New Year’s Resolutions and Advice from Dogs

1. Live it up!
While dogs are keenly aware of their surroundings, we, too, should be aware of the present and appreciate life around us. By learning to live in the moment and in the present, we start to embrace the people that surround us, our experiences -both good and bad- and in the end, we are happier and healthier.

2. Spread unconditional love
Dogs are natural lovers. Spreading our love each and every day with the significant people in our lives results in receiving love in return and it helps breaks down barriers among us.

3. Stretch, then make time for play and exercise
After a period of rest, dogs always take the time to stretch before getting on with the next activity. Stretching rejuvenates the body and gets it ready for more activity. These days, people are saying they are too busy to find time for play. But, adding play and exercise in life equates to doing something good for yourself. It re-fuels the spirit and energy within and makes us more productive. Besides, it’s fun!

4. Let yourself be REALLY enthusiastic
A dog’s enthusiasm for the smallest things, whether it is to chew on a bone or run through the park, is absolutely contagious. Allow yourself to get excited, show some passion, and embrace life.

5. Greet others with joy
Dogs take every opportunity to offer their love every time they see you, even if you’ve been away for 30 minutes.
Just as you greet people with love, take the time to properly say goodbye to your friends and family when you depart. It offers a great feeling of satisfaction and strengthens your bonds.

6. Relax
Like dogs, we should take the time to get some rest. Whether you choose to meditate, sneak in a nap, or take in some quiet time by either reading or sipping a cup of tea, rest provides a number of restorative plusses to the mind and body.

7. Look into their eyes
Communication is so important, especially these days when people are caught up with looking down at our phones to text friends and family. Talking to someone in person is a gift that we should embrace. Make eye contact and enjoy quality time with your friends and family.

8. Be persistent in your goals
The dog always tries to get up on the bed, or drops the ball at your feet in hopes that you’ll give in to his tenacious nature. Harness the drive within you to reach for your goals, never give up, stay positive.

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Oh no! Now what?


Something happened to me at a swim meet that never happened before. I was at the Central California Summer Junior Olympics standing at the starting block waiting for my turn to go.  I was about to swim the championship final in the 50 meter backstroke.  As I was adjusting my goggle, I heard a snap.  Oh no!  My goggles broke at the nose bridge just as the official started calling out our names. I started swinging my broken goggles around, not really knowing what to do. I was prepared to swim without them. 

The next thing I know, I saw a teammate running my way with a pair of goggles.  He handed me his very own goggles, just before I had to enter the water.  I put them on upside down by accident because I was in a hurry.  Then I heard, “Take your mark,” followed by the buzzer, and I was off.

After it was all over (by the way I finished 5th), I thought to myself, “How nice was that kid?”  Brayden is a swimmer on my team.  I didn’t really know him too well, but he helped me out.  I think my coach might have asked him to deliver the goggles for me.   But, however it all happened in those few seconds, I kept thinking, “Wow, that was close and it turned out just fine.”

Brayden was waiting for me at the other end of the pool.  When I got out, I thanked him for helping me out and returned his goggles.

That was an experience I do not want to repeat, but I now know that anything can happen at anytime.  Being prepared to go for it, no matter what happens will get me through.

Most of all, I learned the importance of teamwork. I know that I would do the same for anyone who needed support on my team. I hope I can return the favor someday.  Thanks Brayden!

 

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Avoid water hazards

It was over 105 degrees today.  I was hitting balls at the golf range with my dad. I hit some real good ones, too.  My dad worked closely with me on my swing.  While I was swinging away, I got thirsty.  So, I went to the club house with a couple of bucks from dad to get a bottle of water. I drank the whole thing and hit the rest of my bucket of balls.

When we were preparing to get ready to leave, I starting to feel a little funny – almost like I was going to throw up.  As we picked up our bags, the trees started to look like paintings – my vision was getting blurry.  I blinked my eyes and rub them to try to fix the dots. I remembered in school that we learned about Georges Seurat, who painted with points.  Then, it all blacked out and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. I wasn’t really sure how I got there.  My dad said he looked back and saw that I had fallen onto my golf bag.  He came next to me and asked me if I was OK.  I couldn’t answer because it felt like I had just woken up.  The spots were still there. When we walked back to the car I felt a little better, then after while longer I felt much better.

I learned that I should always have snacks and water to carry around.  I should know this from swimming! I love to play golf, even in the hot summer.  But being hydrated is really important.  Water hazards are not only the lakes where I lose my balls during the game. It’s also the lack of drinking water while playing. I’ll get back on the course again.  Tomorrow, maybe.

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Tips for the best swim meet experience

Sandpipers Las Vegas swimmer

Hi! It’s Michael again. This time, I’m talking about the swim meet. I have been busy this past year. Now that I have been with the Sandpipers swim team for a couple years, I have had the chance to be in a many more meets. Swim meets require a lot of work and energy. Sometimes I get nervous just before I start. But, once it’s all done I feel great and I am happy that I accomplished something.

Sandpipers of Nevada swimmer Sandpipers swimmer and coach
The feeling that I get at a swim meet is excitement. At swim meets, swimmers from our club come together to do their very best for the team. We also swim to improve our personal times.

Anyway, here’s what I do to prepare for a meet:
1. On the night before, I eat a good dinner. My favorite meal is salmon, rice and broccoli.
2. I try got to bed early.
3. I eat a light breakfast, like a bowl of cereal or oatmeal with fruit. My favorite fruit is papaya.
4. To the meet, I bring with me healthy snacks, power bars, fruit juices and water.
5. I put on sunscreen if I’m swimming outside.
6. I listen to some good pop music.
7. I also find some quiet time to think about my race.
8. I cheer on my swim friends.
9. I got out there and give it my best!

For more information about Sandpipers of Nevada, watch this video!

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Can swimming make you happier?

Swimming is clearly a great form of exercise if you want to achieve total-body conditioning. But, did you know what it can do for your state-of-being? Like yoga for the noggin, swimming also gives the brain a workout in a way that stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals.

Brain feels good. You feel good.
With every stroke, endorphins (feel-goods) are released to zap a bad mood more efficiently than running. In addition to the natural high, swimming can also evoke the relaxation response the same way yoga works on the body. Requiring the alternating stretch and relaxation of skeletal muscles, while simultaneously deep-breathing in a rhythmic pattern, swimming has a built-in matra akin to progressive muscle relaxation techniques.

Chill from life’s rumination.
People who teach mindfullness-based therapy to combat chronic unhappiness say that swimming provides the ability for the mind to focus and keep past thoughts and future worries from invading the consciousness. Concentrating on different aspects of stroke mechanics, such as hip rotation to kick patterns, swimmers who swim on a regular basis get this “therapy” and skip through life’s unpleasant streams.

Focus on auto-mode.
Since most swimmers have set times for lap swimming, they usually find themselves settling into a routine schedule that becomes automatic. This is beneficial for people that find themselves stressed out all to often. Having lack of options is paradoxically comforting because it removes the burden of yet another decision. Just show up and there’s good chance you’ll end up leaving the pool feeling a little better than when you arrived.

Just like author William Wilson wrote in his 19th century, book The Swimming Instructor, “The experienced swimmer, when in the water, may be classed among the happiest of mortals in the happiest of moods, and in the most complete enjoyment of the happiest of exercises.”

Now, that’s pretty happy.

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To health

This coming year, what will you resolve to do? If you think you’re going to commit to health, you’re in plenty of company. Over half the polled in a recent survey claimed that they will resolve to exercise more. Good choice. Here’s a list of my top 10 – all related to health and well-being. Happy, Healthy New Year!

1. Get more exercise – keep your body strong and more immune to diseases by staying on top of this resolution. You’ll not only look good, but your entire outlook will change.
2. Drink more water – absolutely necessary in the right amounts (8×8 is a good rule: eight 8 oz. glasses per day) for the body to function properly.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s not worth the time, and it doesn’t effectively solve problems anyway. Instead, laugh it off.
4. More veggies, please – cleansing vegetables have a way of balancing the GI tract, and when it’s working, we are healthy.
5. More Zzzzzs – while staying up past bedtime to keep up with Facebook conversations is sometimes a great late-night escape ritual, you still feel crumby the next day. Productive sleep = productive days.
6. Be kind - Be kind and patient, especially around kids. They learn by watching you.
7. Increase outdoor activities – nothing cleanses the body and mind like fresh air. Walking, hiking, tossing the ball, taking up golf – whatever you’re inclined to do – choose an activity outside.
8. Eat less sweets - not saying cut it off entirely, but decrease the amount. We all could use a little indulgence from time to time.
9. Spread more love – don’t hold back feelings of love and affection. Give it freely to those around you. You’ll feel good; the the recipient will feel even better.
10. No regrets – this is a philosophy that Olympic Champion Apolo Ohno lives by, not only in sport, but in life – school, work, love – chase your dreams with all your might.

Who shares some of these same resolutions?

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10 healthy “feel-good” indulgences under $10

Bathing actually lowers blood pressure.

What if there was a magical potion that could almost instantly bring peace and harmony into you world? Sometimes we get caught up in our fast-paced life and hold expectations that pleasure comes with a price tag. Take a step back and look to life’s simple pleasures. You’ll be enjoying healthy indulgences to recharge your spirit in no time at all.

1. Nap – A quick snooze will renew your energy, make you more alert and re-set your mood.
2. Kiss – Not so fast out the door! Make sure to give your loved one a kiss. Boost your bond with your partner and burn two calories per second!
3. Walk – Taking a walk outdoors will recharge the mind and fuel the lungs with fresh, energizing air.
4. Salmon – A salmon dinner is a good choice for packing in beneficial, heart-healthy Omega 3 acids.
5. LOL! – Smiling makes us more attractive. It changes our mood, as well as the mood of others. It relieves stress and boosts your immune system.
6. Bath – Sink into relaxation often. Bathing actually lowers blood pressure and provides a great respite from your daily grind.
7. Manicure – DIY! Your hands take a beating each and everyday. Treat them to a warm -water immersion, a massage and new coat of polish.
8. Nibble dark chocolate – Did you know that dark chocolate contains eight times the amount of antioxidants found in strawberries? This makes for a good reason to indulge in one ounce of high-quality dark chocolate per day.
9. Hugs – Hugs feel good. Share them liberally with those you love. Studies have shown that a hug warms the heart and protects it by decreasing blood pressure.
10. Stretch – Stretching can be done virtually anytime – while watching television or waiting for the pasta to boil. Stretch everyday to improve circulation, ease tired muscles and banish stress.

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Spa Week presents stay-healthy treatments for $50

143 million people went to the spa last year, and the number one reason was to reduce stress and relax, according to research by the International Spa Association. The most popular, sought after service – the massage – is also the most expensive. The average price of a massage is $85, a facial is $91, and a body treatment is $95. This week only, from October 10th – 16th, you can get these treatments for $50. Thanks to Spa Week’s Fall 2011 event, everyone can enjoy the most innovative and wellness-focused services at an affordable price.

Hundreds of day spas, medical spas, resort spas, yoga and Pilates studios and other health and fitness centers will offer 2-3 exclusive services for a discounted price of just $50 each.

From acne zapping laser-facials, pain alleviating trigger-point massages, and meditating yoga classes to nutritional counseling sessions, Spa Week offers an experience specific to the unique wellness needs of everyone. What better way to jumpstart yourself to optimum health?

In order to take advantage of Spa Week, consumers should register on SpaWeekto receive exclusive information on participating spas and their $50 services. It is recommended that spa-goers sign up in advance and book their appointments immediately.

Thanks to Spa Week creator and founder Cheryl Reid, who hails from successful careers within the luxury spa industry and publishing spheres, she is also joined by a host of sponsors like CAREFREE®, Vdara Hotel & Spa, CityCenter Las Vegas; Exclusive Cosmetic Sponsor: YOUNGBLOOD Mineral Cosmetics; Exclusive Food Sponsor: Dole, Allure magazine, ISPA, Wedding Channel; American Laser Skincare and Ouidad.

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Easy ways to boost your immunity now

Let’s face it. It’s normal to get sick from time to time, especially during cold and flu season. But, there are people out there who don’t get sick as often as the rest of us. Wouldn’t it be nice to be one of them this year? Discover what some seemingly “superhuman” folks are doing to stay well. It simply makes sense.

1. Sleep. At least get more optimal sleep each night. Sometimes we are faced with working late. Before too many nights go by with less sleep, make an effort to squeeze in a longer night’s slumber. Aim for eight hours.

2. Wash your hands more frequently. Another key here is to also wash hands for at least 15 seconds. If it helps to sing the “happy birthday” song like we encourage our kids to do, so be it. A recent study found that both traditional soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers were effective at killing the H1N1 virus on the hands of health care workers.

3. Choose natural, colorful foods. One of the best ways to achieve better nutrition is to be conscious of the various colors in your food. Vegetables and fruits play an important role in overall immune function. Make sure to include whole grains and lean sources of protein each day.

4. Exercise for antibody production. It’s true. Not only does exercise improve fitness, strength and cardiovascular function, but it also suppresses high cortisol levels, which is known to contribute to decreased immunity.

5. Be positive. Studies show that happiness and positive personalities are associated with less health risks and diseases. Surround yourself with a network of positive people. Adapt better behaviors, and see how much better you’ll feel.

6. Head outdoors. Outdoor activity and exercise help prevent you from catching a bug from someone else. Take a walk for 20-30 minutes each day. You will increase your vitamin D levels just by being outside, and walking is a great low-impact, cardio and stress-relieving workout.

7. Manage your stress. Stress alone is linked to so many illnesses. Get started with stress management techniques to deal with anxiety-provoking experiences.

Adopt these healthy habits to help you boost your natural defenses. Which ones seem to work best for you? We’d like to know!

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How do you nurture yourself?

Wouldn’t you agree that we all need to continually refuel our inner resources? Nurturing yourself gives you the boost you need to maintain joy and wellness throughout your body, mind and soul. Here’s some advice:

Rub it in.
Step away from justifying your next massage. Remind yourself that you are simply replenishing the needed energy to keep you vital and rejuvenated.

Be one with nature.
It’s amazing what nature can do for your well being. Think of the last time you felt ultimate renewal? Was it by the ocean? Or hiking amongst the redwoods? Cycling on a scenic road? Stay in touch with nature often by planning weekend outdoor activities regularly.

Practice being genuine.
In other words, speak the sweet truth – in loving kindness and tenderness. Being genuine with yourself and with others frees you of guilt, anxiety and anger.

Say goodbye to the grudge.
Stored up resentment ultimately destroys health and happiness. Practice forgiveness, cool the anger and enjoy peace with yourself and others.

Connect with something greater than yourself.
Some people devote part of their time to charity, others through yoga, art, religion or meditation. Following your passion and allowing yourself to achieve something greater fuels the soul with goodness.

Be thankful.
Awaking each new day is reason enough to be thankful. Being thankful means that you’re acknowledging and appreciating your gifts. It encourages you to live each day to its fullest.

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