on these special diets or special meals.

One thing these two things have going for them is time. Both save you time. It takes a lot of time to cook a good meal and then clean up after it’s been consumed. We’d all love a little more time in our day, wouldn’t we?

So, do you think these special diets and these special mail-order meals are here to stay? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Ageism, Health, Personal

Becoming Internally Oriented

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy with work and writing and I’ve also taken a few days off to spend with the family. It’s important to do this. We’re trying to create some lasting memories with our kids. They’re growing up so fast and time feels like it’s slipping away.

Even though they believe they know everything and don’t want to listen to our advice or wisdom, they’re still sweet kids. So, the terrible teens aren’t so terrible. However, this shift in perspective from relying on our advice to trying to make decisions on their own, I see a loss. There’s so much wisdom the older generation has that the younger generation needs.

In ancient times, our elders were respected, and their advice was sought out. When did this change? And why? Now, society tries to make our mature adults feel as if they have nothing of value to offer. They try to push them aside and shove them out of the limelight.

Did this change when manufacturers started creating products to make us look younger? When did we buy into the idea that looking young was the only worthwhile state of being? We’ve become too externally oriented as a society. We need to focus on how we feel. Do we feel healthy?

Look at all the products on the market that really aren’t good for us. All that processed food is killing us by making us overweight. Do you know many diseases are manifested because of being overweight? Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease just to name a few. Our young people need to be aware of this.

They sit in front of their computers playing video games for hours at a time. What is this doing to their bones? They need physical activity to make them healthy and strong. I try to get my boys outside and most days I’m successful, but is it enough?

That’s why listening to our elders is more important than ever now. With the way the media “spins” things, and the way manufacturers disregard the effects their products have on the people and the earth, we’re all vulnerable. No one knows what to believe anymore.

How can we turn this around? First, we need to become internally oriented. Focus on our feelings and our health. We need to turn off the TV and Social Media, where they work on keeping you engaged by posting pictures in your feed based on previous likes.

We can turn this around by focusing on our health and making sure we get enough nutrients as well as sunshine and exercise. It really is that simple.

How about you? Do you have any ideas how we can turn this around? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Personal

Time to Get Moving

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I’m working on my second WIP while I query my first one. I have to change my query to reflect the changes I made in my WIP, so I’ll be doing that today, but enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about exercise.

It is so important for your health to make time to exercise. I know everyone knows this, but I don’t think it’s sinking in with people. Did you know that being overweight or obese leads to many diseases like diabetes and cancer? When my doctor told me, I was close to being pre-diabetic, I knew I had to do something, so I made it a priority to start running again. I had to lose some weight. I did and got my numbers back down, but I have to keep this up to keep the weight off.

A study done in 2018 shows that 10.4% of the population has been diagnosed with Diabetes. That is disturbing. I believe part of the problem is because of the food industry. I’m starting to believe anything man made isn’t good for us. Food manufacturers add sugar to their processed foods, so they taste better which leads us to be addicted to sugar, but enough about that. To learn more about that click this link. https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/is-processed-food-poisoning-us/

Sorry for my digression. Now, back to exercise. I run but walking will also help along with any type of exercise. Did you know that a walk after dinner helps keep your blood sugar down? We just need to get moving again folks. Exercise is also a great stress reliever. So, it’s good for your mental health, too.

Diet is also important. I saw a meme once that said, “you can’t exercise off a bad diet.” This is so true. However, I didn’t really believe this until just recently. When I was younger, I figured I could eat what I wanted because I was exercising. This may have been true back then, but now I pay attention to the carbs I’m eating, and I try to stay away from sweets. I do indulge occasionally because deprivation can lead to binge eating and that’s worse than an indulgence in my opinion.

Writers need to be very careful because they’re work is so sedentary, but that can be said for anyone who sits in front of a computer for work every day. Get up and get moving, you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you do to stay active?

Posted in Earth, environment, Health, Personal

There is No Planet B

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and rewriting one of the first scenes in my story. I like it much better, but I’m going to have to go through and tweak a few more scenes, but that’s okay. It’ll be worth it in the end.

May be an image of map and text that says 'FRIENDLY REMINDER: THERE IS NO PLANET B.'

But enough about that. In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to talk about humans and their effect on the earth. After watching shows like “Erin Brockovich,” “Dark Waters,” “The Big Short,” and “Seaspiracy,” I’ve concluded that humans aren’t good for the Earth. There, I’ve said it.

We’re all connected. The trees speak with each other through their roots and release oxygen into the atmosphere while soaking up carbon dioxide. The ocean produces over fifty percent of the air we breathe while also regulating the climate.

We need the oceans and the trees to stay alive. Yet, we’re so busy cutting down the forests and overfishing our seas that we’re slowly but surely killing our planet.  We manufacture things that poison our drinking water and kill people all to make money. Who is behind these atrocities? Man.

We are the most intelligent species on the planet. We can think critically and invent amazing things, but we do so recklessly. In the movies “Erin Brockovich” and “Dark Waters,” huge corporations were making products that poisoned the surrounding town’s water supply. Each company knew about the damage, but instead of halting production and cleaning it up, they covered it up and pretended it wasn’t there because it would eat away their profits.

In “Dark Waters,” Dupont invented Teflon, but found that working with the chemicals caused birth defects. They didn’t tell their employees and continued to allow them to work while pregnant which resulted in deformed children. Now we’re finding that our own government officials have made decisions that adversely affected their constituents. Look at what happened in Flint, MI.

We need to make some drastic changes. It makes me sick what we’re doing to the planet and to each other just to make some bank. We need better regulatory agencies and we need to hold corporations accountable for what they’re doing. It’s the only way future generations will have a place to live.

We also need to start cleaning up the mess we’ve created in the oceans. I’m holding the commercial fishing industry responsible for that one. I think each company should pay a tax each year and that money goes toward cleaning up the sea, and if they’re caught dumping waste into the ocean, they lose their fishing license for a certain amount of time. They must also pay a fine, and they must help in cleaning up the ocean while their fishing license is revoked.

I know it sounds harsh, but drastic changes are needed. What are your thoughts? What changes would you make to save our Earth?

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Staying in the Present Moment

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. I’m so excited because spring is finally here. I’ve been able to run outside a couple of times this week and it was wonderful. My tulips are starting to come up and I am so ready for summer it isn’t funny.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying in the present moment and appreciating it. We’re so busy trying to achieve our goals that we keep our eyes on the prize and don’t always appreciate the moment we’re in.

I find that when I focus on the outcome I’m trying to achieve; I get frustrated when things don’t go quite as planned or I run into obstacles. I have to remind myself that I need to focus on my goals for the day only. I know what the big goal is, but I have to focus on the steps I need to take to get there. That way I won’t get frustrated because I haven’t gotten to the big goal yet.

By doing this, I’m going to be happier with my present moment and I’ll appreciate it more. That way I won’t be missing any moments with my family and friends.

It’s hard to change the habit of always striving and focusing on the outcome of my actions. So, when I catch myself growing frustrated because I haven’t reached my goal yet, I take a moment and slow myself down. It’s going to happen just not yet. Then if I can, I practice some self-care. I drink some water or take a few minutes and just breathe. This is the way I reset my thinking and change my emotions from being frustrated to peaceful.

How about you? What do you do to change your mindset? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Balance and Perspective

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and working on my craft. I took some time off to read a craft book this week and I’m glad I did. It was a good book. It’s titled “The Secrets of Story.” If you’re looking for a book to help you with your writing, this book is for you.

The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by [Matt Bird]

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about finding balance and perspective. I struggle with these issues daily because my passion is my writing, but I have a passion for my family, a passion for my work, and I also need to take care of my health by exercising and eating right.

Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t write. I have to take care of my kids, fix a meal, or work my day job. Then I have to fit in time for exercise. This is what I struggle with. Many times, I have to choose between exercising and writing. Sometimes I choose writing and feel guilty because I know I should be exercising for my health. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I do exercise and wish I were writing instead. These negative emotions I experience detract from the enjoyment of my exercising or my writing.

Since I don’t want to have deal with negative emotions, I’ve got to change my attitude, because with my hectic schedule, I’m always going to have to choose between the two. So, when I choose to exercise, I tell myself I’m doing something that’s good for my body, my soul, and my brain. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, burn calories, and get your blood flowing so your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Instead of telling myself I must do this because I want to keep my weight under control or because I ate pizza for dinner, I tell myself my writing will be better if I exercise. This one little change in my perspective allows me to enjoy my exercise and my writing. After I exercise, I have the rest of the evening to write. Therefore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m writing because I know I already exercised.

I’ve also gotten better at defining exercise. I used to feel like I had to run four to six miles at a time before I could call it a workout. That’s not entirely true. I can do strength training and that’s exercise. I can do Pilates and that’s exercise. So is yoga. I’ve been adding these activities to my exercise routine to help build the muscle I’m losing as I age. By adding Pilates and Yoga to my regime, I’ve eliminated my sciatica pain. The difference is amazing, and my writing has improved.

So, there you have it. By changing my perspective about exercise and writing, I’ve been able to enjoy my exercise more. I don’t enjoy it in the beginning. It’s always hard to get started, but by the end, I’m always glad I did it.

I also enjoy my writing more. I don’t feel guilty when I sit down and take some time for my stories. How about you? How do you balance it all? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Ageism, Health, Personal

Ageism in Our Society

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of writing and working. The weather is turning warmer and the sun has been shining brightly which makes me hopeful for spring. I’m ready for some warm weather where I can get back to running outside. I like that much better than running on a treadmill.

I have been able to hike a little more this winter. Spurred on by my need to get fresh air, I’ve hiked with the hubby a couple of times and with a friend a couple of times. Which is about four or five more times than I hiked last winter. I’ve needed to get out of the house because I’ve been working from home, and those hikes by the beach have been a wonderful way to get some exercise and get some time with a gal pal or my hubby.

But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about ageism in today’s world. Almost 35 million Americans are over the age of 65 and this number keeps growing. In fact, studies have been conducted and that age group is supposed to reach over 20 percent of the population by 2030. I would think companies that manufacture products would heed these findings, but I don’t find evidence of this today.

In fact, I see evidence of the opposite. I find manufacturer’s targeting the younger generations. Especially clothing and makeup companies. They’re spouting the rhetoric that you need to look younger and feel younger to stay in the game.

This just isn’t true, but many older people are buying into this philosophy. Plastic surgeries have been on the rise for the last five years. This saddens me. We should be celebrating the fact we can grow old. It is a privilege denied to many. We should be honoring our elderly and respecting their wisdom. Just like many indigenous tribes did back in the day.

Instead of focusing on looking young, we should be focusing on staying healthy. We should be focusing on the internal and not the external. Experts say the best way to stay healthy is to get as much sunshine, fresh air, exercise, water, healthy foods, and sleep as we can. I agree. It really is that simple.

This would be a great time for a vitamin company to create a product that helps your body and brain stay resilient to the ravages of time. If I had the know-how, that’s what I’d be doing. I would take the focus off of staying younger, and focus on improving the quality of my life as I get older.

How about you? How do you feel about ageism in our society? Has it affected your life? If so, how? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Get Outside, it’s good for You

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with work and writing, but I managed to get out with a gal pal and hike along the lakeshore. That hike was just what I needed since I haven’t been able to get out because of the pandemic. I’ve been working at home, working out at home, and socializing via the internet at home.

We have become the indoor generation. So, when the opportunity arose for me to get out for a hike, I jumped at the opportunity. It was gorgeous, but cold. The wind coming off the lake was invigorating. Now, more than ever we need to get out into nature. Being by the beach was so good for me. It cleared my head and got me back on track as far as my goals are concerned.

You see, being inside so much can be a little demotivating. I’ve found when I travel from the bedroom, that I’ve turned into an office, to the living room where I relax, and I get a little down. I do this every single day.

On a more positive note, I’ve been doing pretty good about keeping up with my exercise goals. Since I don’t have to drive to work, the time I would’ve spent on the road, I’ve turned to exercising. So, there is that. However, it’s the treadmill season right now because it’s too cold for me to run outside.

Like I said earlier, we have become the indoor generation. We’re losing our connection to nature and that’s not a good thing. We get so many positive things from nature. Just being out in it is a stress reliever.

It also strengthens our immune system. Did you know that being in the woods is good for us? The trees and plants release phytoncides. These molecules are released by the foliage as a defense mechanism against fungus, bacteria, and even animals. These compounds are good for humans as well. According to one study, they enhanced the destructive mechanism in our cells that kill the cell when its time has run out. It also enhances the anti-cancer protein production.

Even going to the beach is good for you. Especially, if you can get to the ocean or the sea. Saltwater has many positive benefits. The salt air is charged with negative ions that allow us to absorb more oxygen, but you don’t have to travel all the way to the ocean to get the health benefits of the beach. Just being near a body of water is stress relieving. It releases serotonin, which is good for our mood, and let’s not forget about that vitamin D. A vitamin our bones need, and if you live in the north, you probably don’t get enough of it.

So, this year, I’m planning to get outside more often. I plan on going hiking and going to the beach more often. Our bodies were meant to move not sit at computers all day.

Exercising outside is like a double whammy of health benefits for our bodies and minds. So, get out there and get moving! It’s good for you!

How about you? What kind of exercises do you like to do outside? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Is Yoga the new Wonder Drug for our Health?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work, writing, and reading. Yes, I needed to decompress a little bit this week and what better way to decompress than to read, right?

I thought you’d agree. 😉

Anyway, more about that later. Today, I’d like to talk about stress and how to deal with it. There are many stressors in life that we have to handle. Back in the olden days, when we had to run from predators, our body would send out the stress hormone cortisol and it’d get us moving.

Now, our greatest stress isn’t running from predators, it’s dealing with stress from work, stress from over-commitment, family stress, and so on. In the past, when we’d get that rush of cortisol in our system, we’d run to escape the predator chasing us and we’d burn up the cortisol in our system. We’d run to safety, usually a short distance.

In today’s world, we can’t run from our stressors, so the cortisol builds up in our system. This leads to high cortisol levels, which leads to increased amounts of belly fat, which leads to diabetes, a life-threatening disease. So, the question is, how do we keep cortisol levels down when we can’t change the stressors in our lives?

My first thought was exercise. So, I’ve been running on the treadmill at least two to three times a week. I usually run about four miles, which is hard to do on a treadmill. (It’s winter right now and I don’t run outside in the winter because of the cold and ice.) While running is good, I did some research to find out what was the best way to reduce cortisol, and I learned some interesting facts.

First, extended exercise (more than sixty minutes) increased cortisol levels. It seems that too much exercise depletes our stored glycogen and when that happens our bodies release cortisol. So, what’s the best way to reduce cortisol when we’re dealing with stressful situations?

Short, high intensity workouts, such as sprints, HITT, or weight training are proven ways to reduce cortisol in your system. Another way is doing yoga. Yes, yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce cortisol levels. This is good news because yoga is a great way to quiet your mind as well. It’s good for you mentally, physically, and physiologically. Who knew?

It’s my understanding that you must make sure it’s restorative yoga and not hot yoga, or Ashtanga yoga. Anything that makes your body work hard will raise cortisol levels.

 So, there you have it. Yoga is the wonder drug when it comes to reducing cortisol levels in your body, and reduced cortisol levels means less belly fat. Less belly fat means lower risk for diabetes. Like I said earlier, it’s good for you mentally, physically, and physiologically.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about yoga? Have you ever tried it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!