It has been a couple of years since Sunday Stills focused on geometry! You know, circles, squares, triangles and rectangles? Geometry appears in nature and becomes a photographer’s dream when angles fit together to enhance an image. This week, look through your archives or search for new geometric angles either made by human hands or by Mother Nature’s.
Relaxing Between the Lines
Just steps from my home are wonderful backroads where I can walk my dogs and relax my mind. I hear the wind in the trees, notice the changing colors and shadows, and understand that no one is within 1000 yards of me. Most of the photos shared today are taken on some of my walks.
Walking is my main method of relaxation. I don’t go over my lines or try to solve the world’s problems, I just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.
Almost in the middle of this backroads trail stands this lone, tall tree, showing off its straight lines.
It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods — trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra.
Some more angular views on my walks:
Geometric Circles and Orbs
We are very close to finishing the buildings here and to close out our loan, so I will soon be able to relax! Meanwhile, here are a two abstract angles of our pole barn/shop and patio. You can see a little more of the shop in the featured graphic.
Journey the Eagle Update
The family has not been seen in or near the nest since Journey was released. He looked so strong when he was released, flying high.
According to Bluebell Court Eagles hostess on Facebook, Diana G explains: “I believe Journey is ok, following his parents and learning to hunt. Eagles don’t tend to gather at this part of the lake…although that could be due to Mom and Dad chasing all away.” Another commenter on Facebook said, “Lots of eagles at the far end of the lake…we have counted 16-20 depending on when we go. Good mix of young and adults…they are probably hanging out there.”
Nature gifted these eagles with powerful instincts that we can only imagine. Perhaps it’s time to let go and trust that nature always has its way.
Busy with Dad
I’m sorry I missed reading some of your posts this week! My dad and step-mom were here most of the week visiting from Northern California and we had to explore and relax a little. We celebrated his 85th birthday at a family dinner, visited the Bowl and Pitcher area of the Spokane River, then off to Idaho to Post Falls. I believe they really enjoyed the socialization and the visit was good for Dad to see our new lifestyle and engage with more people.
Below is the Post Falls dam in Post Falls, Idaho. Lots of angles here!
Images are partially inspired and shared for the following challenges:
As you read last week, the northern hemisphere experienced the summer solstice and people are heading for the great outdoors. According to the US National Park Service and National Today, June is Great Outdoors Month. There are still 4 days left in June to get outdoors and of course, that door is still open next month and all year long!
I wanted to title this post: “Can you handle the great outdoors after a pandemic?” But no, enough about it! While some countries still struggle with vaccinating its populace, here in the US, most of us are out and about with few restrictions. Make no mistake, Covid is still floating around, so stay safe if you find yourself around a crowd of people.
“During Great Outdoors Month, I encourage all Americans to explore our Nation’s beautiful outdoor spaces. As we enjoy the great outdoors — from national parks to our own backyards — let us rededicate ourselves to conserving our Nation’s natural spaces for our own well-being, and for the health, safety, prosperity, and fulfillment of generations to come.”
US President Joseph Biden
Ways to Celebrate “Great Outdoors” Month and Beyond
Take a Vacation!
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is prime vacation time. Join Marsha at Always Write for her weekly feature Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, where “vacation” is the theme. I commented back with now that I am retired, every day feels like a vacation. Hard to get used to but I’m managing!
“A vacation helps to relieve stress and boredom, gives us a change of scenery, provides us with adventure, and helps to bring us closer to the people in our lives.”
E. S. Woods
“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”
I enjoyed my first Hawaiian breakfast outdoors on the lanai of our beach-front hotel in Waikiki (Oahu) in January 2006.
Enjoy Backyard Birding!
Join a birding or photography group. I follow Spokane Birders on Facebook but I hope to find some fellow local birders to learn more about birds in the area.
“Bird watching is now North America’s second most popular outdoor activity (second only to gardening).”
Hike a Trail!
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, we got to take my daughter and boyfriend on an easy hike to a local area along the Spokane River called the Bowl and Pitcher, in Riverside State Park, just minutes from our new home. Large blocks of basaltic rock lie in and above the Spokane River in the formation of the bowl (right) and pitcher (left).
Walk the dogs. Another trail, just 100 yards from our house, is a great place to walk the dogs. With this heat wave, we get up early to accomplish this!
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Henry David Thoreau
Stop to smell a flower. Remember the earlier quote about gardening being the number one outdoor activity? Plant a garden or simply admire flowers and plants. Sharing for Cees’ Flower of the Day.
More Ways to Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and Beyond
In your backyard or neighborhood… Throw a block party. Grill in your backyard. Start or join a walking club. Relax and read a book on your porch.
In public lands...go camping. Plan a picnic. Swim, kayak, or boat on an ocean, lake, or river. Go fishing.
Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite sunrise and sunset photos as we celebrated the solstice. Please visit a few when you get the chance and welcome three bloggers as they share their posts for the first time at Sunday Stills!
Today, I am delighted to participate in the blog tour to share Joyce Schulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.
Have you ever wondered why you think more clearly when you engage in leisure-time physical activity, like walking? I know that when I walk my dogs every day, whether, for 20 minutes or 60, I seem to focus better on thoughts that perplex me. Often, I have thought of a solution to a problem simply by clearing my mind. I do admit to talking to myself a bit while walking, but any passerby might suspect I’m talking to the dogs.
If you walk regularly, no doubt you have solved some of the world’s problems by now.
This is a book about walking your way to better. Everywhere you turn, people, podcasts and gurus promise a simple path to the life you want. But few of them work. Why? Because simply reading the words is rarely enough to call your heart and mind to action. This book is different. Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make. You will literally Walk Your Way to Better. Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus — you’ll feel better and become fitter.
Publisher: Kibo Press
Walk Your Way to Better is available to purchase now on Amazon.com
Today Joyce shares an excerpt from her chapter, Walk #31 The Power of Yet
The “growth mindset” has swept the world of everything from parenting and education to professional development and preschool over the past several years.
The concept was first articulated — and the phrase first coined — by researcher Carol Dweck thirty years ago. Dweck had studied the behavior of thousands of children and discovered that those children who believed that they can get smarter were the ones who did the work to achieve more — which reinforced their belief that they could learn and achieve, which reinforced their willingness to do the work in a positive, self-perpetuating cycle. Conversely, those children who believed that their capabilities and talents were fixed and therefore limited were more likely to get frustrated and give up.
Putting it another way, having a growth mindset means believing that you have the power to learn, grow and improve at just about everything and research shows that simply holding that belief empowers you to learn, grow and improve.
Okay, sure, some people have more innate talent at some things than other things. If you are 4’ 11,” a career as a professional women’s basketball player is unlikely to be in your future and if, like me, you can’t carry a tune, opera is probably not where you will make your mark in the world.
But pretty much all skills can be developed, all things can be learned and — with enough desire, dedication, and grit — most things can be mastered.
This is awesome because evolution has wired a desire to lean into our DNA. That is clear from the little spark of joy we get when we master a new skill, learn a new trick, or accomplish a goal. And yet as adults, we often stop our journey. Perhaps it is because we were told as children that we were no good at something. Perhaps it is because we believe that, as adults, we are supposed to have the answers. Perhaps it is because we don’t dedicate time to learning and developing new skills.
Yet it is so essential to continue to grow and learn that research shows that people who continue to learn throughout their lives live longer. Yup, learning new skills throughout your life will literally prolong your life.
There is a simple way for you to begin to develop a growth mindset. Simply add the word “yet” to the end of any sentence or thought you have that begins with “I’m not good at ….” or “I can’t do…”
“I’m not good at cooking … yet.”
“I’m not good at writing … yet.”
“I’m not good at jumping rope … yet.”
Yet. Who knew it could be so powerful?
My Review: 99 Inspiring Walks
Our bodies long for daily physical activity. Excuses aside, simply getting up and taking a walk is good for our bodies and minds. Author Joyce Schulman demonstrates the power of daily walks designed to inspire your life. Sharing her own experiences with weight, inactivity, and stress, Schulman began walking. As she walked, she realized she “processed big things, created my best ideas, managed my weight and well-being by putting one foot in front of the other.” Her book includes 99 walks with “thought-starters” that are meant to spark your own ideas to reflect on while walking. Her 99 walks are short, easy reads infused with her personal knowledge and research that will get you motivated to move.
Joyce Shulman, founder, and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video, and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.
Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.
Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers, and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome.” Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.
Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.
A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.
Hello fellow walkers! Walking is about the ONLY exercise I have engaged in since California’s Stay-At-Home order on Friday, March 20. Believe me, I am happy and grateful to walk outside in my neighborhood, and my dogs never complain, but why does it feel like it’s been longer than 9 days? Thankfully, we can ride … Continue reading Walking in the Valley of Fire→
I am thrilled to be featured as Sam’s guest this month in her series Amazing Over 50’s. Her blog Loving the Fifty-Something caught my eye a while back and I’ve been following Sam’s outdoor adventures ever since! We seem to have a lot in common, and I have enjoyed reading about her previous 50-something guests. … Continue reading Being Amazing Over 50→
As I continue to write my book No Excuses Fitness, I have included my experience with exercise and recovery from injury and surgery in this post. Two years ago, while out walking my dogs, I fell and fractured my right hand. I was lucky only to have to wear a wrist brace so I could … Continue reading No Excuses Fitness: Exercising with a Cast→
Hello fellow walkers! Walking is about the ONLY exercise I have engaged in since California’s Stay-At-Home order on Friday, March 20. Believe me, I am happy and grateful to walk outside in my neighborhood, and my dogs never complain, but why does it feel like it’s been longer than 9 days?
Thankfully, we can ride our bikes on the nearby bike trail, which I did last Sunday. Lots of people were enjoying the glorious sunny day, walking, bicycling or running. It is easy to maintain 6 feet of social distancing here.
As part of our three-week road trip in December and early January, we spent the last leg of the trip in Las Vegas. My brother lives there now so we spent time with him and his partner. They had not yet visited the Valley of Fire State Park, and we were happy to re-visit and show them the sights.
Our first stop was to the Visitor’s Center at the west entrance to the park (only $10 per car) to grab a brochure and map of the area. It can take up to two days to see everything. Just driving through all the red rocks is quite stunning.
The first area to visit, because it gets busy, is the White Domes area that is also home to the slot canyon.
I played around with some photo-editing of the image of me walking into the entrance of the slot canyon, camera at-the-ready.
I feel like this image really defines me! Thanks, Ingrid, for the inspiration!
Once inside, the light is incredible.
After much “oohing and aahing” from my brother and his partner, we stopped for a picnic lunch then drove on to other areas of the park. The park covers over 40,000 acres, so driving is a must, but you can park and hike to suggested points-of-interest. In the shot below, my brother is blazing a trail with me on his heels to the area where the petroglyphs can be seen up close.
Yes, the sand is also this red!
One more point of interest after spending nearly 8 hours in the Valley of Fire, was to stop and gawk at the Elephant Rock, at the east entrance of the park.
If you didn’t get your 10,000 steps with me on this outing to the Valley of Fire, you can click here to take a cold walk with me on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
If you can get outdoors to walk, I encourage you to do so! Intermittent rainy weather kept me indoors this week and I found a good yoga practice on Youtube. I also own some fitness bands and do a series of calisthenics with those. Any kind of exercise is good for our bodies and spirits now!
There is no excuse more prevalent than dealing with extreme weather conditions to thwart your plans for physical activity.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Henry David Thoreau
“But it’s too HOT to exercise!”
In the northern hemisphere, today marks the summer solstice, the first day of summer. Here in Northern California, the heat was a predictable 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).
For my southern hemisphere friends who are enjoying enduring COLD temps now, the same principles of using temperature as an excuse not to exercise still apply. See links near the end of this post.
Today I am sharing excerpts from my upcoming work-in-progress book No Excuses Fitness as they relate to exercising in hot or cold weather, from my chapter on external barriers.
How often do we make the time to get some well-needed exercise or physical activity only to be thwarted by some external barrier?
External obstacles or barriers generally include geographical, environmental and structural. Those geographical barriers include weather and climate, changing seasons and outdoor temperatures.
For example, how can weather impact your exercise plans? Perhaps you plan to go for a jog on your lunch break and find the temperature is simply going to be too hot. For some this is a barrier that stands in the way. Is there an indoor place in which you can work out? How about a swimming pool where you can join a water exercise class or engage in lap swimming?
Do you live in a part of the country where the possibility of extreme weather conditions prevents you from simply walking outdoors?
According to Fitbit, taking 10,000 steps “adds up to about five miles each day for most people, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise—satisfying the CDC’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.”
Working your exercise regimen around seasonal weather and extreme temperatures is do-able with some pre-planning.
Local Recreation and Park Facilities and Programs
Knowing what your local parks and community recreation center or local swimming pool offers can potentially provide you with plenty of ideas for exercising in warm temperatures.
If your summer evenings are free and it is cooler to exercise, consider these options:
Many recreation and exercise programs are offered after work hours during the week and on weekends.
Consider trying a short-duration exercise program with a beginning and end date.
Some communities have private swim or racquet clubs with a variety of fitness amenities that you can join for a limited time if you don’t want to commit to a year-long membership.
On warm summer nights, trade your walking or jogging clothes for your bathing suit and join your local swimming pool’s water aerobics class.
For more cardio, lap swimming is also a great workout. If you don’t want to get your hair or face wet, use a kickboard and work out your legs, or perform the breaststroke or sidestroke.
(Image by Unsplash)
Even if your swimming skills are underdeveloped, don a pair of water shoes and walk back and forth in the shallow end. These are surprisingly effective alternatives to lap swimming and will keep you cool.
Friends and Family
Longer summer evenings mean more time for evening fitness activities with your family. After dinner, get everyone moving during a brisk evening walk. If you have dogs, they will appreciate walking in the cooler evening temps, too.
I walk with one of my friends from the gym one day a week for an hour. We meet at her workplace and walk in the neighborhood, as she graciously walks one of my dogs.
For Morning People
If evenings don’t work, try waking up earlier in the morning with the earlier sunrise. An early morning walk, run, or another type of exercise can really kick-start your day.
For myself, I prefer physical activity in the mornings. In Sacramento, we usually have cooler mornings than evenings. If the temperature will be above 95 degrees on a given day, I’ll take the dogs for a 20-minute walk, come back home, eat breakfast then head to the gym.
If I am home on a weekend, I will get up early, grab my inflatable SUP and take the short 15-minute drive to the lake and get a stand-up paddle session in before the heat intensifies and the crowds arrive.
When I worked full time the last 5 years before I retired, I adjusted my work schedule to arrive at 9am and did my gym workout at 6:15am, giving me enough time to shower, eat breakfast and get to my workplace.
Once you’ve adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine. You may decide that you really like it and be motivated to continue.
What is Stopping You?
Don’t let hot weather prevent you from getting your exercise each day. Life can get in the way and disrupt our routines, but don’t let a couple of setbacks be a barrier to regular exercise. Unfortunately, it seems easier to abandon our exercise plans when faced with extreme weather and temperature.
And of course, be safe! If the weather conditions are dangerous or if the air quality is poor, stay indoors.
It is important to remember that you only need 30 minutes of physical activity a day to reap countless health benefits. Three 10-minute sessions briskly walking outdoors on a hot day still works.
For alternatives to your favorite exercise, taking a walk is always better than not going at all, whether you are wearing your shorts to stay cool or your scarf or hat to stay warm.
As I continue writing my No Excuses Fitness book, my goal on this blog is to post an article about fitness at least once a month.
Over 4 years ago I wrote an article about how much time we all need to dedicate to being physically active. This is an update to that post.
Did you know that there are 168 hours in a week? Go ahead, count them. Seems like a lot.
To briefly summarize, within this 168 hours, 40 hours are used for work, school or your vocation. This is for an average person. Sleeping uses up 56 hours in a week, which equals 8 hours per night, if we are lucky. What is left over is 72 hours a week for personal care which includes leisure time.
Your challenge is to find three hours a week for physical activity. Out of 168 hours in a week, three hours should be do-able. I created this info-graphic to show how the hours are broken down.
Can You Dedicate Three Hours a Week to Physical Activity?
Let’s tackle this step-by-step.
Step 1: Assess your health. Are you overweight? Are you unable to exercise due to a medical condition or disability? Do you simply need more motivation to be physically active?
Step 2: Identify barriers preventing you from exercising. Some of these barriers include geographical, environmental and structural.
Geographical barriers can be where you work in relation to where you live. Do you have a long commute to and from work? This can eat into your personal care time. Do you live in a part of the country with extreme weather conditions that may prevent you from simply walking outdoors? If your workplace does not have amenities like a gym or area for exercise, this can be a big deterrent to finding time for physical activity.
Environmental barriers include poor access to parks or other leisure spaces in your community. Perhaps there are very few places to safely ride a bicycle near where you live. If you live in an urban environment, walking may be a great exercise option, but that can be hampered by weather, crowds, events, and other deterrents.
Structural barriers to physical activity can be money, transportation, clothing and equipment, or even the skills to participate in an activity.
Lack of time is the ultimate structural barrier.
Step 3: Assess your interests. Simply put, what do you like to do? What were some fun activities you enjoyed as a young person? Are you interested in trying these activities again as an adult? Once you identify your interest, are there barriers getting in your way? This is where many folks talk themselves out of trying something new.
Step 4: Take action. Now that you have chosen your ideal fitness activity, let’s say “walking”, how will you do this? What time of day works best for you? Can you walk on your lunch break at work? Can you devote 30 minutes, 6 days a week (equals three hours) to walking? If not, how about one hour per day, three days per week? Thirty minutes per day is the minimum time for optimum cardiovascular fitness.
And yes, you can break up the 30 minutes into smaller increments during the day. Other action steps include taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. While at work, walk the long way around to the break room or to a meeting. Even adding a few extra steps can add up to small time increments getting added in to your fitness time.
I work on my university campus two days a week. For my night class, I purposely park close to where the classroom is, so when I finish, I can walk safely to my car. But this means I have to walk at least 10 minutes to get to the building where my office is located. From the parking lot to the office and back to the classroom is at least 20 minutes broken up into 10. And I take the 4 flights up the stairs on days I’m not lugging my rolling cart.
Step 5: Mix up your routine once you take action. Add a few more minutes to your current workout. Try cross training. This can be as simple as trying a new exercise or activity. If you belong to a gym, try a spin class, zumba or boot camp. Adding a completely new and different type of workout exercises new muscles and can invigorate your fitness routine. If gyms are not your thing, check into your local recreation center for exercise or active leisure classes.
Now that I am staring 60 in the face, I also recognize the value of strength training. Even just 20-30 minutes, two days a week of light weights can help strengthen your bones and muscles.
Step 6: Sustainability. Now that you have created an exercise routine, is it sustainable? If you get bored easily, examine why you are bored. For example, if you walk your dog through the same neighborhood day after day, it can get dull. Perhaps you can walk with a friend.
I started walking weekly with a friend from the gym who is also my hair stylist. We walk for no less than one hour exploring nearby neighborhoods and she graciously walks with one of my two dogs.
Joining structured fitness classes with regular attendees and instructors can also be an incentive.
If the weather is uncooperative, take a walk in the nearest shopping mall (leave your $ and credit cards at home). Perhaps your community has a walking club associated with the neighborhood recreation center. Exercising with others is a good way to stay accountable and not give up. Plus, it’s FUN!
And finally, take a good look at your time. How valuable is your health compared to the time you have left in the day? We easily get caught up in the hectic pace of life and allow our three hours of physical activity to be used up in other ways. Work and family obligations are tough to overcome.
Creating a simple daily schedule for your fitness time should be as high a priority as work and family. If you are unwell, you will not be able to work, or take care of your family.
See more of what other folks are doing for their fitness and health!
The word Pedestrian brings to mind someone walking along a path, sidewalk, or street. It also means “lacking inspiration or excitement; dull,” according to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.
In my leisure perspective, pedestrians are also found hiking on trails, climbing a vertical wall, traversing a beam 40 feet up in the air, or walking a thin tightrope over a lake, making their walking experience anything but dull and ordinary.
“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will. Vernon Howard
Enjoy a gallery of images of my Sacramento State students participating in various experiential learning activities.
Students carefully “walk” their feet on the climbing wall.
My university students crowd the pedestrian bridge with their bubbles!
Having a watery good time at Lake Natoma obstacle course.
University students enjoy the ski walk challenge!
Walking around campus or any other location is always better with your favorite beverage.
In the world of physical activity and exercise, how far will walking take you?
This quote by Ellen DeGeneres, all kidding aside, implies people who walk daily will reap a host of health benefits.
Sources agree that walking boosts memory and battles obesity. In addition, walking helps address other health concerns like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. Other physical benefits include toning the rear and legs, as well as enhancing balance.
Two bloggers share their own ideas and benefits of walking.