Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Today's wellness Wednesday tip is a piggy back off of monday's There's a Cardio Exercise for everyone post.  I realize many of us, including me some days, have no desire to log hours working out.  That being said, if you can move your body everyday for 30 minutes, you will greatly improve your health... Get your heart pumping everyday.  It doesn't have to a major dedication or even a huge event.  It doesn't have to hard core, fast moving, or super sweaty... Just move.  Go for a walk, indoors or outdoors; play body-moving video game; play a game of capture the flag, touch football, or basketball; go for a bike ride.  These are just some examples of ways to get your heart pumping without feeling like your working out.  As I mentioned yesterday, the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of physical activity every day, for a healthy heart and body.  So, this Wednesday make the change, and move every day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

There's a Cardio Exercise for You!

In the world of fitness, there are soooo many different exercises, all targeted to do different things for your body.  Cardio is one of the most important exercises for any age person, body type, or fitness goal.  Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve your overall health, cardio is the way to go.  There are different types of cardio exercise, the main idea behind all of them is to get your CARDIOvascular system pumping.  A lot of people wonder, which is the most of effective?  There's no silver bullet here, they all are, as long as you get your heart rate into your target heart rate zone (use a Target Heart Rate Calculator and a Heart Rate Monitor for accurate numbers).  Unsure about which is right for you?  Here are some of the Top Cardio Exercises, try them... I'm sure you'll find the one (or more) that's right for you.

1. Running
My personal favorite, and a great choice for many different reasons.  It doesn't require any special equipment, just your feet and some sneakers.  You can run, just about anytime, any where, no major restrictions or hours of operation to worry about.  Running is a high impact exercise, which helps build strong bones and connective tissue.  you don't waste anytime, because it gets your heart rate up more quickly than low impact or no impact exercise.  you can burn some serious calories, especially if you add hills, sprints, or interval training.  The downside about running, is it can take time to build the stamina for continuous running, it can also be hard on the joints, so it doesn't work for everyone.

2. Bicycling
This wonderful, classic exercise can be done indoors or outdoors.  It uses the power of your legs while increasing endurance, and burning lots of calories.  You have the ability to burn up to 500 calories within 30 minutes, depending on how fast and the level of resistance.  It also an easy cardio exercise to incorporate into your everyday life, you can bike to/from work, or around town.  Another bonus, is it's a low impact exercise, so it's good for the joints and a great cross-training workout for those who enjoy more high impact exercises (like running).  If you haven't been on a bike since childhood, or want to make sure you get the most bang for your cardio time, try a butt-kicking spin class, don't forget a towel!

3. Elliptical Trainer
Did you know that the elliptical is one of the most popular pieces of equipment at the gym?  Well, it is, and it's no wonder, because it can be a full body workout.  It allows your body to move in a natural way, without the impact of a treadmill.  Most machines offer different resistance levels, adjustable ramps, and arm handles to increase your intensity.  To add variety, you can move backwards which works your muscles in a different way (I'm not coordinated enough to do it).  It's also a great choice for runners, whose joints are looking for a break from pounding the pavement.  Plus, it's easier to read a book or magazine while on the elliptical, which can help pass your cardio time!

4. Swimming
Swimming is an amazing workout!  It's a full body exercise, the more body parts you involve in a workout, the more calories you burn.  It's great for people of all ages, it not only works on coordination, but it's also a life skill!  Best of all, it's super low impact for the joints, because the water fully supports your body.  And you build stamina and increase your breathing and lung capacity.  p.s. No one is expecting you to be Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte!

5. Step Aerobics
Step aerobics is another fun choice, but coordination (and sometimes rhythm) is a requirement.  It's a nice break from the pounding feel and the repetitive moves of regular aerobics.  The step offers the intensity without the joints pounding on the ground.  By adding risers, you add more variety and intensity.  It's a powerful calorie burner, while targeting your core, legs, butt, and hips.  It's not complicated for most, especially if you start with a beginners class/video... However, for me and my uncoordinated butt, I trip and tumble over the step all class, which makes me comic relief and an added distraction for most in the class (sorry).

6. Rowing
I've gotta tell you, this machine is often overlooked at the gym... The rowing machine does look like it's straight out of the 80s, but don't discount it's ability to kick your butt.  Rowing is a physically demanding exercise, using both your upper body and lower body simultaneously, which means a higher heart rate and more calories burned.  Like the elliptical or spin bike, there are different levels of resistance, lending to a challenging workout no matter your fitness level.  So when you're walking in the gym, stop, sit down and try it out... but start out with 10-15 minutes, trust me you'll feel it. Then add more time in subsequent workouts, as your body adjusts to the movements (your back, shoulders, and thighs will be talking to you).

7. Kickboxing
Kickboxing is a great butt kicking choice for a cardio workout.  It's a hard, full body workout involving punches and kicks.  Most are choreographed, either through a class (like Les Mills Body Combat) at your gym or on a video (think tae-bow).  Coordination is also a most for this, but by using your core, upper and lower body, you will burn calories and see major results in your endurance.  If you really want to increase your intensity, add a punching bag (or a person) to be on the receiving end of those punches.

8. Walking
Walking is another great choice for cardio because you don't need any special equipment, just your feet and comfortable shoes, like running.  You can do it anytime, any where.  It's a low impact exercise, so it can be hard to get your heart rate up, but by adding hills, increasing your speed, or even adding walking poles can increase your intensity.  Be sure to keep your head up, back straight, swing your arms, and walk briskly (like trying to catch a bus or train) to maximize your workout.  For every mile, you can burn an average of 100 calories.  You can walk solo, or with company... I love our family walks!

9. Zumba & Aerobic Classes
Fun, fun, fun!! Zumba is a heart pumping, salsa dancing, hardcore cardio workout!  Like other aerobic classes, Zumba is a series of choreographed moves to body grooving music.  You'll leave class sweaty, but you won't feel like you put in 60 minutes of exercise because its fun!  Most aerobic classes are designed to be full body workouts, and Zumba is no different.... The bonus is you'll burn more calories. Aerobics and Zumba are considered more high impact because of some of the moves and jumps, but with easy modifications they can be considered low impact for those with join issues.  So, bust a move, and boogy down at Zumba.

10. Stairs, jump rope, plyometrics
Stairs, jump rope, and plyometric exercises are sometimes forgotten.  But they are all great calorie burning, heart rate soaring, cardio exercises.  Stairs can be done anywhere there are stairs.  You can incorporate them into daily life, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.  If you're in the gym, stair masters look quite a bit different then in years past.  Instead of the 80s pedals and leg warmers, now they are designed to look like mini escalators with never-ending climbing, with variable speeds.  To switch muscles, or add intensity you can climb the stairs sideways, working the inner & outer thighs.  Jump rope, is no longer a childhood memory.  It is a calorie scorcher, and can be done even when traveling, because jump ropes can be packed in a suitcase.  It is also a great exercise to do in between weight lifting sets to keep your heart rate up.  You can add variety by trying different foot patterns (one foot, two feet, alternating, scissor jumps, etc).  Plyometrics are a p90x staple, but the idea is combining full body movements to keep your heart rate up.  You work a variety of muscles at the same time, while moving with speed, exercises like tires, jump shot, blurpees, swing kicks, squats.  The bonus of plyometrics is they can be done anywhere because they don't require any special equipment, just you.

Cardio is an amazing way to increase your fitness level, endurance and stamina, lose weight, and keep your heart healthy.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise 5 days a week (or at least 150 min) for a healthy body & heart.  Cardio exercises also have the ability to lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and can help stabilize blood sugar.  So, no matter which exercise you choose, get moving!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!  No matter where you are are, near or far; with or without your family; working or on vacation... Never lose sight of the true meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday   It is a time to give thanks for all of the many blessings, and the many lessons in our lives.  Be grateful we live in a country full of freedoms, appreciate the battle those before us had to fight in order for us to have these freedoms.  It's a time to remember Native Americans and British settlers.  Turkey, football, and Black Friday sales are a bonus, but remember to spread joy, kindness, and thanks to all of those around you.  This Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for God and all the blessings he continues to bestow upon us.  I am thankful for my husband, D'reardon, and my two daughters, Jordan & Mia.  I am thankful for our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, cousins, and my siblings.  I am thankful for my friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and kind strangers.  I am thankful for my blog followers, twitter - facebook - instagram followers, pageant followers, and all those who believe in and support Self Soul Space.  I wish you and your loved ones, a Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Ashley

Monday, November 19, 2012

Travel Healthy- Part 2

This is part two of Travel Healthy, like I mentioned in part one, this is my busy season for work, as well it's the busiest travel season for the roads and airports because of the holidays.  You made it to your destination... Now, here are my tips for staying healthy while on your trip...

On Your Trip
At the hotel
  • Request a fridge in your room
  • Request a quiet room away from the elevator
  • Remember your body still needs rest, try to stick close to your wake up/bed times
  • Silicon ear plugs are awesome to block out noisy neighbors or crying baby
  • Find closest grocery store (or Walgreens in a pinch) to stock up on more healthy snacks & water, and meal options if you're sick of eating out
  • Locate the fitness center, and try to stick to your normal workouts while on the road, not a lot of time: squeeze in 30 min of cardio- Something is always better than nothing!
  • Exercise bands are great staple in our suitcase; they don't take up any space, and you can use them almost anywhere
  • Continue to take your vitamins
  • Ask Concierge about local favorites & healthy food options
  • Walk to discover the area & see the sights, take a walking tour of the city
  • Enjoy it, even if your there for business
At a Restaurant
  • Water... You must stay hydrated
  • Want coffee or alcohol? remember to alternate with water
  • Breakfast, keep it simple & don't over do it... Oatmeal, Eggs-turkey bacon-wheat toast, yogurt-granola, or egg white & veggie omelet 
  • Lunch, again keep it simple... Salad, grilled protein & veggies, broth based soup
  • Dinner, be smart & realistic!
  • If you kept it simple & healthy all day, splurge a little on some local favorites 
  • Skip the dessert, or at least share 1 with others
  • Try to fill up on veggies or salad instead of bread & fried appetizers.
Attending a conference or theme park
  • Pack snacks & water to avoid hunger pains, and avoid the dreaded impulse food carts & snack trays

Overall, planning & organization can help provide you with a stress-free, healthy trip; be smart about what you eat; take your vitamins; rest; drink lots of water; and lastly, move and enjoy the area! I hope my tips help with your next business trip, vacation, or holiday visit!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekends: healthy, fit, and fun for everyone

It's the weekend, and what are you going to do? I find myself trying to think of something to do every weekend. Things we can do as a family, things for just my husband and I, things for me and my girlfriends, and honestly, things for just me to do too. After a long work week, the last thing anyone wants to do is rush around, and not enjoy their weekend. But how do we stay active, eat healthy, and still relax over the weekend. Here are some of my ideas for healthy weekend activities  whether it's date night, family day, girls/guys night out, or a "me myself & I" date.

Bowling: this is a guaranteed strike, when it comes to healthy activity for people of all ages, anytime of day, anywhere. It's fun as a pair, or with a group.

Cooking/baking class: learn to make different cuisines, there are even ones for kids... If you're in the DE area check out Chefs Haven in Hockession, DE or even your local Williams Sonoma.

Spa Night: you can go out to your favorite salon for a spa night, or you can do one at home for more fun and on a budget. Manicures, pedicures, facials, or even massages. Check out www.wholeliving.com for their At-home Spa Guide, or find a Mary Kay consultant in your area.

Home Improvement: this is a great way to get the blood pumping while improving your Space. A great time to recruit friends & kids to help. Gardening, spring cleaning, and painting are easier ways, but if you want to remodel your bathroom, have fun!

Bike Ride: go for a bike ride, solo or with someone/a group. Look for scenic locations; beach, lake, park, historic areas, or even just your neighborhood... For a special treat, ride your bike to your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt shop, for a sweet reward!

Yoga class: take a yoga class. This is a wonderful way to work and relax the body all at the same time. There are even family yoga classes. Namaste!

Walk & a Picnic: pack a healthy meal in reusable containers, and head out to your favorite park or beach. Enjoy the time with a leisurely stroll and a yummy meal. If you're with another, pack a Frisbee or some kites. As the weather gets warmer, some parks offer live music, bonus! But don't forget your picnic blanket!

Book Stores: antique or your neighborhood Barnes & Noble, are wonderful ways to spend your weekend. Grab a coffee or a tea, find a good book, snag a cozy chair, and let your mind drift into the pages. With kids, this is another awesome way to show them reading is fun!

Walking Tour: whether your visiting or it's your hometown, go on a walking tour. You'll see and learn things your never knew before. In DE, there are tours of the historic houses & buildings of Dover, Old New Castle, Lewis, and Georgetown. Amazon.com even sells books/maps so you can take your own walking tour where ever you are without a tour guide.

Botanical Gardens: visit, enjoy, learn, and breathe in all of the wonderful smells and the beauty these gardens have to offer. Longwood Gardens in PA is one of our favorite places to visit, all year round, they have a spectacular Christmas display. Plus you get in about 2-3 miles worth of walking.

Group Sports: these can be as fun or competitive as you want them to be; volleyball, basketball, flag football, and an oldie but goodie, kickball. Get some friends, kids, family members together and get moving!

Dancing: time to put on those dancing shoes, and get boogieing! Leave the robot at home though. Don't feel like going out, try Just Dance for the xBox or the Wii... It is soooooo much fun, I work up a sweat every time!!

Volunteer: this is a great way to giveback, which is very healthy for your soul and space! Find places in your area that need your help, we have a great website in DE, www.volunteerdelaware.org that connects volunteers with the organizations.

Roller/Ice Skating: when was the last time you put on a pair of skates? It's fun, family friendly, and some rinks even have adult only skate times. This is not only a good workout for your body, but for your soul as well because you will laugh and let go, every time you or someone else with you falls.

Museums: visit a art or historic museum, learn and take in the culture, relax in the quietness... Unless your at the Delaware Children's Museum, then let your inner child out and have fun!

These are just some of my ideas for having a healthy, fun, and fit weekend. By no means should you squeeze them into one weekend, then your back to a jammed packed-non relaxing weekend. Grab your partner, your kids, your friends (or leave them all at home) and go have fun! Stay healthy this weekend, Self, Soul, and Space!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Travel Healthy- Part 1

It's that time of year again, when I am back on the road (or air) flying across the country to greet you as a auto manufacturer spokesperson.  Side note: I'm actually posting from Charlotte, NC... Anyway, This is also the time of year, when everyone starts traveling for the holidays, need I mention cold/flu season too.  So, my travel tips not only keep you healthy while you travel, but they're also good to implement into daily life to help prevent illness.  This was actually one of my first pieces I wrote on Self Soul Space, it was so popular, I decided to re-release it in a two-part piece.  Here are my Healthy Travel tips for you actual travel day...

Flight/Travel Day
Day(s) before:
  • Prep & Pack (don't forget exercise clothes/sneakers, vitamins/medications, & healthy snacks), make a list, and check it twice!
  • Print boarding passes & all confirmation paperwork ahead of time
  • Organization = happiness & no stress
  • Fill up your gas tank the night before, whether you're traveling to the airport or on a road trip
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before your trip
Travel Day:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport or your destination, to help eliminate stress & to make for more enjoyable trip
  • Smile and be friendly as you go through TSA (or tolls on the road)!
  • Once through security (or on the road), scope out healthy food options.
  • Water, H2O, agua, water... Is your friend, drink lots!
  • Fresh fruit, veggies, salads, nut trail mixes, chewing gum, and protein bars are great snack choices
  • Avoid fast foods, soda, alcohol, and those yummy sweet pastries
  • Bring a book/magazines to read or some puzzles to solve... you've got to keep that mind healthy too!
  • While on board/road, take walk breaks- walk the aisles or at the rest stop & stretch, keep that blood flowing
  • While seated, rotate ankles; up-down, clockwise & counter clockwise, it helps to eliminate cramps. stiffness  & blood clots
  • Rest while on the plane or in the passenger seat of the car, noise cancelling headphones or relaxing music can help
  • Use antibacterial gel, to help keep hands clean especially before snacking
  • Drink water... Stay hydrated!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Wednesday greets us again, and with cold & flu season knocking on our doors, my Wednesday wellness tip is... Keep your hands clean! Yes, who would think I would need to say this, but wash your hands! I'm not just talking about when you're finished in the bathroom or just before you cook/eat... I mean often, throughout the day, sometimes just because. Load them with soap, and lather for 20 seconds... Sing a song (in you head if you're embarrassed), like Happy Birthday. Be sure to get in between your fingers under your nails, then rinse with warm water. In addition to washing your hands, keep hand sanitizer with you and use it, especially when you're traveling, after you blow your nose, sneeze, touch busy door handles, or shake hands... It's not offensive, number one, you don't know how clean their hands are, number two, you're not really sure how clean your hands are, so share your hand sanitizer. Our hands are some of the biggest carriers of germs. We touch everything, then we touch our noses, eyes, face, which are the gateway for outside germs to enter our body. So, to help avoid catching or spreading a nasty cold, or the dreaded flu... Wash your hands! Stay well this Wednesday and this cold & flu season!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Do you have 8 minutes to change your life?

I do!  I recently, just finished reading and following the 8 Minute Mediation by Victor Davich.  Now, in reality, it took 456 minutes to change my life, or 7 1/2 Law & Order SVU episodes, but it did.  It's no secret that I meditate, but I am always looking for ways to improve my practice.  8 Minute Meditation is "the most American form of meditation...", says Time Magazine.  It's a great way to take just 8 minutes out of your day, to bring clarity, peace, happiness, calmness to your life.  8 Minute Meditation is an 8 week program that breaks down the foundations of meditation, step by step, week by week, exploring and building your meditation practice.  You learn to allow, catch & release, breathe, and have fun with meditation.  Start in a seated comfortable position, set a timer for 8 minutes, and follow the directions of each week for just 8 minutes a day, easy breezy.  You'll find that 8 minutes flies by, its actually the same amount of time between 2 commercial breaks of your favorite TV show (like Law & Order SVU).

The Program goes as follows...
Week 1 focuses on the breath... just breathe!
Week 2 teaches you to focus on the naked sound around us with out judgment.
Week 3 helps you notice your body, and the light within it.
Week 4 is magic... are you present?
Week 5 teaches gracious declining, something you need in meditation and daily life!
Week 6 allows you to watch a movie in the mind's eye, no popcorn though :-(
Week 7 was my favorite, because again Lovingkindness practice is so important in meditation and daily life.
Week 8 is review and graduation week, yay!

By the end of all 8 weeks, you will feel more at peace in your daily life; you will be more kind to those around you; and you will approach a stressful situation more calmly than you have in the past.  I know I do!  And all you've dedicated was 8 minutes out of your day.  Most of my 8 minute meditation sessions were before bedtime, I practiced the Lovingkindness week in the morning before my family woke up!  Every week, if you feel like something is not going right, Victor Davich answers all of your rising questions and concerns with meditation, including the never ending roving mind.  He also offers an upgraded program after you finish your 8 weeks.  I fully recommend this book and program.  If you're looking to introduce meditation into your busy life, or improve your meditation practice, 8 Minute Meditation is a great way to do it!  Namaste`, my friends!
For more questions on What is Meditation? Check out my post Meditation: Health for the Soul

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Another Wednesday is upon us... What will you do for your wellness today? Since the Wednesday after the election, I could talk about that, but that would and could stir up so many different opinions, so many feelings, and possible negativity on my blog. Whether your candidate won or lost last night, my Wellness Wednesday tip is to remain positive, even in times of adversity. When times are tough, I always have to remind myself things could be worse. I make myself appreciate the blessings that surround me, and smile!  Staying positive not only, reduces my stress level, but also lowers my blood pressure, and makes me a happier person all around!

So, if you are still upset at the outcome of the election or the rhetoric behind it... Look around, and appreciate the fact we live in a country where we can vote for elected officials, appreciate the rights and freedoms we have in this country, and remember the blessing that God made us all different and we live in a country that is founded on the differences of Americans!  Stay positive, appreciate your blessings, and Smile is the tip for this Wellness Wednesday, and everyday! God Bless America!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Health of the Soul 94

Worship from the belly of your soul and allow music of praise to minister to your mind and emotions.  Sing a song from your heart.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Health of the Soul 93

Affliction in your soul can strengthen your mind and emotions rebuild your relationship with the Creator.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Health of the Soul 91

Invite an eruption in your soul to obey and listen to hear the voice of your Creator

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Yes, it's Thursday! You're not confused, nor am I.  This week's Wednesday Wellness is coming out on Thursday, due to yesterday's Halloween celebrations!  And how fitting... Today's Wednesday Wellness tip is to treat yourself every once in a while, but not too often.  So that Halloween candy that's staring you in the face, have a piece? Yes, but not the whole bucket!

Eating healthy, working out/being active, being kind to others as well as your soul, and saving our planet is hard work, and must be rewarded!  It doesn't have to be food related, even though that's my choice.  It can be a new pair of shoes, a long sought-after item for your collection, a trip to your favorite place, wherever or whatever you consider a special treat, indulge on occasion.  Trust me, it's makes all the hard work worthwhile.  However, indulging in treats too often, takes the specialness out of it.  No tricks either, you must put in the work, otherwise you're "hustlin' backwards!" (In the words of my husband).  Treats are small (or big) tokens of working hard to build a healthy Self Soul Space, they make the journey easier... So, Enjoy!  On that note, I'm going to go ahead and eat this mini KitKat bar, since my daughters can't eat it anyway (allergies).

Health of the Soul 90

Souls of men are eternal.  Where will your soul rest after death on earth?
You make a decision.