Sharon's Pontifications
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Summer Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 2
In This Issue
My New Blog: Operation Hawaii Beach Bod
Old Age Ain't No Place for Sissies
Digital Distractions - Is Social Media Bad for Our Health?
Realistic Resolutions: Summer Check-In
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Summer is in full swing, barbeques, outdoor parties, and all the wonderful activities we have been waiting for all winter/spring. Plan a summer vacation with activities in mind. There are hundreds of places that include hiking, and walking trails. Now is the time to take advantage of the beautiful area we live in. 

We also enjoy more energy at this time of year, due to the extra light. Our melatonin does not kick in until after the sun goes down. Our metabolic rates are elevated, which means our hair/nails grow faster, and yes, we lose weight easier. Use the season wisely, and it can work for you. Get out of the air conditioning and have fun.

In Health and Happiness,

My New Blog: Operation Hawaii Beach Bod
Sharon in a boat

Yes, that's me basking in the sun! Hawaii Beach Bod,part of my blog, will be a quick analysis of my trials and tribulations in getting in Waikiki shape. I will be sharing secrets on how to drop pounds fast. . . no not really, but I had you going, didn't I. Anyone who knows me also knows that I'm not a fan of fad diets and exercise programs. 


Just so you know, you can now be notified by email when I post to my blog. To sign up, go to LEF Blog. There will be new things posted all the time.


I'll be sure to create a title that will help you to quickly decide if you want to read it. You can also follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Happy Reading! 

"Old Age Ain't No Place for Sissies"  
Pills elderlyThat quote was printed on a magnet on my parents' refrigerator. Some sources credit actress Bette Davis and journalist Henry Louis Mencken for saying it. In any case, whenever I would read it, I would think: what is it supposed to mean? If I'm fit and healthy, I can feel good even in my golden years. Right?

Wrong! As we age, things happen. . . sometimes beyond our control. We're all going to go through it, whether it hits us at age 40, 50, 60, or so on. Trust me: our joints are going to ache. Also our muscles will tighten, and they won't regenerate as quickly. Not that we help matters by insisting on participating in the newest health crazes, like CrossFit, P90X, and Insanity (isn't that the most appropriate name for it). The truth is, until someone finds the fountain of youth, we're going to age no matter what. We can choose to age with grace. . . hence "old age ain't no place for sissies," or we can fool ourselves and buy hook, line, and sinker into what the media feeds us.

Now more than ever, the media's message is we can have it all. But the rise of obesity, diabetes and other diseases, as well as orthopedic surgeries, tells us a different story. It tells us our health is declining. We all need to get on board with aging gracefully (healthfully) with courage.
"Old age ain't no place for sissies" means to take charge of your health. It takes courage to think about your daily choices and ask yourself, is this the best I can do? Am I making choices that will keep me as healthy and functional now as in the future? Here are some choices to consider:
Get adequate sleep. I know, I know, I keep harping on this, but maybe because it is the magic pill...the one no one will take. Try to sleep 8 to 10 hours a night. . . best if done between 9 pm and 7 am.
Remain active. The media tells us our level of activity should be at least 150 minutes a week. This might sound like a lot, but it's doable. Every time you walk, stand, or just get up and move around, it counts. In fact, all activity counts for something (except visiting Facebook or watching TV). Even housework counts. . . if done quickly. Ask anyone who doesn't have a maid. You should know that housework needs to have a strength portion and a cardio portion. If you don't know the difference, call me.
Stretch daily. It's important to stay flexible. The aging process tends to make our bodies more difficult to recover. Our muscles and joints don't bounce back after abuse like they used to. Unfortunately, no one told our ego that. Small repetitive movements like texting, or even sitting for a long time (back to Facebook and TV) can shorten our muscles. A short all-over stretching routine that can be done daily with a focus on the tightest areas can stave off a whole host of problems.
Eat the right foods. Proper nutrition is huge, a real biggie! Think about it, if you don't eat right, how can your body repair itself? Cellular damage is one of the main reasons we age; our body cannot repair itself as quickly as it used to. It takes more time to recover and we, as an immediate gratification society, just consume a lot of energy drinks and keep going. Eating the right foods at the right time will at least give your body the energy and building blocks to properly regenerate cells. It does take a little planning and thought, but isn't it worth it?
Set aside time to recharge. Speaking of recovering and  regenerating cells, what do you do to tackle this one? Sleep can count for some, but how many times a day does your phone go off, the email noise dings on the computer, or a text comes in? Now look at how many times a day you take a deep slow breath or daydream for 5 minutes. It's nice not having to worry about how much you have to do! For 1 month, I offered a decompress class free of charge. Yes, free, and only two people ever attended. I commend them for it. We all need to decompress from all the information that is thrown at us daily. Information overload is a form of stress, and nothing ages us more than stress. Look at the before and after pictures of past presidents!

So take stock of your aging process. . . even if you are still young. Are you going to be a sissy and just get by? Or are you going to be heroic and face it head on?
Digital Distractions: Is Social Media Bad for Our Health?
digitial distraction

Social media, FaceBook, Twitter, hash tag, et cetera. . .  Before I start, I have one question: what was on poet Geoffrey Chaucer's mind when he created the name, Twitter? I mean really, it has the word "twit" in it! And let's take a closer look at hash tag: is there anything positive about "hash?" Or maybe that was the point? 


Now that I'm off my soapbox (you know I had to rant), look at the picture on the left. It's funny, but it's true. We spend more time using social media than ever before. Studies show that 87% of us own a cell phone: 45% of us have a Smartphone, and the rest of us are waiting for our contract to expire so we can get one (Smith 2013). So what's the big deal? Everybody is doing it, so it must be okay.


It's okay if you think that addiction is okay. Your brain releases dopamine each time you receive a voice mail, email, or text message (Richtel 2010a). Dopamine is a chemical that sends a signal between nerve cells in your brain. It's released when something good happens like receiving an email notice that your favorite trainer (ahem. . .) posted to her blog, or when using certain drugs like cocaine, amphetamine, or methamphetamine. (I guess that's why they have "mine" on the end of their names.)  Guess what else releases dopamine? You're right if you guessed social media, hence addiction can set in. . . all because you want to keep up with your 700 friends on Facebook!


Even if you are not addicted to social media (take the test at the bottom to be sure), it can take a toll on your brain. And I'm not suggesting brain cancer. Research confirms that social media increases stress, anxiety, and depression. It interferes with our ability to concentrate, which in turn makes us less productive. Ironic isn't it? The devices we created to increase production are doing the opposite!


Researchers Maddon and Jones (2008) reported that 49% of workers admitted that a combination of email, voice mail, text messages, instant messages, and the Internet has increased their job stress. The average worker is interrupted three times a minute. Researcher Silverman (2012) reported that 50% percent of workers who own a Blackberry or PDA  found it hard to concentrate and stay focused at work. Because of constant connectivity, workers also find it difficult to disconnect from work, which leads to problems with sleeping or achieving a healthy work-life balance.


We need downtime to process memory and learn. At work and in everyday life we need to have a working memory and executive attention. Our working memory is concerned with our current task and how we make it happen. . . like typing this newsletter. I'm old school: I don't need to hunt and peck to type, but when I first learned to type, I did it very slowly. Once my brain retained memory of which fingers are assigned to which keys on the keyboard, I picked up speed. My working memory increased, so I didn't need to focus on it so much.


Executive attention is within our working memory to pay attention to the task at hand. . .sort out what needs to be paid attention to and what doesn't. For example, I might need to proofread what I'm typing, to check it for spelling or grammar (my editor is now laughing). When we are learning new things, or reading information we need to retain, the brain needs processing time to transfer it to long-term memory to be called on when we need it. Social media is a constant stream of information that we need to pay attention to. It grabs our attention, overloads our nervous system, and our brain just can't keep up.


To tell if you're addicted, ask yourself. . .

  • Do I literally jump to run across a room to see who's texting, emailing, or calling me?
  • Do I put the phone on the table when I'm out having dinner with my significant other?
  • Do I spend more time at dinner playing with my phone than eating my food?
  • Do I spend a lot of time getting just the right ringtones for those 700 BFF's?
    (If you don't know what a BFF is, call me.)
  • Do I get antsy, sweaty palms, or pace around if someone borrows my phone?
  • Would I rather have toothpicks under my eyelids, than lose my phone?
  • Can I be without my phone for more than 10 minutes?
  • Do I caress my phone when no one is looking, kind of like Gollum in Lord of the Rings? (Hmmm. . . Lord of the Rings. Maybe what you need to do is to go look for Sauron.) 

You are too far gone if you consider your phone to be precious. 


Here are some tips to break your addiction: 

  • Take breaks from the computer every 90 minutes. It's a good time to get up and move around.
  • Meditate.
  • Exercise. (You knew that one was coming.)
  • Put a time limit on checking social media.
  • Put your phone on silence and practice being away from your phone. Start with small amounts of time and then increase the time.
  • Talk to a friend face-to-face. It's more meaningful!
  • Turn off alerts you really don't need. (Did you really need to know when Kim Kardashian's baby was born, or when she went shopping in an expensive boutique?)
  • Choose and use your apps selectively. You wouldn't go out on a date with just anyone.
    Be as choosy with your apps. (Again, ask me if you don't know what an app is.)
  • Plan specific times to be device free. Start with bedtime, family time, and time on vacation.
Realistic Resolutions: Summer Check-In

Check yes noBy now, I should be at the halfway point of meeting my goals. Unfortunately, life does not always work according to our wishes. With new instructors starting and others leaving, my attention wandered from creating new programs (they are half done). The Decompress Class didn't work out: one to two wonderfully evolved souls came, but it was hard to keep the class going. What I've learned is not many people want to decompress to keep on track. 




Here are my goals moving forward:

  1. Hire a new massage therapist.  
  2. Hire another trainer. (This goal is in progress, so keep your fingers crossed!)
  3. Complete the workout database.
  4. Complete the new programs.
  5. Get Ageless Grace up and running.
  6. Begin Happy Health Hour (That's a new class starting soon.) 

In Health and Fitness,
Sharon Bourke
Grand Poobah
Life Energy Fitness LLC