Monday, April 29, 2013

Just a Thought......

“Since every man is obliged to promote happiness and virtue, he should be careful not to mislead unwary minds, by appearing to set too high a value upon things by which no real excellence is conferred.”
-Samuel Johnson

Saturday, April 20, 2013


“Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life. They appear so while they are passing; they seem to have been so when we look back on them; and they take up more room in our memory than all the years that succeed them.”
-Robert Southey

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just a Thought...


“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.”
-James Baldwin, Paris Review Interviews II

15 ways to say 'I LOVE TODAY'....XOXO


15 Natural Mood Lifters

Quick and Easy Ways to Lift Your Spirit

-Kathy Babcock
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One morning I awoke and decided it was the perfect day to mix myself a "happiness cocktail." After indulging in my happy hour, I felt more than ready to take on the day! Just in case you’re wondering why a wellness coach is reaching for a cocktail at the crack of dawn, let me explain.

While getting dressed, I thought about the many natural ways I could lift my spirits and then realized that I was already combining many of the approaches behavioral psychologists tell us are beneficial: I went outside for my morning exercise and listened to my favorite music on my iPod—all with my labradoodle, Ozzy right by side. Exercise, nature, music, my pet— these are the ingredients of my personal happiness cocktail. Any of these things alone help to lift my spirits when I’m feeling down, but together they can put me in a euphoric state. Talk aboutcrisscross effects! No matter what may be weighing on my mind, an outdoor run with Ozzy always improves my mood and increases my optimism (not to mention all the other great things this activity does for my body).

As a professional wellness coach, it is vital for my mind to stay calm, open and curious when meeting with a client. A bad mood can certainly be detrimental to the session. And although I have a fairly sunny disposition by nature, even I feel down sometimes and need ways to improve my mood quickly and easily.

At times, we all need to lift our spirits in an instant. Luckily, some environmental and situational factors are easy to control. If you have a grumpy friend, you can simply walk away and call up an optimistic friend. If sad movies usually leave you feeling badly long after watching, you can stick to comedies or other uplifting genres. But if you are made to deal with a difficult individual who is a co-worker or family member, escaping may not be so simple. And you certainly can’t control the weather.

But we don’t need to be victims of circumstances—and we certainly do have control over our choices. If keeping your moods on an even keel and staying relaxed are things you would like to pursue, you’ll be happy to know it’s much easier than you probably think. Behavioral scientists are studying how we can improve our moods by taking control of our daily behaviors. The expression, "you are what you eat" has proven to be true—not just for disease management but our overall state of mind. If you find yourself irritable, fatigued, unfocused or even blue, it may be your diet. What you eat, how often you eat, and how much you eat are all factors that can dramatically impact your mood. So, if you can keep your blood sugar stable, your mood may follow.

We also know that exercise stimulates the chemicals in our brains that lead to feelings of tranquility and well-being. The release of endorphins are responsible for things such as the "runner’s high" or the incredible surge in creativity fitness participants often report. Even a leisurely stroll can increase the oxygen flow to your brain leading to a sense of calmness, greater energy and focus.

According to common sense, feelings are what cause our behavior. When we are sad, we cry. When we are angry, we rant and rave. However, a large and growing body of research shows that feelings often follow our behavioral choices. In other words, if we force ourselves to smile, we feel happier. And if we pretend to be excited, upbeat and energized, we begin to actually feel that way. This again proves that we are more in control of our moods than just the circumstances around us.

Here are a few more natural mood lifters you can try.
  1. Eat often and eat light. When you eat at regular intervals throughout the day you will prevent dips in your blood sugar that can negatively affect your mood. Plan your meals and snacks to prevent yourself from getting overly hungry, aiming for three to six eating episodes (total meals plus snacks) each day.
     
  2. Limit refined carbohydrates such as soda, candy, cookies, and white flour, which are concentrated sources of sugar. These foods may give you an immediate rush of energy, but they will cause you to crash and fatigue soon after.
     
  3. Include a small amount of lean protein at every meal and snack. Protein will leave you feeling alert and productive for hours.
     
  4. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fats. These foods have been shown to lift moods and can possibly alleviatedepression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon or sardines, canola and olive oils, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts.
     
  5. Ramp up your B-12 and folate (folic acid). Scientists believe these nutrients help the body produce a neurotransmitter called serotonin—a known mood stabilizer. Shellfish, fortified cereal, oatmeal, wheat germ, and vegetables are some of the many foods rich in these nutrients.
     
  6. Get your daily dose of exercise. Whether it’s a formal session at the gym, a walk with the dog, engaging in a sport or just playing with your kids, getting up and moving will boost your mood and energy level.
     
  7. Stick to a regular sleep schedule—even on the weekends. Although most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, you might need slightly more or less to function optimally. The important thing is that you consistently get the sleep you need.
     
  8. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. Take a break from your home or office to get some air and sunshine. Even stepping out into cold weather will wake you up and refresh your mind.
     
  9. Listen to music you love. When your mood is spiraling downhill and the little voice in your head is anything but positive, turn on your favorite tunes and sing along. Soon, sweet music will fill your mind instead of negative thoughts.
     
  10. Indulge your senses. Sights, smells, sounds, tastes and tactile sensations can quickly change your mood. Light a scented candle that evokes memories of the holidays, bake cookies to remind you of happy times at your grandmother’s, buy your favorite flowers and revel in the smell (and sight) of them, or soak in a scented bubble bath while listening to soothing music.
     
  11. Do something that brings you joy. Whether it’s going to a movie, reading a novel or having lunch with your best friend, take a well-deserved break from work or stressful situations and do something you love. The change in mood will lead to better concentration and efficiency once you return to the task at hand.
     
  12. Play or cuddle up with your furry friend. Just petting your dog or cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and evoke a sense of calmness, happiness and well-being. If you don’t own a pet, visit a pet store or volunteer at an animal shelter to get your furry fix.
     
  13. Volunteer. There is nothing like the act of giving to those in need to make you feel appreciative of the life you lead. Walk dogs at an animal shelter, feed the homeless at a food shelter, teach English at a literacy program, or assist in programs for special needs children. Do your research and you will surely find a group that can use your talents and skills. If time is an issue for you, contribute through donations and you could evoke the same feelings of happiness.
     
  14. Fake it till you make it. Researchers have found that the simple act of smiling seems to activate happiness centers in the brain. Keep smiling and in time, your mood will match your facial expression.
     
  15. Create a list of natural mood enhancers that will work for you. Feeling angry? Write in your journal. Stressed? Try a yoga class. If you're exhausted, take a 20-minute nap. And if you’re feeling down, rent a funny movie. Remember, you have a choice and the ability to change your mood. With some trial and error, you will figure out the best strategies that work for you.
It’s quite natural for all of us to wake up on the wrong side of the bed now and again. If your self-care skills are optimal and you try some tips listed above, your pleasant disposition will shine through. However, if you still find yourself moody, angry, excessively tired or unhappy for an extended period of time, talk with your doctor. He or she will want to rule out any medical or nutritional causes before considering treatment for depression.

And if you would like, feel free to try my happiness cocktail. It just may work for you as well!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

just a thought....


“There is almost one time that is important— Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”
-Leo Tolstoy

EX 4 VETS III PROMO - SDSU - 2013

Let's make history and give back to our Ex-Vets who are never EX-Friends......they are nobility beyond for ever and never replaced!! We love you Vets!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Just a Thought...

Smile. It's contagious!

Get Results with Interval Training!


Get Results with Interval Training

Add Fun and Variety to Your Workouts

-- By Kathy Babcock

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I used to be a competitive long distance runner. Day in and day out I’d run mile upon mile, training for the next big race. Some days it meant running a six or seven mile loop that included several (seemingly endless) hills. Other days, I warmed up for a few miles then hit the track for sprints. Run 400 meters. Walk 100 meters. Run another 400 meters. Walk 100...you get the idea. This interval training on the track, although not representative of any race I would run, primed my body and helped me stay in shape—and boy was it a tough workout!

Runners and cyclists have utilized interval training for decades. However, exercisers at many different fitness levels can benefit from this type of workout—just adjust it to fit your specific workout needs. Since interval training can be demanding, you don’t need to do it every day. My track and cross country teams trained with intervals twice a week, and focused on other cardio (longer distances) on the remaining days.

Why do an interval workout? 
If you’re stuck in a workout rut, intervals can be a new and interesting way to get motivated and in shape. You’ll strengthen your heart, and future workouts will feel easier. Like any workout, it will help burn fat and calories, while also building endurance.

Plus, with interval training the possibilities are endless! No matter what mode of exercise you choose (treadmill, outdoor walking or running, swimming, elliptical, cycling), every workout can be different and the variety withineach session keeps things fresh and fun. If you are sick of walking on the treadmill for an hour each day, adding intervals can jumpstart your body out of its low-intensity cardio rut.

The premise of interval training is simple: When you vary your effort by mixing periods of high and low intensities during your workout, your fitness will improve faster and more dramatically—and your workouts will be less boring. During your session, you’ll alternate between shorter, high-intensity intervals and longer, lower-intensity recovery periods. The high-intensity intervals can be "anaerobic" (where you are working as hard as you can, and your heart rate is usually over 85% of your estimated maximum), or simply more intense, like in the 75-85% range, which is still “aerobic.”

You'll know when you’ve reach an anaerobic intensity because you'll start feeling a burn in your working muscles. Adding some anaerobic intervals to your workouts will usually give you better results. But since they are more demanding, anaerobic intervals should be shorter and accompanied by longer recovery intervals. As your fitness level improves, both the length of the high-intensity intervals, and the amount of work you can handle during them, will increase.
Continued ›

Friday, April 12, 2013

just a thought...


“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already I am.”
-Thomas Merton

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just A Thought!


“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”
-William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Balance is everything!!


Improve Your Balance in 3 Simple Steps

Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Core and Prevent Falls

-- By kathy Babcock
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Hiking on a wooded trail. Riding a bike down the street. Doing crunches on a stability ball. Hitting the slopes. Walking up the stairs with ease. These are more than simple pleasures you can enjoy by living a healthy lifestyle. They're also proof that your body's ability to balance while doing a variety of things is pretty amazing. Even when you're not thinking about it, your body is balancing—in everyday life, when you exercise, and during your active pastimes.

Most people don't spend any time thinking about their balance until it's too late—when they actually fall or injure themselves. But balance isn't just a concern for the elderly who are more prone to falls (and the serious complications those falls can cause). Balance training is important for everyone, from athletes to casual exercisers.

Good balance and a strong core go hand in hand, and a strong core usually means better posture, less back pain and improved performance during exercise and athletics. Plus, the better you balance the less likely you are to fall or injure yourself. If you haven't thought much about maintaining—or enhancing—your balance, now is as good a time as any to start.

You've probably seen lots of fancy fitness gizmos that are designed to help you improve your balance—everything from a simple stability ball to balance boards, inflatable balance discs, BOSU trainers, foam rollers and more. While these items certainly add challenge to your workout, you really don't need ANY fancy equipment—not even a Wii Fit—to improve your balance. In fact, you can turn just about any standard strength-training or flexibilityexercise into one that does double duty by improving your balance while you work your muscles. With multi-tasking moves like these under your belt, that means you won't have to spend more time exercising just to improve your balance. Find out how!
  1. Change Your Base of Support. Balance is your ability to maintain your center of gravity over your base of support. When you're standing up, your legs are your base of support. The wider your legs are, the wider your base is and the easier it is to balance. The closer your legs are together, the narrower your base of support is and the harder it is to remain balanced. One of the easiest ways you can challenge (and therefore help improve) your balance during any standing exercise is to gradually narrow your base of support until your feet and legs are together while you perform your exercise. Bring your legs closer together while you do standing biceps curlsshoulder raisessquats or other upper body moves. Be sure to keep your abs pulled in tight and make sure you're not leaning backward as you perform your exercises. Note: You can also widen or narrow your base of support while lying on or sitting on a stability ball to perform exercises, so try this progression when you're on the ball, too!
     
  2. Try It on One Leg. Once you've mastered doing an exercise with a narrow base of support, you're ready for the next challenge: balancing on a single leg. Instead of standing on both legs during some of the same moves above, try it on a single leg. Start by just lifting one heel (keeping your toes on the floor) while doing your upper body moves or working up to a single leg squat. As you get better, lift that foot off the ground completely. From there, you can play around with the position of your lifted leg—holding it behind you, in front of you, to the side or, for a greater challenge, moving that leg while you balance on the other leg and perform upper body movements. Just be sure to alternate legs to keep your strength and muscle tone balanced (no pun intended) between both sides of your body. Tip: You can also experiment with momentary one-leg balances. For example, on a forward lunge, lift your front or back leg for a moment each time your push up out of your lunge. Watch my 6-Minute Hips, Glues & Thighs Workout video for a few examples of this technique.
     
  3. Close your eyes. Your sense of vision is a big part of the balance equation. It works hand in hand with the vestibular (inner ear) and proprioceptive systems to maintain balance and prevent falls. By staring at a single focal point (minimizing your head and eye movement), you'll balance more easily. If you move your gaze or take vision out of the equation altogether, it's harder to balance. This option is definitely a challenge—not something for beginners and not something you can do in any given situation. You'll want to make sure you're in a controlled environment and that your body is planted (don't attempt this while walking or hiking or moving through space). You can start by just standing up tall and closing your eyes without moving. Over time, combine the narrow base of support with some one-leg balances while closing your eyes. You might be surprised how challenging it is to simply stand with your eyes closed, let alone stand on one foot or while doing a biceps curl. Just be sure to use your best judgment and listen to your body when trying this technique. Safety first!
Now you know how to make balance training a forethought instead of an afterthought in your workouts—without spending more time or money on exercise. By using these techniques and really paying attention to your body as you exercise, you should notice improvements in your balance, coordination, posture, core strength and agility—ones that you can carry with you as you age, help you prevent spills and falls, and build your confidence when trying new and exciting fitness pursuits!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kathy Babcock

Kathy Babcock

Just a Though....

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
-William Butler Yeats

Monday, April 1, 2013

“The disturbers of happiness are our desires, our griefs, and our fears.”
-Samuel Johnson