Dec 29

 

Going for the Gain

Going for the Gain

Organic Stretching

Aerial Silks

 

 

Who do you think is having more FUN?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your exercise motivation…health or your appearance?

An in-depth study by the US CDC in 2011 found that just 20.6% of the US population 18 years of age or over met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity, and, on the other end, 30% got no exercise at all. Sixty-eight percent were either obese or overweight. Those figures should scare anybody into doing something like exercise, but what if it were also fun?

In the 1980s, when I was a fairly avid runner (3 – 5 miles per day) the drive that pushed me out the door everyday, in part, may have been the addiction to the endorphins running in my blood, but I was also aware that I did not want to start all over again. I could say the same for doing weights and machines. And once the body started lookin’ good, why would I want to go back to undefined and soft? So I stuck to my routine.

Mine was a fairly mild case of “fear” over not keeping to my program, but other than the great views of the ocean along West Cliff Drive and the admiring glances, I’m not sure that I would use the word “fun.” I could say the same for churning out lengths in the pool every time I got on a new swimming program.

But there are many people who are nearly manic about getting in their exercise routine on schedule. It is as if, in one day it would all go away.

  So what about improv dancing, hiking or scuba?

I’ve only done those for pure fun, but they also delivered benefits all over my body. Today, I am seeking more beneficial pleasure from my free time than routine patterns that are not really fun and do not bring me joy.

12 Fun Ways to Stay Fit

 

One of my first classes at the University of Illinois, in 1966, was a PE course in general fitness. They tested us for strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance…the four basic areas of fitness they considered critical.

Here are my 12 top choices to stay fit today, cover the basics, and have a blast doing it…

Strength…

  • Aerial Silks…those Cirque du Solei things!
  • Argentine Tango…great for core
  • Rock climbing
  • Pole dancing

Balance…

  • Organic Stretching®
  • Dance…Improv and Argentine Tango
  • Stand-up Paddle Board
  • Tai Chi

Flexibility/Agility…

  • Organic Stretching®
  • Improv dance
  • Aerial Silks

Endurance…

  • Mountain biking
  • Stand-up Paddle Board
  • Mountain trail hiking
  • Rowing
  • Swimming

Beyond being fun, what do these activities have in common?

Each of these forms offers variation in movement. They are not built with repetitive patterns, but offer improvisational responses to changing conditions, with the exception of Tai Chi. But in Tai Chi the movements draw the body through a wide range of movement and tend to be curvilinear, as in Organic Stretching.

Our lives, today, are reduced to such a limited range of motion, that a high percentage of our muscles are never called on to do anything, and are gradually less able to move. It is not just a loss of tone; some of them are totally bound in flexion from constant stress. The surrounding connective tissue is no longer fluid, but dense in character. The motor nerves even stop sending messages after while!

We have such a beautiful gift of potential in our amazing bodies, and all we need to do to begin enjoying that gift is to move…up, down, around, diagonally, in every direction we can imagine. Can you hear it now from every little cellHalleluiah!! They are waiting for you!

What are your top choices for exercises without repetitive patterns? Leave a comment with your suggestions!

 

 

 

 

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Nov 3

How did you find your “mission in life?” Was it during a challenging time that forced you to consider why you were here and what you were supposed to be doing in this lifetime? The first time I remember thinking that I should have a mission was in the middle of the Bay of Bengal, sailing alone on my small 31-ft boat from Malaysia to Sri Lanka in February, 1994. I was almost half-way around the world on an eight-year solo circumnavigation and 53 years old.

My departure on this journey came at the end of a messy, painful demise of the import company that I had built and run for seven years. When I left the anchorage in Acapulco in May of 1989, I only wanted to heal from that pain and to find a sense of peace. Time alone and the total focus required by my voyage were my chosen path.

Crossing the Bay of Bengal

Crossing the Bay of Bengal

With nearly five years behind me, at this point in the journey, it was time to look deeply at where I was heading, how I was going to live my life differently. A friend had recently written to tell me about Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and how helpful it had been to him. I was surprised to find a copy in a bookstore in Pinang, Malaysia!

Now, in this slow, not too eventful, crossing I began reading and writing, following Covey’s program. The first and central step was determining your mission in life. That question drew me back to What Color is Your Parachute? by John Bolles and the section in the back about finding your mission in life. When I first met this book, at the end of my business, the idea of a mission in life had a Mother Teresa-like overtone, and I had decided I wasn’t the type to sacrifice everything to selfless service.

I pulled Bolles out again, and this time understood that he wasn’t asking us to wear a hair shirt, but instead to find the thing that would bring us the most joy. On my boat, Southern Cross, I was already doing the thing that brought me the most joy at this time in my life—sailing around the world, stopping in beautiful places to paint, and meeting people from many cultures. I wondered whether this could be my mission in life. It seemed too selfish.

As my voyage ended, in 1997, and news broke out that I had become the first American woman to sail alone around the world, I realized what my true mission was. I was here to inspire others to reach for their dreams, to not accept the words “impossible,” “you can’t do that,” “I can’t do that!” “am I crazy?” I wrote By the Grace of the Sea: A Woman’s Solo Odyssey Around the World (McGraw-Hill/2002) and gave presentations in the Midwest and up and down the West Coast, with many interviews. There were two invitations to appear on Oprah, but the timing did not work out. Letters and emails poured in saying “thank you for giving me courage to follow my dream” and similar messages.

I still hear from readers, who found inspiration in my book, sharing how my story changed their lives. My job today is Chief Inspirer at Organic Stretching® where I inspire people to bring out out the best in their bodies as they learn how to move again. There is no greater thrill than being part of my students’ exciting breakthroughs and the discovery that they can create the changes in their own bodies and in their lives. I love and find great joy in my mission!

Have you found yours yet? If you feel like it, share it below…

Organic StretchingTM Pat Henry, Founder and Chief Inspirer at Organic Stretching®… My last year of high school, I was a teen aged mom, a wife, a National Honor Society member graduating 17th out of a class of 257…It isn’t over until it’s over!

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Jul 15

With health care increasingly expensive and in the near future perhaps even hard to find, it is not surprising to see an abundance of books, blogs, articles, centers and coaches offering wellness advice, tips, services and products, including this one. Wellness, once seen as mostly a do-it-yourself enterprise with grandma handing out the directions, has become more complex with specialists to help us develop our breathing, diet, exercise, inner calm, and the right balance of hormones, enzymes, minerals, and every property our body needs to function and support us. Plus so much more.

Is wellness more than just the absence of disease? Is there a sharp line dividing disease from wellness, or is there a grey area between them. A zone where you are neither ill nor really well. At least not at your optimum.

In my forties, I gave some, but very little, thought to this question. I ate a fairly good diet most of the time, drank lots of coffee, some wine, did yoga, took a walk on the beach many mornings, and worked way too hard. Then I made a life-altering decision to sell my home, buy a boat and go sailing alone at least as far as New Zealand. Thus came my awakening to my own role in preserving and enhancing my level of wellness…in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, alone on a small (31-foot) boat.

Organic StretchingTM

1988 on board Southern Cross leaving San Francisco

As I had prepared the boat (but not myself) for the undertaking, I had assembled a substantial first aid kit and requested help from a cousin (an anesthesiologist) to assist with a few hard-to-buy items. She met me for lunch with a gift of codeine enhanced Tylenol and a tube of Neosporin. I was actually looking for injectable pain medication, suturing materials, scalpel and forceps. I knew that I would have to solve any problems that arose on my own, perhaps thousands of miles from assistance. Eventually, all was ready on board, and I was off for the first transoceanic solo crossing of my life.

After the first few days out of Acapulco, I spent the next two weeks in excruciating pain from (diagnosed) sciatica, thinking each day it would get better. Finally, I could not stand up, sit down or lie down without pain. Crawling to the foredeck to manage sails pushed me beyond my limits, but there was no one else to do it. And so I went, often in tears and sometimes screaming in pain.

Organic StretchingTM

Downwind at sea

I knew that I had at least three more weeks of this before I would make landfall in the South Pacific Marquesas Islands. Going back where I had come from, by this time, was out of the question. I analyzed every conceivable contributing factor in my physical environment and every possible source of relief, without a solution. Then one day, a voice in my head…or maybe I even said out loud, “Nerve! You just don’t have enough nerve for this! Who do you think you are?” Sciatic nerve! And the cause was fear—a fear that I had failed to acknowledge. What sane person wouldn’t be afraid? I had a mental image of those rod-tight muscles reaching out desperately trying to hold on to the dock as I departed.

Without knowing why, during all the months of preparation to begin this voyage, I had been reciting in my mind the list of my skills and experience. Over and over. I never questioned why I kept doing this. It became clear in the middle of the ocean that it was my inner response to fears I wouldn’t face.

That day, I took charge of my body and acknowledged its messages. I relentlessly massaged the steel-cable-like long muscles running on either side of my spine. Hour after hour, I worked them against hard corners of the boat, small balls and hard limes. The following day my back was in frequent spasms twisting my entire body into bizarre forms, but I kept going all that day between the spasms with the same massage. I looked the fear in the eye, acknowledged it, accepted it, welcomed it (it would help keep me safe for the next eight years around the world), and I dealt with the results of it.

The second morning brought a gorgeous sunrise; I watched pain-free from the cockpit. That pain has never returned. Over the following years of my journey and since, I learned a great deal about caring for my own wellness. Of course, there were many times I went to see a proper healthcare practitioner or doctor, but I did my best to make their job easier by doing all I could to maintain this marvelous gift of life I was given. I believe that we are what we eat, what we think and believe, and what we do. Wellness is about making thoughtful decisions in all of those areas.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on wellness in the comment box below. How do you describe the state of wellness, and what is your primary technique for maintaining yours?

 

Pat Henry inspires people to make gentle, healing movements that take them from limiting, painful joints to joyful flexibility. Her upbeat coaching style and effective program bring out energy, optimism, and freedom clients thought were just a memory. Her message and encouragement come from a deep conviction that “if you can dream it, you can do it.”

Pat’s life is a model of following your dreams…having sailed alone around the world on a small boat, authoring a book recounting her voyage, launching her women’s sailing school, and developing Organic Stretching®, the revolutionary movement program that has brought relief to countless clients as they allowed their own bodies to guide them to wholeness.

 

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