Category Archives: Fitness

Habitual Snowballs

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Ever noticed how bad habits tend to gravitate to one another? And how there’s a momentum associated with habits in the positive or the negative direction?

This is why, especially if you are struggling in building positive habits, it is a great idea to recognize any positive pattern/habit that you have established and been even moderately disciplined in throughout your life and hone it and build upon it. Then, subsequently you will build momentum and aquire other good habits more easily.

For example, in my life I have always been disciplined in the area of exercise. I was involved in many sports and physical activities most of my life, regular exercise naturally became a part of my routine and thus my life.

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There’s my exercise snowball; rolling downhill picking up speed!😉

I have always struggled in the discipline of organizational skills & time management and I once had a mentor tell me that if I was half as disciplined in this area as I am with exercise I would have great success in this area. She suggested that I apply the same principles just in a different area. Essentially she was simply telling me to develop the habit in my life the same way I had with exercise.

Developing a habit is simply repeating something until it becomes an automatic part of our life that we do without question or conscious decision. Once you make the decision consistently enough, it sticks.

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This was me trying to push my organizational/time management snowball uphill. Ugh😁

I’m happy to say that I am now working on developing small disciplined positive habits in this area and let it roll downhill naturally. No more pushing!! Even if I was a Mario super brother lol!

Another mentor of mine once said it is a wonder that developing the positive habit of flossing is just as tough as quitting the negative habit of smoking. Lol. Seems like a drastic analogy but it we give it truthful thought, we can see how this makes sense. Most of the daily actions we engage in are brought on by habits we create and have become unconscious. We are, in fact, creatures of habit and the trick is to develop our unconscious mind to engage in positive habits we create over time. Our unconscious mind is insanely more powerful and influential of our actions than our conscious mind!

Just like a snowball rolling downhill, habits build upon each other and create great momentum in our life. A ball of negative habits can be likened to an avalanche as they will definitely lead to utter chaos once compiled. However, creating positive habits that build upon each other creates a positive momentum that leads to peaceful functionality, productivity, and ultimately a lot more freedom! Don’t forget that you have to pack that initial little snowball and get the ball rolling!

Slight Edge Your Way to Better Health & Fitness!

In our culture we tend to think it’s all about the quantum leap; an abrupt, extreme change. You know what I’m talking about…it goes something like this: one day when I have…..or, when such and such is over…or as soon as I get a different schedule, more time, different shoes, when the baby is older, etc. The truth is that the perfect circumstances never come and we seem to commonly believe that “one day when” will come and suddenly some big break will happen. It really just isn’t so.

Contrary to these popular beliefs, it is always way more about the little decisions that we make and the little things that we do that all add up to BIG positive results! Real progress and success in anything we do come through a principle coined “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson in his best-selling book. Research and countless examples have proven that little things over time add up!

You may have heard this old Oriental Proverb:

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step!

It’s true!! Then you just keep taking more steps, keep showing up, keep making the positive healthier choices consistently and you will achieve the results you want! Remember the old movie, What About Bob? Baby Steps!!

Little things make a big difference and showing up is often half the battle!

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to get great!

The best part is that your efforts will begin to multiply by an amazing force called momentum. It’s kind of like a domino effect, but in a positive direction! There is a plant called the water hyacinth that has baffled scientists for years with it’s amazing ability to duplicate itself. You find it floating on ponds in warm climates across the world. The crazy mind-boggling thing about this plant is that on day one of the month you may not even notice it, on day 15 it may cover about a square foot, and even on day 29 half the pond is still open water, but on day 30 the entire pond is entirely covered by the Water Hyacinth’s phenomenal ability to double itself and you will not see any water at all!!

So, do not be discouraged when you don’t always physically see the results right away! They are coming I promise! Keep baby-stepping and slight-edging your way to better health with the right decisions consistently over time!

Remember that these little things are usually easy to do, but very easy not to do!

Maximize the time and energy that you do have!

Here are some practical ways that you can put these principles to work:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park further out in the parking lot
  • Make an appointment with yourself 2-5x/week to exercise
  • Get a fitness tracker to track your steps
  • Choose healthier options at meal time, even if it’s just part of the meal
  • Decide before! (In the moment we tend to make more emotional based decisions)
  • Tell Somebody!! (Letting others in on your goals brings accountability and encouragement)
  • Mentally go over your reasons why you are striving for these results every day!

**The Slight Edge principle isn’t just for fitness!! You can apply the slight edge to any endeavor to ensure consistent, lastly success!**

 

Lisa M. Jones

Exercise Physiologist

Certified ACSM Health Fitness Instructor & AFFA Personal Trainer

BS in Exercise Physiology, BS in Coaching

 

 

 

 

 

Stability in Fitness? …..Have a Ball!!

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How is the stability of your fitness? Stability is defined as the state of being stable and is synonymous with security, safety, steadiness, & strength. It implies a foundation of something firm on which to build upon. When we think of the different areas of our life, stability may represent being able to pay our bills and being financially secure or having peaceful, fulfilling relationships and being emotionally secure. What does stability mean in the fitness realm and how often do we hear the importance of it? Too often it is overlooked or mauled over by all the rage of the newest workout routine. Regardless of its popularity, stability is a very important concept and a staple of a solid fitness foundation.

Statistically, up to 80 percent of the population will suffer some type of back issue or injury. Being more informed on the subject of stability, and how it relates to fitness can be a drastic preventative measure of this epidemic when applied. Stability relates to posture, which comes from your spinal cord.  Our spinal cord is dependent on the surrounding muscles that support it. A focus on strengthening the core muscle groups of our body is a foundational principle of fitness. Two of the major muscle groups that play a critical role in supporting the back and spinal cord are the gluteal and abdominal muscles. A great way to work these muscles groups, as well as the back muscles is with the stability ball.

In the past decade, the stability ball has become a very popular tool in the fitness world. Originating as the Swedish ball, it has become a well-known fitness icon in today’s society. A stability ball is a very inexpensive piece of fitness equipment that can easily be used daily, offers a plethora of exercises, and can be mobile. Some suggestions in building the stability ball into your daily routine are:

  • Have a stability ball easily assessable for use in your home. Practice engaging stability promoting muscles by simply sitting on the ball with good posture while at your desk doing office work, watching a movie, or even eating. This will promote balance as well.
  • Purchase a small inflation tool to take with you when you travel so that you can take your stability ball with you and always have a ready to go workout routine wherever you are.
  • Keep it interesting! There are so many exercise options with the stability ball. Check out the chart below to kick start your stability ball exercise library and continue to add to it! Add in some jumping jacks and jump rope in between sets and you have a complete workout for home or on the go!

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&docid=XD7JU3jwos5OUM&tbnid=XolEXPcHFZ35TM:&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffit-fit-and-fit.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F08%2Fcwiczenia-z-pika-gimnastyczna.html&ei=QZwQVP-ANcaIjAKQ8ICICw&bvm=bv.74894050,d.cGE&psig=AFQjCNHTS_tVSDQSXTwnjWRGto9I4nGvlg&ust=1410461043143276

Before engaging in these exercises, ensure the proper positioning of your body on the ball. Make sure to stay tuned for follow up articles on the topics of improving posture, and the importance of building stabilizer muscle focus into your workouts!