I have been working with an older clientele lately and am finding the biggest cause for their body pain all originates from being sedentary. The longer they are sedentary the worse the problems get. Often times they go to multiple doctors for opinions but the answer always ends up as exercise. I wish people understood that exercise doesn’t have to be painful – there are so many varieties and options out there that I truly believe there is something for everyone. I am not saying that it is super easy but you can create a manageable routine.
There are four major components that are important to work on and incorporate into your routine.
1. Muscular Strength – This could range from lifting weights to doing body weight exercises. Both activities are going to increase your strength. The beautiful thing about body weight exercises like squats and push ups are that you can do them anywhere and don’t need to bother with a gym membership.
2. Muscular Endurance – This refers to how long your muscles can maintain their strength for. The more push ups you can do, the more muscular endurance you have. I find this to be the biggest problem as people become more sedentary. They don’t have the endurance to complete activities anymore.
3. Cardiorespiratory Endurance – This is the bodies ability to supply oxygen and remove waste during physical activity. This is generally achieved through activities such as running, swimming or biking. I find when I am working with a client that doesn’t enjoy exercising that Tabata training is a better approach because it only takes four minutes and has been scientifically proven that it is all you need in order to achieve results.
4. Flexibility and Range of Motion – This is your bodies ability to move each joint through its full range of motion and stretch the muscles connecting each joint. This is extremely important as we get older. As muscles get tighter they start to pull on the joints and create imbalances in the body. This is why you see kyphosis and scoliosis get worse with age (hunchbacks and curved spines). Stretching helps create a balance within the body and often relieves pain more than a massage would.
Increasing your activity level doesn’t have to be difficult. You can just start walking every day – that walk may only be to the end of your driveway and back but every single difference makes a difference. I do coaching sessions via skype to help people find a routine that will work for them or you can find a local personal trainer or physical therapist to help you get started. Hiring a professional is more important than you think. Most YouTube videos and magazine articles are catering to people that are in perfect physical condition. “Get Your Bikini Body In Two Weeks” is not tailored to somebody that has never worked out in their life. The most important thing is to start moving in a safe way that works for your body. Every body is very unique, embrace that and find what works for you!
I was doing some research today about gratitude. I know many studies have been done and proven all of the wonderful benefits but I wanted to get up-to-date on the latest research as I haven’t read anything new about it for the last couple years. So, off to google I go – I type in “gratitude journal benefits” and just scan over the top few results before clicking. I read the article and noticed they had many great articles that caught my eye. What was this amazing website? I scroll up to find it is “Greater Good” and am instantly filled with anxiety. This is the website I was on nearly four years ago when I was attacked. I froze – I clicked on another tab immediately not able to stand the sight of having it open on my screen. Then I flashed back and relived the whole night over again. I remained on the couch frozen and wondering how to get these horrible thoughts out of my head as quickly as possible. It seems silly to feel so much anxiety from seeing a website. I vividly remember the aftermath – replaying the attack every time I closed my eyes for weeks, not being able to sleep, constantly trying to figure out what I could have done differently and what lesson I was supposed to learn from it… and I also remember when it shifted and I just became grateful for surviving and getting out alive. So, I continue to sit here in reflection. I still have the occasional nightmare but I thought I had gotten past this and then I realize I have been running ever since I was attacked. In less than four years I have lived in Boston, Miami, San Antonio, Bahamas, Maine, Coconut Creek and Dubai. I have worked countless hours keeping busy to avoid any pain from my past and just keep moving forward trying to help as many people as I can along the way.
I have heard trauma called the silent wound – it lies there silently, deep in the body as a continuous wound that nobody else can see and you never live life the same. We all have traumas – some are little, some are large but regardless of the size they become part of our character. It shapes each of us into who we are today, from the way we interact with people to our mission in life. These wounds can become beautiful scars when we allow ourselves the time to step back, regain perspective and heal. Sometimes the wound is too deep to bear and as scary as it is we have to allow others in to help nurture us. I think certain life events make it difficult to let people in because traumas often reveal that we are all alone or break our trust in others – from the death of a loved one to a divorce/end of a long-term relationship to being attacked – the only person we can depend on for our entire lives is ourself. But I truly believe every person comes into our life for a reason. I think once you can truly allow other people in again is when the healing really begins. We are all in this together and although we have our individual journeys it is important to not only lend a helping hand when you can but to receive the support when you need it.
I don’t believe in coincidences and this came up during a time when I am trying to reflect on the past and make positive changes for the future. I think of what I want for my future, how I can help more people, I am looking at my habits and routines and the beneficial changes I can make, I am looking at my past and the people that have come into my life and lessons I have learned from them. I love hindsight and making the connections about what events occurred to bring me to where I am today. It is soothing for me to know that everything has happened for a reason. But I think I need to work more on digging a little deeper and learning the lessons of my patterns, the type of people that come into my life both good and bad, the habits that hold me back, the errors that I make. I think many times people make the same resolutions and goals repeatedly which is positive thinking, but we need to look at what keeps getting in our way and work on the deeper issues that hold us back from our full potential. Stumbling across this website is a part of my path to help remind me that my pile of self work is a little deeper than I thought. What work do you have in your pile?
Forgiveness is pardoning or overlooking a debt. It begins as a mental disposition but it is truly a disposition of the heart. If we don’t forgive, we are the ones that truly suffer. We must learn to forgive ourselves before we can forgive others. When we sincerely want to become better we will be quicker to have insights that will allow us to forgive on a spiritual level. Remember your mistakes and learn from them but don’t let them get you down. It is like the expression “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” You want to remember the lessons constructively and not destructively. Forgive and forget but learn.
There are many levels of forgiveness including mental, emotional, and spiritual. With mental forgiveness we arrange our thoughts in a way that allow us to forgive but this is extremely superficial. When you forgive on a mental level you will still have feelings of bitterness, it is superficial to just pardon someone. A seed of suffering will still remain deeply planted within us. With emotional forgiveness we arrange our emotions in ways that allow us to forgive. If someone hurts us it is because of the way WE see things. It is usually hurting our pride or our ego – a collection of thoughts we have about ourself. Spiritual forgiveness comes with insight we learn from the experience. It allows us to see the Divine nature of things and our hearts are full of compassion. There is no trace of emnity and forgiveness is real and not superficial. Real forgiveness is very rare; it comes from mercy and compassion. Love others as they are and don’t be a fault finder. Most likely the faults you will see are your own. (It takes one to know one!) When you love others as they are it doesn’t mean that you see their shortcomings and love them anyways, it means that you see them as Divine. Spiritual forgiveness is not instantaneous, it will take much time. The pain we experience when someone hurts us serves a purpose for us and the spiritual insight comes when you look upon the situation.
It is said that if you die and still have not forgiven a person then you will have to work out that karma in the next life. For example, if you die and are angry with you parents, in the next life the roles will be reversed and you will be their parents. When you are drawn to someone there is a karmic lesson waiting for you and it requires work. Most of us don’t like work that much so people don’t get very far and once the infatuation is over they say “bye-bye!”. This causes the karma to remain instead of being worked out.
Practice forgiveness and you will become mentally strong, noble, and slow to anger. Mental strength is the amount of stress we can handle without becoming irritable. Forgiveness is the antidote for anger because it destroys it at the root. You will become slow to anger because you will not be looking for others faults, a trait that can trigger anger. When we ask for forgiveness we are actually trying to ease someone’s anger. Once you forgive, truly forgive so that it cannot be recalled again – there should be no resentment.
I find the more compassion you have, the easier it is forgive. Compassion takes time to develop but like anything else, practice makes perfect! When I awake in the morning I use the following meditation:
As I awake this morning, I smile.
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully present in every moment,
looking on all beings with eyes of compassion.