Celebration of Service Friday (#25)

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American naval officer David Farragut, is still remembered for his Civil War victory at Mobile Bay and his rousing declaration  “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” When he made his famous statement, he was referring to the water mines Confederate defense forces had put in the approaches to the bay.

I like his famous saying and think it’s useful to pull out of your pocket when you’re feeling less than confident about a job that needs to be done.  It’s an attitude that can make the difference between wanting to win the day and actually bringing your desire to fruition.

*The declaration “Damn the torpedoes!  Full speed ahead!” is a paraphrase of the actual order, “Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!”

Dress For Success

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We all know people who dress in great workout clothes but never actually go to the gym.  That’s understandable.  Workout clothes are both comfortable and cute.  I could do workouts in any non-binding, close to the body outfit but I feel a little spring in my step when I’m wearing something I think looks appealing.  Nice gym clothes are definitely not a necessity but they sure are nice to have.

The following companies have workout clothes I really like.  They’re well made and long lasting.  It’s clear the designers are familiar with what people working hard in the gym (or doing yoga, running etc.) really need.  Sorry guys, most of them don’t have workout wear for men although Otomix does.

Athleta – This is a Gap subsidiary.  Their clothes are fantastic and if you take a look at their catalogue, you’ll see models in some of the most amazing yoga poses ever.  Very inspiring and fun to look at.

Otomix – Among other things this company has some great lycra workout tops.  They’re very pretty and they last forever!  When they have sales you can get some items very inexpensively.

Soybu – This company has very cute workout outfits in their inventory.  They also have comfortable workout dresses which is a great thing for the hot summer months.  You can wear them to the gym then out to lunch without any problem.  Soybu is pretty expensive (and worth it) however if you look them up on Amazon, you can find discounted items almost all the time.

PrAna –  This company specializes in yoga clothes but you can use their shirts/skirts/dresses for any other active pursuits.  The clothes are well made and very cute.  You can find sale items on the internet if you do a search.

There a lots more great, active-wear clothing companies out there but these are the ones I return to time and time again.  I’m always happy with the quality of their items and their designer’s creativity makes their clothing tremendously aesthetically pleasing.   You certainly don’t have to have great workout wear to accomplish great things in the gym but it makes you feel good to look good while you’re putting in that heavy duty effort!

Celebration Of Service Friday (#24)

THIS WE’LL DEFEND

Our Soldiers and our flag

Our Soldiers and our flag

FitDesk 2.0 Review

I have something new at my house.  It’s called a FitDesk.  I discovered it as I was playing around on the internet looking for fat fighting methods.  No, I’m not really fat but I don’t want to go that direction.  Most of the articles I was reading had to do with older women and their propensity to gain weight around the middle.  The upshot of my research indicates that it’s very common for women over 40 to hold extra fat around their tummies.  I’m not interested.

During my reading, I came across mention of a FitDesk as a solution for people who sit a lot doing desk work.  I found the product on Amazon and read the reviews which were mostly quite positive.  Basically, the FitDesk allows you to do what you would at a normal desk (read, blog, do research on the computer, write) while peddling as if you’re on a bike.  It’s not meant to give you a strenuous workout like a stationary bike at the gym.  It’s meant to allow you to move your body gently while doing things that normally require you to sit still.

As most of you know I’m a big believer in doing small things that will add up in the long run and this sounded like an excellent way to burn a few calories without too much extra effort.  I knew I wouldn’t have to allot any additional time for peddling into my day since I would just be maximizing the time I spend on sedentary pursuits.  What could be better than that?

Yay!  The day my FitDesk arrived at my house.

Yay! The day my FitDesk arrived at my house.

I placed my order on Amazon.com and my FitDesk arrived in two days!  I was elated…until I opened the box and saw all the pieces.  I’m NOT very handy and was worried that it would be hard to put together.

Hmmm....looks daunting to put together.

Hmmm….looks daunting to put together.

I unpacked all the parts then set them up so I could readily see all of them in the room where I wanted the FitDesk to live.  I have to say that it was quite easy to put together.  I didn’t have any trouble at all and only used a wrench from home.  They did include one (and a screwdriver) but I wanted to use the one I’m familiar with.

All set up.  I have a nice view out of my window while I work.

All set up. I have a nice view out of my window while I work.  Oh, my house isn’t that dark…it just looks like Dracula’s cave in this photo.

I have to report that I’m very pleased with my FitDesk.  It’s comfortable and I use it all the time.  I was afraid that moving might interrupt my train of thought when I was writing but I find that it’s no problem at all.  The FitDesk is quiet so there’s no noise to interfere with my thinking…or my zoning out if I’m using it while I watch TV.  The little time/mile/speed tracker on the front will keep your minutes from one session to the next, which I like.  That way I know how long I rode each day without having to keep track of my fits and starts.  At the beginning of the next day I just press the reset button, zero it out and start again.

As a side note, my youngest son really enjoys the FitDesk too.  He immediately hopped on it when he saw it and now reads there and watches TV while riding.  I think it’s great for a kid that likes to move around like he does.  He did some summer “homework” there as well and being able to move while doing it seemed to increase the amount of time he was willing to work without taking a break “to walk around.”

So far I give the FitDesk an A+ grade. I can’t think of one thing I don’t like about it.

*The seat is easily adjustable (I’m 5’1 and it fits me fine).  It has an extension that you can use if you’re extremely tall.

*The desk is adjustable.  You can pull it closer to you or push it farther away.  The roll bar you see on the front is for resting your arms when you’re typing or reading a book.  It’s very comfortable and a nice touch.

*Resistance is adjustable.  You can go up to a setting of 8 if you want.  I ride at a 6 or 7.  Remember, it’s not supposed to be a serious workout….just a nice leisurely ride to add some additional movement to your day.

*I usually workout in the morning then dress for my day.  I can use my FitDesk wearing normal clothes.  I do hike my skirt up when I’m wearing one which you wouldn’t want to do if you were in an office or a public place but you don’t need any special outfit to ride.  It’s not a sweaty affair.

*I have been averaging about 2 hours a day at the FitDesk.  I could easily do more (from a physical standpoint) but I’ve been busy with kid summer activities and so haven’t been spending quite as much time at my desk as I usually do.

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Celebration Of Service Friday (#23)

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“Tell me not, sweet, I am unkind

That from the nunnery

Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind

To warlike arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I serve

The first foe in the field

And with a sterner faith embrace

The sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such

As thou too shalt adore.

I could not love thee, dear, so much

Loved I not honour more.”

(Richard Lovelace)

Too Hot (Exercise Safely In The Heat)!

My huskies are my favorite cardio companions.  We love to go for long, fast walks, up and down the hills where I live.  I’ve never had dogs in my life before, let alone known any huskies so I’ve been fascinated by how their coats change according to the season.  In the winter, when it was consistently cool, they started growing very thick fur, which did a marvelous job keeping them warm (and their skin dry) during our trips to the mountain snow.

You can see how thick her fur is mid-winter.  She loves to sit out and let it snow on her.  It crusts on the outer layer of her fur but if you put your hand on her and kind of dig down, you can feel her skin and it's warm as toast!

You can see how thick her fur is mid-winter. She loves to sit out and let it snow on her. It crusts on the outer layer of her fur but if you put your hand on her and kind of dig down, you can feel her skin.  It’s dry and warm as toast!

When it started getting warmer during the day, out came the thick fur, leaving them with a much less dense coat.

Look carefully at this photo.  See that stuff on the lawn?  That's FUR! Yep, when they say huskies "blow their coats" after winter,they mean it!  It comes out by the handfuls.

Look carefully at this photo. See that stuff on the lawn? That’s FUR! Yep, when they say huskies “blow their coats” after winter, they mean it! It comes out by the handfuls, by the bag-fulls!  There’s actually a place that will take the fur you collect and make it into yarn…then you can knit a husky sweater!  Funny idea.

Humans don’t have that kind of natural protection from the elements. We have to take precautions to stay safe when we exercise outdoors in both the winter months and in the hot summer months. Heat related illnesses are a serious issue this time of year.  The following is a good reminder of what to look for and how to react if you or someone else starts to suffer ill effects from the heat.

(The following was taken from “Hot Weather Exercise Tips” posted by the Texas Heart Institute)

Heat-related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool itself properly. Sweating is the body’s first method of cooling, but, in some cases, that cannot lower the body’s temperature enough. Illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are usually preventable, but many people still die of them every year.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion develops in people who are exposed to high temperatures and who do not drink enough fluids. People who are especially at risk for heat exhaustion are the elderly, children, people with high blood pressure, and those who work or exercise in hot environments. During heat exhaustion, the body is able to maintain a normal temperature for a while, but only at the expense of other body functions. If not treated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. In athletes, heat exhaustion results in sudden decreased performance and exhaustion.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include

Heavy sweating
Paleness
Muscle cramps
Dry tongue and thirst
Tiredness
Weakness
Dizziness
Headache
Nausea or vomiting
Fainting
People who experience these symptoms or those who have heart problems need to see a doctor immediately. If someone is developing heat exhaustion, you should move him or her out of the sun right away and into a cool place. Remove any extra layers of clothing and give the person water or a sports drink to replenish the body’s lost fluids. If the person does not feel better after an hour, seek medical attention.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It is unlikely that conditioned athletes will develop heat stroke, but young children, elderly people, chronically ill patients, and even pets may easily get heat stroke. Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia (very high body temperature) and requires medical treatment right away. Because the body’s cooling system has been overwhelmed by heat and dehydration, the body temperature may rise to 103°F or higher. If a person does not get treatment right away, heat stroke can lead to permanent damage to the body’s organs, including the brain. In some cases, people who do not get help right away can die.

Some signs and symptoms of heat stroke include

Body temperature of 103˚F or higher
Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
Rapid heartbeat
Severe headache
Dizziness
Nausea
Confusion
Fainting
If you think that someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 right away. While waiting for an ambulance, try to cool the person by moving him or her out of the sun and into a cool place. Attempt to cool the person by any available method, such as covering them with a wet sheet, applying ice packs, or placing them in a cool tub of water. If possible, offer the person water to drink.

Begging For Attention

“Many people can listen to their cat more intelligently than they can listen to their own despised body. Because they attend to their pet in a cherishing way, it returns their love. Their body, however, may have to let out an earth-shattering scream in order to be heard at all.” (Marion Woodman)

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It pays to keep your body in good repair.  That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym 6 days a week or spend an inordinate amount of time exercising.  I hang out in the gym and lift because I like it.  It makes me happy.  It floats my boat.  Obviously not everyone shares the same interest or the desire for the same level of activity.

There isn’t anything wrong with not wanting to exert the kind of energy I have over the years but it’s important to keep your body moving, even if that means just taking a nice walk a few times a week.  I know many people who simply ignore their bodies but expect them to keep chugging along, problem free, for the duration.  That doesn’t happen.

The truth is, even if you attend to your physical state, you may fall ill.  The difference is in how quickly you notice, how likely you are to address imbalance or disease in a helpful way and how quickly you heal. People who think kindly about their bodies and who show it through exercise and a reasonable diet are more in sync with what’s going on physically.  Being kind to it is a manifestation of loving and caring for yourself.

Don’t make your body scream for your attention.  By the time that happens a lot of irreversible damage can be done.  Give yourself time to take care of it.  It’s in your own best interest.

heart

June 14, 2015

Happy Flag Day and happy birthday to the United States Army!

Flag Day - 2015

Flag Day – 2015

Celebration Of Service Friday (#21)

A letter from one of the millions of grateful Americans ( From my book, Words For Warriors)

To all military personnel (active, now in the civilian world and retired),

Thank you. There aren’t words that I can write that express the gratitude I feel for all of your dedication and perseverance to keep the USA safe and secure. I am an average citizen who gets up and goes to work, enjoys their family and evenings out with friends as well as going to bed at night with the only worry being whether I set my automatic coffee pot to start brewing in the morning. Your days and nights are completely different and are filled with thoughts, emotions and surroundings I cannot imagine. Thank you.

My father was in the Navy at the end of WWII serving in the South Pacific. My brother served in the Army in the late 1970’s. I have a history in my family of service, but none during “war time”.  A close friend of the family served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force. Greg “Shorty” Short died of cancer in 2012. Talk about a champion and an inspiration to all who were privileged to know him. He received many commendations and medals which included two distinguished flying crosses during Desert Storm. Next to his wife and children the Air Force and flying were the other loves of his life. He used to say “yep – they pay me to do this job!” Because of Shorty, that is my view of our armed service men and women. Thank you.

Greg "Shorty  Short

Greg “Shorty
Short

As I have said the only experience I have had with the military is in peace time but, the fears and strain of deployment on families and friends of the dedicated that serve should be honored as well. When my children are late, or don’t call me back within a reasonable amount of time I get panicked. Where are they, are they hurt, do they need me? These are questions I ask when my daughter is coming home from a friend’s house late at night. I cannot comprehend the dull and constant fears your families and friends go through every second of every day. Thank you.

“AMERICA” wouldn’t be America without the men and women who have fought and fight to keep our country “FREE”. My highest praise and gratitude goes out to all of you, Thank you!

Gratefully,
Marti H.

At my daughter's graduation

At my daughter’s graduation

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

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We all know people who undermine themselves by overdoing their occasional workouts.  They get so sore/exhausted they spend the next days (or weeks) resting and recovering.  They never get comfortable with workouts because they don’t show up often enough to get over the sometimes intense soreness a new start brings.

If you’re serious about getting and staying in shape it’s a much better thing to start slowly and gently.  If you throw yourself into a miserable state each time you hit the gym there’s no way you’re going to look forward to going.  A hard workout after a long layoff isn’t going to do you any favors in terms of enjoyment (particularly in the following days).  A slow, steady, sustained approach will ease you into the fitness lifestyle.  You’ll enjoy it much more and you’ll be much more likely to stick with it and therefore get the results you’re looking for.  Better to do a little each day than go crazy straining yourself now and then.

Slow and steady wins the race!

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