Take a Hike

Take a Hike

Summer is here and with it, more daylight along with extra free time.  The easy way to handle summer would be to let the kids sleep in, watch Netflix and live on their phones, but with just a little effort they can spend plenty of time outside too. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m a huge fan of the rails to trails initiatives popping up all over, but if you live in the Indianapolis, IN area, you should also check out the variety of excellent park trails. In Hamilton County alone (North of Indianapolis), there are over 500 miles of walking trails – plenty to keep you busy this summer!  My goal is to eventually check them all out, but when I’m not in the mood to try something new, I enjoy one of my three favorites: Potter’s Bridge.   This trail runs along the White River, so the views are beautiful year-round.  At the trailhead there is a lovely old covered bridge – great for pictures and exploration.  When the river isn’t too high, it’s also fun to take a few of the little paths down to the water to skip rocks and get your feet wet.  The trail itself is paved and flat so an excellent choice for strollers or even biking.  There are markers every 1/4 mile to help you keep track of how far you walk.  19401 Allisonville Road, Noblesville, IN   MacGregor Park.  On dry days this park is a favorite.  At first glance it appears that it’s just a large (and fun) playground, but if you drive a bit further back you’ll...
Rails to Trails = Happiness

Rails to Trails = Happiness

We just came back from a wonderful ski trip to Boyne Mountain, Michigan.  The weather could not have been more perfect!  Several days of skiing in the sunshine, tasty tacos and cold drinks sitting at picnic tables at the base of the mountain, live music in dark pubs at night.  Perfection! Now that we are home, I’m anxiously waiting for the weather to break (lots of cold and rain right now) so that I can begin enjoying one of my favorite healthy passions – walking trails with my pup. Many areas (not just ours) have started to convert old railway trails to walking paths.  I LOVE this trend.  We have several in our neck of the woods, the most notable being the Monon Trail.  They are typically nicely paved so perfect for walking or biking, often have houses and restaurants along the way, and are a great way to get your exercise in a lovely setting. When we travel, I’ll often search out these types of walking trails as they are usually well maintained and safe.  Perfect for getting out and experiencing an unfamiliar area.  If you would enjoy the same, here are a few places to look: Rails to Trails – great resource to find trails in your area or wherever you want to travel Do a Google search using the terms “rails to trails” and your city If you are in the Indianapolis area, here are a few of my favorites: Indiana Trails Monon Trail Although I do love hiking (more on that in a future post), when I want a more social experience, a rail to...
Just ONE Minute

Just ONE Minute

Have you been incorporating 5 minutes of calm in your morning?  Been practicing your 1 minute breathing?  If so, how have you been feeling?  Hopefully a little calmer?  Are you able to stop in moments of stress and redirect?  If not, just keep practicing and try adding this week’s lesson to your arsenal. I know some of you prioritize exercise.  Or at least you WANT to prioritize it and just do it whenever you can.  This week I want to encourage you to add just 1 minute of breathing to the end of each workout.  Just one minute and you’ll leave your workout session (whatever it is) feeling stronger, more centered and ready to face the rest of your day. It really happens.  Just try it if you don’t believe me. Why is this the case?  It’s simply the way your body works.  First, stress begins and ends with your breath.  When you get stressed or overwhelmed, you’ll start holding your breath.  Then you begin to tense your muscles.  Soon you feel worse.  If you slow down your breathing, your body will start to relax, your mind will stop racing and you can move forward in a calmer matter. A great way to begin is to add a short savasana to your workout.  This is the yoga pose that ends almost every yoga practice.  It’s often also called rest pose or corpse pose.  To do it, simply lay down on your back, legs and arms naturally turned up and out, close your eyes and breathe in and out deeply.  Allow your body to relax into the ground, feel your muscles...
Get Moving to Stay Healthy

Get Moving to Stay Healthy

Exercise is the final piece of staying healthy.  It really does give you more energy and is an amazing stress reliever.  Less stress = healthier you Daily exercise doesn’t have to be an hour long workout or trip to the gym.   Simply fitting some type of physical activity into each day will reap huge benefits – especially if your prior exercise level was zero! The trifecta of healthy exercise includes cardio, weight bearing and stretching.  All three are important, so you need to be sure to include some form of each of them into your routine every week. Cardio is anything that gets your heart pumping.  It’s important for heart and lung function, and helps burn calories.  Walking or running is probably the easiest way to get your cardio – aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week.  All you need is a good pair of shoes and some water.  Classes at the gym or via DVD or YouTube are another fun option. Weight bearing exercises such as lifting weights (light ones are fine) or using your body (think pilates or even old school exercises like push ups and squats) are important for strenghtening your muscles.  These exercises are the ones that keep you looking lean and feeling strong.  They are critical for us to maintain that muscle mass and bone density as we get older, so please don’t forget to do some of these each week – a few times a week is sufficient. Stretching helps keep us loose and feeling good (less achy), and is also a fantastic stress reliever.  Yoga, pilates or...

Try an Online Exercise Program

Looking for another way to exercise?  One that’s easily available and that you can do anywhere?  How about investigating an online exercise program? There are so many choices for an online exercise program.   You can join a membership, look for free videos on YouTube or download an app for your phone. Some of the benefits you may find valuable include: flexibility – the workouts are available whenever and wherever you want to do them variety – you’ll easily find a whole host of different workouts for free or a small fee easy – if you are looking for someone to tell you what to do, an online program can be a great choice – many of them are laid out with daily workouts or exercise schedules efficient – no driving to the gym, no fancy clothes needed – often no equipment necessary Ready to give it a go? Here are a few of my favorite resources for online programs: Robin Long – for Pilates, she is my favorite.  I belong to her Sisterhood program which allows me to log on via my phone and see a suggested workout daily – I was able to keep up with my routine even on vacation this summer since the app on my phone was so convenient. Erin Stutland is another favorite of mine.  I have several of her videos and have joined her online challenges from time to time.  She does fun challenges and I know there will be one starting up next month – I’ll update this post then with the link. Couch to 5K – there are several apps that...

How Should I Exercise?

Hopefully you agree with me on the need to exercise (remember all the benefits?).  This week we’ll talk about what exactly you should be doing for exercise. There are three main components to exercise:  stretching, strength and aerobic.  Ideally we’d do all three most days, but very few people have the hour plus each day available.  If you are a busy working mom it can be a struggle to find even 20 minutes! Instead of stressing out about what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN do.  For example, if you can squeeze in 20 to 30 minutes a day, switch it up each day between something aerobic and something strength based.  Then do a few stretches when you first wake up as part of your morning routine or in the evening before you get into bed.  Even a 5 minute stretch break at work will do wonders for you!  Right now I’m a huge fan of Pilates as it combines the strengthening and stretching.  Find yourself with a day with more free time?  Go for an extra walk or run. Another great way to cover all the exercise bases is to add in short bursts of exercise whenever you can.  Stretch during commercials, lift light hand weights while watching TV, take a ten minute walk after lunch and dinner.  Last Thursday I did a super quick Facebook Live sharing 3 easy ways busy moms can get more exercise.  Check it out HERE. However you fit it in, make sure you are getting a bit of all three and doing something every day.  I know it seems impossible,...

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