Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Strive for Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a weekend of writing. I had a procedure done this week that left me exhausted. It was a routine procedure and everything came out fine, but it did wipe me out. So I didn’t get much writing done during the week, but I made up for it over the weekend. 😊

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However, today I want to talk about finding balance. It’s hard when you’re juggling so many balls like family, a full-time job, writing, and exercise. Sometimes, you must spend a lot of energy  helping your family. Sometimes you have to spend extra time for your job. When this happens, things like your writing, self-care, and exercise fall to the wayside. This is unfortunate, but quite natural.

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However, when things settle down, it’s important to get back into your routine and take care of yourself. Right now, I find myself out of my routine and I’m struggling to get back into it. Why? Because this procedure I had to do this last week left me exhausted. So, exhausted I didn’t have the energy to exercise. I also had a couple of nights when I didn’t sleep well and that has also wreaked havoc on my motivation.

So, I spent most of the weekend writing and I feel good about that, because my story is one of my goals, but I need to get back into my exercise routine because it’s important for my health. Taking care of myself is one of my goals, and  I’ve lost some weight. I want to keep it off, so I need to get moving again.

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The way I try to maintain balance is to set up a flexible schedule for myself each day. I actually schedule time for exercise and time for my writing. Some days, it’s hard to maintain my commitment to my schedule, because sometimes I don’t feel like exercising or doing housework during my allotted time. During those times, I have to fight the urge to get back to my story and do what’s best for my health.

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Sometimes I give in and write instead of exercise. When I do this, I just adjust my schedule and exercise another day. The flexibility is important because the routine can sometimes grow restrictive and boring.

So, strive for balance by scheduling the self-care you need to do into your weekly routine. It’s important, especially as you grow older and less active. You’ll be happier when you do. I know I am.  What self-care activities do you do? How do you balance them with your other goals? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Women

Stress Relievers for Every-day Life

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a great weekend of writing and running. (I’m recovering now.) It was gorgeous this afternoon and a great time to get out and get some exercise. I forced my boys to get away from their video games and get outside, which they did grudgingly, but I’m sure they enjoyed it. I’m trying to teach them to take care of themselves. No easy task. Believe me.

I’m pushing for them to get outside because when winter flies, I’m sure we’ll be hibernating and it’ll be hard for them to get some exercise, but enough about that. Today I want to talk about dealing with the stress of every-day life and with the holidays coming up, well that can be stressful  too. So, I want to give you a quick list of stress relievers that I’ve used in the past, and continue to still use. Here they are:

 

Stress Relievers:

  1. Exercise: Exercise is my go-to stress reliever. Even a short walk gets those endorphins pumping through my brain, settling me down and allowing me to refocus instead of react.

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  1. Reading: Did you know reading for only fifteen minutes reduces your stress level by right around sixty percent? Reading is an excellent stress reducer, plus it teaches empathy, and improves your vocabulary. For more information on this, click here. 

 

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  1. Forest-bathing: Forest-bathing is another great way to relieve stress, but there are also other health benefits to taking a hike in the woods. The trees in the forest release phytoncides, that we breathe in and these little buggers help strengthen our immune system. For more information check out this post by clicking here.

 

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  1. Laughter:  Laughing is an excellent stress reliever. Take the time to watch a comedy or funny sit-com. It relieves your stress and can also improve your immune system.

 

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So, there you have it. Stress relievers for every-day life and the holidays. How do you manage your stress? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health

Finding Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long weekend of writing and hanging out with my family. I’m getting closer to the finish line, and I hope I can do this story justice, but enough about that. 😊

Today, I’d like to talk about how important it is to find balance in your life. I’m sure you know that balance is important for your mental health, because the mind and the body work together.

Right now, I’m struggling with balancing everything I’m trying to accomplish, and making time for is exercise. Yet, I know I need to exercise to keep up my health. In fact, my doctor recommended I exercise at least six times a week.

Now, when I exercise, I usually run, and I dedicate an hour to it. The problem is that some nights I don’t have an hour. I get home late and want to hang out with my family for a while, or I’ve had a stressful day at work and all I want to do is sit down and relax, or I’d rather work on my story. So, there are times when I’ve blown it off. I started running in the morning, and I’ve found it increases my energy level for the day, but I still can’t seem to do more than two or three times a week.

 

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There is one drawback to running and that is, when I have to run on the treadmill, it is incredibly boring. I have a hard time motivating myself to do it. So, I decided I’m going to look into a yoga class. I used to do yoga once a week before the kidlets arrived and I enjoyed it immensely. There’s also that mind/body connection with yoga that I miss.  Whenever I finished a yoga class, I always came away with the feeling of being totally relaxed while also being fully aware. It was an awesome feeling that’s for sure.

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I’m going to count that as exercise even though it doesn’t increase my heart rate. I hear hot yoga is good for your body and helps build muscle. Have any of you tried hot yoga? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

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There are some side benefits to yoga, too. It improves your circulation, strength and flexibility as well as your spine health. Spine health is important these days when you sit in front of the computer for most of the day.

Yoga is a great alternative when you just don’t feel like pounding the pavement and it stretches the whole body, whereas running only works your legs. So, there you have it. My plan to work yoga into my already busy life, so I can create balance. Does that even make sense? LOL!

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How about you, what do you do to exercise your body? Any yoga practitioners out there? How do you add one more activity and create balance? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Reading

I’m back and I’m talking about Self-Care

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have to apologize, I’ve been hit with the Bronchitis bug and have been too sick to post on my blog. So, I apologize for my long absence and I’m finally back with a post.

Because I’ve just gotten over a bad case of Bronchitis, I thought I’d write a post on the importance of self-care. I tend to put myself last because I’m a mom and that’s what a lot of us moms do.

The thing is if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. Health is our wealth. It’s not money. You can have all the money in the world, but if you can’t enjoy it because of failing health, it’s worthless.

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So, take the time to cook yourself healthy meals. It’s a great way to bond with your kids and teach them healthy eating habits. In my opinion, good health starts with good food. Your diet is so important. Food fuels your body and builds it up to fight disease and sickness. If you’re filling it with empty calories and no nutrients, you’re not giving it what it needs to keep you healthy. So, start this habit while your kids are young and it’s never too late to take better care of yourself.

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Another element of self-care is exercise. Yeah, going to the gym is a great way to get those miles in on that treadmill, but if you can get outside, that’s even better. Getting out in the sun is so good for you. We all need our vitamin D and the best way to get it is from the sun. I believe a daily dose of fresh air and sunshine is good for all of us. Heart and Soul.

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And if you can somehow get out to the woods or walk near the beach, that is the best for you. Remember the trees in the forest emit tiny microbes that help us fight disease and the fresh air from the beach has many health benefits as well.

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So, diet and exercise are two of the key ingredients to good health. Another ingredient is stress reduction. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress, but there are others.  One of the activities I like to do when I’m too stressed is read. Yes, reading can drop your stress level within minutes of opening your book. It gets your mind off your stressful situation, your heart rate will decrease, and you’ll begin to relax. Reading is a perfect way to de-stress when you can’t make it to the gym or just don’t feel like exercising.

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So, there you have it, the three elements of self-care. What do you do to take care of yourself?  I’m always looking for new ideas, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Personal

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. I’ve started a new job and it’s great to be back to work full time. I’ve missed it. However, I’m still committed to my writing. I’ve got two manuscripts I’m committed to finishing and a third one that I started a while back that I want to finish as well.

Today, I’d like to talk about self-care. Taking care of your health should be one of the most important goals an individual has. In my younger years, I took my health for granted and picked up some bad habits, like drinking too much pop. It’s bad for your bones and your body needs water. So, I’ve made a conscious effort to drink more water and limit the amount of pop I drink.

That’s just one example. Through the years, I’ve tried to be consistent about exercise as well. Exercise is so important for our body. It’s great for maintaining our mood and managing our stress.

So, when I think about self-care, I think about the basics. What does my body need to be healthy?

  1. A healthy diet

For me, a healthy diet is more salads and less sugar. I’ve tried to cut down on sugar, but I haven’t eliminated it all together. I’ve also developed a plan where I eat carbs only in the morning and at night, leaving my noon meal for proteins and vegetables. I’m trying to work with the changes that occur in our bodies as we age. I still need carbs, but I don’t need as many, and I feel the time of day I eat these things is also important.

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          Our bodies also need water. Lots of it. 😊

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  1. Exercise

Our bodies are designed to move so the more movement you can get, the better off you’ll be. It can be anything like walking, hiking, or cycling. I run, but I also change it up with hiking and walking so I don’t get bored. I also work out with free weights to keep my muscles strong. Exercise is also an excellent way to relieve stress.

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  1. Stress relieving activities

Besides exercise there are other stress relieving activities we can participate in, like yoga or reading or getting together with friends. All of these activities are important ways to maintain both our mental and physical health.

 

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  1. Setting boundaries

I list setting boundaries with people as a part of our self-care because we can get wrapped up into taking care of other people. This includes our spouse and children. Sometimes Mom needs a time out and that’s okay because you’ll be a better parent if you take care of yourself. Not only that, but your setting a good example for your children on how to take care of themselves without feeling bad about it. Go you!

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  1. Setting goals

I list setting goals because part of taking care of ourselves is managing our time. If we set goals we know where we want to spend our time and how much time we want to devote to that activity. By doing this, we can eliminate all that unimportant crap that can demand our attention. We learn to say no to things without guilt.

 

So, there you have it. A blue-print for self-care. It looks easy, I know but, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to find the time sometimes for exercise and stress relieving activities when your family is demanding your attention. It’ll take some practice and some juggling, but I’m sure you can do it.

 

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What do you do for self-care? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, friendship, Health, Parenting, Teen

Let’s pull Together and Do This!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I finally nailed a scene I’ve been struggling with and it feels so good! 😊

But enough about that. I came across this meme on Facebook and it inspired me to write this post, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s mainly for us women, but guys can help with this too, so keep reading.

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For years, women have been trained to search for their physical flaws and try to fix them. We’re bombarded by ads for makeup, clothes, and physical fitness equipment that shows us how to improve our appearance. This has made many corporations and plastic surgeons rich while tearing down women’s self-esteem. The message we’re receiving is, the only way you’ll feel good about yourself is if you use this product, buy these clothes, and get this type of plastic surgery.

It’s up to us women to pull together and say:

 

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We’re a powerful force when we come together. A force to be reckoned with. So, let’s do it. Let’s pull together and create an environment of support against this onslaught that tears us down.

Instead of focusing on our faults, let’s focus on our health. Let’s exercise because it’s good for us, not to look better. We’ll look better because we’re healthy and we’ll feel better because we’re healthy.

 

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Let’s focus on our diet, not to lose weight and try to be model-thin, but because we want to take care of our health. We’ll feel better if we eat healthier. The outside will take care of itself if we focus on the inside.

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This same concept can be applied to our mental health. Let’s change our negative self-talk to positive. Let’s forgive ourselves for our imperfections because let’s face it, everyone has them. Let’s practice giving some of the love we give to everyone else to ourselves. Let’s teach our daughters that it’s okay to think of ourselves. To take care of ourselves. To set boundaries. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go, too.

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Let’s make our health and happiness a priority. If we take responsibility for our own happiness and chase goals that we want to achieve, our relationships will be better. Our relationships won’t be the only source of happiness for us and it’ll take the pressure off our spouses. They’ll be able to work on themselves and pursue their own happiness.  Once we do that, we’ll find we’re happier and our relationships will be better. It’s like the ripple effect of tossing a stone in the water and watching the ripples float farther and farther away until they pass through the whole lake. We can do this. Who’s with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Technology: Friend or Foe?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of writing and vacationing. There’s nothing like heading to the lake when you’re experiencing a heatwave. My kids invited a friend along and that made it a little more special because they’ve been friends since my oldest was in kindergarten.

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I was happy the weather cooperated because the kids were able to get out and swim. Physical activity is so important for our young people. I remember when I was growing up we were outside early in the morning and only came home for meals. We rode our bikes everywhere.

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Unfortunately, it’s not like that in today’s world. Kids can’t ride their bikes all over the place because the traffic in our streets is heavy and the streets aren’t as safe as they were twenty years ago. Kidnapping and human trafficking are real issues and it’s happening in every state not just those close to the borders.

So we as parents keep our kids close to home because it’s safer. We have to arrange play dates and take our kids to trampoline parks so they can get exercise and develop face to face social skills. The internet has allowed us to connect to people from all over the world, but it has made our relationships weaker on the home front.

 

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Because of technology, our children are moving less, reading less, and losing opportunities to develop valuable social skills.  Parents need to be cognizant of this. Exercise, Reading, and Face to Face Social Interaction are good for our brains and our bodies. We need to help our kids develop good habits that include all three of the above and they need to do it every day.

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I make sure my kids get out on the trampoline at least a couple times a day when we’re home. I also try and get them to read for half an hour a day, and I try and make sure they have opportunities for social interaction. Some days I do a better job than others. Luckily, we do have neighbor kids they play games with outside where they’re getting their vitamin D.  I haven’t taught them the game Kick the Can, yet. But I will. 😉

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How about you? What do you do to make sure your kids are developing healthy habits? Do you have any suggestions for me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Writing

Why Writers Need to Exercise

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m kind of stuck on my WIP. I’ve got to rework a beginning and I’ve got two that I’ve somehow got to blend together.  I’m having a little trouble doing that. Sigh. So instead, I’m writing a blog post.  I know it’s avoidance at its finest. Don’t judge me.

Today, I’m writing about the benefits of exercise for writers. Writing is such a sedentary activity and it’s great for our brain, but not so good for us physically.

We all know exercise is good for our body, but did you know it’s also good for your brain?

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 It’s true. In a study done at the University of Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. To read more on this click the link. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

Exercise also helps the brain with memory and thinking. It does this by reducing inflammation, insulin resistance, and by stimulating growth factors. Chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells.

This is all well and good, but all I really need to know is I feel better when I exercise compared to when I don’t.

My sciatica was bothering me for the last couple of months, so I stopped my exercise routine to let it heal. Let me tell you, I was grumpy and just didn’t feel like myself.

I just started running again and two days into my new routine and I’m feeling great. My mood has improved dramatically, and I’m getting all kinds of ideas for my stories. That’s a good thing! 🙂

The reason we feel better when we exercise is because our body releases chemicals called Endorphins into our system. These Endorphins interact with receptors in our brain that reduce our perception of pain. They also trigger a positive feeling in the body, much like morphine.

Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. These chemicals also play a role in combating depression. To find out more clink this link healthline.com

This is good for anyone who has to deal with depression, and I know a few authors who have to deal with that.

 

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Taking care of our bodies is really quite simple. I know what you’re thinking. Simple, yes, but hard to do, and time consuming. I know. I hear you. But once you make it a habit, then it’s not so bad. You can build your daily schedule around your exercise routine.

One thing that goes hand in hand with exercise, is eating right. I know you’ve heard this before, but I’m an author. I know how easy it is to get lost in your Work in Process and if you’re like me, you don’t always eat right. I no longer keep a bowl of chocolate by my computer when I’m working. I make myself take breaks and fix healthy meals. Sometimes, it’s hard to do, but it’s better in the long run.

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So, writers, authors, and bloggers take time out to exercise and eat right. Get out of that chair! It’s good for your body and your brain. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any exercise routines you’d like to share?

 

Posted in Personal

Things that Bring Me Joy

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another top ten list. I’m talking about things that bring me joy. 🙂 I don’t know why I decided to write about this today, maybe I’m feeling particularly joyful. I don’t know, but here they are.

My family

That’s right my family is one of the greatest sources of joy for me. I know every mom says this and it’s a cliché, but it’s also true. I love listening to my kids when they don’t know it and their conversations are so sweet and innocent. It reminds me of what’s important in life.   My hubby is my rock and he makes me laugh. That’s very important, laughter, after all it is the best medicine. 😉

My Writing

I love writing and researching a new story. I absolutely love it when a new idea comes into my head. There’s a calming feeling that comes over me when I finally sit down at my computer and begin typing. I forget about all the little irritates of the day when I’m immersed in a story. It’s a great feeling. The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750TheSuperSpiesandthePiedPiper 500x750

 

 

 

Working With Kids

 

There’s something about working with kids that does me good. Whether it’s working with young teens during my writing workshops or volunteering at my kids’ school, I find it uplifting. I enjoy their enthusiasm and their desire to learn. They want to know everything! IMG_0424

Hiking

Hiking in the forest is one of my greatest joys. I love getting outside and walking through the woods. There’s so much beauty in nature and sometimes I just need to absorb that. I also love walking on the beach. Being near the water relaxes me andI enjoy the majesty of the waves as they break against the beach. I like to take these walks alone because that’s when I do my deepest thinking. IMG_0315

 

My Friends

I enjoy time alone, but I also enjoy spending time with my friends. Because of our busy schedules we don’t get together as often as we’d like, but it’s always good to reconnect with friends you’ve shared adventures with and travel down memory lane.

Reading

Reading feeds my deep desire to learn. I love learning new things, whether it’s research for a story or research for an issue in my personal life. I love to learn. I choose to be proactive and find solutions to problems, whether it’s in my personal life or a problem with a Work in Process. I also love reading for enjoyment as well. There’s nothing like getting lost in a great story.  Sitting in a lounge chair by the beach, reading is a one of my greatest pleasures.

Traveling

Since I have a deep desire to learn, I love to travel and learn about my destination. I took a trip to Key West, Florida a few years ago and I enjoyed walking through Ernest Hemingway’s home there. I wondered what it was like to live and work there. I also took a trip to Cancun a while back and I went to Chichen Itza. That was an incredible experience. As I climbed the steep staircase, I was in awe of the complexity of the structures there. The detail in their stone carvings astonished me. I could tell they were an advanced civilization and I’ve always wondered what happened to the Mayans. Haven’t you?

Exercising

I can hear you all groaning out there! But it’s true, I love the feeling I have when I’m finished exercising. Notice I say finished. 🙂 When I start to exercise, I’m not feeling particularly joyful, but by the end I’m always glad I started.  I usually run or do Pilates, but since I’ve pulled a muscle in my back, I’ve been walking. Did you know walking one mile burns as many calories as running a mile? 😉 This is good to know, don’t you think?

Bubble Baths

I absolutely love bubble baths. It’s a great way to relax after a run or after a stressful day.  Since I’ve had kids, I can count on one hand how many bubble baths I’ve been able to take, but I do have memories of them! 🙂 I used to light candles and fill the tub with hot fragrant bubbly water. There’s no better way to relax!

Massages

There’s nothing better than a full body massage. I used to get these before I had kids and I loved them. They’re great after a stressful day at work. They’re expensive, hence the reason I got them before kids, but they’re an indulgence that’s good for you! 🙂 So there you have ten things that give me joy. What things give you joy? Leave a comment I’d love to hear from you!

The Benefits of Exercise

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! Today I’m going to discuss a subject that’s near and dear to my heart and that is improving my health. I’ve made a plan that I’m going to eat better and exercise more this year.

I started my plan this week. Today, I ran three miles (on the treadmill…yuck) and when I was done I felt great. I had a hard time tearing myself away from my manuscript though. For me, starting the run is the hardest part. 🙂

My goal is to get back into shape. I’ve been a runner for years, but because of the holidays and sick kids I’ve been lax and haven’t been running as often as I should. So I made a New Year’s resolution to get back into the habit of running and working out regularly. I also do strength training exercises. Those aren’t too bad because they don’t take a big chunk out of my day.

What I find after my run is that I’m much more relaxed and creative. I have a more positive attitude. I also find that if I have a problem with one of my manuscripts and I step away from the computer, and either go for a run or a hike in the woods I usually work the problem out. Physical activity stimulates my brain in a positive way.

I’ve found there is scientific proof that this is true. My body releases endorphins when I exercise which improves my mood and lowers my stress level. For more information on this click here http://www.informationgateway.org/positive-effects-exercise-mood/

I run but I also love to walk. That’s right, walking has the same effect on your body that running does. Did you know that you burn the same number of calories whether you walk a mile or run a mile? The pace does not matter.

I feel that this is an important piece of information. Especially for people who can’t run because of an injury or they just don’t like to run period.

In my opinion, the only difference between running and walking is that walking doesn’t work out the heart like running does. So, if you have a family history of heart disease, like mine does, then it’s in your best interest to do some form of exercise that works out your cardiovascular system. If you don’t like running try riding a bike or a spinning class. Both work out the cardiovascular system without all the stress on your joints.

There are also other benefits from exercising. It reduces stress and also combats depression. So if you’re feeling low go for a run, ride a bike, or just go for a walk. Get moving and get your blood circulating and get the endorphins running through your brain. You’ll feel better. I know I do. 🙂

I know it’s hard to find time to exercise. This is my biggest challenge. There’s so much that I want to accomplish during the day that taking a half hour to exercise and then clean up seems like a huge sacrifice. But I’m actually more productive when I do take the time to do it and we all know the health benefits of it.

I also know that as I continue to run I’m going to have to increase my distance which will take more time from the other things that I want to accomplish. Maybe by increasing my distance it will also increase that positive energy that I always have after a good run. I’ll have to find something to do with all of that positive energy.

Hopefully, I’ll write some more bestsellers! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope I’ve inspired you to get moving and improve your health. 🙂