Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Aging Gracefully’ Category

It’s a Sad Year When You Don’t Learn Something New!

By Nicki On January 1, 2015 No Comments

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My Grandfather always used to say, “It’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new.”  As one who loves to learn, I remind myself of this on a daily basis. I try and learn something new every day.

When we celebrate New Year’s many people are reflective, and I am no exception. Although I am not one who regrets, or wishes I’d done something different (after all, we learn best by our mistakes) reflecting on the New Year allows me to take stock of the things I’ve learned and incorporate them in to my life moving forward. Life lessons equate to wisdom, at least that’s my thinking.

I was recently having dinner with a friend who is about 10 years younger than I. We were talking about the aging process and I shared with her, “My 30’s was still about trying to impress people while making everyone happy yet not having a sense of who I was. When you enter your 40’s there’s this surge of confidence where you begin to realize there’s nothing you can’t do, however, wisdom hasn’t settled in yet, so some decisions are questionable. But when you hit 50, it seems like everything finally comes together. 50 brings confidence without arrogance, security without naivete, compassion without pity, insight without assumptions, experiences without expectations and relationships without conditions.

Last year was a year of new beginnings almost every day. I entered a new position without a clear understanding of what I was getting in to. Each day I learned what needed to be done and I set out to get it done. Each day, I realized that I had a choice to play the blame game, or to figure out what I was going to do to turn the ship around. Each day, I got to know the people around me and learn who was ready to go on this ride with me, or those who opted out. Some days were amazingly rewarding, while others were very, very difficult. Fortunately, I have an incredibly supportive Board and staff who believe in my ability to take the potential of the organization and run with it, without looking back.

So, there’s the conundrum, looking back. After all, isn’t that what the New Year is all about?  Looking back and reflecting?  Well, if you’re looking back to see how far you’ve come as well as lessons learned it’s healthy. If you’re looking back with the attitude of, “shoulda, woulda, coulda”, that will not assist you at all in moving forward. You’ve got to assess and progress.  I look back simply to marvel at what life tosses our way and how, more often than not, we can surprise ourselves with what we’re able to handle. And with the things that aren’t handled well, it’s a learning moment, never a regret. Regrets do nothing more than set a roadblock for self-forgiveness.

With all that said, what did I learn this year? Here’s just a few of the many things I learned.

1. Never assume. Life is full of surprises so hone your flexibility skills and move along.

2. Communication is King. Unfortunately, not everyone communicates the same way so the best way to communicate starts with listening.

3. It’s never too late to change something that isn’t working.

4. Trust your gut, most often it’s right. Especially as you get older. (One of many perks of getting older).

5. It’s not how hard you’re working, it’s how much you accomplish.

6. If you trust someone enough to hire them, trust them enough to get the job done. (That’s under delegation 101)

7. Leadership can be lonely, surround yourself with great people. “Being a leader means finding the right solution, not the easy one.”- Kate Stull

8. Always remind your staff that their ideas and insight matters, they forget.

9. Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

10. Working hard doesn’t always mean working smart. Assess your work and ask yourself, “Does this matter? Is it getting me closer to my vision while aligning with my mission?”

I could go on and on with all of the things I learned, or was reminded of that really matter in life. I suppose, aside from the top 10 things I listed, I have to address the many wonderful people I have met. People are amazing and there’s no better learning opportunity than meeting new people and listening to their story. So I suppose, if you’re not learning, perhaps you’re not listening- bonus tip. 😉

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Here’s to an amazing 2015.

 

Nicki


Don’t Let Good Health Prevent Good Judgement

By Nicki On November 23, 2014 No Comments

db498f33f4d50ec73cdf69af8bb89ba1For those of you that have followed my blog, you know that I have a strong commitment to my health. I eat well (most of the time), exercise as often as I’m able (not as much as I’d like), and I stay focused on the positive. Throughout most of my life, I have experienced few health issues other than pregnancy and delivery and few minor things here and there. However, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a situation where I listened closely to my body and realized it wasn’t happy.

Since starting my job last February, there is no doubt my activity level isn’t where I’d like it to be, but I squeeze in exercise 3x per week. I have held pretty tight to eating well, though many meetings that include eating out make it tough, even if I feel like I’m making the right decision. There’s been stress in my life, recent passing of my Dad and situations at work that come with the territory, but all in all, I feel pretty good. However,  two weeks ago, that all changed.

 

I woke up and found myself nauseous and dizzy. Dizzy spells are not uncommon with me, I blame it on the barometric pressure. But nausea never accompanied my “dizzies”. I sat down in front of my make-up mirror and felt clammy. Not hot flash clammy, heart attack clammy and then I looked at my clock radio and couldn’t read the time. I knew something was wrong. I said to my husband, “Something is not right, something is not right.”  We immediately went to the ER. By the time I got to the hospital and into a room, my speech was all but gone and my body felt like dead weight. I could barely move my legs, arms and head. Panic set in and I knew I was likely experiencing a stroke. My grandfather suffered a stroke in his latter 30’s and part of my commitment to health and fitness was to avoid that scenario, but here I was.  The nurse kept asking me questions and my effort to say one word was the most difficult thing I can recall doing in recent history. And then the thoughts started going through my mind, “I’m never going to walk again. My husband is going to spend the rest of his life taking care of me, and I’m the healthy one!” Every negative scenario ran through my mind. I’ve never been more frightened than I was that morning.

I had a CT scan, MRI, loads of blood work, and on and on and they found nothing. By late afternoon, my speech was back to normal and my strength had returned as well. What happened?  What caused it? The fact that the weakness in my body wasn’t bilateral ruled out a stroke. Ultimately the neurosurgeon called it a, “Seizure phenomenon.”  Hmmm, well that doesn’t tell me much other than they don’t know what caused it. I ran a half marathon two days prior, could it have triggered something?  The stress over the past year, could it be that?  Who knows?

What I do know is that I didn’t ignore symptoms just because I take care of myself. We know that women die more often from heart attacks and strokes because they ignore the symptoms. No matter how healthy you are, listen to your body, pay attention to abnormal feelings and get them checked out.

The one thing that was found was a bump in an artery in the brain scan they want to check out. But I’m also following up with an internist per a suggestion from a friend that isn’t happy with the “phenomenon” diagnosis and thinks I should exhaust all avenues. Likely not a bad idea.

I have always taken pride in how I care for my health, but we know many people that have been as healthy as a horse yet dropped dead of a heart attack or some freak accident. So, was this a life altering experience?  Will I start paying closer attention to my bucket list? Well, yes and no.

1. I don’t do bucket lists because I spend too much time stressing over checking things off!  I’d rather follow what’s in my heart and make it happen.

2. I realize that the stress in our lives is often brought on by assumptions and unrealistic perceived outcomes.  Reduce stress by reducing assumptions and stop trying to write the future.

3. I realize that no matter how healthy I am, the body gets tired and high intense exercise and a strict diet isn’t’ always what’s best for the body or mind,  it needs a break from time to time.  I need to know that taking a walk instead of heading out for a run is fine too and some days better for my mind/body. That gelato, or chocolate that I’ve been avoiding is not the end of the world if I cave in and enjoy. I’ve been teaching for years that moderation is the best way to live. I need to heed my own advice vs. my all or nothing compulsions. images (1)

4. Tell your family you love them every day and try to spend more quality time with them. My kids spent two solid days with me at the hospital. We played games, we reminisced and laughed, a lot. If you haven’t downloaded the app from the Ellen Show, Heads Up, do it today. It’s a blast for all ages.

5. Slow down! Even as I type, I type fast and hard. My personality is somewhat like a bull in a china shop, not always, but more often than not. I push hard and when I have a task to complete, I give at least 100%. I need to learn that slow and steady works sometimes too. Assess situations, and don’t view every task as a crisis that needs immediate handling.

6. Ask for help. Women are the worst at that. I have always been someone that would rather do it all myself, despite the challenges. Heaven forbid I should look weak, right?  Well actually for me it’s not the   case. I’ve been on my own for so long, I just learned to do everything myself.  Life is give and take. I can’t do it all and I shouldn’t expect to do it all (See #2).  Ask for help and offer help, it’s a pretty solid way to live.

7. An attitude of gratitude. I have written in many of my blogs my gratitude for being able to go out and run when I feel like it, or exercise whenever I want because I have full use of my body. How lucky I am. After this recent scare, now more than ever, I am incredibly aware of how grateful I am for the ability to speak (maybe my family doesn’t love that one!), the ability to move without restriction and the strength to do every day tasks without limitation. I’M THE LUCKIEST GAL IN THE WORLD!

Moral of the story: No matter how healthy you are, especially women, never, ever ignore unusual symptoms. Your body is trying to tell you something, LISTEN! There is no guarantee that being healthy means you’re immune from illness or disease. Live every day like it is your last, love with your full heart, be kind to yourself and others and move your body because you can.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Sometimes it’s more about the finish than the win

By Nicki On November 4, 2013 No Comments

IMG_0658About 8 weeks ago I was at a community event and ended up fracturing my toe. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sprawled on the ground spectacle, rather a moment of internal screaming, followed by a variety of stars  and then an out  loud, “Sh@t! That going to leave a mark!” Then I realized something far more serious. I was in the throes of training for a half marathon, I just broke my toe. Double sh@t!

Let’s go back a bit. I never thought myself as competitive. As a kid, I loved letting other people win. Perhaps being the youngest of three girls I figured I didn’t have a chance, so I just gave in.

That all changed when early in my twenties I was at a karaoke contest. You would have thought that the lives if my children were on the line. I was going to win that contest, period. I concluded that my competitive spirit had been stifled far too long and was ready to make up for lost time.

Fast forward, I love winning. Seems silly but nothing makes me happier than winning. Be it a business venture or family card game, I’m in it to win it.

Since running my first marathon more than 10 years ago, every race  I run to win my age category. People in my running circles remind me that it’s about the finish. Internally, I’d roll my eyes and think, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I have written some columns and blogs about respecting my body and honoring its limits as well as its possibilities. But I don’t always heed my own advice, I tend to focus on the possibilities and um, winning. However, fracturing my toe set me back, significantly. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with making up for lost time.

However, this past week I completed my  longest run before tapering  prior to the 1/2 marathon  November 10th. Early in to my run I noticed a young woman (I live on a college campus) walking with two canes. Immediately after that I saw a  young man wheeling down the college walkway in a wheelchair. It hit me. The fact that I can just lace up my running shoes and go run is a gift. I have no limitations. O.K. so a broken toe, really?

I decided to acknowledge my setback and not head in to next week’s event to win (my age group) rather  simply to finish.  Sometimes just finishing the race has to be enough. I’d rather finish pretty than win ugly.2010 Hot Choc Run033

As of today, I’ve trained the best I can. I appreciate that the real win comes in the training and my dedication to finish the run.  As much as I love to win, I suppose getting to the starting line is a win. Finishing is simply the bonus.

Here’s to many brilliant finishes!

Nicki


The Evolution of Exercise

By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments

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Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape.  But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body.  For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.

At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.

So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry,  the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.

1. It’s too time consuming

2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.

3. It’s too hard

4. I don’t get results

5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.

 

Here is my response to the above.

1. It’s too time consuming.  According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job!  Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.”  Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.

2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move. 

3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t.  Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.

4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better.  Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible  results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise.  I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise. IMG_0073

5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health.  Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.

Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.

There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.

Nicki

 

 

 


Don’t let good health trump intelligence

By Nicki On October 17, 2013 4 Comments

colonoscopy

I did it. I finally made an appointment for the dreaded colonoscopy. I know, I know,  the procedure is easy, breezy,  it’s the prep that sucks.  Trust me, I’m not counting the days until I get there.

To be honest,  I could care less about the prep, the taste, the potty runs, I’m struggling more with the fact that I now fit the criteria for getting a colonoscopy. Truth be told, I’m also overdue for my mammogram.

I tell myself all the time, “You’re fine, you’re healthy, no need to get those tests done.” However,  it really doesn’t matter how healthy I am, I need to smart about taking care of my body.  Especially, because I preach all the time about the importance of regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. Screenings are just another piece of the prevention puzzle.

I remember when I had to get my first mammogram. I thought how silly it was  because there is no history of breast cancer is my family. However, statistics show just 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary.  So, I look at these tests the same way I look at insurance.  I hope I never have to use it, but paying the premiums keeps me covered.  With the screenings, I hope I never have breast or colon cancer, but the tests keep me covered.

I do know some people, and I won’t name names that refuse to get either procedure done. They have their reasons and I respect them. However, I don’t care if you are a fitness God or Goddess, there are numerous contributors and triggers to disease.  No one is immune to cancer, it is tenacious and an equal opportunity disease.

So, if you haven’t set up your screenings, it’s never too late. Well, actually it could be so don’t wait, debate or vacillate, set your appointment, get it done.

Once you get it done, and your results are clear, then you have full bragging rights about your health. But until the tests are done, you’ll never know and there is nothing worse than not knowing.

Have you had your screening?

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation)

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


An overdue coversation with my body

By Nicki On October 7, 2013 9 Comments
Everyone's body is different.

Everyone’s body is different.

Me: We need to talk. Let’s have a seat, this conversation is long overdue.

For years you did everything I wanted. You got up every morning without pain or creaks. You ran up and down stairs with little effort. We took an exercise class and you responded with the good kind of sore which prompted me to do it again. At which point you made it very clear,  too much exercise and you don’t get along. I got the message.

For quite some time we worked together liked a fine tuned machine. I did anything I wanted physically and you accommodated.  But all of a sudden you stopped. I found myself questioning activities, wondering if you would come along for the ride or teach me a lesson by making the next day’s simplest of tasks painful.

Provide specifics you ask? Why sure.

I used to run like there was no tomorrow. No discomfort or pain, I just ran. Recently my hips hurt, I get twinges in my knees and well quite frankly, every  morning I wake up it takes a good 10 minutes to work out the stiffness. Honestly, I’m not so sure you get how frustrating this is for me.

Another example. you know how I love to write, I’ve been writing for years. All of a sudden the joints in my hands are sore after too much tapping on my keyboard. Hey, if you want me to give up writing, you’ve got another thing coming. But come on,  a little reprieve would be nice.

Most recently I was out in my garden doing some weeding and there it was, the back pain everyone talks about. I’ve always been good to my back, so why the zinger?  Was it something I said?

So, it seems that if you’ve got a beef with me, now is the time to get it off your chest so we can continue this relationship and feel good about it. O.K. I’m done, now it’s your turn.

Body: Well, I’m not quite sure where to start but let’s start with basics. I think I’ve given you a pretty good ride so far. Despite the periodic abuse during your younger years, you’ve been pretty good to me. But the running, you never should have done that marathon. That pretty much did me in. I can only support you so much before I have to kick in “conserve mode” in order to preserve you for the next 50 years.

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I feel like I’ve been more than fair to you. You still run, you still take stairs 2 at a time, and you’re pretty active. At the halfway point in your life, that’s impressive.

Rather than telling me everything I’m doing wrong, how about a pat on the back for what I do right? I think we have a great understanding. You take care of me, I take care of you, pretty simple.  If there’s aches and pains here and there, get over it, some of my other body friends are in far worse shape. But that comes from the partnership, they don’t have a very good one with their owners. I think we have a pretty good one.

After all these years, we’ve worked well together and I foresee that relationship continuing as long as you keep on respecting what I can do and honoring what I can’t.  All body’s have limits and though I certainly  like to be challenged from time to time, don’t be stupid. I’m the only body you’ve got. Treat me well and I will reciprocate.

Me: I stand corrected. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I look forward to a long, healthy relationship. And most of all, I’m lucky I have you. Thank you.

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 10/7/13)

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


Garanimals for Adults?

By Nicki On September 23, 2013 8 Comments
Princess Kate is that friend.

Princess Kate is that friend.

 

We’ve all got that friend. Or  maybe, you’re that friend. The one that effortlessly puts together outfits no matter what the occasion and always looks fantastic. Whether it’s a quick run to the store, or out for a casual evening with friends, every outfit is fab and flawless. How do they do it?

There is not a single fashion gene in my genetic makeup. Nope, when it comes to fashion, a comfy pair of jeans and t-shirt is my go-to wardrobe. I’ll push the limits and wear it as often as I can.

I have been known to have friends over only to look through my closet and help put outfits together.  When I’m forced to shop, I’m a mannequin shopper. I see what looks cute on a mannequin and I find the pieces and like magic, I’ve got an outfit. However, that doesn’t always work in my favor as mannequins have no boobs, hips, waist or butt.

As fall brings it cool nights and temperate days, I’m thrilled to make the shift from t-shirts to sweatshirts and jeans. Trust me, it’s a wee bit traumatic making that shift, fashion change is tough for me. However, I adore comfort.  At this stage of the game, it’s function over fashion. Did I mention I adore black? ‘Sigh’

I know how to be comfortable, but fashion, not so much.  Even with my workout gear I look boring. I have a friend who always looks adorable. Me, I look like I’m going to work out somewhere in my basement but hey, I’m comfortable.

You know what I would love? If someone would create Garanimals for adults. Remember Garanimals?  It’s a clothing line designed to help Moms mix and match their children’s clothing. Hello? What about adults?

How cool would that be?  Just match up little tags and in no time at all, you’ve got  a wardrobe requiring zero fashion sense, simply the ability to match animals on the tags.

But wait a minute, why not adultify(I don’t think it’s a word, but it makes my point) Garanimals? Instead of animals it could be Garwineables. You match Merlot tags with Merlot tags, Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. Or what about matching region tags with bottles of wine tags. Ooh, I might be on to something. Just remember, you heard it here first!  Not to mention, I could handle that kind of shopping!

How I love black. Easy, timeless.

How I love black. Easy, timeless.

So what about you? Are you the one who can throw anything on and look fabulous? Or like me, are you clinging tight to function over fashion?

If you’re like me, I have found a couple of  fun sites that make shopping, or getting  ideas about fashion manageable, Polyvore, Stich Fix.  If you’ve found others, please share I need all the help I can get.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

 

Nicki


Julie Chen- It’s about the viewers, not your ex-boss

By Nicki On September 19, 2013 2 Comments

julie_chen_plastic_surgery

This past week the cat was let out of the bag, Julie Chen had plastic surgery. Apparently someone had some explaining to do and it seems the  best explanation was racism.

Chen said that getting her eyes done (upon further review, the nose is not the same either, but I digress) was because of a racist comment a prior boss made. According to Chen, here’s how it went down.

Chen: I want to fill in as an anchor.

Ex-boss – “You will never be an anchor. You’re Chinese. You’re not relatable.”

Yes, yes, no doubt it’s a racist comment. But was HE actually racist or was he being blunt? Truth be told, she wasn’t the anchor ideal, but her boss didn’t create the ideal, you know who did? The viewers. Viewership is king. If a television stations loses viewers, someone’s going to get fired.

The hard truth is whether you’re black, white, old, young, wrinkled, whatever, there is an ideal that either makes or breaks a television show.  It is the viewers that have set the precedence.

I think we can all agree that there is a television ideal out there. And to be quite honest I think it has a lot less to do with race and more to do with likeability and the “it” factor. Oprah Winfrey is a great example of that. She is a likeable person, someone you feel you could go out to dinner with and have a blast. You can bet she’s got plenty of stories about racism, but to my knowledge she never had plastic surgery.  Yet she’s been wildly successful.

From a woman’s perspective I believe that once a TV anchor hits a certain age, they’re no longer desired as a key anchor. I’ve watched the change here in Chicago. Men seem to stay until they’re 90 where women rarely if ever hang on to their lead anchor spot much past their early 50′s- if that.

The truth of the matter is that it comes down to cashola. Youth, beauty and sex sells. Therefore, anyone older, not fitting the mold, or not getting ratings is going to get passed over or fired, period. Is that discrimination? Absolutely! But what are we going to do about it?

Well, some like Chen get plastic surgery. Is it wrong? Honestly, I don’t care that she had the surgery I just don’t want to hear that she did it because that was the ONLY way she would be accepted and be successful. There are plenty of people out there, Black, Hispanic, Asian that have made a fantastic career for themselves and likely without surgery.

Here’s the truth, we the people ultimately dictate what sells. So if Julie Chen has a beef with someone, perhaps she ought to stop pointing the finger at her called out racist ex-boss and take it up with viewers. They get the ultimate vote on who stays and who goes. (Reprinted from MoMentumNation.com)

What do you think?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.

Nicki


Exercise- It’s a Privilege Not Punishment

By Nicki On September 1, 2013 12 Comments

 

 

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When I owned my training studio, I would often tell my clients that exercise is not a punishment, it’s a privilege. My clients would give me an odd look as ask, “How’s it a privilege? It’s not fun.”

Well, I suppose it’s all in how you look at it. I am one of those people that takes stair steps two at a time. Every time I reach the top of the stairs I am thankful for the strength, agility and balance to be able to do that. Being active is not only good for your health, it’s also a way of honoring a body that allows us to do so much.

The fact that I  am healthy and able to be active is something I never take for granted. Every time I go out for a run, walk or bike ride I am grateful. I was reminded of this just a couple of days ago when I fractured my toe.

My daughter had just agreed to train with me to do her very first 1/2 marathon. Thrilled at the opportunity to train with my daughter, we set out our training schedule and ran our first 3 mile training session last week. The next day was an off day, so I did a bit of strength training, looking forward to our next training run on Saturday.

However, the running Gods had different plans for me. While out with friends on Friday, the rain slicked up the grass and I banged the crapoli out of my toe on a makeshift walkway. Yes, I saw stars.

I limped back to my crew and was reminded I had to walk about a mile or so back home. I complained the whole way wondering if it was a sprain or actual break. Either way, treatment is simply ice and patience. Ugh.

I woke up to a black and blue foot, discomfort and pain that was not even suited for walking much less running. My daughter had to go out on her own while I stayed at home “resting”. I don’t like to rest, it makes me crabby.

So here I am, 3 days post  injury and wondering how quickly I can get back to running or even walking  pain free. Every day I think about how much I miss my running  and realize that exercise of any kind really is a privilege. And like other things in life, sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

At this point, I’ll cheer my daughter on and kick up my strength training. But I’ll be counting the days until I can get back to my training.  With every step I’ll think about how lucky I am.   180133_10150106878560929_760825928_6127386_1997986_a

Exercise- punishment or privilege, what do you think?

 

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 

 

 

 


If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands!

By Nicki On August 25, 2013 No Comments

Voltaire

This past week I had a very dear friend come and spend a few days. The few days she was here were precious to me. There is truly no greater laughter than between two good friends that know each other so well.

I find that over the years, it is laughter that tends to direct me. Although life certainly has it’s share of tears to hand out, I take on what’s necessary and  rid myself of what is not. Laughter is welcome anytime, anywhere and never gets old. I believe without question that the secret to staying young and healthy comes from laughter.

According to Helpguide.org, laughter has many benefits:

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Just think, when you’re with family and friends enjoying one another’s company and having some great laughs, you’re also improving your health as well as the ones  you’re with. You get what you give!

I have heard people say, “No one is that happy all the time!” I have to disagree. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Each and everyday I choose to be happy.

I also choose to surround myself with people that share happiness and generously pass it on. There are certainly times where happiness in  my life takes a break, but it’s usually a serious life challenge or tragedy that removes my daily dose. However, even with tragedy come insight. With insight comes a sense of purpose and with that comes a better understanding and ultimately happiness.

When my friend and I spent two days together we reminded one another that the best part of hanging out is the great ab workout we get from laughing!  I’m grateful for friends and family that bring laughter so easily into my life. I’m grateful for the ability to choose happiness over sadness. With each new day brings an opportunity  to choose and I choose happiness. You?

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Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki