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Creating Your Home Fitness Area Guest Post

Correction: Before we get to today’s guest post from Mel Scott of BlindAlive I wanted to ensure credit was attributed to the correct person on a previous article posted on May 13. Lisa Salinger, BlindAlive Customer Support, was the author of Back to Basics. Going forward you can expect to see articles from Mel, Lisa and other contributors to BlindAlive. Thank you Lisa for an informative post. 

Today’s article originally posted to BlindAlive on April 12, 2015, was written by Mel Scott who shares some great tips on equipment and exercise space at home. 

Neoprene dumbbells
Neoprene dumbbells | Amazon

Getting and staying fit in your own home is easy. Home fitness is all the rage these days with hundreds of different exercise workouts for sale in athletic stores and online. Working out in your own space has many benefits and is certainly less stressful for many of us. My home fitness area is my favorite place in my house other than under my warm covers.

The exercise area in my house takes up a corner of a room. There is a stationary bike which I recommend instead of a treadmill. A bike can be used if you have foot or other joint issues and still get a good cardio workout. Treadmills are great, but I can duplicate that movement closely with running, walking, or dancing in place. I don’t need an expensive piece of equipment for that. If you want to buy a larger fitness machine, a good bike is what I prefer.

My bike is the largest piece of equipment and I use it to hold on to when I need help with balance. I also have fitness bands tied to my bike for foot and arm exercises. My bike is heavy so it is stable. It is important that you have a sturdy chair or other piece of furniture that you can use for balance or as a point of orientation.

Fitness and Exercise Ball
Fitness and Exercise Ball | Amazon

My next favorite thing is my yoga mat. I am going to talk extensively about the exercise mat in a later blog; but for now, I will say that a good mat is essential. Cheap mats are not a good idea. My mat is mine and mine alone. I exercise, do yoga, Pilates, and meditate there. It is for safety and orientation.

Free weights are very useful for working out at home. I have a variety of hand weights, wrist, and ankle weights lined up along the wall. I have also kept them in a basket so they are out of the way. Tripping over weights is not fun. I will often use the wrist or ankle weights to add just a little extra weight for any kind of workout.

Next is my stability ball. I actually have two of them. They are different sizes. These exercise balls are a great tool. I use mine to sit on, to bounce my depression away, as a way to increase or decrease the intensity of an exercise, and just for fun.

Yoga Mat
Yoga Mat | Amazon

The last tool is a Pilates ring. This tool can be used in place of weights and resistance bands, and there are specific exercises that are unique to the ring. There will be more about the Pilates ring in upcoming posts.

The last thing you need is a player of some kind for your workouts. I have my workouts on my computer and I have an old CD player. You can use your phone or iPod as well.

That’s my whole home workout area. I like to change it up occasionally so I stay motivated. Once the initial investment is made, it doesn’t cost much to keep it up. It is best to buy high quality equipment – it will last longer and there is less of a chance of injuring yourself.

So get your equipment and make a spot for yourself. You deserve it and it is the best health insurance you can buy. Have fun and take care of your body.

Find Mel on Twitter

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Once again, Glenda Harrison of So What to Twenty, dazzles us with her remarkable writing skills as she talks about finding strength through accepting our vulnerability. I love the way she weaves her post to her lovely outfit.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. ~Maya Angelou

So true are the words of beloved Maya Angelou…it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are… I think back over my life and early on, I realized that I was/am, in fact, a vulnerable person. In years past, to be vulnerable meant that you were not strong and were deemed as weak. After all, most of us are conditioned to hide our true feelings; to not be totally in tuned to what we like and dislike; to hide behind a smoke screen and not let others now that we hurt, have lost our way, or simply need help in a certain matter. However scary this may all seem, in retrospect, I have discovered by embracing my vulnerability, it gives me pure and utter strength.

Recently I watched Brene Brown at the TED Talks discuss a subject called The Power of Vulnerability (enjoy the video below). During her discussion she points out these important facts: In order to be vulnerable, you have to have the courage to be imperfect. And, vulnerable people have connection because they are willing to let go of who they thought they should be, in order to be their true self. In other words, vulnerable people are not afraid to be authentic. Who doesn’t gravitate towards people who are real? I know I most certainly do. That’s the connection that Brene Brown talks about. I find it very refreshing to be in the company of a person who is in touch with themselves, and isn’t afraid to be imperfect.

As I studied Brene’s topic in greater detail, she also stated vulnerable people are usually creative people. Think about it…The creative mind is an open mind that is ready to explore, discover and be free. To have an open mind, wouldn’t it be necessary to be true to yourself? Absolutely! It totally makes sense. To be vulnerable is being true to you; living free – not living in bondage which equals STRENGTH.

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For today I’m wearing an outfit that speaks to my strength. The sturdy, black turtleneck which represents the courage and stamina it takes to live authentically; the lace skirt demonstrates the delicate process of becoming true – though the process of becoming true may be difficult, in the end, you’ll have such lovely details that others will admire. The gold belt represents the link between having the courage to take the delicate steps and becoming true. The sandals for this ensemble are feminine but are in fact, the anchor for this entire story. Though the sandals look delicate, they are in fact sturdy and able to carry me through my journey.

Outfit Details: Lace Skirt Loft (Old. Options HERE); Ann Klein Black Short Sleeve Turtleneck (Options at Shopstyle); Stuart Weitzman Sandals (I’ve had them for many years. Options in Shopstyle Bridal); Embroidered Bag is vintage.

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And now, please enjoy the 20 minute video of Brene Brown’s talk on the Power of Vulnerability at TED Talks, or what I would like to call it – the STRENGTH of Vulnerability{wink}

You can also find me on the following Social Networks:

bloglovin or Instagram or Google+

Photographs by Freddy and are the property of So What to Twenty!

Thank you Glenda for another great post!! ~Steph

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Guest Post: The Rancher

 The Rancher by Glenda Harrison

The following article is being republished with permission from Glenda Harrison who has graciously agreed to collaborate with me so that I could share her phenomenal style with my readers. For those of you who cannot see I will add a detailed description in the Alt Text on the first picture. Enjoy!

Navy blue midi dress is sleveless with an empireist. Natural straw  flappy hat has a navy band that complements the dress. The silver sandals are thong styled with straps that wrap around the ankles.  A beautifully pulled together look.Accessories shouldn’t be viewed as simply filler pieces, rather, they are, in themselves, major players in the game of Fashion. One bad move and your accessories can cause you to lose the game. Make the correct play and you’re winning (as Charlie Sheen would say).

My love affair with accessorizing began at an early age. As a young girl, I enjoyed our annual visits to rural Arkansas to visit my grandparents. My mother’s father was a reverend, which meant my grandmother was the first lady of the church. Even in rural America, being the first lady required careful attention to one’s wardrobe. In her bedroom she kept an arsenal of jewelry, hats, scarves and handbags. Come summer, when we visited, my grandmother would go into her private collection and bring out a wide assortment of pieces for her grand-daughters to take. Though there were many offspring, myself and one other cousin named Gina were the two who found such a profound thrill in having our pick from our grandmother’s collection.

Decades later, accessories still remain a vital part of my wardrobe oeuvre. Often times I come across a piece so succinct to my lifestyle, I can close my eyes and visualize how it will meld into my life. Such is the case for the rancher I recently purchased from Anthropologie. Perched on a rack in my bedroom, though I’ve only had the hat for a little over two weeks, the topper has already made two appearances on the blog (the first time seen on Loud & Clear). Like the other accessories and items in my wardrobe, the rancher has an interesting point of view while still managing to remain polite without over-stepping its boundaries. When I dawn this headpiece I feel adventurous, clever, earthy, and bold in a quiet sort of way. But most importantly, I feel like Glenda. Enjoy!

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Today’s Look – Dressed in a navy blue, 100% linen dress, the Rancher manages to capture the true essence of this laid-back but adventurous ensemble. In this outfit I am reminded of the great Australian Outback or the Chagra of Ecuador (Ecuadorian cowboys). The voluminous dress and hat make a bold statement, so I decided to decorate only one arm with a variety of sterling silver bangles. The other arm I chose to leave bare with only a simple quartz ring on a finger. With the wide brimmed hat, I wanted the earrings and necklaces to have a quiet voice – simple silver hoops and delicate chain necklaces are all that is needed. On my feet, the earthy vibe continues with a pair of silver sandals to compliment the jewelry and a nice contrast against the deep navy blue.

Outfit Details – Abroad Rancher: Anthropologie; Dress was purchased via Etsy (Options HERE); Silver bangles purchased in Mexico; Quartz ring purchased in Solvang, California;  Mirrored Silver Sandals: Zara (Old but options on Shopstyle)

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Glenda’s Accessorizing Secrets:

(Remember, these secrets are how I choose to dress myself)

  1. It is not necessary to accessorize every part of the body or outfit. Meaning, too many pieces (belt, hat, scarf, gloves, jewelry, etc) worn at the same time make for an over-produced and often junky outfit.
  2. Since I’m petite, I only make one bold accessory statement at a time. In this case, it’s the hat. I would never wear the hat, a chunky necklace, bold earrings and large sunnies together.
  3. Use the 2 or 3 color rule when dressing. Meaning, when wearing a multi-colored dress, it isn’t necessary to wear accessories that match every color in the dress. If the dress is bold, then keep your accessories simple by selecting one color to coordinate with. Or, stick with the metals.
  4. Accessories come in a wide range of prices – from inexpensive to very expensive. I always try to seek out quality. Poorly made pieces will cheapen the overall look of an outfit.

Dressed for the great outdoors, I enjoyed a warm and sunny afternoon of shopping and lunch in one of our beautiful outdoor shopping plazas. My Rancher provided me with the sun coverage I needed, but most importantly, I felt like my entire look was quintessential Glenda and a concise representation to the California way of living{wink}

Glenda has such fabulous style and when you get to know her you can comprehend the true artistry of style and how it really is so much more than what or how you wear your wardrobe. When you have a chance you can get to know Glenda better by visiting her blog So What to Twenty.

Glenda, thank you for allowing me to showcase your personal style on my blog and I look forward to sharing more articles with my readership. ~Steph

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.  Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.” ~Albert Camus

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More Women Than Men Have Vision Loss

April Is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Audrey & Sophie (her guide dog)
Audrey & Sophie

Fellow VisionAware Peer Advisor, Audrey Demmitt wrote the following previously published article.

We all know men are from Mars and women Venus. But you may be surprised to learn there are gender differences when it comes to eye health and vision loss. As a  nurse and a woman with a visual impairment, I was surprised to learn there are more women than men who are blind or visually impaired. I have a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa and have been legally blind since 1994. Though this condition is genetic and untreatable, there are many steps I take to preserve and protect my remaining vision. And I want to urge other women to take good care of their eyes so they will last a lifetime.

Women’s Eye Health Task Force reports that nearly two-thirds of all visually impaired and blind people in the world are women. More women than men suffer from eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Research has shown there are gender-specific symptoms, conditions, and risks associated with vision loss.

Prevent Blindness America or PBA, reports similar figures for the U.S.; 66 percent of people who are blind or visually impaired are women. Women have more risk factors and thus, higher rates of vision loss than men. To make matters worse, a recent survey done by PBA revealed that only 9 percent of women realize these troubling facts. Many blinding eye diseases can be treated to prevent blindness and almost all eye injuries can be prevented. Therefore, women need to know what their risks are and learn ways to preserve their vision. PBA launched a new program called See Jane See: Women’s Healthy Eyes Now to educate women on their unique eye health needs.

Women are more likely to lose their vision for several reasons.

  1. They live longer than men. Many eye diseases are age-related. As women live longer than men, they are more likely to be affected by conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. The rates of these diseases are increasing as the population ages, especially among women.
  2. Some eye diseases are intrinsically more prevalent among women. For instance, dry eye syndrome which is believed to be linked to hormones is two to three times more common in women than men. Hormonal changes across the lifespan of a woman, from pregnancy to post-menopause, can influence vision changes. Women also have higher rates of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. These conditions often have serious effects on the eyes, causing vision loss.
  3. Social and economic factors can limit the frequency, quality, and availability of health care for women. Since blindness and vision impairment can be prevented through early detection and treatment in some eye conditions, access to proper eye health care is believed to influence the greater rates of vision loss among women.
  4. There are behavioral and environmental factors that can increase the risk of eye problems, though they are not specific to women. Among them are poor nutrition and obesity which can cause diabetes and subsequent diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of vision loss. Smoking is also a proven risk factor for eye diseases, including cataracts and macular degeneration.

Women can help themselves and their families to lower the risks of vision loss by educating themselves on eye health and following these guidelines:

  1. Get a comprehensive, dilated eye exam at age 40 and continue these exams every two years. If you have a family history of an eye condition or have been diagnosed with an eye disease, follow the recommended schedule of your eye doctor. If you experience any vision changes, eye pain, signs of infection, or eye injuries, see an eye doctor right away.
  2. Quit smoking! Smoking affects many organs in the body and the damage is irreparable. Heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and other vascular problems have long been known as good reasons to quit smoking. Now you have another: blindness. Talk to your doctor about ways to “kick the habit.”
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight. Start a weight loss or management plan to accomplish this goal. A healthy body weight lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes which can all cause loss of vision. Be sure to include daily activity in your plan as this has many health benefits that can protect your vision. Begin with 30 minutes of walking at least three times a week.
  4. Eat an eye-healthy diet, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. Foods containing carotenoids and anti-oxidants such as green leafy vegetables, and fruits high in vitamin C, like oranges, strawberries, and melons, may protect eye health. Also include foods rich in omega 3s such as nuts, salmon and egg yolks in your diet. There are supplements available to maintain eye health which contains these micro-nutrients, but it is best to eat fresh, whole foods in a variety of colors to get the best nutrition from your diet.
  5. Protect your eyes from harmful sun rays. Invest in good quality sunglasses that have full UV-a and UV-b protection. In beach and snow conditions, darker tints are needed to filter out the harmful rays. Wear ball caps or hats with a wide brim for additional protection from scattered rays that reflect off of surfaces. Avoid prolonged periods in the sun without eye protection.
  6. Use cosmetics and contact lenses safely. Wash hands and face thoroughly before applying contacts and cosmetics. Keep contact cases, make-up brushes and applicators clean. Throw away eyeshadows, eyeliners, and mascaras after three months. They expire and can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Do not share makeup. Follow the recommended wearing and cleansing schedules for your type of contacts.
  7. Learn proper eye safety and first aid for home, work, and recreational environments. Wear protective eye gear such as goggles when using chemicals, tools, and machinery. It is important to protect the eyes from burns, cuts, and foreign objects that can damage the corneas and other structures of the eye.

Women live very busy lives juggling the demands of jobs, children, their households, and aging parents. We often play the caregiver role, but sometimes neglect our own self-care. You may take your child for eye screenings or an aging parent to the eye doctor, but when did you last have an eye exam yourself? The power to prevent vision loss is in your hands. Awareness and knowledge are the tools you need. Your sight is precious-save it! Treat yourself to an eye exam today.

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