Friday, August 28, 2009

Total Wellness

Wellness is not the same as fitness, wellness is the total of how at Peace you are with your fitness, your memories, your actions and your daily happiness. Wellness is a goal but not a tangible, like a 32" waist is a tangible and visible goal. Wellness is not so easily recognized. So how does one know if they are being successful in their journey to wellness?

To start with take an inventory of your life right now. How happy do you feel? Are you troubled by events going on in your life? Are you working at a job you hate and have a tense relationship with one or more co-workers? Is your exercise and healthy eating plan going as well as you would like. Are you uneasy about some of the things that have happened previously in your life? Is there a friend or family member that you need to get back in touch with? Do you need to patch up issues or disagreements with a friend, co-worker or family member?

These are all speed bumps on the path to wellness or happiness. After thinking about where your life is, compare it to a year ago. Are you happier now? Or were you more at peace then? What have you done to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself?

You do control your own happiness, you really do. If you have a tense relationship, extend your hand in peace, if the one you have the tense relationship with doesn't take your gesture, and it must be a genuine gesture, not half hearted, then stop letting it bother you. If you have made the attempt and you are comfortable that you have done all you could then the ball is theirs to return or drop.

If your miserable at your job, figure out what it is about your job that you dislike. What could you change to make it more satisfying? Be creative, figure out exactly what would make it better and then decide how to change it.

If you want some help looking at some part of your life, email me and we will talk about it.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Credit Rating

Today I did a home equity loan to consolidate a bunch of small bills, pay off the initial home mortgage and make everything tax deductible. Made good sense all around. When you have a good credit rating you can do things like this and you are offered the best rates right off the bat. The loan closed in 24 hours.

I mention this to make example of why it's important to keep a good credit rating. It's very very important. When your credit rating goes down you pay a lot more for any money you borrow. I pay 3.9 percent on a car loan, they can charge up to 30% for people with a low credit rating.

It can even effect your employment potential, since a lot of companies what to know how you handle your own resources before they let you handle theirs. Especially companies like banks, accounting firms and management positions.

Your credit rating is so important that it's worth the effort to keep up with your payment obligations even if you have to sacrifice somewhere else. Now having said all that, I know there are a lot of people that are in crisis mode right now that's not their fault. The falling economy has cost a lot of people their jobs. When that happens you have to contact your creditors and let them know what's going on. Most of the time they will work with you.

The last thing you want to do is avoid them and hope they will go away, they won't.

Thanks for reading.

Thrifty Panda

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I want to present a fresh way to look at getting back into good shape and beginning your journey to health and wellness. Getting into good shape is actually healing your sick body. When you are sick, your body doesn't do anything very well. You lack strength and energy, you ache all over and generally feel crappy. Your mental energy level is low and just about every issue in your life seems over powering.

Getting into good shape is very similar to recovering from the flu or other such sickness. Actually strong healthy people don't get a lot of colds and flu bugs. Your immune system has also become much stronger.

Your joints don't ache at the end of the day when you have strong supple muscles holding everything in proper alignment. When we have our weight down it takes pressure off everything. A case of soda or beer weighs 10 lbs so if we have 50 lbs of extra fluff it's like wagging 5 cases of soda every where we go. Wonder why your back hurts at the end of the day.

If you are just beginning an exercise program, you are actually beginning to heal your sick body. You are beginning to recover from the poisoning it has endured all your life. The high fat greasy food, maybe the cigarette smoke, the regular soda (chemical mixes) habit, all are poisons that we need to heal from. Muscles that have decayed from inactivity have to be brought back to health so they can serve you.

Make today the day you begin your healing.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Friday, August 21, 2009

Days and Times that Define Us.

There are times in our lives that we remember because they were the times that define our lives. We are, as the analysts say, the net result of our environment and our experiences. I like to think that we are more than that, we become mentally stronger and better with each passing year, not just molded.

Today as I was walking at a 12:20 pace, the miles effortlessly slipping by. My mind was not in my legs, dwelling on how hot it was or how hard the uphills were. Instead I was back at the opening ceremonies of the National Senior Olympics. That week was one of those defining times. We marched in with the Governor of Ky leading our Ky team. After each states team had marched in, Bruce Jenner ran the torch in to light the Olympic Flame and start the games. He and Peggy Flemming held the torch to the light the flame. I was only one of 12,000 athletes there to represent their states and battle for the medals. But when that member of the US Olympic Committee, that sanctions games, got up on the stage and told us that during the next week's competitions, win or lose, we were all Olympians. I felt pretty special.

Sometimes during a hard training session or a race I'll think back to that night. Then I'll "bear up" and find some extra strength. We all have those times in our memories, the times we felt more, special, blessed. We have those times, sometimes we are the only ones that know or we think care. But we have those days, those times, those moments.

It could be your first kiss, the day you married, your graduation the birth of your baby. It could be a memory of a speaker that touched you with their words. Think about the times that you felt on top of the world. Then when your facing a hard workout, race or even a crisis in your life, find that extra strength in those memories.

Thanks for reading.

Stronger Panda

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to Relentless Forward Motion

Now that grand baby has arrived and is safe in his little warmer at the hospital it's time to switch from baby watch to exercise mode again. Anyone besides hitting a slick spot right now and having a hard time getting the miles and exercises in.

Many of us are training for the races at DisneyWorld in January. Everyone should be building base miles and time in motion right now. Here are some of my ways to get the panda moving:

Fill your iPod or MP3 with kicking motoring tunes. For this I like, "Eye of the Tiger", "Standing outside the fire", "Ballad of the Alamo", "Gotta fly now", "Born to be wild", "Untamed" and "How bad do you want it".

Remind your self why you started exercising to begin with.

Make a list of who besides you depends on your health and energy.

Remember the goals you have set for yourself. They are promises you made to that wonderful person who looks back at you from the mirror, don't let you down. You are worth the effort.

Avoid people you know are going to be whinny and negative about everything. Try to spend more time around the people in your life that make you feel special.

Ready set go, we can do this!!!!

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dealing With Injury

I want to dedicate today's entry to a dear friend having knee surgery. Best thoughts of love and healing coming your way darlin.

We all face them as we travel along the path of healthy living. The journey to wellness is often littered with little setbacks. It's part of the deal. But we can keep those setbacks just minor inconveniences and not journey stoppers. With regular exercise there is going to be soreness, strains and pulls. Occasionally there are going to be times that we have to get help from a doctor.

Most injuries can be treated with the R.I.C.E. method. The R. stands for rest, the most important. I have a sore Achilles tendon from a couple of hard races so I'm taking it easy for a few days till I'm back to normal.

The I. stands for ice, every day I'm icing my tendon for 20 min, then letting it warm up for a half hour and then icing for 20 min more. The ice tricks your body into increasing the blood flow to the injured place, to warm it up, that increased blood flow promotes healing. Like the old "the squeaking wheel gets the grease" theory.

The C. is for compression. Not all injuries require this but some like sprained ankles do benefit from it. You have all seen people with the Knee braces and ankle braces. They do a couple of good things, one is to keep side ways motion to a minimum. The other is to provide support and keep swelling down. One of the best things you can do for your joints, especially the knees is to have strong leg muscles, ALL THE LEG MUSCLES. When you support your joints with strong muscles you cut way down on the chance of injury. Most injuries that are not a result of trauma are from an imbalance in muscle strength.

The E. is for elevation. Now this sounds like a direct contradiction to icing but it's not. Elevation, keeping your feet up to rest a knee or ankle will keep swelling down. The ice increases blood flow but you don't want the blood to pool there and cause swelling. An injury is damage and you need the blood to be bringing nutrients to the injured cells so they can heal and take away the waste. The swelling doesn't do anything good for you so keep your feet up and use the ice.

My injury to my Achilles was caused by over extending my stride when going down a steep hill to fast and not from an imbalance. So it's a long term project for me. I have had in the past issues with muscle strength imbalances. When I first started running, in the early 70s, I had back pain. The back pain turned out to be weak abs, yep, stomach muscles. My back muscles were stronger than my abs so the back had to do more than it's share of the work when I ran. I started doing ab work and quickly cured my imbalance and felt much better.

An easy way to make all your muscles stronger is to vary your workouts. If you normally just walk or run/walk briskly for a few miles 5 times a week, or run a few times a week, try this. One day walk on the road or sidewalk, the next time do at least a portion of your walk or run on grass. Then the next time find a place with some challenging hills. Keep alternating your terrain like this and vary your speed, do some faster bursts during you walking or running. Just doing these things will make ALL your leg muscles stronger. Add an exercise for your tummy and upper body a couple of times a week and your there. I push mow my yard to make sure I get some upper body work.

Thanks for reading.

Balanced Panda

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The world we live in today has a lot wrong with it. But most of what's wrong is what we have created for ourselves. How did we ever get to the point that most of the world is in a state of war or heightened alert. Just about every nation is having internal problems. Even our beloved USA is divided as we haven't been for over a hundred years. Our religions are squaring off and there appears no middle ground.

But where does that put each of us? Most of us have family, friends or even ourselves that are on the front lines of the many conflicts going on through out the world. Many more of us, our families and friends are affected by the depressed economy. It just seems so over powering to see family members, friends or ourselves struggling to survive and not lose our homes and savings.

What can we do? Well we truly have control of only two things, our own thoughts and actions. We can choose to be negative and worry about those things we can't control, or we can be positive and work toward improving what we can. Do we have any hope of making a difference in the lives of others and in ourselves. Of course we do.

When we keep our thoughts positive that makes a difference in everything we do and it directly affects everyone we deal with. Everyone knows people that they just love being around because they are always so up beat. While you know others who you really hate being around because they always try to bring everyone down to share their misery.

Often the up beat person is the one you would expect to be down and bitter because of all the crap life has thrown at them and the sad sacks really have every reason to feel blessed. It's all in how you choose to see the world around you. Yes the world situation isn't the best but it's been worse and it could be much worse. We have lived through depressions before and we have had good times.

Life is like that it goes in cycles and there isn't really anything we can do about that individually. But we can control what we can and keep our on spirits up. If we keep positive that will affect our own happiness and it will spill over on everyone we come in contact with.

So start the day with a smile and a kind word for everyone and make today the day we start the healing.

Thanks for reading.

Happy Panda

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I want to dedicate today's rambling entry to the people who have chosen a helping profession as their life's work. There is no higher honor than to get down in the trenches and be the one that helps when people are the most afraid, hurting and the most venerable. Our Nurses, Police officers, Teachers, Firemen, Social Workers and military. These people that take responsibility for making life better for others the best they can. Many people work but these people give everything they have to give, they put their heart and soul into their work.

Gambling is very popular, the hope and chance to be a winner. So much of our life is a gamble, I'm not talking about money, (What sick mind ever came up with that money idea anyway), but most everything we do is a gamble. Almost every action we take is a gamble. From our choice of a life mate to choosing our friends we gamble that we made good decisions and won't get our feelings crushed.

Wouldn't it be great if we had some insider trading information to make those decisions easier. We would know which ways were going to end in happiness and which decisions were going to enrich us. Well I believe I can pass on a few simple truths that can help those choices and decisions be less of a gamble.

Anything done to better yourself is worth the effort. Acquiring more knowledge is always a way to win. Any knowledge gained makes you a better more well rounded person. Even if it's just knowledge about a hobby or an interest totally unrelated to anything else in your life but just something you are interested in. History for example will probably not help you do your job better but knowing where we have been makes it easier to understand how we got to where we are and where we are going. Gaining more knowledge about fitness makes being a recreational athlete more efficient.

Living a better lifestyle is always a winning path. Eating healthy, getting your body moving and giving up harmful addictions will make you a winner every time. The longer you keep at it the better you will feel and the better you can deal with the stresses in your life.

Now back to the heroes I mentioned at the beginning. We all wonder if there is anything after life and if we have earned any reward with our actions. Well much smarter people than I have spent their lives in study of that question. But in my simpler way I have to say if there is a reward for how we live our lives it has a direct connection to how much we helped others. It's never a gamble when you do what your heart tells you is right.

I have been around the helping professions most of my life and have deep respect for those that are there for others when they are needed the most. How much courage does it take to be there. The teacher who walks into that class room every day and takes responsibility for our future generation. The police officer that is racing through the night to respond to a call for help. The fireman who goes into the burning building to rescue someone. The nurse that will never give up while there is the slightest hope.

Next time you cross paths with someone in a helping profession, say thank you. Imagine what life would be like with out those angels.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Skunky Race

I had a race this morning in Franklin Ky. The race was in two parts: The runner's (red #s) started 5 minutes before the walker (black #s) race. Trouble was there were several of the black #s that took off running with the red #s, I didn't stay for the results and awards but I imagine that caused quite a quagmire.

I have a problem with an Achilles tendon with scar tissue. It was still sore from last weeks 5K and it raised it's ugly head after the first mile of this race an I basically race walked with a limp the rest of the race.

Mile one split was 11:09 and that was my best mile, mile to was 23:41 and total time was 37:16, a personal worst.

Now all that being said, my training has been pretty hit and miss. Which is ok for long slower distance races like half and full marathons. But for races where it's full out for 2 to 3 miles you need the speed training to stay competitive. So out of the ashes of this skunky race a new panda Will arise. Like Rocky when he finally gets his head straight and goes for it, the panda will learn from this.

It's time to get my best Grrrrr on and get it done.

Thanks for reading.

Racing Panda

Friday, August 7, 2009

Follow your Heart

Most of us do the best we can everyday. It's just that some days our best is better than on other days. But if we do what our heart tells us is right then everything will come out ok. We will sleep better at night also, secure in the glow that we did do what was right and not what was popular.

I've been on the planet a long time, long enough to know that when you don't do what's right but what's popular the memories of that follow us all the rest of our days. When people need you it often interferes with what other people expect from you. You have to make decisions which has priority. I want to share an experience of mine, of a mistake I made, I followed my sense of obligation instead of my heart.

When I was the supervisor of the flight simulator at Nellis AFB. I was also the committee chairman for the base cub scout pack. I had a very sharp young airman working for me who was getting married soon and wanted to be the best he could be so he would get promoted ahead of schedule to better support his new wife to be. I had been helping him along with his military studies and he had just been chosen airman of the month for the squadron. Well I was leaving the base chapel where I'd been teaching a budgeting class and on my way to the scout meeting when he came up to me on the street with tears in his eyes. He said "Sarge I need to talk". Well I was running late for my scout meeting so I told him, "I have a meeting to go to but when it's over I'll call you". he said ok and walked away.

Well his girlfriend had called off the marriage, his reason for being driven. Well after I blew him off he went back to the dorm and started tearing it up. He even ripped a sink off the wall in the community bathroom. Then took an over dose of a prescription med. We got him to the hospital and he pulled through. But there was nothing I could say to him that would make up for my error of judgement. My explanation and my I'm sorry wasn't enough.

I went away from that experience with a new attitude toward the feelings of others. That is a big reason that my hand is always held out to help another. I have since then gone to collage to get a degree in social psychology and counselling. Then I spent 9 years serving as a first sgt whose job one was helping his troops. I was very very good at it because of what that young airman taught that young sgt many years before.

I don't think, I know that when you act from your heart and do what's right not what's popular you become a better person. You also become a happier person. You are at peace and content with what you have done, not laying awake at night worrying.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Sunday, August 2, 2009


When I retired from the Air Force I accepted a position as the general manager of the largest dating service in the country, Perfect Match. I got the position because they wanted someone with a degree in psychology and counselling Basically what the company did, this was pre Internet, was to match people based on questionnaires they filled out when they joined. They paid as much as $3500 to join, in hopes of finding a person to love them. I had clients from all walks of life, from a female judge, to a male news caster, to strippers, to medical personnel.

I gained a lot of insight about people from that job. Both from the way they viewed them selves and how they viewed each other. I had some long talks with several of the clients to help me accomplish what they had paid to much money for. I learned that looks were higher on the man's shopping list than on women's list of wants. Women were more often looking for a manly man with a kind heart when a man wanted pleasing looks. Yep, guys are guilty as charged there. But an amazing thing happened, if I matched a woman with extra fluff and a great personality with a guy, I got better feed back from the guy than if I matched him up with a little hard body that was not interesting to talk to.

One of the things that both men and women had in common was a desire to be respected. Nearly everyone I talked to was concerned that their dream date would respect them and accept them as they were. I heard that word, respect, a lot when I was having my long talks with clients. A guy who treated his date like a lady got lots of points from the woman. The gal that acted genuinely interested in her date piled up the points as well.

Even though we talk about being modern and high tech and with it and all that, the dream date for both men and women is the old fashioned kind. The girls want to be treated like a princess, opening doors, helping her on with her coat and pulling out her chair for her will make up for a being a little slack in the good looks department. A lady with a personality will beat out the Barbie every time.

When I talked to clients that had been married or in previous relationships I discovered that lack of respect by their partner was a big part of the breakup. So my take on it, respect is a non negotiable factor of a successful relationship, whether it's a friendship or a marriage. I'm willing to bet that an attitude of respect will help with every interaction we have with other people.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda