Women Can Beat the Daily Grind with These Smart Tips

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Guest Blog provided by Jason Lewis https://strongwell.org/

In the relentless hustle of modern life, balancing career demands with personal well-being often feels like a daunting challenge, particularly for working women. This article explores actionable strategies designed to enhance your daily routine, empowering you to not only survive but also flourish both personally and professionally. These methods aim to elevate your overall quality of life, ensuring a harmonious balance between professional success and personal health.

Setting Achievable Milestones

Begin by setting realistic goals for yourself. Whether aiming to complete a project ahead of schedule or planning a small weekend getaway, goals should be attainable and aligned with your capabilities. This approach reduces stress and fosters a sense of accomplishment, which can be incredibly uplifting. Embracing manageable expectations helps maintain motivation and keeps you focused on progressing steadily rather than burning out.

Refresh and Revitalize with Water Fitness

Dive into the refreshing world of water fitness. This invigorating form of exercise not only enhances your physical health but also offers a serene escape from the daily grind. The buoyancy of water reduces strain on joints and muscles, making it a perfect activity for unwinding after a long day. Engaging in water aerobics or swimming laps around the pool can clear your mind and invigorate your body, preparing you for the challenges ahead with renewed energy.

Expanding Horizons through Online Education

If you’re contemplating a career shift or aiming to advance professionally, consider getting a degree in psychology through an online program. This type of degree offers profound insights into cognitive and affective processes, equipping you to effectively support those in need as you build a career that fulfills you. Online degree programs provide the flexibility needed to continue full-time employment while enhancing your qualifications, allowing you to improve your career prospects without compromising your current job responsibilities.

The Power of Positive Speech

Practice positive self-talk. This is about nurturing your inner dialogue to be more compassionate and encouraging. Replace self-criticism or doubt with affirmations and optimistic perspectives. This shift not only enhances your mental resilience but also improves your overall emotional health, paving the way for a more productive and fulfilling work-life experience.

Entrepreneurial Aspirations

For those dreaming of entrepreneurship, becoming your own boss is an exhilarating prospect. Start by drafting a business plan and understanding market needs, then go to the website of an online logo maker to create a distinctive and appealing logo on your own. By selecting a suitable template and customizing it with the right fonts and colors, you can effectively reflect your brand’s ethos, which is crucial in establishing your business’s identity and attracting potential customers.

Learn Forgiveness

Incorporate forgiveness, both towards yourself and others, into your daily life. Letting go of past grievances or self-imposed guilt can dramatically decrease emotional burdens and enhance mental clarity. This liberation from negative past experiences allows you to focus more on present opportunities and future aspirations.

Reflect, Learn, and Grow

Engage in regular self-reflection by dedicating time each week to contemplate your recent experiences, the decisions you’ve made, and their outcomes. This practice aids in learning from past actions and supports making more informed decisions in the future. Enhancing your decision-making process can significantly boost your sense of self-efficacy and overall mental well-being.

Mental Gymnastics

Make time for activities that promote mental stimulation. From solving puzzles to engaging in creative writing, activities that challenge your mind can enhance cognitive functions and lead to greater job performance and personal satisfaction. These activities are essential in keeping your mind sharp and ready to tackle complex problems both at work and in personal endeavors.

Each day presents a new opportunity to enhance your well-being while achieving professional success. By integrating these strategies into your routine, you not only improve your quality of life but also empower yourself to meet career challenges head-on. Embrace these practices to navigate your work-life path with confidence and grace, ensuring you thrive in all aspects of life.

Water Fitness Lessons offers resources to help instructors learn how to manage their own water fitness classes and provide the best possible experience for their students. Get in touch today with questions or comments.

Thanks, Jason.

Author/Instructor Photo
Chris Alexander

Exercise Motivation

Strength Training
Aerobic Exercise

I get it. It’s hard to make time for exercise. You know you should exercise. Maybe your doctor told you to exercise. But you’ve got work projects, and household responsibilities, and maybe kids with all of their activities. And then there’s social media, and Netflix, and you are so tired by the end of the day. It’s easy to postpone exercise until after you’ve made that important business presentation, or after you’ve finished your home repair project, or after your daughter’s soccer season ends.

On the other hand, no one likes to think about becoming frail as they age. According to the Clarity Final Report (2007), the things people fear the most about aging are (1) losing their independence because of poor health, poor memory or an inability to get around, (2) having to move into a nursing home, (3) losing their family and friends, and (4) having to give up driving. Exercise is the prescription for postponing most of these life-altering events indefinitely into the future. This is one reason why the American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training 2-3 times a week and at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise every week. Research has shown that following these guidelines is associated with lower mortality risk.

Strength Training. According to an article in the New York Times, “People Who Do Strength Training Live Longer – and Better” (August 24, 2022) people who take part in strength training sessions 1-2 times a week have a 40% lower mortality risk than those who don’t exercise at all. Muscle strength is required to get out of your chair, to open a jar of pickles, to carry your groceries into the house, to do yardwork and more. We progressively lose muscle mass as we age, but regular strength training prevents the loss of muscle mass and improves both muscular strength and endurance. Building muscle increases the amount of fat-free mass in your body and increases your resting metabolism. Stronger leg muscles protect the joints and make them more stable, which helps reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. Stronger leg muscles also reduce the risk of falls in older adults. Stronger muscles in the back and abdomen allow you to stand up straight and avoid lower back pain as you age. Strength training increases bone mineral density which lowers the risk of osteoporosis, and for those who already have low bone density it helps slow the progression of the disease. Strength training increases glucose metabolism which lowers the risk of diabetes, and for those who are already diabetic, it helps manage glucose levels. Strength training lowers the incidence of many chronic diseases, and improves psychological well-being.

Aerobic Exercise. Aerobic exercise is strength training for your heart. The heart is the most important muscle in the body. It beats 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Regular aerobic exercise increases the ability of the lungs to hold air and strengthens the heart muscle so that it pumps a greater volume of blood with each stroke. Aerobic exercise lowers the resting heart rate. The maximum amount of oxygen your heart can deliver to the working muscles declines as you age, mainly due to physical inactivity and an increase in body fat. Once it declines to a certain level, a person loses functional independence. Poor aerobic fitness is a more accurate predictor of death than risk factors such as hypertension, smoking and diabetes. Aerobic exercise retards this decline. Aerobic exercise also improves insulin sensitivity, helps prevent diabetes, can reduce coronary artery disease risk by 50%, lowers the incidence of colon cancer and breast cancer, can improve balance and prevent falls, preserves bone mineral density, can help the exerciser lose and maintain loss of body fat, lowers blood pressure (if elevated), and can improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Recent research suggests that aerobic exercise is also good for your gut bacteria.

The longer you go without regular exercise, the more likely you are to have dementia. You are also more likely to get diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, all of which may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. There is no time like the present to get started. You do not have to lift heavy weights. In fact more repetitions with lighter weights has been shown to be more effective with older adults. You do not have to start running marathons for your aerobic exercise. Find something you enjoy: a brisk walk in your neighborhood, ride a bicycle, play pickleball, go dancing, join a sports league, swim laps, or take a water fitness class. Check out the Plano Parks & Recreation website or the Parks & Rec website in your city for more options.

See you in the pool!

Author/Instructor Photo
Chris Alexander


Breathing clipart human breathing, Breathing human breathing ...

We usually breathe without thinking about it. It may come as a revelation to learn that there is more than one way to breathe and that how we breathe affects our posture and mobility. There are also a variety of breathing techniques that can be utilized. Most people use a chest-oriented breathing pattern. They take a deep breath by expanding their rib cage. They pull their stomach in and breathe only into their rib cage, lifting it up as they inhale. This type of breathing recruits the chest, neck, shoulder and upper back muscles, which leads to poor posture and chronic tension, which in turn reduces mobility.

The most efficient and effective way to breathe is diaphragmatic or lower abdominal breathing. In the clip art image to the left, the top of the diaphragm is represented by the curving red line at the bottom of the lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing is sometimes referred to as belly breathing. Try placing the edge of your hands alongside the lower rib cage where the red line is and take a breath. If you experience a noticeable lateral expansion of the rib cage, you have taken a diaphragmatic breath. Now exhale by squeezing an imaginary sponge upwards in the stomach. Another way to make sure you are breathing diaphragmatically is to put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. This stimulates your vagus nerve ending, which is involved in the regulation of breathing, and causes diaphragmatic breathing.

Diaphragmatic breathing has many benefits. It decreases blood pressure, decreases stress, decreases heart rate, and decreases pain and pain awareness. It also increases circulation, increases blood flow to the muscles, improves digestion, and improves ability to focus. Combining diaphragmatic breathing with extension exercises in the water is one way to decrease pain. Try walking backward and breathing diaphragmatically, lifting the crown of your head each time you inhale. Next press your shoulder blades down on inhalation. Relax completely during exhalation. Point your thumbs out to externally rotate the shoulders on inhalation and again relax completely during exhalation. For more information on diaphragmatic breathing, see the article written by Ruth Sova, the founder of the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute, “Pain and Our Breathing Patterns” in Akwa June/July 2019 and her article “Aquatic Therapy Implementation” in Research to Practice Newsbytes Vol. 1 No. 2 Find the articles by logging onto the members only section of the AEA website.

The use of diaphragmatic breathing during exercise helps you increase your aerobic capacity, since it increases circulation and blood flow to the muscles. This is important for exercisers wishing to improve or maintain their levels of fitness. Elite athletes wishing to improve their performance may take the extra step of having the maximum amount of oxygen their bodies can utilize during exercise, or VO2 Max, measured in the lab. For more information on VO2 Max, see the article written by Dr. Luis Javier Pena-Hernandez, MD, FCCP in Garage Gym Reviews.

There are also breathing techniques to facilitate a variety of outcomes. The USMD Health System encouraged a 4-7-8 breathing exercise that is proven to help people relax. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds with gusto! Dr. Nick Shroff, a urologist and Yoga teacher in Plano, Texas, did a presentation on breathing at a Yoga festival on June 16, 2022. He also described the 4-7-8 breathing technique, adding that it helps to put your hand on your belly and push the hand out as you inhale (diaphragmatic breathing), then relax the shoulders as you hold your breath, and finally push the belly in and relax the jaw as you exhale. He said it not only relaxes you but it also helps you fall asleep. Pursed lip breathing increases lung capacity. Breath in for 2 seconds, the breathe out for 4 seconds with pursed lips, as if you are blowing out a candle. An intentional breath hold improves fitness, calms the nervous system and decongests the nose. Take a small breath in and exhale a small breath, then hold your breath until the first sign of breath hunger. To make breathing more efficient during rest, close the mouth and inhale through the nose, then open the mouth and exhale as if you are trying to fog a mirror, whispering “ahhh!” Humming Bee breathing increases oxygenation to tissues, soothes the nervous system, and ventilates the sinuses. Inhale through the nose, then do a prolonged exhale with a humming sound. Press your ear flaps with your fingers to focus on the humming vibration. .If someone is hyperventilating, they are quickly taking in oxygen but not exhaling enough CO2. Breathing in a paper bag makes them inhale their exhaled CO2 and restores balance. Finally Dr. Stroff said that observing your breath anchors your mind in the present. (See my blog post on Mindfulness.) Laurie Denomme, the founder of WECoach, an organization that trains and supports water fitness instructors, described a breath optimizing strategy developed by Carl Stough, the founder of the Institute of Breathing Coordination. His strategies were used with emphysema patients and later by Olympic athletes to handle greater workloads. He called one breath strategy “whisper counting.” First inhale, then as you exhale, in a low whisper count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 quickly and as many times as you can until you naturally run out of air. Then take a breath.

I find this fascinating and I’m looking forward to practicing diaphragmatic breathing with my classes. See you in the pool!

Author/Instructor Photo
Chris Alexander

4 Must-Have Apps for Health Conscious Seniors

Thanks to Jason Lewis and https://strongwell.org/ for this guest article on helpful apps for seniors.

Studies have shown that approximately 67 percent of seniors are sedentary for most of the day — a lifestyle that can lead to arthritis, heart disease, depression, and hypertension. Staying health-conscious into your senior years is vitally important, but it can be difficult to know what you should do. Fortunately, technology can offer a myriad of tools to help you take control of your health and wellbeing. Here are just a few must-have apps to help you stay in great shape.

Instant Heart Rate

Your heart rate can tell you so much about your health, but it can be complicated to take your own pulse and figure out what it means. Luckily, Instant Heart Rate makes it easy. This app uses your phone’s camera to measure your heart rate and provides you with information as to what healthy heart rates look like for someone in your age group. Instant Heart Rate also allows you to perform a stress test by measuring your heart rate as you stand; if you keep regular track of your heart rate, you can bring the results to your doctor to provide him with more long-term information about your health.

Map My Walk

This excellent fitness tracker uses GPS to track the distances you walk. It provides you with suggestions for routes you might enjoy, and gives details about calories burned, how fast you went, and the elevation of your walks. You can use the app to set exercise goals for yourself and keep track of your progress. And if you prefer other sports, don’t worry — while it’s called Map My Walk, this app actually allows you to track your progress in over 600 different activities, making it an incredibly versatile option. If you prefer to exercise in the pool to stay fit, there are also apps available to measure your output and track your progression, such as Polar Flow which connects to the waterproof Polar M430 fitness tracker.

Glucose – Blood Sugar Tracker

Perfect for anyone who needs to keep track of their blood sugar for health reasons, Glucose is a simple-to-use app. It lets you track your weight, ketones, A1C, insulin, and blood pressure, and creates clear graphs to help you visualize your long term health trends. The app also keeps track of what time it is when you check your blood sugar, giving you one less thing to remember. And to make things even simpler, you can export your reports to show your doctor if need be.

What’s Covered by Medicare

Insurance can be incredibly confusing. Luckily, in 2019 Medicare launched an app called “What’s Covered,” designed to quickly tell you whether a procedure is covered under your insurance. The What’s Covered app is a great way to simplify your plan so that you know exactly what you’ll be getting and won’t have to deal with any nasty surprises.

Online Resources

Be sure to take advantage of some online resources as well. For example, if you need to downsize to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can visit home-listing sites like Zillow and Trulia to help refine your search for a new home. If you require some extra support and need help finding an assisted living or nursing facility, sites like SeniorCare.com can help you explore your options. For example, they have detailed facility information, reviews, and cost data on 39 Dallas-area nursing homes.

The Importance of Technology

While the plethora of apps and fitness trackers can be overwhelming, many of them offer the perfect way to easily keep track of your health and ensure your ongoing wellbeing. But if you find that your phone is outdated and unable to run the apps you want, it may be time for an upgrade. Newer-model phones offer extended battery life, incredible graphics, and intelligent Wi-Fi that lets you connect more quickly no matter where you are. 

Whatever phone you use, remember that it’s a tool for you to utilize; finding all the best apps will let you fully take advantage of technology’s capabilities while staying happy and healthy.

See you in the pool!

Author/Instructor Photo
Chris Alexander

Effective Self-Care Techniques You May Not Have Considered Before

Photo Credit Pexels

This guest Blog Post was written by Cheryl Conklin. Check out her site at https://wellnesscentral.info/

Self-care is all the rage. No matter where you look, there’s someone posting about their favorite bath bomb or face mask or posting pics of their morning’s green smoothie. Although these are perfectly legitimate forms of self-care, they’re not effective for everyone. Some people won’t get as much out of a warm bath as they will out of re-organizing their pantry, for example.

Figuring out the self-care techniques that work for you and your lifestyle is essential for creating a happier, healthier life for yourself. Water Fitness Lessons wants to give you the tools you need to build the best habits. To start, it’s always important to make sure you’re exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. Here’s a look at a few more effective forms of self-care that many people don’t think of when planning healthy routines for themselves.

Assess Your Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and there are even good forms of stress. However, too much stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. Stress reduction is a great form of self-care, and it can be simple to implement. For starters, gauge where most of your stress comes from. Is it taking care of your family? Is it the frustration of a supervisory role at work? Are you overextending yourself by agreeing to everything all the time? These are the first places to look.

Once you identify your biggest stressors, look for ways to mitigate their effects. At work, look to delegate tasks to your staff, or look into courses for more effective management techniques. If it’s family, ask your partner to take a larger share of responsibilities, or enlist your children to tackle chores and tasks that take up your time. Saying no will likely be the hardest but learning to say no will pay off down the road. Start small, then try it again. You don’t have to be available to everyone all the time.

Assess Your Budget

Few people would list budgeting at the top of their list of self-care techniques, but it’s a shockingly important form of taking care of yourself and your household. Finances cause more stress than you might realize, notes the American Psychological Association. When money is tight, you have to spend a lot of time and mental energy figuring out how to make ends meet. Good budgeting can help make sure your money stretches far enough to survive and thrive with long-term goals.

If you look at your monthly expenses and find that your monthly expenses are too high, there are several steps you can take. If you own a home, you can investigate refinancing to see if you can get a better rate (and a lower monthly payment) on your home loan. You can also save money by trying to cut back on restaurant visits and cooking more at home, or by buying items you use regularly in bulk to save on price per unit.

Schedule Alone Time

If you live with family, roommates, or any other household situation, you might need to consider working alone time into your schedule. Many people who live with others don’t really get to spend much if any time alone. Although having a strong social network is good for you, most of us need to have some time to ourselves to rest, recharge and relax. Without it, we can start to feel like we’re always “on” in a sense.

There are many great ways to enjoy some alone time. For example, you can pair your solitude with a walk around the neighborhood, going for a swim or an online exercise video. You can enjoy an exciting book or indulge in a favorite hobby. It’s usually best to pick something you can’t easily do with others, or something you know you’d especially enjoy tackling solo. This way you’re getting the most out of your time.

Get Outside

Finally, many of us spend nearly all our time indoors. This means we miss out on the myriad benefits you receive when spending time outside. Sunlight and fresh air are absolutely invaluable when it comes to health and wellbeing. Most directly, sunlight allows our bodies to produce Vitamin D, a vital nutrient that helps our body do everything from fight infection to regulate mood. More time outside can help you feel happier, more energized, and ready to take on the world.

This is just the start of the benefits of getting outside. According to Harvard Medical School, people who spend more time outdoors tend to be more active, have healthier habits over all, and may even live longer. Consider going on a hike or visiting a nearby park a few times a week. You can also look into creating a relaxing outdoor space on your property or get into an outdoor hobby like gardening.

Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be photogenic or glamorous — it needs to be effective. Search for the healthy habits and self-care techniques that suit your needs, passions, and lifestyle. In doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance at sticking with them and fostering real, long-term change.

See you in the pool!

Author/Instructor Photo

Chris Alexander