A gorgeous afternoon to beach comb - Naples Beach @ 5 Ave S - Friday, Sept 22, 2023.
Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
Coping with stress is a major life challenge.
Without some stress, life would be dull, but you need to make certain your stress is working for you, not against you.
When you begin to feel the walls closing in, it’s time to take a break and get away from it all to maintain a healthy life-fitness balance.
Take these opportunities to practice healthy habits that not only reduce your stress but also leave a positive impact on your general well-being:
Breathe purposefully —
Did you know the average person takes a breath 20,000 times a day?
For such a practiced activity you would think we would have it perfected. But just because we do it all the time doesn’t mean we’re good at it.
Do you breathe well?
If you find your heart rate racing and your breaths become shallow, breathing from your chest, you could benefit from purposeful...
Enjoying a beautiful Florida summer bike ride - Fort Myers, Florida - August 2023.
If you’ve experienced a bad injury, you know how frustrating it can be to not be able to workout.
This is especially true when training for an event.
There is also a lot of conflicting information about what to do and when.
Let’s clear up the confusion.
In the first few days after an acute injury, the body will go through the first stage of healing, the inflammatory phase.
If you’ve had a sprain or strain in the past, you might remember that the first 3-4 days are usually the worst in terms of pain, stiffness and swelling.
To protect the injured tissue from further damage and avoid any subsequent bleeding, the advice is to avoid ‘HARM’ for 72 hours.
The acronym HARM stands for:
A gorgeous summer evening brisk walk on Naples Beach - Aug 4, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
It is in everyone’s best interests to prevent injuries.
The more we can stay injury free, the greater our opportunity for consistent, uninterrupted training and consistency breeds better results.
Injuries are impossible to predict. It’s also impossible to know when an injury has been prevented (after all, it never happened).
There are many things we can do, however, to significantly reduce our injury risk.
One of the most effective, and arguably simplest, things we can do is to monitor our training volumes and intensities.
There has been a clear trend in recent years towards higher intensities of class-based exercise for everyday exercisers, and that’s not a bad thing.
When people train on their own, research shows they usually select exercise intensities that are too low to elicit the training response they want.
With fitness professionals pushing them safely...
Take time to smell the flowers each day (like this delightfully fragrant Plumeria in Lakes Park). Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
Maintaining a change in behavior is often more difficult than making the initial change itself because:
Fit people often don’t think of themselves as ‘motivated’...
They think of themselves as ‘consistent.’
The trick is to keep doing something so long that it feels unnatural...
A beautiful July summer evening for a 2 mile run in Lakes Park. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
Stretching is traditionally tacked on at the end of an exercise session and only if we have spare time...
However, when we consider all of the benefits stretching provides both before and after exercise, we should really give stretching the due diligence and respect it and our bodies deserve.
I'm sure everyone has experienced the same scenario in one way or another:
After a great workout with a hard effort either in the gym, on the track or in the pool, you've got 5 more minutes set aside for training so you immediately start stretching … not!
Most days you're running late and stretches get scrapped from the routine.
Sometimes you get away with it, but this habit of ditching the stretches is risky and will catch up with you.
Every type of exercise we do involves repeated muscle contractions.
These contractions could result in a muscle remaining in a state of...
A gorgeous beach day on Naples Beach - June 11, 2023!
Classes such as Yoga and Pilates are fantastic because they incorporate strength and stretching into each pose.
Our lifestyles involve more sitting than ever.
The less we move, the tighter our muscles become, and as a result, many people suffer from pain and dysfunction, commonly associated with office based work and a generally sedentary lifestyle.
Often those in pain turn to physical therapy and massage which offers much needed relief, until old patterns begin to repeat themselves again and the pain or muscle tension inevitably returns.
Enter your daily stretching routine!
Stretching is a cost free, self-empowering, time efficient and simple way to maintain healthy muscles.
A comprehensive five-minute stretching routine could potentially change posture, reduce pain, promote tissue repair, lubricate stiff joints and improve training recovery.
The physical benefits of safe stretching are undeniable and are too often ignored by...
A beautiful ride along the Caloosahatchee River (W. Riverside Drive, Fort Myers). Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
Go green, minimize your carbon imprint, recycle are common words and phrases we often here in relation to the environment.
But have you ever considered going green with your workouts too?
Nature has very powerful well-being benefits.
Whether you’re going for a run, riding your bike, taking a personal training session in the park or doing boot camp on the beach, there are countless opportunities for Floridians to get outside and exercise.
More than just a popular training environment, it turns out that people who exercise outdoors in their natural settings are benefiting from more than just their sweat efforts.
Research has repeatedly shown that time spent in nature has numerous well-being benefits, including everything from reduced blood pressure readings to heightened immunity and improve mood.
Despite our largely indoors, air-conditioned lives, getting...
Hydrotherapy is one of the most effective and therapeutic ways to exercise and rehabilitate from an injury in a cool and relaxing atmosphere.
The water’s buoyancy decreases the load which passes through weight-bearing joints by up to 90%, allowing for more activities and movement with less stress and bearing on the joints.
Exercising in water can be just as intense as an on-land workout, without the physical impact on our bodies.
Bringing your workout or rehab session into the pool has an array of health and therapeutic benefits. These include:
Improving muscular strength, stability and balance.
The resistance of the water challenges your body’s strength and stability through a natural, constant resistance. Studies have shown significant gains in strength, flexibly and agility after 12 weeks of regular aquatic exercises.
Relief from pain, swelling and muscle tension.
The warmth and support of the water helps to stimulate blood circulation, reduce muscle...
Incredible smells, from the Plumeria in Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida, on May 1, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
For those of us with busy and active lifestyles, it can be a real challenge to keep the body sufficiently fueled day after day.
Between work, working out and the rest of life, we can end up eating on the run more than we would like to.
Cue food preparation.
You’ve probably heard or read that you increase your chances of eating poorly if you are caught out without food and that advance meal prepping is absolutely the answer.
But not everyone wants to spend their Sunday afternoons chopping onions, weighing out chicken and adding just enough cheese to keep the food calculator happy.
For many, especially those who have only recently embarked on a training program, food prepping can be a source of stress.
Even the most hardcore food preppers would be pushed to admit they could do it forever.
Life eventually gets in the way.
Finding balance in our choices is...
Summer 2023 is coming up fast - Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.
With schools letting out in a few weeks and the official start to summer not too far away, summer vacation trips are in full planning mode!
However, remember while you are planning, that we are creatures of habit and as such we rely on the force of habit to support our healthful lifestyles.
Our routines get us to the gym each morning, help us choose low-fat nutritious meals and enable us to effectively cope with stress. Anything that disrupts our routines, such as:
can send our habits into a tailspin.
Instead of abandoning your hard-earned fitness gains, why not plan to take advantage of the change in routine to reaffirm your commitment to yourself and a healthy lifestyle?
PLAN AHEAD —
It’s not enough to say “I’ll try to exercise” or I’ll try to health healthfully”.
Everyone KNOWS what they should do,...