Posts Tagged "movement"

Relearn to play from your dog

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Motivation | 0 comments

Relearn to play from your dog

Some of you may wonder how is it posibble to get regular and sustained movement.  The answer is play! But who’s your coach gonna be?  The answer is your dog! Dogs understand that play is fun. They also understand that real play begins in the body and involves movement. We will never get to a healthy weight without understanding that, in many important ways, humans are animals. Our minds might enjoy “playing” computer games. But millions of years of human evolution have created a body that loves to express itself through exuberant movement. Kids know this. Many adults forget. Some adults make the mistake of trying to over-organize play. That’s why fitness programs become dull, repetitive, over-measured, soulless, or bound up by teams and rules. Your dog isn’t buying it. If it’s fun, you’ll do it more. Walking with your dog is fun for both of you, especially if you mix it up and respond to your dog’s naturally playful spirit. The play master: Frank Forencich’s dog Mojo One of Weight Waggers’ favorite writers is Frank Forencich. He has a degree in human biology from Stanford and has taught martial arts and functional movement for 25 years. But he’s not too proud to learn from his dog. Here are a few excerpts from his fascinating and original book Exuberant Animal: The Power of Health, Play and Joyful Movement. Weight Waggers recommends the entire book. Play includes varied movement Forencich urges people to avoid the overly determined approach:  “My dog’s name is Mojo…. His fitness program is truly amateurish…. He violates all the rules. When he exercises, he doesn’t warm up or cool down. He doesn’t check his heart rate and he  never measures his body fat percentage….. He doesn’t keep a spreadsheet and he never bothers   to log his progress. He has no performance objectives…. There’s no sense of discipline to his method. When he goes out on the trail, he sets whatever  pace he wants…. On some days he walks, some days he does wind sprints, some days he goes swimming…. Not only that, Mojo is completely apathetic about competition…. If he gets tired, he rests. If he gets hot, he seeks out shade. If his paw hurts, he slows down. According to everything I read in the fitness and sports medicine press, Mojo out to get in terrrible condition…. But no, it’s not like that at all…. He’s got great muscle tone and a slender waist. He does adhere to one basic rule. That is, he tries to get moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week. That’s it. Aside from his obvious preoccupation with play and pleasure, this is his only rule for fitness. “(p. 232-233)   Real play begins in the body and involves movement In 2004, Forencich interviewed his dog, Mojo, one of the “preeminent voices in the field of play philosophy” who has won “numerous awards for his work in the field of cross-species play.”  Forencich: So what about humans then? Do they play too? Mojo: Well I assume they do, but it’s really hard to tell sometimes. They aren’t like other animals, that’s for certain. Sometimes aney run and jump like normal critters, but a lot of them just sit there, for hours on end, hardly doing anything at all. I worry about them…. You humans are so dense sometimes. The point is that play begins in the body and that it involves movement…. All other forms come from that. You might say that you’re playing in some other way, but if you’re not moving your body, you’re missing...

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What can be learned from the Winter Warlock

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Brain Changing | 0 comments

What can be learned from the Winter Warlock

One of my most cherished childhood memories was the annual airing of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. This lively retelling of the history of Santa included a message that has stayed with me all my life. When the young Kris Kringle transforms the Winter Warlock into a thoughtful wizard with a gift of kindness, Winter expresses a desire to change his behavior permanently, but, like many of us, he fears this is too difficult. Until very recently, neuroscientists believed that the adult brain was fixed and unchangeable. But today’s scientific buzzword is neuroplasticity. ‘Neuro’ means brain, and ‘plastic’ means changeable—neuroplasticity is just a fancy word for brainchanging. Neuroscientists might have thought Brain-Changing was difficult or impossible, but many ordinary people disagreed; they were just waiting for the science to catch up. Kris Kringle’s advice to the winter warlock about the possibility and path of behavior change has stuck with me all of my life: big changes start with little changes. I could write a lot about the process of habit change, but I doubt I would do a better job than the song I remember so well… Changing habits is more than changing your mind. The brain and nervous system is similar to a network of electrical circuits and cables. Neuroplasticity, or Brain=Changing literally “rewires” your brain. When we start a new behavior, the wire is thin and patchy. The connection is as slow as an old AOL dial up. But the more we practice a certain behavior the stronger and faster the connection becomes. When we are born, the brain is a bit like a new computer. The hard drive is almost empty, except for a few essential software programs. After a while, the hard drive gets full and cluttered. In order to “enter new data,” something has to go. The adult brain is similar—new behaviors only get incorporated if they are important enough to earn some valuable brain real estate. The Brain-Changing Formula of mindfulness, movement and mood are what alert your brain to the desirability of the new behavior. When we are mindful and pay attention, so does our brain. A treadmill is not mindful. The brain values movement more than anything. It isn’t enough to think about something, or gather information from Google. We have to actually, physically move our body… even if it is something as simple as writing, or talking, or walking. Finally, mood is crucial. Our brain puts priority on extremes. We learn much more effectively and efficiently when we are happy and calm. The brain interprets our constant mental state of stress and scrambling as a bar to new learning; it needs to take care of immediate and potentially threatening problems before devoting the valuable resources of building blocks and fuel towards learning something new or developing a new habit. Healthy habits don’t happen overnight. But you can do a lot to facilitate the process. Start by STARTING. Mark Twain once said “Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” What better way to lighten the mood than to walk with your dog? You will BOTH benefit. And remember the song: “Just put one foot in front of the other…”  It’s a step in the right...

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More testimonials 2

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in Testimonials | 0 comments

More testimonials 2

Mimi Pollow My favorite walking companion for the last eleven years has been my dog Silas. He is a peke-a-poo. His first volksmarch was at the Northern Virginia Volksmarchers event in early May 1996. He was only three months old and was carried for half the walk. This was also the first walk he ever worked at. I was working at a checkpoint. Silas was sleeping on the chair next to me. Every time someone came up, I would stand up to stamp their start card (a personal idiosyncrasy) and Silas would do so too. He was only three months old, had just done a 5 KM walk, and needed his sleep. I began holding him in my arms on his back, just like a baby, so he could sleep while I worked the checkpoint. He slept through our whole shift. Kevin Shaw At the Piedmont Pacers walk, at the Linganore Winery near Mt Airy MD about a year ago, Peaches did her famous 1/2 hour swim in this pond near the finish (It was quite a hot day, and I wanted the pooches to cool off). However, Peaches cooled off fast, then decided all the ducks and geese would be a lot of fun to swim after. Peaches covered every square foot of that pond, chasing the waterfowl. But she would get close, and they would just fly away! This female walker worried about Peaches, and shamed me into trying to swim after her. She was going to do it if I didn’t! She thought I couldn’t swim. Just as I was about to enter the water, Peaches calmly swam over to shore near me. So I grabbed her and brought her to shore. My friend Marty had tried to find a boat at the start point, but to no avail. Peaches at times was breathing quite hard, and sounded like one of the waterfowl she was chasing, honking away! She also would honk hard when she would get so close to the birds, and they would fly away, and Peaches would get so exasperated! I believe I posted about this walk on the walklist and may be in your archives somewhere. Lucy Krupp My husband’s Maltese (a male named “Angel” who believes himself a Doberman) will follow my husband Marv anywhere. He has been on about 8 10k volksmarches. The only way this is possible is for me to hold his leash and walk several yards behind Marv. As long as Marv moves, the dog moves. We always carry a water dish. The very first walk he did was a city walk with the Mid-Florida Milers. It was all concrete, and Angel didn’t seem to tire, but when we got home, he was too stiff to walk up two steps into the house. He slept almost nonstop for two days. We don’t take him on city walks anymore. The best walk for him was in Helen, Ga. It was all soft pine needles. Marilyn McCarthy My dog is a black dog and the sun really bothers him. I tried to make a cover for him out of a t-shirt, but it didn’t work. He is resourceful in looking for shade when we are doing walks. Several people in our volksmarch club remember times when he would always be heading for shade on walks. I ended up carrying him several times on a walk in Page/Strawberry AZ because it was hot and hilly and he did want to budge. Most of the time he is a real trooper and has been a great companion, since most of the...

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Lynn and Adele

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in Testimonials | 0 comments

Lynn and Adele

This is Adele… She had all kinds of trouble with breathing. Because she is so small I thought she got plenty of exercise running around in the house and backyard. When I heard about Weight Waggers, I started thinking about how much we think about exercise and not so much about regular movement. I started Adele on a regular walking program and I also made some changes in her diet based on the Weight waggers suggestions. I really did these things to help Adele but her improvement was so dramatic, she really started thriving. I then realized how much the walks were helping me too. I spend a lot of time at my desk and I try to get my exercise in at the gym. But sometimes weeks go by and I just can’t seem to find the time to squeeze it in. Now that Adele and I have a dedicated walking time I’ve really changed my habits. What used to be a chose or a task on my to-do list is now something I really look forward too.. If nothing else, it is the only time I separate myself from my cell phone. I made the picture to give a thumbs up for Weight Waggers… it really is dogs and people getting healthy...

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Simple guidelines for developing Walking Habits

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in Walking | 0 comments

Simple guidelines for developing Walking Habits

So, if walking is such an amazing activity, how should you do it? Seems like a weird question right? I mean walking is walking, how complicated can it get? Although this is true, how you should walk still remains a very important question, simply because many people have lots of misconceptions when it comes to this wonderful activity. Here are our simple guidelines to get you started with making “walking a habit”: Try and walk a bit everyday, because HOW OFTEN is a lot more important than HOW you walk. The only way to make a new habit it to keep practicing it. This sounds daunting at first. Doing anything everyday almost seems impossible. But there are some things that you probably do, every single day. Brushing your teeth is a simple example. You don’t need to brush your teeth. It’s not something that you “have” to do. Yet you still do it because you know it’s good for you. And by now, it’s likely that brushing your teeth is just something that you do everyday, without thinking about it much.The reason you brush your teeth everyday without thinking much about it is because you have made it a habit. “Habits” are created in our brains through a process called Neuro Plasticity. Basically, when you do something over and over again for a period of time, your brain changes so that it becomes easier to do that thing again in the future. This is what learning really is, and this same principle can be used to help you get in the habit of walking everyday. Get used to planning, because ritual makes habitual. Giving yourself an allocated time to walk everyday is crucial for your success. Let’s go back to the example of brushing your teeth. In all likelihood, you probably do this at the same time everyday, say after breakfast and before bed. It’s this consistency that creates the habit. Doing the same thing at the same time trains your brain to expect that again in the future.Maybe you like the idea of a daily walk but don’t believe you have enough time. You have the same amount of time as every other person – 24 hours a day. You cannot make time but you can manage it. And if you don’t manage to find time for health, you will eventually be forced to find time for illness. Remember those wise words – failure to plan is planning to fail.Establishing the habit is what involves effort – by definition the habit itself is basically effortless. Start thinking of yourself as “an active person.” Daily walking is about avoiding the pitfalls of the sedentary lifestyle. Walking gets you back in the habit of moving again. How can you expect to exercise 3-4 times a week if you can’t even get yourself to walk on those days? Walking is fantastic because it gives you that shift in momentum. After a few months, or even a few weeks, you will begin to hopefully notice a shift in your attitude towards moving your body. Walking reminds you that moving is not something that you “should” or “need” to do but rather something that you want and like to do.Humans are designed to move. In essence, that’s what we do. If you have lost your love for movement, it’s usually not the case that you don’t like it anymore, but rather you have forgotten how fun it can be. Walking is the perfect way to rekindle that connection with yourself, to remind yourself what it means to be human. So, get out into the world and move, you’ll...

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