Finding Ways to Love Yourself

hearmindValentine’s Day is a time of year when we show our love and gratitude to the special people in our lives. We shower our loved ones with shows of affection, not only on this holiday, but also in our daily lives year round. We all want to make others feel loved and admired, but what about ourselves? In order to serve those around us in the most meaningful way, self-love is essential.

Many people that consciously embark on a self-love journey are inspired to do so by someone else in their life. Love for yourself lives not only in our minds, but also in every cell of our bodies. Nurturing yourself, mind and body, has been undeniably linked with a longer, healthier, and happier life.

One of the primary ways to cultivate self-love is through exercise. Of course exercise makes you feel good for the superficial reasons – when you look good, you feel good – but there’s so much more to it than that. We’ve all heard it; exercise releases endorphins. These are beautiful little chemicals that your brain pumps out to make you feel good. Improved self-esteem is a well-know benefit of regular physical activity. Exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. So, even on those low energy days, just show up. If you can just show up to that class or the gym, the second you start moving, your brain will start to reward you. And that in turn will make you want to replicate the feeling. And when you are truly happy, high on life, your amazing mood will positively affect others.

Meditation is another way to really check in with yourself and nurture your mental and emotional health. Many extremely successful people have shared that meditation has absolutely been a key part of their success. Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Sting – these people have testified to the value of daily meditation and even admit that some of their best ideas came to them during this time of introspection. It’s like a daily cleaning for your mind.

In the age of social media, we are constantly being bombarded by everyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Meditation allows us to hear ourselves, and only ourselves, and the insight and wisdom that can come from just paying attention in the moment will surprise you. Even if you feel like you have no idea how to start, you can find a plethora of free, guided, meditation videos online. Just pick one and see what happens. Meditation is like any other type of exercise – just focused on your brain. It does require practice and patience. You don’t expect the rest of your body to change overnight, so don’t expect your brain to learn to meditate perfectly either. But if you stick with it, the rewards can be very satisfying.

So just remember, when you’re sending out love and gratitude to the people in your life, add yourself to that list. Sometimes being the best version of ourselves is the best gift we can give to others.

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator

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Summer Shakes

We all tend to eat different foods for breakfast, depending on our habits and tastes. I never liked breakfast very much when I was younger because plain cereal with milk was fairly unappetizing and still is in my opinion. However, as an adult I have learned that breakfast can be anything from leftover pizza to a delicious spinach and cheese Quiche. Any foods you enjoy in moderation will probably be fine for the first meal of the day.

Now I have discovered shakes that are perfect for summer. There are an amazing combinations of flavors and textures that are available limited only by our imaginations and taste buds. I use a Nutrabullet blender but any powerful blender will suffice. Then start playing with your food.

My current shake is made up of ground flaxseed meal, ice cubes, 8 oz. of ice water, chia seed gel (chia seeds combined with water and soaked overnight), protein powder in any flavor you like, and whatever fruit is in your refrigerator. Less than a minute later, breakfast is served.

This shake also has the advantage to being able to travel with you because the ingredients do not need refrigeration. You only need to pick up some fresh fruit wherever you are traveling as long as you bring your blender along.

 

Smarter through exercise?

There have been many studies over the years about the benefits of exercise on the body. However, lately there has also been numerous studies about exercise and the brain. This is a relatively new area of research and some studies have reported that people who dance, or walk or run, or even garden, have a lower risk of developing mental health problems like dementia.

Additionally, exercise combined with meditations appears to have the greatest benefit according to a recent New York Times article called, “Yoga may be good for the brain.”

Basically the study examined those who practiced yoga as compared to people who used only traditional exercise programs. After 12 weeks, all the participants performed better on thinking tests but the Yoga group also showed improvement in their moods as well. The Yoga group also improved more in areas like balance, focus, and the ability to multitask.

Any regular exercise program that keeps us moving will benefit our health. But Yoga may have an added bonus in helping us to feel, as well as function better, as we grow older.

Raising awareness – one event at a time

Many of us are already aware that October is breast cancer awareness month. Perhaps you have seen people wearing their pink to show support in finding a cure, or have heard about fundraising events in your area, or perhaps you’ve even seen the pink items for purchase in the stores. Every year the instructors at METFitness, like to do our part to help support awareness and raise money for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer with Zumba Parties in Pink or other Fun Fitness events.

This year we have already held several Zumba Pink Parties in efforts to raise money for the Florida Cancer Institute. However, there are other great ways to have fun while getting fit to support a good cause, like participating in a 5k walk/run. If you haven’t joi
ned in yet this October, it’s not too late! Check with your local newspaper or community website to see what’s going on near you. Or give us a call and try something new!zumbathon

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Stand Up!

You work out regularly. Keeping fit is important to you. You try to eat healthy meals and snacks. You probably think you are doing everything right as you sit down and relax to watch an evening of television or camp out with your computer game for the night. Stop!

As reported in recent journal and magazine articles, more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. That sedentary life style is difficult to balance even with the 30-60 minutes of exercise you do most days.

Various studies show that people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercised regularly.

So what can we do? Breaks from sitting as often as possible –even breaks of one minute can improve your health. Exercise is great, but balance your day with activity breaks between sitting times. Time to stand up for yourself.

It’s actually better for your health.9czxobpBi

Renewal

As summer comes to an end, it is time for new beginnings. Students are off to another school year. But education is not just for children. To keep on top of our game, all of us need to keep learning and growing in our respective career paths.

One of the ways we learn as adults is by taking classes and attending conventions in our industry. Luckily for those of us living in the Orlando area, there are lots of conventions that take place here focusing on fitness. Recently there was a Zumba Convention in Orlando with thousands of people excited and happy to connect with others in their quest for fitness. Picture large meeting halls with hundreds of energetic people dancing and sharing their passion for exercise. The excitement was contagious with many master instructors leading classes and workshops on helping people improve their skills.

Many of our instructors attended this convention and came away jazzed by their experience. They have learned new routines and are now bringing this excitement to all of our clients. They are renewed in their sense of being an integral part of the fitness industry and proud of their roles in helping people to grow strong and fit.

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Mini Vacations

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Mini Vacations

Sometimes in the fitness industry, we may be overwhelmed by the amount of energy needed every day to maintain positive and effective customer skills. We are all working with people and need to personalize our daily programs based on our clients and their needs. We have to stay in the moment, and put our clients in the front of the picture.


Because of the nature of our work, we do not as a rule, take long extended vacations like our guests. But, we still need a change of pace to charge up our batteries and reenergize in our desire to stay fresh and motivated. One of the ways we can do this is by taking a mini vacation.

Wherever we live, there are places that we have not visited and are open to new experiences. In Orlando area where we are based, there are many places that are only a couple of hours drive away. One of these places is St. Augustine, a city that is celebrating 450 years of history this year. It is about a 2-hour drive from the Orlando area with plenty of places to explore.

St Augustine is home to the St Augustine Lighthouse where you can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a spectacular view. Within a few miles there is also the St Augustine Distillery. This business offers free tours and tastings daily and is worth the trip. The distillery is housed in a restored Ice Plant building and this also the name of the bar/café located next door with wonderful food.

Traveling on a weekday over a weekend has its advantages because hotel rooms are less pricy on a Monday-Wednesday time frame. Additionally there are fewer people on tours and in restaurants on these days.

Pick a location. Start by looking at a map of your state and then looking up things to do in cities that interest you. Try to take a mini vacation a few times a year and come back refreshed and recharged!