Staying Healthy

Health

“Stay out of the rain or you’ll catch a cold.” Okay. Rain doesn’t cause a cold, a virus does. Whoever is telling you to stay out of the rain at least has good intentions even if their medical acumen is a little lacking. We want to add out good intentions too. Even though you can catch a cold or the flu anytime, more cases seem to develop starting in October and tapering off in March. Check out the CDC’s website for more on that.  We want to share a few things to help you stay healthy. Not only tips on how to help stay healthy but also why it is so important to put effort into staying healthy.

Importance of Staying Healthy

There are a lot of quotes out there about the importance of good health. Most of them boil down to optimizing tools to create the best life possible, your body is one of those tools. There are comparisons to musical instruments and other machines not running well if not taken care of. Our bodies are the same. Comparing the body to an automobile is another popular correlation – if you never change the oil in your car it will not last very long. If you don’t take care of your body, it will not last very long either.

Tissues for When you Catch a ColdIn addition to longevity, quality of your life tends to be better when you are healthier. Have you ever woken up sick and still have to pull yourself together to go to work or school? It’s much easier to get up and be excited about the day ahead when you aren’t coughing and sneezing. If you are a parent or someone who others depend on, when you are sick it is harder to be patient with your charges. You do not think as clearly sick as you do when you are healthy. Your alertness and reaction time are also slower. That could become a critical issue if you are driving. Your body is more tired and less hydrated, so you need more quality sleep and more water.

Being sick is excessively inconvenient.

Maintenance for Staying Healthy

How you choose to live can help you stay healthy. Diet and exercise are two of the biggest things you have control over.

Jogger
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You don’t have to spend an hour a day in the gym to get some exercise. But you do have to put a little effort into your body. Google Daily Exercise and see what comes up. There are suggestion all over the web for people of various different physical conditions and available time. See what works for you and remember to start small. Smaller attainable goals are easier to build on.

Diet can help you or hurt you. If all you eat are Big Macs and soda, you are not helping yourself.  A balanced diet helps your body be stronger run more efficiently than a lopsided diet full of sugar and preservatives.

Healthy Food
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The CDC and NHS have some helpful guidelines to get people on track toward healthy diets. As you consider which ways to make your diet help you, remember to include water. We talk about it a lot but hydrating is really important. Being properly hydrated helps make your entire body operate better.

In addition to diet and exercise, there is another major area of influence you have about staying healthy. This one is harder to measure. It is your attitude. Just like being a key to successfully achieving your goals, your attitude is key in staying healthy. There is a very interesting article about research done by Duke University regarding 3,000 heart patients and their attitude about their health. The short version is that those with a positive attitude were out living those with a negative attitude. Here is the link to the article. You have heard the phrase mind over matter – by staying positive you are more likely to generate positive results.

ExerciseOur last tip is to find an outlet for your stress. It goes along with staying positive. No one is stress free but we have found that people who manage their stress have happier healthier lives than those who do not. Exercise is a great outlet for it. Then you are getting a kind of two for one on the staying healthy meter. You are exercising and de-stressing. Not to boast too much, but we have to say that Martial Arts is a great way to let go of that stress and to get exercise. (Feel free to schedule a trial class whenever you are ready).

 

 

Cold & Flu Season

No one can give you a way to never be sick again. People average three colds a year. You may not be able to avoid any of them but there are things that you can do to keep their interference in your life to a minimum. When you feel the cold coming on, take action. Do not wait until it takes hold of you before you do something about it.

  • Stay hydrated. When you do not drink enough water your body’s normal processes struggle. When you are ill, if you do not keep up on fluid intake you become dehydrated and it can prolong your illness.
  • Get plenty of rest. When you are run down it is easier for a virus to take hold of your body. Get some sleep.
  • Eat. But not junk. Orange juice and chicken soup may not prevent a cold, but they do seem to help shorten the recovery time when you get one. Hot tea and honey help too. Some of these sound like old wives tales but they can work. Try them.

Remember Cold and Flu Season is almost here, be prepared.

Take Care and Be Safe

Life is Full of Competition

Competition

There are a number of articles debating that life is a competition or it is not. Maybe that is too harsh a line to draw – it is a competition or it is not? A more accurate statement might be that life is full of competition. If there is ever anything significant that you want, be prepared to compete for it. “Significant” is an important detail. While learning to compete, it is important that you do not make every single thing a competition. Let the unimportant things go – you do not actually need to be first in line at every store you go to, you don’t need to race the car next to you up to that red light, and you don’t have to beat your friends at every video game match you play. While learning to compete, you need to learn what to compete for and what to let go.

Competition in Life

What do you compete for? What is important to you? Are you the first one on the lunch line so you can get the table you want in the cafeteria? Or are you more focused on bigger things? Things like getting the part in the school play, earning first chair in the orchestra, or getting a spot on the team. What we compete for grows with us as we age. Have you ever watched toddlers play together? At some point they will want the same toy – competition on. When we go to school opportunities for competition flourish. Setting aside being first in line or being the teacher’s favorite there is still getting the best grades, your place in social hierarchy, plays, bands, sports, and social clubs. You can finish school but you will not be finished competing. There is still a social hierarchy wherever you go and somewhere in the course of all this competing we add dating. You have other things life altering things to obtain as well. Things like a good job, financial security, and a place to live.

How do you prepare?

First, choose your battles. You can accomplish many many things but probably not everything and certainly not everything all once. Unlike what some of us dream of being as child, the percentage of Astronaut-Doctor-Firefighter-Cowboys out there in the job market is pretty low. So choose. You do not have to choose just one thing, but you will be more successful if you do not choose everything all at once. For example, financial security may be easier to obtain if you focus on getting a good job first.

Pouty Child
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Second, learn how to lose. That sounds counter to what we usually hear. We are frequently taught that competition is all about winning. However understanding how tolose without allowing losing to erode your self esteem or break your healthy attitude can set the groundwork for lifelong success. Whenever there is competition there is a winner. Most of the time there is also a loser. Just because you want something and try for it does not mean you will get it. What do you do when you don’t get it. Do you accuse your competitor of cheating and malign them on Facebook before you go to your room and pout? Or do you try again?

Of course there is also actual learning and refining skills for what you plan to compete in. If you want to win getting a job, make sure you are qualified for it and practice interviewing. If you want a place on the team, practice your sport so you are good at it. There are many details you can get into once you decide what you want to compete for.

Handshake
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Other than specific detailed preparation for what you choose to do, the other thing to learn is how to win. At first glance that may sound ridiculous. Doesn’t everyone already know that. It is what you are trying to do and it feels good. Who doesn’t know how to win? Some people get caught in a cycle of fearing failure that they sabotage their efforts to win. They worry so much that they will not succeed that the worry takes over and the failure becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Some people need to learn to be okay with being happy and successful.

There is another side to learning to win. Learn to be gracious. Watch very young children sometime. The toddlers competing for that toy for example. Have you noticed what happens when one of them gets it? The victorious child smiles and is very happy. Frequently the other child bursts into tears. Sometimes the child who won, will taunt the child who lost. This is where learning to win comes in. Taunting the losing side is not necessary. That can be you next time. Winning is great, but because you win once it does not guarantee that you will win all the time, or even next time.

Sports

One of the best ways to prepare to compete in life is by participating in sports.

Most of the skills you need to navigate life’s competitions are found in sports. Sports have matches, meets, bouts, or games all the time. You have a chance to practice preparing, winning, losing, and just participating in something. You have a chance to earn your place on the team. If you do not get the one you want, you have a chance to figure out what to improve in your play so you have a better chance to get that place next time or even later in the season. Sports, when done well, will help you learn how to try, how to work through the moments when you want to quit, how to start over and try again when things do not go your way.

Trying and working through challenges helps prepare you mentally. Because of their nature, sports will help prepare you physically. To excel in sports, you have to put some effort into your physical condition. Keeping your body in good condition helps you in everything you do.

 

AchieveNot every sport is for every person. Part of the reason we have so many sports is so everyone can find ones that they enjoy. If you do not like the idea of touching another person, wrestling probably is not for you – but maybe tennis is. If you don’t like playing outside you might like basketball or swimming instead of baseball.

We like a lot of different sports but we are a little bias toward martial arts. We see in it the best parts of all the other sports plus many other benefits. If you are looking for your sport or trying to find something for your child come in and check things out.

Tale Care and Be Safe

Stay with your routine

Staying active in your summer break may be the best thing you can do for yourself. It might be the best thing for your kids too. Continuing to be part of your normal community through summer may allow you to make the progress you want. Stay with your routine.

Summer Vacation Misconceptions

For a long time people believed and propagated the myth that our schools have summer break because we have, or had, a farm based economy. If children were needed on the farm, it would be for spring planting and fall harvest wouldn’t it? Actually there used to be a break for just those reasons and not the extended summer one we have today.  The school year in some cities were as many as 260 days.

More accurate reasons the current summer break schedule is the way it is have more to do with summer heat. In cities, buildings coming together create an oven and amplify the existing heat. When you are in a brick building all day with no air conditioning the heat is too much. Another reason is that more affluent people started taking trips or moving away from the city in the summer months. The middle class followed their lead. Dismissing school for the summer made it more convenient.

The importance of a break

Beach with Birds
image by Phil_Bird courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

It is important to have a break. How much break is too much? Three days may not be enough time to get some rest and refresh your routine. Almost three months seems like it is too long. At that point it takes another month or more to get back into what you were doing before your break.

How long do you need? Like everything, the answer to that depends a lot on you. There are experts doing studies and working on a number, but really, how you need to recharge will depend on you. Who you are, how you are wired, what you like, what your family situation is, and how creative you are.

Some generalizations can be made. When a student leaves school at the end May they are at a certain proficiency level. Most of them will have back slid, or be at a lower level when they return to school at the end of August. They will spend at least part of September catching back up to the level they were in May.

The importance of a staying at it

School systems have been debating changing the school calendar year for quite a while. While they continue to do that, you can choose to do things that make your break give you what you need. Avoid that back slide whether you are k-12, in college, or at a job.

The NY Times has a good post on why not to take a break between college and that first job. The final point of the article is about getting experience. They suggest if you do not find a job, make one up. Basically they say to do something instead of nothing.

Success Steps
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Nothing comes from nothing has been said for a long time and it is still right. We all benefit from some structure. How much depends on you. Stay with your routine. Or at least most part of it. Staying with part of your normal routine over the summer will give you more benefits in the long term than doing relatively nothing for a few months.

Summer is a chance to get ahead. Instead of that back slide, stay with what you are doing. Continue to learn more about what you have been doing or start learning about something new. You have a routine for a reason, it should help you. Stick with it. If you need to mix it up, then do that. Play some games, try out new things, visit new places, but keep doing.

Stay with your routine

For some people, summer break becomes a time when they wholly retreat from normal life, stop seeing their “daily” friends, and disappear from their communities. That seems excessive. Stay with your routine, but take the time to make some adjustments and make it better.

Take Care and Be Safe

Self Control, Choose Your Reaction

Choice with Magnifying Glass

Gandhi said our greatness lies in being able to change ourselves, not the world. We are paraphrasing, but you see where that is going. Self Control. You control what you do and what you say. You may not be able to change or control the whole world, maybe you can only change and control yourself. Excellent advice from a guy who did change the world. You control what you choose to do.

Impulses

We all have some reactions we can not control. If you drop a hammer on your bare foot chances are high that you will recoil from you stood and make some strong verbal exclamations. The same is probably true if you slam your finger in the car door or touch a hot stove. Controlling your reaction to those instances is really not what we are talking about – though some people can do it. We are talking about more everyday common occurrences.

Same and Change Street Sign
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When your coach ask you to run one more lap, what do you do? Sure, you run, but what is your reaction to being asked for more? Do you and smile and pick up your pace a little or do you sulk and roll your eyes? What do you do when your boss asks you to revise that report, for the third time? You say okay and then go complain to your coworkers or do you say okay and ask some questions to help make the report better, and then go do it? When it’s time to go outside for recess or the game or whatever you wanted to do, and it suddenly starts to rain – what do you do? Does the gloom invade your day or do you choose to find something to do indoors?

How fast can you change your disappointment with the weather? Can you stop yourself from being disappointed with it at all? When you have to duplicate your work do you focus on the fact that you have to do it again, or on the fact that you have an opportunity to make it better? When you are tired and someone asks you for one more thing do you grouse about it, do you suck it up and do it, or do have the ability to accept it as something that is not negative at all? Can you develop that ability?

There will always be impulses and reactions that you default to naturally. Things that “just come out”. But you have choices. There a moment before that reaction comes out, can you use to change it to change your reaction? Can you practice having a different reaction?

Self Control

The self control that seems to be most commonly discussed is about children and teenagers. Are they being disruptive or are they behaving themselves? Can they wait in line without causing a commotion? Can they stay in their desk during their school lesson? All of these are examples of self control, but many of them are learned skills.

After school or post-high school training is over and you are “Out in the real world” what is self control then? Do you continue to learn self control skills? Some people stop thinking about their own behavior as they become adults. Not everyone, but enough people do this that it is noticeable.

Is there someone at work who insists on interjecting themself in your conversation with another coworker? That would be okay if they have something useful to say. But instead everything they say is aimed at making themselves the center of attention. Whether it is adding in barely related facts to make himself look smart or jokes to make himself seem funny, he is putting his need for attention ahead of everything else that is occurring at that moment. He is showing a lack a self control.

Man with Angel and Devil on Shoulder
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What do you do when you are in a conversation and those around you are telling you things you do not want to hear? Is your immediate reaction, inside your head, to get defensive and argue with them. Do you do follow that or do you choose to react with something potentially better for everyone?

Self Awareness

Before you can make a distinction on how to choose your reaction, you have to have some self awareness. You may laugh, but not everyone has it. Not everyone can look in the mirror and come close to seeing themselves as they are – a flawed human being. We all are. Sometimes, for some people, ego blocks the view.

This is probably particularly difficult for some parents. You want to be a good example for your child, and you want to protect them. Those are good things, but sometimes they evolve into bad habits. Some parents start to believe they have to be right all the time to be that good example. This leads to that ego problem. The need to be right over shadows facts. Eventually they lose sight of being a good example, and just know that no matter what they are right and everyone else, including the child, is wrong.

Some people just need to be right all the time because it is the only way they can validate their self worth. Instead of focusing on the good things they can do or the positive ways they can contribute to a group, they put up a facade as the person who knows it all and is never wrong.

To have the self control to choose your reaction, you must understand where you might be part of the problem within a conflict. You must understand that there are issues choices beyond the first thing that comes into your mind. There are other points of view that are valid and worth consideration.

Choose Your Reaction

The conversation example, where people tell you things you do not want to hear,  is a good example because there can be some distinctly different outcomes. If your coworkers are telling you things you do not want to hear they must think the topic is important enough to possibly introduce some conflict. What do you do? Do you get defensive or do you listen to what they have to say?

Do you make your side of the conversation about you being right or do you put thath reaction on hold, and patiently let the others speak. Are you respectful and listen to what the others have to say? Is your mind open to the possibility that what they are saying are genuine concerns that can be addressed and resolved as a group, or do you make it all about your ego?

There can be hundreds of examples. Your teenager failed math, do you yell at him and ground him or do you talk to him about it. Not just the fact that he failed math, but why? Do you get frustrated when he says “I don’t know” or do you stay with it and help him figure out what the real problem is?

You have a new boyfriend and you are happy with him. You get a little nervous when he asks you to stop spending so much time with your friends that do not like him. What do you do? Do you give in to the nervousness and do what he wants because you are afraid he will break up with you or do you choose a healthier reaction? What does he really need? Does he need to control who your friends are (if that’s the case you are probably better off without him) or does he need to feel a little more secure in your relationship?

There are choices everywhere

Making choices is part of growing and maturing. Choosing your reaction to things happening around you is the next level of self control. It is part of what makes you an adult, rather than just someone who is getting older. The next time you are about to get upset at something someone said or before you jump into someone else’s conversation, pause for a moment. Consider what you are choosing to say and do. Consider whether or not what you are about to do is the best thing for you and the people around you. Is there a better choice? You may find that you have more options that you initially realized.

Take Care and Be Safe

Get Busy, Get Moving

Get Moving Practice Escapes

April is here, so even in Ohio we are bound to see some nice weather. It is time to get moving. Sometimes we as twenty-first century humans get caught up in our to do lists with work and kids and running from place to place and we forget to take care of ourselves. Have you ever taken a walk through your neighborhood and just felt better after you got home? Some days a walk is all you need to reset and feel a little better. Some days you need more.

How will you get moving?

Walking is a great place to start to get moving. If you want to feel even better, move more. Summer league team sports are good for some people. Others prefer more individual activity. Some people like to run. It helps them clear their minds. Others enjoy biking and the distances that can it take them.

Kids Need to Get Moving Too

This may sound a little bias coming from us, and it probably is, but Martial Arts is a great activity for people who want some of the team feeling and some of the individual focus.

You will get moving in a Martial Arts class. You can not help it. When an instructor is leading an activity you do it. That is why you are there. It is harder to stop and slack off when you have someone giving you direction. When you work with a partner, you have to get moving and keep moving. It is not only your time that you are using, it is also theirs. When you practice with a partner, you help each other grow and develop. That part feels more like a team activity.

Get some help to get moving

If you think you need a little help to get moving, get some. In a martial arts class you have an instructor to help you know what to do and how far to push yourself. You have your partner that you work with for that class to help you. You also have the other students in the class. Even though they may not be your partner that day, other students are typically very helpful when you have a question or need help with something.

Get Moving Practice Kicking Over Belts
Time To Get Moving

Some people need help to stay active. They are okay to start but eventually get they distracted, or think they can not go any further, or become unsure what to do next. Martial Arts can help eliminate some of those challenges. Instructors and other students in class create a supportive environment that helps everyone in the class grow and develop.

We are speaking from our experiences here at our dojo. Not every martial arts school is the same. If you need an activity to help you get moving martial arts is a great choice. Make sure you find a school where you are comfortable. You are welcome to check out a class. We offer a free introductory classes, all you need to do is register. If you have any questions please contact us.

As always, Take Care and  Be Safe.