Category Archives: Physical

Posts related to moving physically.

Moved in a Different Direction

Hello, everyone,

I have recently been expanding my blogging realm, and I decided to purchase a domain name. Thus, I will be continuing my writings at my new blog at The White Blaze.

I hope those who kept up here will follow me on my journey there, too! Thanks for being here and supporting me all along!

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How to Move Every Day This Week

Most adults and children struggle with reaching 10,000 steps per day. To help this, I have devised a small plan with tips on reaching your 70,000 steps this week. Here is one tip for every day of the week.

  1. Don’t make it a hassle. First of all, moving is natural, so let it be natural. If you absolutely despise running or exercising, then do not think of movement as exercise. It all comes down to brain chemicals. Remove a “have to” philosophy and you will be halfway to the goal.
  2. Make time. Most of us live extremely busy lives, which some of us cannot help. What we can help, though, is some of our free time. Use your free time wisely. Instead of sitting down at 6pm and listening to gossip and news on TV about this and that, take a walk with your dog, go water your trees, or head to the gym. Most of the time it is not that we don’t have enough time but that we do not use our time wisely. 
  3. Make it fun. Doing something we hate, especially for a long time, is usually not very healthy. To counter this, make your movement fun. If all you do is play basketball every day this week instead of run, that’s great! Some movement is better than no movement.
  4. Mix it up. Sometimes our days become monotonous and dreadful because we do the same thing every day, which usually consists of a lot that we dislike. By mixing up what we do like and using less of what we don’t, we will not burnout as fast, which will help us keep moving.
  5. Take baby steps. Not too many people ever went to run a marathon in one day or week because they wanted too. Like them, you will have to work up to your goals, which is fine. Steady yourself daily, mix it up, and take baby steps when moving.
  6. Go forward, not backward. Whenever we move, remember why we are moving. Our utmost reason to move is to improve. Keep that in mind, even if it begins to hurt, and you will be solid in your moving.
  7. Keep moving. Whether you take the stairs, commute to work by bike, or even just start doing yoga, any movement is better than none. Once you start, chances are you won’t want to stop. Keeping moving in any way possible, even in the smallest steps, adds up to a whole bunch of moving. Piece it together overtime and keep pushing forward, and you will be a master at moving every day this week and hopefully every week.

Keep in mind that these 7 tips do not just apply to physical movement, also. You can apply them all to mental, environmental, and spiritual movements as well. As for now though, use them to just keep moving.

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Our Other Time Debts

In preparation for what I will call a “mini-manifesto” post soon, I came upon the idea of time. Thousands upon thousands of new texts flood the market everyday which tell us how to become our own boss, live our passion, and utilize our time on this earth. I have yet to come across any viable way of doing so, but I have given it much thought and some action. I am currently almost finished reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (100startup.com). The book is an excellent read, if only for inspiration(for blog posts of course!). It goes into a bit of detail of business related topics of which I have little to no expertise, but the book as a whole has opened my eyes.

While this post is not meant to be a book review, I wanted to throw out a topic that has concerned me recently: time. Of course, anyone with full time knows how “time debt” works. 40 hour weeks plus overtime, right? Wrong. Though I am not a “full time” worker, though between my three jobs this summer I pulled closer to 50, I do know a thing or two about how a workplace goes, and I can’t say I enjoy it very much, which is why I gave Chris’s book a read.

However, I started to notice how time works. Of course, giving up 40 hours or more a week is a hurt, especially if your passion in life is anything other than a cubicle or a grocery store; however, I found that there is much more time involved than 40 hours in our “work week.” This unforeseen time difference adds up to much, which makes us more time crunched and stressed. Here are a few eye openers to make you rethink your current job, realize how much time you actually do spend doing what you do, and help you change it.

  1. Work preparation. The first major time commitment we noticed was what we will refer to as work preparation. This time varies by the individual, but it all adds up the same regardless. So what do we mean by this? Basically we mean how much time it takes you to get ready to go to work or whatever it is you do. Thinking critically, if it takes an hour more per day to “get ready” just to go to work, are you actually getting paid for that hour? Chances are that you’re not. So that’s an hour more a day for a whole week or roughly 5-7 hours a week. Isn’t that supposed to be overtime pay? Most likely, your morning or pre-work routine is not very productive either. If it is anything like mine, you cram in posts, cram in nasty foods, throw on clothes, shower, and whatever else it is you do is a rushing mess just to “get ready.” I have found this very problematic. To solve this pre-work rush, I have done two things: reduce work and reduce work. Yes, I said reduce work twice. First, reduce the amount of times you have to go to work; yes that means work less and have more time to do what you want, which then means less time “preparing” and wasting an additional hour. Secondly, reduce work meaning the time it takes you to prepare. Instead of stressing about what color tie to wear, why not take a walk before work or drink some coffee and meditate or read a book. Useful use of your minutes will help you squeeze in more “you” time, even if you have to do it before someone else’s time clock.
  2. Work commute. How many readers commute to work by some form of alternative or less-wasteful means? Do you ride a bike or moped? If not, consider it! I commute to work 90% of the time by either of those two methods now, and I don’t even live in a very “bike-friendly” community. But, wait a minute, didn’t you just tell us to take less time preparing for work? Yes, I did, and you may be thinking that I contradict myself a bit, which could be true. However, if you bike to work, you may take 5 extra minutes, but that will be 5 more minutes of movement you’ve gained for the day. 5 minutes worth of calories burned? I think its worth it. Or 5 times less gas burned? Still worth it. Work commuting may not be as easy to eliminate the amount of time, but you can get more out of your time these ways.
  3. Downtime. Lunch break, anyone? Downtime at work is a crucial ingredient to helping us manage our time. Whether it be jotting down a few words to a poem that you will write later on a napkin, or sending that extra email, or even just taking the stairs, all of our actions add up. Even if you are at a job that you despise going to, you can still make a conscious effort to make the best of the time that you are there. Use these opportunities to gain as much as you can, even if you are hating it.

When we begin to notice that our time is limited, this is when we will use it most efficiently. So if you are like us, and have a time crunch and time commitments that you despise, change your life by changing your actions and you will notice how you will use your time more wisely to benefit your life. With this first step, you will begin to control your life, which will most likely lead to a freeing some day in which you will no longer have to go to this job or place you hate. Stick to the path and success and joy will follow.

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Have a Problem? Take a Walk!

Ah, a brisk walk or run as the sun is near setting along a forest pathway, my eyes dead set on the path, my feet crunching on forest foliage, and my mind as clear (or probably nearly clearer) than the state forest lake to my right hand side.  This small setting was my run yesterday, and, though I struggled to see at times, I realized that I almost did not need sight as I could feel with my feet and remember in my head where to go. It is with this attitude that I discovered something. Before running I had a few problems to attend to; however, after I finished, I had no problems.

Most of the problems we encounter in life are because of society being the way it is: overly complicated lives, lack of connection to nature, too much materialism, and the list continues.  We soon find out that most of the problems, if not all of them in life, are actually very small, or composed of a bunch of very small problems. After knowing this, we have discovered one way to reach out and destroy your problems: go for a walk! Literally speaking, going for a walk, jog, bike, and whatever else moves you will help to eliminate your problems and this is how.

  1. Increase blood flow. As your heart rate gradually picks up, your spirits will soon join. Most of the muscles in your body from the gracilis to the masseter want to move, and when they begin to, they will be relieved for it. As your muscles feel better, you will begin to feel better.
  2. Increased brain power. Increased blood flow will stimulate more red blood cells and oxygen to the brain, which will begin to start becoming a powerhouse. With new found blood flow, thoughts will begin to flow through your mind, which is an almost proven fact that increased blood flow causes increased brain function. More thoughts equals less bad thoughts usually, especially when you get to the next point.
  3. Increased strain. Though the strain can be from severe to almost none at all, a bit of stress will relentlessly be put on your body, which will almost instantly move your thoughts from negative to positive. Besides, if the lactic acid builds up in your thighs, you might have something else to worry about than whether or not you want chicken or turkey for supper :P.
  4. Increased focus. This increased strain may also cause one’s body to begin to walk in a steady, organized fashion, which then helps you to begin to focus on your body and how it is moving. This helps you to keep a steady, repetitious–though not boring!–pace. Also, your breathing may deepen or increase with the new strain and you can begin to focus on bringing in each separate breath deeply and fully, which deepens your focus on otherworldly objects and not your small problems.
  5. Increased self-awareness. As your walk continues, you will begin to bring in sites and sounds and miracles that should undoubtedly turn your attention or at least divert it momentarily. These tiny miracles of nature and life will change the course of your thoughts from negative to positive.
  6. Increased self-esteem. Not only does your mind change during the activity, but it also changes after it. When you are finished you will most likely feel relieved and refreshed, all of which are a boost to your self-esteem. In fact, you may have forgotten your problems altogether.
  7. Increased self. The only thing that can be lost and not gained from a walk or jog is body fat, which isn’t really needed anyway. So why not just take a walk?

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A Few Short Ways to Sleep With Zen

A crucial part of nervous system and body function recovery, sleep provides us with essential downtime to help recover, replenish, and even refuel us for the coming day. Though you may not feel you are “moving” while sleeping, your body and mind certainly do, which is why it is a crucial step in assisting our daily movement. The list below contains a few short notes on how to achieve more zen in your sleep and sleep more fully.

  • Clear distractions. While this may seem obvious, a few of the objects and sounds and persons distracting you may not. Do you sleep with too many pillows? That can be a distraction. How about a fan? Also possible, yet could be beneficial. Are there any other objects that make for an eye sore, an ear sore, or a mind sore? If so make sure to clear them. The less “stuff” you have around you, the more likely you are to sleep in zen.
  • Find comfort and rhythm. Begin by sleeping and waking at the same time daily, if possible. I try to accomplish this and is perhaps the hardest part of zen sleeping. Also, find a comfortable sleeping spot. Arrange your bed the same way daily, and attain the same routine before bed daily, which I suggest should include reading. Also, experts have mentioned to use the bed only for sleeping. If you are used to eating and watching TV and whatnot in your bed, change those activities–or wipe them out completely–from the location of your bed.
  • Breathe. Breathing and controlled breathing are ideal ways to initiate sleep. Almost meditative, one begins to feel refreshed but also relaxed. Meditate a few short minutes after reading and before bed to clear your mind completely.

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What Fitness Is (And Should Be)

For most immediate people in my life, the mere mention of fitness brings about shrieks and shrills. This is, without a doubt, the utmost worst thing that can happen in life because fitness and moving physically is an essential. People wonder why we are overweight, have type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and so on, most of which is most likely linked to being sedentary, especially over the course of a long time. I could go on and on about why it is bad, but here’s a short list of what fitness is and should be for everyone.

1, Full. Fitness is full of many things: movement, breathing, rejuvenating, enhancing, and even sweating. If your fitness is not full, it will not be very beneficial. To make your fitness full, always warm up and cool down. In addition, set goals and follow through with them, although sometimes we like to slack, which is human. To truly make your fitness full, add the rest of the elements to follow.

2. Functional. To train for a marathon, you must run. To make your exercise functional, do one of two things: choose a specific goal or choose no goal (a generalist goal). By choosing a goal, you can set standards by which to train, diet, and strive toward. In my collegiate career, my goal was to run a faster 400m dash, so I trained to make this possible most of the year. Other parts of the year, I followed a no goal routine where I just was doing non-specific fitness for the fun of it. This made me more of a generalist, which is not bad. Functionality also refers to your exercises, which should be performed well at all times. The more you slack, the more you will end up hurting or getting injured in the end. The little acts of stretching, warm ups, and dieting really do make a difference. The decision is up to you, but exercise should be functional.

3. Fortifying. Fitness should not only fortify the physical body into rejuvenation but also the mental and spiritual bodies. Any movement is better than no movement, and your body requires and begs for all types of movement. Once you begin to conquer this fortifying trait, you will begin to not only love exercise but hope for more.

4. Freeing. Fitness that is freeing is the best kind. Going for a long slow run with no goal in mind, swimming however many laps you can stand, or doing push ups until failure, whatever the goal is, fitness should have elements of freeing. Personally, I have gotten all wrapped up in how many sets and reps and distances and times that I have to attain. Sometimes this is very needed and other times it is not. When your fitness frees you, you will begin to feel fortified.

5. Fun. Above all, exercise should be fun. Laughs and smiles are just as important as sweat and hard breaths. When playing basketball with friends, laugh a little, make jokes, and make it fun for everyone. If your fitness is not fun, then you are doing something wrong. Fitness should be fun and beneficial to you, in addition to the other points.

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Planting a Seed: A Metaphor for Tiny Actions

Earlier this week, Jess and I were at a store and found a few trees on sale. Needless to say we were excited, so we decided to pick them up and plant them. Although they are not truly a “seed,” they gave me a great idea for a post. Below are three things that happen when you plant a seed in someone’s life. Whether it be through a spiritual practice, a nice greeting card, a handshake, an opportunity, a job offer, a monetary donation, or a small gift, all small tokens plant a seed in someone’s life. Below you will see how metaphorical the life of a tree is with the actions in your life towards others; after all, it is natural.

1. Seeds cause growth. Although almost every seed must first germinate, which is a difficult process that can sometimes take a long, cold winter, the seedling will always come out of it alive if it pushes hard enough. Once this lesson has been learned and germination has occurred, the seed that you’ve planted will begin to root and take place in the ground. Growing taller and taller, it takes an even stronger hold on the ground. This is exactly how our actions are when we plant a seed in someone’s life. At first it may not seem like much, and it may even go through some intense cold winters; however, it will begin to flower and take root in the spring time.

2. From one acorn, many large oaks grow. From the one seed that you planted in someone’s life, many other lives will be touched; this is the essential reason why you must live your life and plant your seeds. Once the tree has reached a certain maturity level, it will bring new offspring to the world, who will germinate, take root, and seed others. Your seed that is now a sapling and then a mature tree will continue this its entire life. Thousands upon thousands of others can be reached because of your tiny act.

3. In death there is more life. Although a sad truth, it is important to realize that even in death there is abundant life. Whenever your seed has come to the end of its road, whether to be cut for lumber, struck by lightning, or collapsing of old age, it will begin a new purpose. The tree may decay over hundreds of more years, but it will serve the ground around it well, as shelter for animals and food for termites; it becomes one huge part in the circle of life. When your seed has made its final journey in someone’s life, whether it be a career change or actual death, then it will be able to do the same.

Plant your seeds. Not only should we be planting more real seeds, but also seeds in the lives of others. Hopefully our metaphor helped you understand why planting is important.

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Why You Should Commute to Work by Bike

Today I took a drastic change from my normal routine. After a very interesting and life changing weekend, I decided it was time to make a few changes or at least try them out. I know that we often preach on baby steps, which I consider to be the best way of going about things; however, sometimes in life, a drastic leap is needed. After a small purchase of biking gear from my paycheck, I decided to try out this new “fab.” Below is a list of what I learned, what I loved, and what I will do next.

1. Biking isn’t difficult. For those of us already in moderate shape–and possibly some recent beginners–biking to work is a viable option. I was confident going into the bike, which was probably good, but I knew that I would have to push myself, which I did. The trip was approximately about 3-3.5 miles one way, which only took 15 minutes. I also even biked on back country roads, over hills, through town, and to the YMCA where I work part time.

2. The scenery is beautiful. I am sure that riding a bike is a whole better experience than driving a car; however, nothing tops moving by your own two feet. If there had to be a mechanical way to see things without walking or running, though, biking would be it.

3. Obstacles are overcome. Closely related to the last point, you will notice how easily and sometimes not so easily you overcome obstacles. In my case just finishing without stopping the whole time was quite the achievement, not to mention powering over the top of each of those hills.

4. Practically zero emissions. With the exception of the materials the bike is made of and its original transportation and manufacturing costs, bikes emit zero greenhouse gases to the environment. You can even reduce the actual costs to the environment if you buy a used bike, which I have. Riding on no gas or fossil fuels, biking burns only calories, which the environment will more than welcome.

5. It’s fun. Zooming down hills, passing by cornfields and forests, and being powered by only your two feet makes for a thrill of a ride, even if your chest is pounding.

6. It’s an easy way to move. 10,000 steps a day is recommended, but I am not sure how many “pedals” that would be on a bike. Any estimates? :). Regardless, biking to work is one easy way to move, one that is easy on the knees, too. Biking to work helps move us more than sitting still in a car.

7. I will continue to incorporate it. Although I may not be able to every day, I will enjoy incorporating riding my bike to work. It will help the environment, help my health, and help my mind. So next time you have a while before work, consider biking and see how much of an adventure it turns out to be.

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The Two Most Inspiring Things

Inspiration is often one of those feelings in life that is hard to find, but it also seems equally hard to get rid of for a while, too, which I find fascinating. Pondering about inspiration after an incident last night, I decided to write a short blog post about the two most inspiring things to us.

1. People who overcome diversity and people who accomplish amazing things. There is no single more amazing and inspiring feat that a human can do rather than overcome adversity. The first person to always cross my mind is Lance Armstrong. I know that he is currently getting a bit of media attention at the current moment, but if someone just read his book, like I have, then maybe they would understand him. His story, among thousands of others, inspire me daily. Lance is also a person who has accomplished amazing things while overcoming his hardships, which includes his 7 Tour d’France titles, not to mention others. Because of this, in the human realm there is nothing more inspiring than hearing a story of triumph, victory, love, and hard work.

2. Nature. “Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished.”—Lao Tzu. Nature is quite literally a miracle that happens daily. Nature is indescribable yet perfectly perceivable, even to those who cannot see or smell or hear. Nature is also essential in our lives, and we often push her away and destroy her. Nature is inspiring for her beauty, her calmness, her tranquility, her stillness, her hope, and her love of life. 

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Sprinting, the Ultimate Workout: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Note to Readers: Sorry about the time gap, but hey, no excuses right?

Usain Bolt will be setting out to break a world record soon in this year’s Olympic Games, and personally, we are hoping to see him do it, just to prove how amazing humans are. For those who don’t know, Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, and he has the current world records in the 100, 150, and 200m dashes, among many other notable accomplishments; he is also one of my favorite athletes.

So why are we discussing Usain Bolt? The reason I mentioned Usain Bolt is because there is one thing he for sure has right—speed. Humans are designed to run, and speed is one of our qualities; however, do not overestimate us because humans still lack the agility and speed of most animals. Usain Bolt reaches arguably 30 miles per hour and a cheetah can reach 75, which is a big difference in the wild.

So what does speed have to do with you? Actually, speed has a lot to do with us. Speed development is an important motor skill that aids our running at all speeds, helps to correct and strengthen form, and burns fat and gets us back into shape. Because of this, we refer to sprinting as the ultimate workout: no weight room, only two legs, two arms, and an open area. There are three easy types of sprinting that I will discuss and the benefits of each.

1. Short and Power Sprints. The NFL Combine would refer to this as a 40 yard dash perhaps but short sprints need a seperate category. Most true distance athletes will debate adding true short sprints into their workouts because they see no need, which is understandable, especially for ultra-runners. However, all three categories of sprints that I discuss are essential at one point or another. Since, even for ultra-runners, all three types of muscle fibers aren’t all constantly firing at once. For instance, if we jog slow for hours, we will still incorporate more than slow twitch muscles. Because of this fact, it is essential to be able to recruit any of the three fibers at a given moment.

  • To do short hill sprints, begin slowly with baby steps. If your fitness level is not capable of even running a couple miles yet, then short sprints may still be out of the picture and you will have to work your fitness up to that level. By taking baby steps, you will probably do no more than 2-4 repetitions the first time.
  • Incorporate them once a week or twice a week at first. Do this until you incorporate other methods of sprints, too.
  • Begin with a flat surface, possibly a track, although grass works just as well, too.
  • Start with a medium distance depending on your fitness level. This could probably be anywhere from 30-80 meters. Eventually you will probably move these up to 100-150s on flat ground
  • Begin sprinting. Push hard through the sprint.
  • WALK back to the start. This is an important rule in sprinting, which is to make sure you have adequate recovery between repetitions. You can take more than a walk back rest but never less. 

2. Long sprints. The term long sprints may be a bit vague, but I will clear it up. When I began running track, a long sprint was a 200. By the time my high school career was over, it was a 400. Now, near the halfway point of my college career, it is the 800. Because of this, different distances can be used, and all require different purposes that eventually help us out. The most important part of the long sprints section is that it usually deals with some form of lactic acid training and a lot of race pace training to get the feel for things. Even without races, long sprints are, without a doubt, extremely important.

  • Once more, begin slow. Add them once or twice a week, not on the same days as other sprints because they work a different muscle type.
  • Use a flat surface, such as a track.
  • Begin with low reps, which are in the 2-4 range.
  • Begin with a smaller distance. Most beginners will not be able to do Yasso 800’s in their first workout, unfortunately. Start with a 200-300 distance and run it at a moderate speed. Gradually pick up a half a second to a second over the next few weeks. Add no more than 10-15% to the distance each week, also.
  • Make sure to remember that, although these are sprints, they will be much slower than a short sprint, especially if your lactic acid system has not fully developed.
  • Walk back recovery will be at least half the distance. In most cases, some experienced runners may not have to walk the entire distance back on these, especially if it is over a 400 and less than an 800, but keep to a general rule that at least walking back half the distance is good in the beginning. Later on, one can begin to mix and match these and run workouts, such as “dirty thirties” and many more that will involve this same distance but less rest, but more on that later. . .

3. Hill sprints, the ultimate beast. By far, hill sprints are my favorite type of workout. By adding variation, you can work your anaerobic, aerobic, and even glycotic systems with them.

  • Approach hill sprints with extreme caution, and be sure that you are capable of a high fitness level with other types of sprints already, especially if you are sprinting steep hills.
  • Begin gradually. You may only do one or two reps of these, especially if on a steep hill, if you are just starting out.
  • Learn to lift your legs higher and use only a slight forward lean. This helps correct our running form and gives us power in all of our other runs. It also is kind of like a “weight lifting session in disguise” as I have heard it named.
  • Do these once or twice a week at most. Alternate the days with the other types of sprints.
  • Mix up the distance and incline. Unless you live in the heart of a flatland, chances are there are hills near where you live, and they probably are all different distances and elevations. If this is the case, utilize them all. Some days you may do 20 reps of a 20 meter hills, while other days you may do 2 reps of a 400 meter hill.  It is important to work all the systems when sprinting hills. Besides, that’s how it would have been in the wild anyway!

I hope you find sprinting as enjoyable and healthy of a workout as us. Sprinting, if added properly, can enhance your running and your life, among other things. Utilize this training method and a few others that we will post soon to help you develop a better way to move physically.

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