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Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

“The Right Tools

Originally published February 28, 2016  by  Lisa Salinger

Have you ever gotten a stone stuck inside your shoe? You try not to walk on it, and gingerly limp around until you can stop and remove it. Yesterday, this happened to me, with one important twist. When I tried to remove the offending stone, there was none to be found.

I was able to ignore it for the most part and went on with my day. Unfortunately, every time I got up from sitting at my desk, the discomfort was back, and by the end of the day, my slight limp turned into a hobble, and I could barely put weight on that foot.

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s. where your power is.”

The culprit, it seems, is something called Plantar Fasciitis, a condition that, while painful, can be easily treated in most cases. It happens due to repetitive micro-traumas to the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that runs the length of the foot. Treatment involves taking a rest from walking and high-impact activities and stretching the Achilles tendon and the muscles of the calves and feet.

I’m not thrilled about giving up my daily walk, even temporarily. I walk a minimum of an hour a day, and it’s rare that I don’t log ten thousand steps a day on my FitBit. To be perfectly honest, I don’t always enjoy walking and wonder sometimes if that hour could be better spent. However, if I don’t walk in a given day, I feel restless and full of nervous energy, and focusing on even simple things can sometimes be a challenge.

I feel so fortunate at times like these to have tools in my figurative toolbox. That way, when something needs to be fixed or adjusted, I am ready and able, because I have the right tools for the job. In this case, I have three, and I’d like to share them with you.

  1. First is creativity. This is the mindset that asks, “How can I do this?” rather than saying, “I give up.”
  2. Second are things that will help me keep moving. How can I get in some of that all-important cardio that seems so beneficial for my health and well-being? For a few days, I’ll spend more time bouncing on the stability ball. It’s not as vigorous as walking, but it’s an adequate substitute for now. I also purchased a rebounder about a year ago. This is a mini trampoline with a rail I can use for balance, and the springy surface will lessen the impact to my heel.
  3. The final tool comes straight from BlindAlive. I was already doing our Cardio and Sculpting with Weights workouts, but now I need something that involves minimal standing on hard surfaces, and minimal impact, at least for now. I plan to make good use of the Gentle Workout Set and the Pilates Chair with Ring workout. These emphasize muscle stretching and strengthening more than I have lately. The fact that I have this problem in the first place is a gentle reminder from my body to strengthen and use my muscles so that, like good tools, they are ready for any job.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, or you’d like to learn more about any of our workouts, please fill out the contact form at www.BlindAlive.com. We’d love to hear from you!

 

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Guest Post: Bridging the Gap

Fitness Goal Tips For Those With Sight Loss

Originally written/published March 22, 2015 by Lisa Salinger | BlindAlive

Yellow & Chrome Analog Alarm Clock In a previous post, I talked about the importance of small changes that yield big results over time. If your goal is to adopt a more active lifestyle, this isn’t too difficult, at least in theory. You set aside a specific time, and because it will take a little while to get the task done, it is not easily forgotten.

I’d like to talk instead about a different kind of habit. What if you want to remember to tighten your abs or glutes more consistently, or you’d like to correct poor posture. This may be harder than it sounds. You can’t really schedule it on a calendar, because you will want to remind yourself to do this several times a day — many more times than the average person checks a daily schedule. There’s a two-part approach that may help.

Part one is to change something in your environment.

As a blind person, I don’t find that strategically placed notes help. This is often suggested as a great way to be reminded of something on a more or less consistent basis. Since I can’t see those notes, I find that essentially making myself the figurative notepad can bridge the all-important gap between intentions and actions.

This past week, I decided I wanted to make a concerted effort to tighten my abdominal muscles and sit or stand straight and tall, so I put on a ring. I normally wear very few bracelets or rings, preferring to keep my hands free for typing and other tasks. Wearing the ring felt unfamiliar. As a result, every time my attention was drawn to it, I had a reminder of my goals.

Can you guess what happened? For the first day, I found myself tightening muscles and correcting my posture several times. On the second day, I was making far fewer corrections. I would like to say that I had achieved such success that the habit was firmly entrenched after just one day. Unfortunately, I had not improved noticeably, but I had become used to wearing that ring.

This leads me to the second key factor in building small habits — vary the message.

I have talked to people who write themselves notes, and before long, they find that they either need to change the wording of the note, or put it somewhere else. For me, this could mean putting that ring on my other hand, or on a different finger.

It could mean substituting that ring for a bracelet, or maybe changing my watch to my non-dominant hand. If you don’t wear a watch, or you quickly run out of options, a rubber band around your wrist will serve the same purpose. If you run out of tactile cues, there are always audio, smell or taste, environmental, time-related, or possibly visual cues. If you have the radio or TV on in the background, you can use commercials as your reminders.

Do you live or work within hearing range of church bells? If not, you could set a clock to chime at regular intervals. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to have a clear picture in your mind of what you want to improve, and change your reminders daily for best results.

What are some reminders that have worked for you? Is there a small habit you’ve conquered with this method, or maybe you’re going to implement it. In any case, we’d love to hear your comments.

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Habits And The Compound Effect

Habits And The Compound Effect

Good and bad habits form over time. In this article written by Lisa Salinger of BlindAliveshe talks about how we develop and can change bad habits.  The article was originally published on March 01, 2015.  

Are you going to eat that whole bag?

Stationary bike, elliptical machine and a treadmill at a gym in front of windows. Starting an exercise program can lead to healthier habits.Have you ever sat down to watch TV or read a book, with a large bag of your favorite snack food?

If anyone asked, “Are you going to eat that whole bag?” Your response would be immediate. “No way! I’m not going to eat all that!”

So you sat, and you watched, and you munched. Before you knew it, the book or program was at an end, and so was that bag of snacks. How did it happen?

The Birth Of A Habit

The answer is simple, yet powerful and complex. You started a habit, and you kept it up—one bite at a time.

Let’s look at another possibility. You watched your program or read your book, but this time, you walked on a treadmill, pedaled a bike, or simply stretched during the commercials. When the book or program ended, you felt good, knowing you took time for yourself that was both healthy and enjoyable.

In his book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy powerfully illustrates the positive and negative results of compounding. He advocates that small, consistent steps can yield life-changing results.

The compound effect was working when you started munching those snacks. Once started, keeping on that path of least resistance seemed easy and even pleasurable. If you do that too many times, you’ll see the negative results of the compound effect in the form of a higher number on the scale or clothes that don’t fit as comfortably as they once did.

It was also at work when you chose to do some sort of activity. Do that enough times, and you will see results of the more positive variety. The beauty of the compound effect is that when you make small changes, you will see positive results over time.

Maybe you decide to make one small positive change in your eating habits, or maybe you decide to incorporate a daily ten-minute walk into your routine. Stick with these changes long enough, and you will reap the benefits.

How have you benefitted from the compound effect? We’d love to hear your comments.

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Guest Post: Scary Business

Written by Mel Scott Originally Published January 11, 2015 on BlindAlive

silhouette of a woman running at sunset in a wide open areaHave you ever wanted something so much that you could feel it in every cell in your body? Maybe you wanted a certain toy, car, house, or the coolest game of all. For me, it was a horse. I had fantasies of having a horse on my front yard on Christmas morning. I never got the horse on the front lawn but the desire for running free without boundaries never left me.

Years have passed and I have everything I need to live a comfortable life and for that I am grateful. My desires have shifted. I still want that wild feeling of running without boundaries but now I can come close to the feeling by using my imagination. I can create that feeling through sinking into my body while exercising , doing yoga, or meditating. My imagination is my most important survival tool. It rarely fails me.

row of dumbbells on a rack

Tonight, I am imagining blind people everywhere sinking into their bodies and using their own imaginations to run free, to feel strong, confident, and wild while running in place in their own home. I want more than anything to create more accessible choices for people so they can access that feeling of no boundaries. I want that feeling for all of us.

This past year I have poured my heart, soul, and resources into creating choices for all of us. I don’t want to stop. The desire to create has got me in its grip. This is important work and to put it simply and honestly, I need your help to spread the word that health choices now exists. I am hitting the start up business wall and I need your help.

We must get strong, stay strong, and support each other. I am asking you to use your imagination to help get these workouts into the hands of the people who need them most.

Let’s manifest fitness choices together.