A Better Active Living for a Better Health

– Optimal health & life go along with sufficient physical activity –

According to the World Health Organization, we should at least be intensively active for a minimum of 75 min / week or moderately active for 150 minutes / week. 

We have the responsibility to optimize our life by scheduling sport into our daily organization. Here you can find the recommendations of the WHO concerning the minimum amount of physical activity for any age:

http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/

Simple tips concerning active living are:

1. Train for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day (10 min is a very minimum)

2. Plan to train and train indeed when planned

3. Do it with friends, family & childre, make it a social activity

4. Diversify your sport activities:  the more sports you do, the best

5. Opt for local & offerdable sports

6. A healthy diet goes along with a good sportive life

7. Focus on progress, show maintained efforts & be willing to persevere

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– There will be more to come – this section is under reconstruction –

 

-A few tips about how I do Yoga most effectively any Time of the Year-

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  1. Consider doing yoga in the water. If you are lucky and have a nice swimming pool or a beach nearby, you might be able to do yoga into the water any time of the year and with enough space. You can also do it when you bath at the swimming pool or at the beach with your kids. It makes the swimming activity effective for everyone. And it allows you to practice yoga even when taking care of your children. Using water as an environment when practicing yoga is also a good way to spare you from back pain and various injuries that can occur when doing some requiring and difficult postures of yoga. Water helps you handle gravity forces more easily when doing yoga and experience the movement nevertheless.

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2. Do prioritize yoga in fresh air and the best is definitely outdoor. If you have windowed doors that can open the room where you practice yoga to the outside and to open air. Do try to place your yoga mat as close to the outside as possible. Even if it is a bit cold outside. It does maximize your yoga workout, make you breathe fresh air and make your entire body feel closer to nature and the environment. It is a very sensitive and gentle way to adapt one’s own body to the changes of the four successive seasons of the year. Physically and sensibly experiencing the progressive fall of temperature in Autumn as well as the rising of degrees celsius in early Spring are both ones of the best sensations you can offer to your body and all its senses when practicing yoga. It helps you and your mind adapt much better to the yearly changes. And giving your body both experiences is the best way to induce meditation. This makes you reconnect with the present moment and makes you & your body embrace the reality of your environment and its changes, closer to nature.

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3. Read as much as you can about yoga from good authors that are both experienced and educated by valid credentials. Knowledge of Yoga in literature is well documented today and translated in various languages. Most books can be easily accessible with prices ranging from free of charge, to not expensive, or to more expensive. But if you buy second-hand books, most books are very accessible to everyone. You can find most of high quality books about yoga by high quality authors online, in the local library and bookstores. So, take good time to read books about yoga & meditation, it will avoid you to make wrong movements or get hurt when practicing yoga. Good sufficient knowledge when practicing a sport is always of worth value.

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4. Make your yoga practice comfortable and pleasant. A too intensive workout, if this can help some yoga fanatics, can demotivate you rapidly. Find your own pace and comfort in the yoga practice and exercises that suit you and your daily life best. Don’t hesitate to use pillows when doing a posture or other material aids and opt definitely for a good (remember that “good” does not mean “expensive”) yoga mat that will make you feel at home, good & safe when practicing yoga. This will enhance your motivation and the effectiveness of your workout. It shall also relax your mind in the most effective way. Yoga is a pleasant experience and must induce relaxation to be more effective.

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5. Practice yoga everywhere you go and whatever the activity you do. For example when you go skiing, take a break off your ski to do a yoga pose or practice meditation when hiking along a lake. This can be so pleasant and great of an experience to include yoga in each and every single place you go and each activity you do. Meditation & Yoga have their place everywhere, whatever we are busy with or the sport we do. After all, we are all part of the whole.

6. Use music as a support when practicing yoga, both for meditation and for exercising yoga poses. This can be of great help to get started and motivated before, during and for yoga practice and also because music can help you to regulate your mood and process your feelings and thus make you feel more present during practice. Do take the time to create playlists on your mobile or computer with music you particularly like or which helps you calm down and refocus on yourself and one the present moment, so that you spare time each time you practice. Find the music that suits best the mood you are in, the state of mind you would like to achieve during and at the end of your yoga / meditation practice or that matches the kind of yoga exercises you plan or use to do.

 

 

7. Use available adapted training spaces in your surroundings to practice yoga in different places. If you have a training studio nearby which allows you to use its space for some hours a week, this can help you hanging out with other yoga lovers and be acquainted with windowed training rooms. Using windows when practicing yoga helps you correct your movements and exercices and avoid you to get hurt when practicing yoga. Doing yoga in such a training room is a good way to enjoy much more space than one can usually have home and to occupy, entirely, with your whole being and mind that huge space you are allocated to practice. These pictures are pictures of the widowed training room at YX/Lustraporten in Hafslo. They have a fantastic studio there and with a subscription or a visit you can use the entire training area and material, the studio included.

 

 

8. Use visual aids, such as pictures of symbol or simply pictures, when meditating and doing yoga, both to look at when needed or to think about when doing yoga. Remembering a picture/visual aid can be of help in performing a yoga posture most effectively and being the most present possible. Like for example, keep a picture of a tree available somewhere in a file of your computer to remember what is it like to be one when you perform a Tree Pose during your daily yoga practice. Or having or remembering a beautiful sunset or picture of nature can be of great help when meditating. It can calm the mind and make you feel more in adequacy with, present in and related to nature.

 

 

9. Help your mind meditate and embrace each movement when doing yoga with quotations you get from books you read or from quotations you find anywhere else, in a magazine when waiting for your therapy session or in any other newspapers, a sentence a person said and that touched or chocked you. It is always good to keep your mind busy with these quotations, to take distance from them and to be able to take your own position towards such quotations (some can help you, resonate well in your life, or hurt you and make you feel bad), both because they are “food for thoughts” but also because they sharpen your critical mind and makes you question life and the world. Thinking and meditating (with or without the help of such quotations) is of high importance in the maturation of one’s own mind, it makes you forge your own opinion and helps you share it and question it with other people and the world around you. Philosophy is a good tool both when practising meditation and yoga. And the opposite is true as well, yoga & meditation are good tools, practice and methods to embrace philosophy. Picking up quotations everywhere possible makes you feel more present in the moment and also be more observant of the world and environment around you. In short, quotations can be a good tool and ground for reflections. It develops our reading and reflection skills. It makes one think about what is happening in the world, how other people see it and see life, redefine our ideals in life and think about what kind of person we are and/or want to be. This is an input of other people into our life. And quotations make us listen to them. Therefore, these quotes are worth being kept on your mobile, on a small piece of paper, in your mind as a memory or on your computer for further use when meditating or doing yoga. A quotation can be a weekly or daily theme you can personally use or that your family can meditate on. This can be a start for discussion and debate home around the table during breakfast or lunch, these quotes can be a space and a time where and when people you share your life with and yourself can learn and have the right to express their opinion and build their personality and self-confidence and, maybe, change the world. Or at least, if one has to remain modest, reflect about what this world is.

-A most Active Life Style Possible-

Diversifying Physical Activities

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Tai-Chi, swimming, yoga, walking, running,

gym with your kids, dance, cycling, hiking, camping,

abdominal and daily work-outs

There are plenty of sports one can think of practicing. This blogg wouldn’t be big enough to cite all of them. I will therefore focus on those I practice personally, how, why and which positive effects they have / had on my own health, life and family life.

Plenty of people argue that a too busy schedule is often the reason why they don’t have enough time to devote to sport / physical activities. I do not agree. My own experience proves the complete opposite. I have often been employed on job that required weekend and evening shifts and where I was often asked to work extra-hours. I am a single mother and have the main custody of a 4 years old and I live abroad without relatives and family around to help out with any busy schedule and child care. And although I do have help once in a while from acquaintances and friends, I do have to assume most of my professional and family life on my own. I do nevertheless have and manage to give priority to sport and physical activities, on a regular, daily and weekly basis. Why? Because it is of great importance both for our physical and psychic health. A too sedentary life does not profite anyone.

Generally, it is advised to perform 2 hours and a half minimum of moderate physical activity a week and / or a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour of intensive physical activity a week.

Personally, I opted to divide the overall quantity of time devoted to sport / physical activity in several sessions (short and long), in order to have it most suitable to my weekly schedule and family life organisation. When with my child, it is obviously preferable to prioritize moderate physical activity such as accompany him to the gym for his multi sport weekly training, walking / hiking, skiing or swimming.

A useful motto and way in order to stay motivated to practice sport is obviously to diversify physical activities as much as possible. It made my dedication to sport more effective especially in the winter when one can easily be more willing to stay home and cocoon instead of going out in the cold, move and sweat. In our family, we have 8 different kinds of sport we do practice weekly, along with a series of occasional sports we do, depending on the weather and seasonal conditions (we ski in the winter of course and do cycle, mountain hike and camping in the summer, fall and spring) only during a certain period of the year.

Horse riding is a sport I previously practiced quite extensively when I was young but that I dont have the possibility to practice right now. However, I hope that one day I will ride horse again. I have this crazy dream to cross Norway on a horse back and cross Europe on my feet. Let’s see, crazy dreams!

Swimming is a weekly activity we both, my child and me, enjoy, so we are quite dedicated to taking the time to visit the local swimming pool at least once a week together. I always swam anywhere I lived from when I was a child. Where I grew up, when living in Brussels and living abroad in Norway. My parents have and had a big outdoor swimming pool, something that allowed us to swim extensively in the summer time. I remember we spent the entire days of the summer holidays into the swimming pool. And the evening, with the swimming pool lightning on. I do personally make sure I can go swimming on my own one afternoon a week, for one hour intensively, one moderate hour of soft exercise such as yoga into the water and one hour of sauna, hammam and bubble bath relaxation. I do swim all kinds of swimming methods. I had the chance to receive a good sportive education in primary and secondary school. I brought my child to the swimming pool very early in his life. I had read thousands of articles about the detrimental effect of chlorine in the development of a child’s lungs. And although I was a bit sceptical, I decided that the positive effect of water would overcome the negative effect of chlorine. And it did. We went to baby swimming and there we met lots of great friends we still have in our life today. We enjoyed a very good professional guidance at baby swimming and it is in the same swimming pool that we made sure to invest in a yearly or monthly family card in the years that followed. My child, now 4 years old, is very happy in the water. He used armrings from the start and is quite confident to let go of them now. He is also very proficient in diving and exploring the depth of a swimming pool. We regularly do exercice of observation and manipulation of different toys into the water. Today, he manages to go round the big swimming pool (where he cannot walk on his own because he is too small) alone by holding with his hands the metallic bar of the swimming pool wall. He is skilled to jump from the edge and to start to acquire the basic mouvements to start swimming properly speaking. He can get a toy from the bottom of the swimming pool easily in the children pool and enjoys as well taking a relaxing time in the bubble bath. Our local swimming pool as a bubble bath of 38 degrees outside. This is a great experience to enjoy the huge contrast of temperature in the harsh Norwegian winter. My child is very awesome to swim along with me in the big swimming pool by holding on on my back, with his arms around my shoulders. This is an exercice we often practiced when he was younger. This can reveal a very effective exercice and way to test how secure is your child with you and if he sees you as a safe harbour and experience enough safety by your side in risky and scary situations as when into the water, where he/she him/herself does not have a lot of control and dexterity yet.

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Yoga is a sport I try to include in everyday life and into all other sports we do. However, I like to take the time to have a yoga session entirely devoted to it & meditation once in a while. But I must admit I hardly have the time to as regularly as I would love. Indeed, including yoga poses into other sports is actually a very good way to keep up practicing yoga no matter how busy is the weekly and daily schedule. Yoga is particularly helpful to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility and balance. These are important skills to work-out and improve in all other existing sports. It helped me a lot when I started to learn to ski in order to keep up on an optimal balance and strengthen my legs and their muscles. I would advise all those who only start to ski, to start yoga as well in parallell. Because it can definitely help you considerably with all aspects of skiing. Yoga also helped soften the falls when skiing and learning how to fall right and in the least hurtful way is one of the most important thing to learn when learning to ski and also to teach your kids when they start to ski.

Running is a MUST for me. I make sure to devote one intensive hour of running at least once a week. Why? Because it is invigorating. I started to run in early December (2018) last year. But I had previously run weekly in several periods of my life. When living in Brussels, I lived in Ixelles, nearby the park of the Abbey of the Cambre, a fabulous park to run any time of the day. As a child, I grew up in the countryside, in a rural environment, in the South of Belgium. A place that provided plenty of small roads, forests, woods and paths to run. Today I live in Norway, a vigorous nature to enjoy running any time of the year. I love running because it is an “alone, solitary time”, thus a good opportunity to refocus on oneself. A time when you only progress and practice at YOUR own pace so it makes you work on the relationship and understanding you have of your own body, its rhythms and mechanism when in action/activity. It is very ecological, you can run from your appartement and in your surroundings so you do not have to use your car to get to a place to run (like the swimming pool requires you to). This is of great importance when your car fails to start because it is too cold outside or when there is too much snow and ice on the road and you prefer to avoid any risky car travel. It is a very cheap sport to practice, because, except from good sport shoes which can be quite available even when of good quality, comfortable trousers, a good coat/jacket (not too warm but good enough and water proof to suit all kinds of weather, rain included), a hat if cold or rainy, gloves if necessary, a good sweater. A timer (on your mobile possibly). And that’s it. You can run! Also it is a sport close to nature and a very good one to discover your near environment. It is a sport you can practice all year round. It improves muscles capacity, breathing capacity, blood circulation and endurance. It makes you work on your pelvic muscles and can reduce undesirable fat on the stomach and abdominal areas. Both of which are quite useful to work on after a birth especially for a woman. I personally adapt my running hour to my general physical state. So when I started to run, in the early sessions I had, I accepted to start walking every time I felt discomfort, muscles pain, exhaustion or was out of breath. Most because I did not want to press myself to intensive running work-out and because I wanted it to be pleasant and relaxing, as well as because I strongly wanted to keep myself motivated. Also, because I love walking. So I combined both. But I as the weeks passed, I started to decrease the walking periods and the running ones significantly increased. I still do walk once in a while, but I am happy to notice I run much more out of the entire hour I devote to it. My usual running tour is made both of flat and “ups and downs”. Diversity in the running exercice seems to be of importance to me. I try to make sure to have all kinds of road/ground types: concrete (on the road and parking lots), earth and grass. Running is also a very awesome sport because you can do it on hiking paths, in wooden and forest areas. Most of the hiking and walk itineraries here in the area can be done running. This is just and simply great and practical. And it is a completely different running experience. After a few weeks after I started, I rapidly noticed that my breathing capacity had increased and I happened very fast to need and desire that hour of running every week, no matter what happened. The positive psychic and physiological effects must probably be very rapid to settle down in the brain in order to create a good pattern. I enjoy pulling the sleder (hakebrett) with my child on, when running on snowy days if my child is with me on a running tour. I have not found any solution for running along with a child if no snow.

Gym with your kids. This is a very good thing I love in Norway: people do a lot of sports and are physically active and the all thing starts from a very early age. We enjoy going to the multisport gym with my child. This is a session organised at the local primary school by the Children Sport organization (Barn Idrett, which by the way is responsible of the Ski Cup in the winter too, it is a communal offer) and is open to children of all ages, proposing all kinds of multisport equipment workshop and activities for one hour once a week. Parents are supposed and expected to follow up their kids because there is no main guidance during the activity. And I think it is nice because it involves the parents much into the sport session. Parents and kids can choose their sport/activity and go and take the equipments /materials themselves from the lobby/storage room. All parents and kids are expected to arrange the place at the start and clean/tidy up at the end of it. This is a sport session which is organized once a week, every week and free of charge. The rate of attendance/participation is quite high, which is a good thing because it can make your child get acquainted with and make friends with other kids outside of those he knows from day-care/kindergarten/school. It increases his/her social network, ake him / her meet different people from different places. This an indoor sport, so it is quite nice to have it in the winter, when it is quite cold and harsh outside in the evening. It also is a good start in learning your child to diversify sportive activities.

Dance. Dance. Dance. “The thing”. I have a long history with dance, personally. I always loved dancing, because it is the perfect encounter of multiple aspects of humanity : sport/moves/culture/music/visual art/collectivity/group work/intense work-out/spirituality. I luckily experienced and received quality scholar and academic education in all kinds of dance. The very first recalling memory I have of an artistic show/spectacle that my parents brought us to was a dance spectacle organized in Charleroi and this was a modern dance performance and I remember (I was quite young at the time) that I read the prospectus about what the show was talking about and it was indeed a very abstract modern performance so it was very useful for me to read what it was about, but this performance is very well encrypted in my child memory so I believe this must have had a very strong impression on me and gave birth to a feeling of fascination and curiosity. How people could use their body to express so many things that could not be spoken but that could still be expressed in other ways like dancing. This fascinated me completely. I started in early childhood with classical dance at the academy with my sisters during a part of my primary school years. I did modern dance in secondary in a private club. I switched to African dance when I started to work after I got graduated. I unfortunately did not dance so much when studying for my Bachelor and Master Degree. except that we had this annually Russian Party which the Departement of Russian Language organized and for which we usually practiced and performed Ukrainian traditional dances. We had a wonderful teacher who was literate in this kind of dances. And who taught us traditional movements. I did not dance so much in the yearly years I expatriated to Norway, partly because most of the jobs I had where quite physically demanding, so I spared my energy and forces and prioritized relaxing activities instead of intense ones. However, I did occasionally have the time to perform improvised dance videos and sessions outdoor and indoors. And I enjoyed very much filing dance work sessions, particularly outdoor. I made a very I fabulous series of videos in several natural settings. With improvised short dance sessions composed mainly of yoga postures and movements, performed in different climate and temperature and weather. I particularly loved working in the rain and in rainy environment. Maybe its my Belgian nature that speaks. Except from these filmed sessions, I did not have a lot of time to dance in the first 5 years of living in Norway. When my child was born, I actually reconnected with dance in attending babysong, which were singing session with gestures and dance. Also, did I actually enjoy taking my baby / child to all kinds of dance shows and spectacles possible in the area at the local Cultural House/Theater. We saw several performance of the Oslo Dance Company. My child was constantly impressed and amazed to attend these, he really enjoyed it and visual shows are very very for young children. This was also a way to introduced music and theater for him. I nevertheless started to attend a modern dance class last fall. This is a mix of zumba, African dance, modern dance on all kinds of music and it is a quite demanding and excellent work-out. We have a very good teacher, so we are very lucky. She proposes 2 work-outs a week, I usually only have the possibility to attend one of them. But it is quite good though. When I was working at YX/Lustraporten as a manager, I used to enjoy the windowed training room of the training center, because I had a free access to all the training facility. And this was a fantastic experience to dance and work of dancing improvised dancing mouvements with that kind of space and windows. First because you can occupy all the space you want and because matras are available so you can cover the floor with lots of comfortable Equipments that can allow you to practice and work-out figures in all safety. Yoga and dance are very nice sports to combine and which are to practice collaterally. Both can improve one another in all possible ways. And dance is often said to be a meditation of the mind. So. Dance can be a good way to reconnect with your soul and body and your own self. And induce a better understaning and relation to your own body, its movements and its capacities. Dance is a very effective way to combine multiple arts, including music. Which is of great efficacity in relaxing and dealing with moods. In the stressfull lives we have, this is of genuine importance. Dancing makes use reacquire space and get back to the present moment and therefore lets us enjoy some kind of control of that present moment. Control on what can be controlled, with all the limits of our human condition. Dance is therefore a very effective way to work along and on your psychic health. And it is mostly safe if you practice it well, with good well-intended guidance and not too risky. I do believe but I am no psychiatrist nor psychologist, but I do believe dance could considerably help people deal with traumatic experiences of all stort. Because this is a mechanism that makes you and your entire being reconnect our spiritual mind with our physical body. But I am not an expert, so I only speak with my own experience. I did start a video session work-out for the blogg especially where I will post a video of improvised dance on music every week. A performance made home and which 55 minutes of previous improvised training will produce. Videos will be of approximately 3 to 5 minutes each and have as a main purpose and object to makes me reconnect with the place and the time I live in in the present moment. the project is called “HOME” because it is all about defining where our home is – where do we feel safe and experience safety and reacquire the present moment, induce the safety feeling and experience of the present moment and space. being expatriate, the notion of Home is a very pregnable, challenging and significative one that needs to be questioned, reflected about and worked-out. This is what I will try to do with that video session of 3 months.

Ski

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Tai-Chi

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Abdominal work-outs

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Mountain Hiking, Walking and Camping

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Cycling

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