Friday, October 31, 2008

How to catch a Cold

In a earlier post I talked about how a good healthy diet, exercise and a positive attitude along with being cautious would help keep you safe from illness. Well I tested that theory while I was on vacation. I did all the wrong things. I ate stuff I normally don't, I even had french fries with a double burger. I didn't sleep enouth and still tried to keep going at an insane pace all day. I had way to much beer, often. I seldom drink more than a beer after work once in a while. Last of all I spent a few days stressed out.

Well it worked, I caught a cold. This wasn't really a test but it turned out that way. Now I'm in getting over it mode. I haven't exercised since I realized I had the cold since I think that would just prolong it. My eating is back to healthy again and I'm getting more sleep.

In medicine if a person has a serious illness, a doctor will sometimes put the patient into a coma on purpose so the body can concentrate all it's energy into fighting the illness instead of the usual day to day duties.

This is the theory behind not exercising with a cold or other illness. If your body is having to repair the exercise damage and fight the cold it can't do either one as well. I think I can with stand a few days of rest better than I can stand a cold that lingers on for weeks. As it is the cold is 3 days old and I'm already feeling better.

As in all things I'll say I'll be smarter next time. I really intend to. But on the other hand a vacation is a break from the routine. Maybe I made to much of a break from the healthy lifestyle. I eat healthy for months and months and then for the 10 days of vacation I order the burger, the meatloaf and the ice cream. Erica was true to her veggie diet and even though she drank plenty of beer she remained healthy. She also got more sleep than I did.

So is there a connection between diet, exercise and getting plenty of sleep to keep from catching a cold? In my case it would appear so.

Thanks for reading.

Recovering Panda

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vacation Stress

We need vacations, most of the industrial world makes their workers take time off. That time away from the daily routine is vital to keeping us from running screaming into the night.

Having just returned from a 10 day vacation to DisneyWorld, I wanted to share some thoughts. When I arrived there I was tighter than a spring that was tightened to the breaking point. I didn't realize it until my lady pointed it out to me. Once I was aware of that, I was able to start relaxing. But I spent a third of my vacation in a over stressed state.

Next time I take off for a break I'm going to try to monitor my stress level and keep from wasting my hard earned time off in a state of "I'm trying to pick a fight".

This has been a hard year for a lot of us and that leads to a higher than normal stress level. When I finally relaxed it was amazing how much more fun everything was. I took to much baggage along with me, I took mental garbage that should have been left at home. I took it all with me and it nearly ruined what should have been a super good time.

The other part of the vacation stress is how fast the time passes. Ten days went by like a weekend. Especially since it took three days to be on vacation before I realized I was still carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

My plan for the next vacation, which is in January, is to be aware that I'm stressed and keep it in check. A person can choose to be controlled by the stress or they can choose to put it aside and get on with their lives. I'm going to choose to put it aside next time. I will reread what I just wrote the day before I leave and the day I arrive.

Am I weird, or do any of the rest of you experience the same thing? Or do you see it in your beloved other.

Relaxed Panda

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Next entry will be Nov 1st

My Princess and I are leaving for Disney world on monday so this week end will be helter skelter, packing and buying for the trip. Like everyone else we over pack and over buy. We will be coming back on Halloween so I'll be posting again on the first.

Vacation Panda

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bug Season

We are approaching the Flu season and lots of people are getting their shots. I don't get one myself but a lot of people who are exposed to lots of other people should. I work in an optical retail store so I'm in contact with a lot of people but I use a hand sanitizer after each patient.

I'm not a bugaholic but flu season got me thinking about how easy it is for us to pass and pick-up germs. Most Doctors will tell you that your best defence against the bugs is to wash your hands regularly. Problem is that we tend to touch a lot of things that could be germ carriers between hand washing. Like the little games, with golf tees, that you find at restraunts like Cracker Barrel. You sit there and play with those AFTER you have washed your hands then pick up your bread with your hands.

Another good defence against the seasons bugs is to eat properly. Make sure you are getting your vitamins and enough veggies and water. Eating healthy really can make a difference. Your body is amazing, but the bugs can attack any weaknesses. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study of how the Low Carb people are affected by seasonal viruses. I don't know but I'd guess that there defences are lowered by their diet.

I remember when the Low Carb craze started, there was a very heavy gentleman who worked where I was working at the time. He came in one morning with a big bag of meat and a George Forman Grill. He said "I know the secret to losing weight now". So for lunch that day he had 3 polish sausage, a huge burger patty and a wedge of lettuce. Then proceeded to preach the gospel of low carp to anyone who would listen. Before the week was out everyone, except me was grilling large quantities of meat for lunch. None of them lost any weight. But I have talked to several people who swear by the low carb diet.

Being in good physical condition can be your first line of defence, but a big caution here. After a race or extra long tough training walk/run your immune system is not as efficient. I have discussed this with some good Sports Doctors and their take is that your body is busy repairing the damage you did during the tough race and training. Make sure you take it easy for a couple of days after hard stuff and be extra diligent about the hand washing. Don't test the 5 second rule on the dropped cookie during this time.

Next time you do get a cold, look back at the week leading up to it and see if you can see where you were compromised and what lead to you getting sick. I haven't had a cold for a couple of years and I'm sure that the hygiene habits with the washing and the sanitizer along with eating properly and getting enough rest are the reason. Even though I interact with lots of people every day.

Live healthy and stay well this winter.

Well Panda

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Adventure Living

Part of living a healthy lifestyle is planning adventures. Most of the people in our country are not fit enough to have real adventures. Their vacations and hobbies are going somewhere and being entertained. They spend their whole lives going from one place to sit to another. They get off the couch to the car to the chair at work. So when vacation time comes it is going somewhere different and pretty to sit.

When you are strong and fit and limber you have infinitely more options. Vacations should be some of our best memories, a real escape from the day to day norm. My princess and I go on vacations that involve walking races and wilderness adventures. We go to the mountains to walk the trails and perpare for our next marathon. We meet wonderful like minded people at Walt Disney World for some awesome endurance events and fellowship.

We lead good interesting lives and can't complain at all. But a few times a year we have to shake up the norm and let our hair down and test our limits. Once you become fit you need to get a little excitement. Laying on the beach for a week will have you running screaming into the night.

Part of your goals for the future should include fun stuff to do with your new body that you worked so hard to obtain. If you haven't tried a long event like a half or full marathon, they are something you should consider trying. Just about anywhere you go you can find ways to challenge your self. The ocean offers sailing and snorkelling. We love beach walking, and finding places off the beaten path. The mountains have rafting, hiking and even riding those horrid horses. Horses and I don't bond well. Make your vacations an adventure that will let you escape and leave you recharged and ready not just bored and rested.

Having an active hobby is another way to compliment your healthy life style. We walk but there are lots of active hobbies that can become part of your exercise. Golfing without a cart, or even the new DiskGolfing are great active sports. Of course running and biking are super ways to stay in shape. Joining a city sports team like a softball team or bowling leave can be great fun and a way to meet interesting people. Dancing classes for ballroom dancing are getting popular, it's like dancing with the stars dancing.

Look around for ways to test your new body, sports and adventure are not just for children anymore.

Thanks for reading

Adventure Panda

Monday, October 13, 2008

Personal Best

I envy the Zen guys, they can take any subject and explain anything about life with it. Although they usually meditate for a few years on it first. I'm not that good, but I just finished doing 6 hours of online human resources training for work, so I should have an empty mind anyway.

Seriously though our healthy living affects everything we do in our lives, I'm not talking just about the health benefits either, but our way of looking at things. You hear people say and we say ourselves, "Just do your best". We say it to our children our friends anyone getting ready to do something. Some days our best is better than other days. Sometimes we can fly effortlessly through a training walk or run and other days just moving forward can take everything we have to give. Everything we do is like that at times, we have super days and crappy days.

A Personal Best, is when we go a certain distance faster than ever before. We hope for that in our races and sometimes in our training when we are feeling really good. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we would strive for a Personal Best in everything we did? What would happen if when doing anything from working to taking a test to making love to our mate, we told ourselves I'm going to do the very best I can and mean it. How would our lives change if we really did try to give everything our best effort.

A Personal Best, isn't always possible. It depends on all the other things we have going on. How much sleep we got last night, how well we ate and how well hydrated we are. Even how much stress baggage we are carrying around effects us and our performance. But if we decided that we were going to give everything we did our best, then every thing would get the benefit of our best at the time.

We tell others often "Just do your best", we need to listen to our own advice. Ask yourself, "Is this the best I can do"? If it's not then pick up the pace of your effort. There is an old saying that water at 211 degrees is just hot water, but turn up the heat one more degree and it's boiling and the energy it puts out as steam is limitless power. What if we did that with our lives, turned up our heat just one more degree.

Next time you are doing something, ask yourself, is this the best I can do. The answer might surprise you.

Thanks for reading


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stress Free Areas

A good friend who quilts told about a group of quilters who get together to do their creating, the rule at the house they go to is; you must leave all your stress and problems at the door, before you come in.

That's not a bad idea for a lot of things we do. Let me ask a question. Who would you rather be around, a person who is positive and fun or someone who constantly whines about everything yucky going on with them? You want to be with the positive fun person right? There is a big difference between hashing out a problem with a concerned friend and just spending all your time whining.

Everyone of us has stuff going on in our lives that can drive us nuts if we let it. If we don't have enough poo going on in our own lives we can just turn on the news and look at the state of the economy.

We can take a page from our quilters book and have places that stress is not allowed. I'm by education a psychologist. So I learned all kinds of stuff about helping people cope with the stresses in their lives. Like a couple should never, ever, under any circumstances argue in the bedroom. The bedroom should be where we go to rest and feel safe and feel close.

Make the place you exercise a stress free zone. Tell yourself, there is nothing I can do about...insert what is bothering you at the time...right now so it will wait, the next hour is mine. It's a good idea to make meal time a stress free time also. If you are in mental chaos you will, I guarantee, stuff yourself with just what you would normally have the will to resist.

When you are meeting with your friends, don't try to one up them with the crap you have going on, talk about and share the good stuff. It's amazing how small things can grow the more you dwell on them. Things have a way of working out, they do.

The more you practice making your stress wait at the door while you get on with your life the better you will get at it. The more you dwell on the positive the better you get at that to. For example if you dwell on all the stuff your spouse or child does to make you crazy you will be more abapt to pick a fight or be less than understanding. But if you instead make your self think of their positive qualities you will feel better about them and be much happier yourself.

Thanks for reading.

Stress Free Zone Panda

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Yesterday I talked about some things you need to do to be active while decreasing the change of injury. Before I knew about the science of the warm up, I noticed that when I went full out without warming up I would be winded quickly. A strong memory is playing tag as a kid. You stand around and then bolt as fast as you can, you tire quickly that way. Then after a few times of bolting you all of a sudden feel better and can go much harder and much longer.

I've found that for me warming up takes just about a mile of brisk walking or slow easy running. Then I feel the sweat starting and the effort gets easier. A lot of people just starting out never get to the warmed up stage. They will swear that exercise is just to hard. If you never get to the warmed up stage you would think that way.

Ok on to today's topic. Once you are warmed up you need to exercise hard enough that you get your heart rate up, I don't use a heart rate monitor but a lot of people swear by them. What I do is just do most of my exercise at an effort that is challenging but that I can do for as long as I want to. Then sometime during the exercise I'll go full out as hard as I can, race pace.

The amount of time you spend at full intensity will determine how long you need to recover from the effort. If I just do a few 100m full out sprints during a walk then I'm fine for the next day's workout. But if I spend several miles at a hard effort then I usually go easy for a couple of days after. It's during this intensity that you tear down your muscle tissue to be rebuilt stronger with the rest.

Without this intensity/rest cycle you don't improve as efficiently as you can with it. If you are just wanting to walk briskly and comfortably for distance like the marathon you don't need a lot of the high intensity, you need more long slow distance, (LSD), but you do still need some intense efforts to get your muscles strong and capable of doing anything you want them to do.

Think of the walking/running just like it was lifting weights. If you just lift the same amount of weight every time you will get toned to a point and then you won't progress any further in strength. You have to get comfortable with one weight and then go to a heavier one to get stronger. Intensity in your walking/running is your heavier weight.

Training on a treadmill once in a while is good for monitoring your walk/run intensity. You have to be firm with yourself sometimes. If you are having a "dragging your butt" day then an easy speed can seem harder, that's when monitoring your speed on the treadmill is good. I have those once in a while, which is a good indication that it's time for a couple of easy days.

Thanks for reading.

Intense Panda

Friday, October 10, 2008

Playing it safe

Walking is a very good sport for your body, you don't have the pounding of running and if done with reasonable good sense applied, you can be a competitive walker well into your senior years.

However, there are risks both from within and without that can sideline you for a week or for months. I have made most of the mistakes and learned a lot by trial and error. I'd very much like for you not to have to learn things that way.

First and easiest of all "STAY HYDRATED", sounds simple but it doesn't take long to get behind. I went through an issue with that earlier this year. Some of the signs are feeling weak and/or with a definite decrease in your normal energy level. Your urine should be very light yellow to clear, the darker it is the more dehydrated you are. I used to think, because it was a theory at the time, that if you took a multi vitamin that the dark color was you passing the extra vitamins you didn't need. This was back in the 60s when they sent troops into combat with a canteen of water and a pocket full of salt tablets.

Second, warm-up, everytime, no exceptions. If you try to go out as fast as you can in a race without warming up first you are asking for a muscle pull or strain. At the very least you will be very sore later. A good rule of thumb is you are warmed up when you breakout in a light sweat. Now on a very hot day you might already be sweating, that's not warmed up. Warmed up is not a temperture measure, what warmed up actually is: the point where you're body is channeling extra blood into your working muscles. The muscles you want to get the extra blood are the muscles you want to use, for walking that's pretty much your whole body.

Third, almost as important as a warm up is a cool down. If you do a race or workout hard and stop dead when you cross the finish will stiffen you up quick. Keep walking around slowly while you have some water or sports drink. About 5 min of easy walking will do wonders for you.

Last is do at least a minimum of stretches. Stretch all your leg muscles, even 30 sec for each major muscle group will be much better than letting your muscles tightened up. Doing these things will go a long way in keeping you uninjured.

The other side of safety is the monsters and traps waiting to pounce on you.

Watch where you are going. That sounds like a no brainer but I took a bad fall once and had a bad case of skinned up knees and elbows because I was zoned while cruising along the shoulder of the road and tripped over a wire laying on the side of the road. Lots of places in the sidewalk and road to trip you if you don't keep your eyes open.

Walk facing traffic and expect cars not to see you. A lot of times they don't. People who ride bikes will tell you drivers are not paying attention. These days lots of people are talking on their phones while driving , even text messageing while driving. It don't make much difference if you are in the right or not, that car is gonna hurt if it smacks into you.

Last of all walk in an area where you don't have to worry about dogs and evil people. I carry a small can of HALT dog repellent clipped to the back waistband of my shorts. I still don't wnat to have to test out if it works on a mad dog. Ladies I remember several years ago an article in Runner's World magazine about a woman who was raped while out running. The attackers defense in court was that she was asking for it by being dressed in such tight revealing clothing.
I don't remember the outcome of the trial but I thought at the time what a crock of panda poo that was, but unfortunately there are people that feel that way about adult athletic women. Remember we are not the norm and to some our just being there is a reminder of what they have let happen to themselves.

Thanks for reading

Safe Panda

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Adult Athletes

One of the things I've noticed about adult athletes is that they are somewhat different from the norm. Most have interesting occupations or unusual hobbies. Maybe, since adult athletes are such a small percentage of the population they are a little different in their thinking and out look on life in general.

I have a Thursday morning walking group and I have a french teacher, a horse farrier and a fellow that investigates disease outbreaks in Kentucky, kinda like the CDC folks in Atlanta does. Then me an optician, another unusual occupation. I don't think anyone would disagree that all these are unusual ways to pay the bills.

It long been proven that adult athletics are a white collar interest. Generally people who work physically hard all day like construction or factory workers don't have any interest in athletics. They want to go home and rest. Maybe that's one of the reasons for our high rate of over weight and obese north Americans. Standing all day on an Assembly line or sitting on a bull dozer are tiring but they don't get your heart rate into the training zone.

I have during my long stretch on the planet done several different jobs, from fast food as a teen to factory worker to construction labor to military executive. I've experienced a lot of jobs and conpletely understand not wanting to be active after getting of work from a labor type job. A beer, something to eat and a good TV show are heaven after a physically hard day of work.

I communicate with a lot of on line friends that share my interest in being an adult athlete and everyone is in a white collar or service profession. The Japanese have an interesting way of dealing with this problem and I have seen this first hand. Before the work day starts at everything from the factories to the elementry schools everyone is out for group exercises. The at lunch you see the office buildings and factories empty everyone out on the lawns for naps after eating. Then at the end of the day they often have another group exercise session.

I don't know what would work here but maybe a page out of the Japanese's manual would be worth trying in our country.

Thanks for reading.

Working Panda

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where have you been??

It's hard to tell how far you have come unless you know where you started. Take a few minutes today and figure out where you are.

Start with a a blank page in your journal or diary. Put down in print exactly how you are feeling. List any medications you are taking. Write down anything that is bothering you, like current life issues. Part of becoming healthier is lowering your stress level so put down the things that are stressing you right now.

Write down your current weight. Get a measuring tape and measure: thighs, calves, hips, waist, chest and biceps flexed. When you measure your waist measure it relaxed and tightened as much as you can. Put down your current sizes in clothes, also how a size feels, if you are bearly squeezing into a size don't count that size, make it the current size that is comfortable.

List your personal best times for what distances you have done. Write down the longest walk/run or walkrun that you have done. If you have been lifting put down the current weight you are using for each body part.

Last if you can take a picture of yourself and log it in your documents in it's own folder.

Now you have a base for where you are. Every month, pick a day that works for you and take all the measurements again. Write down how you feel and update all the things you listed in your last entry. Then take a new picture and put it in the folder.

Changing the things you want to change takes time and until you get a good handle on your progress you really can't tell if you are accomplishing anything. You need to see your progress for several reasons. To start with it helps motivate you to see results. Tracking your progress helps you see where you need to tweek your exercise plan. Finally monitoring your results help you realize that your work is really making a difference, your selfestem needs that monthly boost.

Thanks for reading

Been There Done That Panda

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Motivation means different things to each of us. There are lots of creative ways to look at it and volumes have been written about it. None of that matters much if you are currently going through one of those periods in your life when temptation is strong and you are feeling weak against it.

One of the things that we have to decide is who we are accountable to. We all have a free will and the power to take our own path in life. But all of us have to decide who that is that we are going to be accountable to. Whether you believe in a higher power or just have your own morals we all have chosen some path to follow in living our lives.

When you make promises to ourselves we need to make that part of our morals. We resist temptation everyday because to give in would be to violate who you are and what we believe in. We wouldn't even think about committing a crime or hurting another person. We don't have a problem resisting stealing things that are left out in the open, we resist the temptation to say things that would be hurtful to another.

So why is it so hard to resist staying in bed for extra sleep when we know we need to get up and get our workout done? Why is it so hard to resist the high fat food that is brought to work, the donuts, the cakes the wonderfully high calorie food on pot luck day? Why can't we resist the late snack before bed?

It's easy to resist some things and hard to resist others because of the level of commitment we have. If you believe that you are violating what's right by giving in to a temptation then it's easy to resist. But if giving in is only breaking a promise to yourself then that seems so much cheaper than a commitment you made to follow the teachings of God and or the morals you were raised with.

If you make a healthy lifestyle a commitment and not an empty promise then you will empower yourself to resist. I don't think we were created to lead a lifestyle of gluttony and sitting around on our butts. The rewards are there for both. If you lead a lifestyle of giving in to the pleasures of the moment you reap the rewards from that or if you treat your body like it was a precious gift to you and make it strong and fit, then you reap the rewards from that.

We have wonderful bodies, but we only get one, I hate to be so simple but, what we put into it determines what we get back from it. Decide what you want from life and make a commitment to achieve your goals from that life. You are worth more than a haphazard attempt. You are worth that effort and that commitment.

Promises are like balloons they float away unless we tie them to something. Make you promise to lead a healthy lifestyle a commitment by tying it to something solid. Make it a commitment to be healthy because: You want to be a good parent and role model to your children, the best you can be for your spouse, find some reason that makes it more of a commitment than you just wanna look better.

Thanks for reading

Motivated Panda

Monday, October 6, 2008

Finding Time for Walking

This morning we did one of those perfect time saving plans. We had an appointment to take our car in to the dealership for service. We made the appointment for early morning and wore our walking clothes. We dropped the car off and took off ourselves. I've gone for appointments like this and sat and waited, and waited and waited, using up a good portion of my day off to get something done. Today we had a wonderfull walk in a new area with some nice hills to challange us. By the time we were done with our 8 miles the car was ready.

This is just an example of how my lady and I have restructured our lives to make them more exercise friendly. In the case of dealerships they always have a shuttle to take you somewhere if you want to say; go take care of something that is several miles away and then walk back from there, or if you want to go to a really cool place to walk and have them pick you up when you are done.

Another way you can turn an inconvience into an exercise opportunity is when you are waiting for something to be delivered. Arrange for them to call you when they are about a half hour from your house and and you can walk the neighborhood till they call and then you have plenty of time to get home. They usually say they will be there within a morning or afternoon so that way you are not sitting in the house waiting.

When you are meeting a friend for lunch that you haven't seen for a while, plan to meet somewhere that you can take a walk together. You can both get some exercise and chat and catch up while you are walking in a peacefull area. It will be an even better memory that way.
Even when you are just on your on lunch break, a short walk after eating will revive you from the morning and keep you from feeling so tired in the afternoon.

Even though most of us have busy lives if we give it some thought we can come up with ways to get our steps in. A workout is a workout whether it's planned or if you just took advantage of a situation. It's a good idea to keep a pair of old walking shoes in the car just in case something comes up where you get an unexpected opportunity.

Thanks for reading.

Busy Panda

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lost computer through being stupid

This morning I was checking my email and reading the first deleteing it and letting it automaticly call up the next mail. Well a mail came up the words loading came up in the middle of the screen and the screen went blank. I was unable to reenter windows or anything. It would freeze as soon as windows started loading.

I had heard that you could get virus problems from mail but this is the first time I've ever experienced it. I was just the worst feeling. After trying to power down and remove battery and powering back up I finally decided to just use the factory back up disk and start from scratch.

So I'm currently trying to get my computer back to where it was before it crashed. I'm smarter now and more cautious, but kinda late for a lot of stuff like pictures of friends and Erica that I have lost.

You hear a lot of people talk about spending to much time on the computer and needing to ween themselves from it. I have come to look at the computer as a link to friends and information and not a liability. It's like a telephone with a conferrence function where you can plan things with several friends. It's an outlet to vent feelings or to discuss something that is concerning you. It, to me, is a lot different from sitting in front of a TV being entertained.

For a lot of us the computer is a link to a real life not a fantasy world. We plan trips and races and discuss ways to make these things come together with min problems. The computer allows people to communicate and create. Each of us has a lot to contribute and need in return to get feedback on what we do. It's like we all have a support group on the other side of the screen.

Yes I agree that a computer can be a engine of self destruction, we have to be ever cautious of all things in our lives that can take a negative turn. But we can also as social human beings broaden our horizons by communicating with each other. It even helps us have insight to how our friends from other countries feel about stuff.

I will be spending the rest of my off time today trying to recover my cyber stuff. Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading.

Relieved Panda

Saturday, October 4, 2008

For every choice a consequence.

I know you have heard that phrase many times before but there is a world of truth in it and it bares repeating often. Every choice we make puts into motion a lot of factors that can affect every part of us.

When you make a choice to start living a healthy lifestyle, life as you know it will change. You give up a whole world of feel goods and taste goods and force yourself to come to gripes with who you are and what you are capable of. You give up those days of bless sitting on the soft couch, being entertained by a TV show with built in laughter so you know when something was funny. You have your chips and your soda, your feet up and your mind closed.

Part of that closed mind is not noticing anymore what you look like in the bathroom mirror, from the neck down. It's tuning out the part of you that wants to have adventures and get dirty. You close your mind to the thoughts that are in the back of your mind that every little ache in your body scares you that your lifestyle is catching up to you. Is that little pain in your chest a muscle soreness from something you did or is it something else.

When you make the choice to live a healthy lifestyle, you will affect the people around you also. Someone who you do everything for might have to start doing some things for themselves so you can have time to exercise. They will have to start paying you back for what you have been doing for them. Make no mistake a person who decides to change their life needs a support group, you need a cheering section not a temptation group.

You have to tell your support group what you need from them and thank them in advance for being on your team. If you are quitting smoking or quitting the donuts at the office, ask your coworkers not to offer you any and don't try to talk you into failing. Misery loves company and you don't need someone to say, "Awe come on just one won't hurt you". Yes just one does hurt you, because you get weaker every time you give in. But you get stronger everytime you resist.

We all know the good benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you become a better you, in everything from how well you sleep to how much better you are in any activity. But there are consequences and you need to make a mental contract with yourself that you are willing to pay those dues.

Thanks for reading

Healthy Panda

Friday, October 3, 2008

Unplanned Activity

A good friend showed me a link to an article about how much better you will do in the burning calories war if you just stay off the couch more. Sounds like a no brainer but usually we don't think much about that. We do a planned activity like a walk, run or class and then think that sitting on the couch the rest of the evening is fine.

In reality you can get a lot of extra exercise type stuff done without having to plan extra time for it. Women have traditionally done the house work, well guys that is a great extra workout. Especially things like pushing the vacuum and sweeping or mopping. Tighten your abs and get a good stretch with each stroke of the sweeper, it gives you a good stretch and light workout for your whole upper body. You can do lots of bending and stretching and squats with dusting, tightened your abs while your doing it and it can be as good as a light stretching routine.

Showering gives you a chance to concentrate on tightening your abs as hard as you can while you wash. There is an exercise called waist vacuuming: you tighten your abs as though you were trying to touch your belly button to your backbone, tighten as hard as you can hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat till your shower is over. When you are standing in front of the mirror shaving brushing your teeth ect.. is another good time to do the waist vacuuming exercise, each time you do it is as good as a crunch.

When you are at work, even if you work at a desk, you can get in extra steps. Start with parking at the far end of the parking lot from where you work, so you walk further. Use the restroom that is farthest from your office so you have to go more steps to get there and back. When it's break time, walk outside. Get some water instead of a soda and get some sun, the light of the sun is proven to revitalize you when you have been inside under artificial light for a while. Like plants we were designed to live in the sun not in a lighted cave.

Even sitting in the car driving you can massage your quads or squeeze the seering wheel like it was one of those hand squeezey strengthers. Pushing your head against the back of the head rest is a good massage and strengthening exercise for your neck.

Not only will things like this burn more calories and give you extra toning work but it makes the time go faster at work or when you are doing mondane tasks.

Thanks for reading.

Busy Pandas are Happy Pandas

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hell Yeah!

There is less than one percent of the population of North America that have done even a 5K race. Yep, less than 1%, that puts all of us in a pretty elite group. All of you are athletes, you have earned the right to call yourself that. We all all in different levels of training, but we are all still athletes. As John the Penguin Bingham wrote, "We are all athletes, some are just further along in their training than you".

Today when you stap on your shoes, slip on a little attitude with them. You are putting on the shoes and the clothes of an athlete, make sure you put on a little of that elite athlete attitude. Don't give a thought to the fact that you are not where you want to be yet in your speed or weight or body shape, you are a work of art in progress.

If you are racing this weekend, don't worry about the few deer in front of you think about all those cows you are leaving behind you. All those cows that don't have the courage to follow in your foot steps. Go ahead, get that attitude on, you earned the right to hold your head high and your chest out, you are an elite.

There isn't one athlete I know who is where he or she wants to be, that's what being an athlete is all about. It's about pushing yourself and finding what you are made of. It's about marveling at the magic that is in you. The magic that lets you come back from every effort stronger. The magic to be comfortable with sweat and the peace you feel after you gave full measure.

Even on those days that you give all you have and fall short of the goals you set, you still have the courage and the strength of will to shake it off and get back in the fight. Some times it doesn't seem like it but you are a hero to someone, maybe you are inspiring someone and don't even realize it.

Hold your head high today fellow athletes.

Thanks for reading.

Warrior Panda

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Everyone is Beautiful

Remember when you were very young in school, like elementary school young? The teacher would do projects with the kids to build their self awareness. They would have everyone write down what they liked about themselves and what they were good at. The idea was to make the kids realize that they all had good things about themselves and to be proud of themselves.

That is not a bad idea for us to do every once in a while. We tend to forget that all of us have more in the plus column than in the negative. We get hung up on the things about ourself that we believe over shadows everything else. Like carrying extra weight, we can get in the mind set that those pounds are what defines us. Or we don't wanna go out side because we think everyone else is prettier than we are and everyone will be staring at us.

Reality is that everyone has things they would like to change and some we can and some we can't. We can get healthier and shape and tone our bodies. We can if we have the money get a radical makeover with cosmetic surgery and taking away the pounds and changing the parts of us that we feel are imperfect. Which is funny because it's our differences that make us unique and interesting.

One of the things I really like about cyber communication is that you get to know the most important part of a person, their personality. There is no surgeon skilled enough to give a person a perfect personality. When you start from that base, then you can work on literally anything else. When someone meets my lady and I, they usually say, Erica is so adorable but that Dave, he just ain't right. Yep, I confess I'm a nut, certifiable and card carrying. I'm not even close to pretty but my co workers like to be around me because I'm told I'm fun. I'll accept that. I would love to be pretty to but you play the hand you are delt, right?

We all have skills that make us unique also, when we find something we are really good at we should nurture that. No matter if it's crafts, writing, drawing, reading ect.... Find something you like and build on that. Exercise is of course unique to each of us also. Find something that works for you. Running is a joy for some people but a horror for others, it can be a wonderfull experience for some or a sourse of constant pain for others. I was a runner for about 30 years and I was usually nursing something that hurt. Walking was for whusses, or at least I thought till I was forced into being a walker because of an injury. Now I look at walking as a kick butt way to intense competition. Your nitch may be weight training and shaping your body or yoga. You may find a bike fits you or you enjoy the freeform feel of swimming. Try lots of things and see what feels good.

Once you weld your already wonderfull personality to activities and skills that fit you, then the beauty is there. A strong healthy body is beautiful, so what if your nose is to big or your hair doesn't look like everyone elses, you are you and that is pretty special.

Thanks for reading.

Unique Panda