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Duh…It’s the Winter

The other day I saw yet another list where Minnesota was ranked in the top 10 for another quality of life measure. It seems that ever time I see a “Best State/City for _____ in the country” list, Minnesota is at or near the top.

[Just some of the lists where Minnesota ranks highly: Number 2, Numbers 2&11&12, Numbers 1&3, Numbers 6&8, Top 10, even in 2032 we are projected #2.]

Of course, life is very good in the beautiful upper Midwest. The diversity of outdoor experiences within a day’s drive is impressive. The culture available for a very reasonable price is well known; still to those on the coasts, we are simply “flyover country”.

People who are not from here would have you believe that we achieve our high ranking in so many lists in spite of our long, cold, desolate winters (or so it would seem)…but actually life in Minnesota is great because of the winter.

[insert sounds of tires screeching, glass breaking, babies crying, and muffled judgmental tones.]

How could I possibly say that winter makes Minnesota great? The answer lies within the very reason Minnesota ranks so highly on almost all of these lists, the people.

Statistically Minnesotans are well educated, highly employable, active, and nice (hello “Minnesota nice”?), and all of those fine qualities are forged during the collective sharing of our one universal experience, braving a long, cold winter.

Living in this type of climate for an extended time will help you get some fresh perspective on things, resulting in certain traits and attitudes such as:

  • Minnesotans know that you don’t always get what you want.
  • Minnesotans understand that life isn’t always sunshine and warmth, yet we manage to get things done.
  • Minnesotans get that you can’t let outside influences determine your experience in this world.
  • Minnesotans know how to make the best of adversity.
  • Minnesotans see that running from your problems don’t make them go away.
  • Minnesotans have learned that if you avoid the entirety of something based on only one aspect of it, you will always miss something very spectacular.
  • Minnesotans (eventually) realize that complaining about your circumstances will not change them.
  • But they also realize that those circumstances don’t define their identity.
  • Minnesotans know that the best rewards are savored by those that go through the most difficult challenges.
  • and finally, Minnesotans truly appreciate a great winter vacation!

Minnesotans are certainly not perfect: most don’t understand that while driving the left lane is for passing, and bandwagon jumping is the most cardio some of us will get, but if the chips were down, I would chose a Minnesotan for my team any day.

(Still don’t believe me? Just check out the title on this article: Why the South is the worst place to live in the U.S. — in 10 charts.)

A Matter of Perspective

There are a lot of problems in the world today and a lot of suffering. Watching the news for just 10 minutes will expose you to a lifetime of troubles (so don’t ever end your day that way!)

Sometimes it is difficult to see problems in the world and not be consumed by them. It is like watching someone you love continue to make poor choices, (in spite of any “helpful” advise you may choose to share with them.)

Sometimes through our attention and focus we make these problems our own.

In thinking we can make better choices for others (and getting mired in the inevitable disappointment that comes when they don’t do the things we want), we lose focus on the things we really can change. Losing focus then creates a negative influence on our life.

But no matter how much we teach, preach, beg or bribe, no matter how well-intentioned we are, we cannot make others decisions for them.

And sacrificing our happiness, prosperity, or life is not going to help anyone either.

The best hope we have to help others change is to lead by example; to know that in our good fortune, our accomplishment, and our joy, we have demonstrated what can happen when good choices are consistently made.

Our best chance to lead others to a better life, is to model the best life we can.

We create the best life by improving the decisions we make on a daily basis, the routines we establish, and focusing on doing things the right way.

When we take a proactive, intentional approach to how live our lives, we make healthier choices and are much more prepared to handle any emergencies that invariably appear.

Most people live reactively, and then they get mad when Mr. Murphy’s Law is proven true.

The trick is this: unless we choose to live proactively, we live reactively. Living reactively means we are vulnerable to anything that comes our way.

Join us in our quest to improve the world through proactive living. My goal for this website and blog is to focus on providing the information necessary for you to make the best choices, so that you can maximize your health and your quality of life.

If there are enough of you out there making good choices and helping others (who request help) to do the same, we can make a difference in our community, state, nation, and eventually we can create real improvement in the world.

It’s a big dream, but it begins with many little choices.

Today is a Gift

Each day is a gift. We are truly blessed to wake up every morning. This world is not perfect, nor is everyone in it, but as long as we have free will, every day is a brand new opportunity.

This is how I strive to see my world, unfortunately I sometimes let things that are not important, or things outside of my control, affect how I choose to see the world. This is a bigger tragedy than anything that can happen to me.

There are a lot of troubling things happening in the world today. So many that it can be very easy to let them overwhelm us. It is important to recognize that nearly all of those things are outside of our sphere of influence, and therefore they can only have as much power over us as we give them.

This is extremely important to understand this and keep in the front of our mind every day. We give power to things outside of us…and we can take that power away with our focus.

We are in charge our how we perceive our lives. Not our boss. Not our spouse. Not our job, or our friends, or our debt load, or our credit limit, or our car, or our kids behaviour at school, or our diagnosis, or our health insurance…

And how we perceive our life defines our quality of life. So our quality of life is completely up to us.

My life is up to me.

Your life is up to you.

Got it?

Good!

Let’s work together to improve the things inside your sphere of influence and Take Back Your Health.

(Stay tuned to learn more about how askdrsullivan.com is refocusing to help you improve your life, health, family and world!)

Exercise Myths and Facts

outdoor

Now that the snow has finally melted (for good I hope) and our thoughts turn to enjoying time in the beautiful outdoors. As our weather heats up the comfy, bulky clothing we can easily hide behind is replaced by items that are typically a little more revealing.

For the average person, more skin = more attention on fitness!

If fitness is not a normal part of your routine it can be overwhelming to think about. This can discourage you from taking your first steps toward health. Most of the damaging beliefs that create the walls between you and fitness are the result of some popular myths about physical activity. In order to encourage you toward fitness we provide this list of popular but destructive exercise fallacies. Do not to fall for these!

Exercise Myths:
• The gym is the only place to get the results you want from exercise.
• You must work out long and hard to make it worth while.
• Exercise can make up for other bad lifestyle habits.
• Crunches get rid of belly fat.
• Exercise turns fat into muscle.
• It’s dangerous to begin exercising when older or pregnant.
• If someone is thin or athletic, they must be healthy.
• Stretching before exercise is vital.
• Weight gain is inevitable as you age.
• Women will get bulky from strength training.
• If you work out long enough and hard enough you will always get the results you want.
• You have to sweat to have a good workout.
• You can’t be fit and fat.
• To get better results, work harder or work longer.
• The right exercise can remove fat from certain areas (spot reduction).
• More exercise is better.
• No Pain, No Gain.

Instead use these exercise facts to build your motivation to get out there and get moving!
Exercise…
• Improves your mood.
• Combats chronic stress.
• Boosts energy level.
• Helps you manage your weight.
• Balances your blood sugar.
• Promotes better sleep.
• Improves strength, flexibility and endurance.
• Improves the health of your skin.
• Reduces hunger.
• Boosts your metabolism.
• Improves mental focus.
• Enhances your immune system.
• Gives momentum to other healthy habits.
• Can be fun!

The many benefits of exercise begin with the first step!

Immune Boost: This Is Spinal Zap

Give your immune system a leg up through chiropractic care. 

 

It came to the point where something had to give. Lilian Garcia’s pollen, dust, and food allergies were getting her down. Her allergies were even affecting her job. The recording artist and World Wrestling ringmaster’s voice wasn’t achieving optimal performance. But that soon changed. While she was cutting a record with singer-songwriter Jon Secada, he suggested chiropractic care. Though the recommendation struck her as unconventional, Garcia was desperate for a solution. She set up an appointment.

The test of efficacy came soon after she started regular chiropractic treatment, during a moment of weakness in the mall. “I saw an ice cream cone and I went for it,” Garcia remembers. “I ate two and I had zero complications. It was my first ice cream cone in 12 years.” The connection between her allergies and chiropractic care seemed natural. “Something’s flowing better.”

Terry Rondberg, president of the World Chiropractic Alliance, explains that the spine does play a role in wellbeing. He notes that many factors affect the body’s ability to maintain optimal balance. Nutrition, posture, exercise, stress, fatigue are important, but so is the health of your spine.

Chiropractic care was first linked to improved immunity during the deadly flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918. The funny thing was: Chiropractic patients fared better than the general population. This observation spurred a study of the field. The data reported that flu victims under chiropractic care had an estimated .25 percent death rate, a lot less than the normal rate of 5 percent among flu victims who did not receive chiropractic care.

In the years since, studies are finding that chiropractic care is a way to improve immunity. One study, from the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois, found that disease-fighting white blood cell counts were higher just 15 minutes after chiropractic manipulation was applied to the back. A similar study investigated the immune system response in HIV-positive patients under chiropractic care. After six months of treating spinal misalignment, the group receiving the chiropractic treatment showed a 48 percent increase in white blood cell counts. Conversely, the group that did not receive chiropractic manipulation experienced a 7.96 percent decrease in immunity cells.

Time—and more studies—will show whether chiropractic treatment is a necessary addition to your immune system’s arsenal. Lilian Garcia, however, has all the proof she needs. “I see my chiropractor every week,” she says, “and there’s no way I’m going to stop.”

From:

Chiropractic Care for Allergies and Kids

If you pay attention to the concepts being demonstrated here, you can see why chiropractic care is the best first step in any health plan. The body is designed to work normally in 95% of us, we just need to get the interference out of the way, provide the best building blocks and avoid toxins.

What to Do Before Your 5k


You’ve signed up, you’ve logged the training miles and race day is almost here! Taking on your first 5K can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Here, find the best tips when it comes to running for beginners. These will help you maximize the enjoyment out there—and make your first 5K fun, fast and stress-free.

1. Get your z’s two nights before.

Pre-race jitters tend to strike the night before the race, interrupting your sleep. When it comes to running for beginners or even experienced racers, trust that this is normal and will not influence your race. Prepare yourself instead by getting quality sleep two nights before the race and taking that day completely off from any activity.

2. Keep it light.

During race week, your running mileage should decrease. At this point, your training is really about “storing up” rest so your legs are ready on race day. During the week, include two to three short runs with a few, small pick ups—short, snappy segments that get your legs moving faster and prepare you for the faster tempo of the race—to keep your legs fresh. Two days out from the race, take a day off for total rest. The day before the race, do a short (20-minute) run with up to five pick ups under 45 seconds to sharpen your legs.

3. Fill the tank.

On race morning, be sure to eat the breakfast you’ve practiced in training. Aim to eat about 2 hours prior to the race. Keep it simple—a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit, a sports bar, bagel with peanut butter. Eat something high energy and easily digestible. Be sure to include hydration—water, sports drink if it’s warm outside to give you the electrolytes you need, and coffee if that’s part of your normal routine.

4. Get there early.

There’s a lot to be done on race morning including parking, packet pick-up, waiting in line for the restroom, warming up. Arrive at the race site 60 minutes prior to the start—knowing where you can park, what time packet pick-up closes (if you couldn’t do it the day before) and where to go for the starting line.

5. Warm it up.

About 25 minutes prior to the race, get warmed up. Start with a 10 minute easy jog, then slowly build your pace for 5 minutes. Then, include up to five short pick ups under 30 seconds at race pace. Gently stretch any tight muscles after your warm up.

6. Get in line.

The starting line can be crowded and nerve-wracking with so many people and different paces. Starting in the middle to back of the pack is safe for most beginners. You will start with those around your pace and you will have many more ahead of you to chase down.

7. Pace yourself.

Most racers give their best effort in the first mile leaving two more to go! Aim to negative split your effort on race day—that simply means finishing the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half. Start conservatively and build your effort throughout the run. When you start out too fast, your body works too hard too soon and fizzles after the first mile, making your overall time slower, not faster. In the last quarter mile, kick it in to the finish line to finish strong.

8. Keep it positive.

When things get tough, it’s common for the little voice in your head to start telling you all the reasons why you will fail or why you should slow down. Often, having a positive mantra for the race—such as “I can do it” or “Fast feet to the finish line“—will distract you from any pain and keep you focused. Practice these affirmations during your harder training sessions so they become automatic on race day.

9. Breathe.

On race day, let go of any comparisons to other runners and release any worries or doubts. You’ve done the training and if you have the desire to get to the finish line, you will arrive. At the starting line, take a few deep breaths and assure yourself that you have what it takes to cover 3.1 miles. Revisit your best training sessions to find the confidence you need.

10. Capitalize on the high.

The post-race high can be exhilarating. Capitalize on it to keep your momentum going and set new goals for the next finish line, wherever that might be. Sign up for another run race a few weeks later to keep yourself motivated to continue with your new habits, to test your progress or just to have fun.

This article originally appeared on Shape.com.

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