Wanna Get Healthy? Take a Walk!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

For those who read my post yesterday, I’m happy to report that my coffee maker is working just fine today. So, I’m sitting here sipping a steaming cup of Southern Pecan flavored coffee as I put my morning thoughts into words. Let’s hope it’s a good combination.

That said, I did drop one of my hearing aids on the multi-colored carpet this morning and had to spend the next ten minutes with a flashlight trying to find it. Turns out all that dust under the bed is the perfect camouflage for something that small. I think I know what’s first on my to-do list for this weekend.

We talk a lot about exercise and getting healthy. It’s by far the number one New Year’s resolution each year, which means there are a whole lot of people talking about it but not doing a thing to accomplish that goal. But in any discussion of dreams, it only makes sense to think about our health. Because all the best life has to offer isn’t much fun if you’re not able to enjoy it.

Open the internet and you’ll find dozens of articles describing the “miracle” diet or the “perfect” exercise. And, to be fair, some of them offer a little bit of decent advice. But if you want to know the absolute best form of exercise, get up and take a walk. Think about that perfect exercise as you walk. Do it every day, a few times a day. The answer will come to you, I promise.

Walking is, without a doubt, the best thing we can do for our physical and emotional health. And that doesn’t mean just taking a stroll to the restroom whenever the urge hits. According to the American Heart Association, we should all strive for at least 10,000 steps per day. With an average stride, that’s roughly five miles. You can’t get that pacing around the living room. It takes effort.

But it’s not that hard if you make it a priority. Instead of sitting in the break room, eating vending machine food as you commiserate with friends about your job, or your boss, or who got the last promotion and who they had to brown-nose to get it, get outside and take a walk! First of all, it’ll clear your head. All the stresses of the day fade into the background. It’s even better than alcohol.

Beyond just clearing your mind, a brisk walk has lots of physical benefits as well. It improves your heart and lung health, and reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. It builds stronger bones and improves balance. It increases muscle strength and endurance and reduces body fat. And it’s a great way to manage high blood pressure, cholesterol, joint pain, and diabetes. And best of all, it’s free!

All of those benefits from something you learned to do as a toddler. And I know what you’re thinking. “Who has time for a walk every day? I usually have to work through lunch!” Well, make time. If you can’t take off for a half-hour at lunchtime, get out and take a stroll around the block once or twice a day. You’ll be back before anyone even realizes you were gone.

When you get home, take a walk around the neighborhood. You might even make some new friends. And if you live or work in an area where you just don’t feel completely safe taking a walk by yourself, get some friends to go along with you. Drive to a mall and take a few laps there. Go to your local park. Odds are they have at least one or two trails.

It’s all about priorities and alternatives. Sometimes we can’t do things the way we’d like, but if they’re important enough we find a way. And I’ll be honest, 10,000 steps a day isn’t that hard. My Fitbit registers half that amount simply walking around work (I have a desk job) and maybe going to the store after work. With just a little extra effort, I could be hitting 10,000 steps every day.

Walking, by itself, won’t necessarily get you that beach body you desire, or ward off every illness that comes your way. You may have to add in a couple of other things as well, like eating healthy and doing a little resistance training. But there is no other form of exercise that’s more natural and more beneficial than simply taking a walk.

We’ve been dreaming a lot these past several weeks, and I urge you to follow those dreams. But make sure that when you get there, you’re healthy enough to make the most of them.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Perseverence (and Coffee) Can Make Everything Right

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.

Every morning, as I make my rather large cup of coffee, I have to run it in two batches – the first is 12 ounces and the second is an additional 8 ounces. It’s simply because my coffee maker doesn’t have a mega-cup setting, and I’m not about to start my day without a mega-shot of caffeine. Those who work closest to me can fully appreciate that.

But after the initial 12-ounce run this morning, my coffee maker decided that was it for now. I waited patiently, and then not-so-patiently, and still it wouldn’t reset itself for an additional brew. I finally gave it the computer-style reboot (pulled the plug) and it decided to work, after I reset the time and all those other fun things. I hope this was just a fluke. I kinda depend on this thing to start my day.

It’s just part of my routine. We all have one. As I get dressed each day, my dog is waiting outside my bedroom door, just to be sure I’m not going back to bed. I go to the living room, sit in the recliner, and he props up across my left leg for a morning hug. Then it’s outside for him, and when he comes back, he gets his morning vitamin and eats his food while I make a mega-cup of coffee. Every day.

We do these things so automatically, we rarely even think about them. Unless the coffee maker decides to test my aging heart, in which case I have to improvise. Or panic. It could have gone either way. We improvise first, and if that doesn’t work, we panic. Can I get an amen?

When an animal does something without thinking about it, we call that “natural instinct.” Okay, I’m not sure dogs have a natural instinct to start dancing around at 7:30 every night because the human is supposed to give them a treat at 8:00. I’m not even sure it’s a habit. If you want my opinion, he’s spoiled. But I only have myself to blame for that.

And how did 8:00 become the official hour for a treat? Because the human (me) did it a few nights in a row at the end of a particular TV show. It’s funny how habits are formed. I didn’t intent do make that a nightly thing with him. It just worked out that way.

I think it’s a little amusing – it takes us about three weeks to form a new habit. If there’s something you’re desperately trying to change, do it consistently for 21 days and it’ll become a part of your life. But, since every years of a dog’s life equals seven years of a human life, that means it only takes a dog three days to form a habit. I walked right into that one.

So, what happens when I go to his favorite cabinet and the bag of treats is empty? He understands “all gone,”, but he doesn’t understand “Daddy forgot to buy some at the store last week.” It’s treat time, and there’d better be something in that magic cabinet. If not, then open the refrigerator. There’s cheese in there. He’s not stupid.

Sometimes we have to improvise. And that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It’s time to start cooking dinner and you realize the roast is still thawed. So, tonight we have grilled cheese. Problem solved. But when you get halfway to work and the car starts flashing that dreaded “check engine” light, you don’t have a lot of options. That’s when even the most devout atheist begins to pray.

As I stared at the coffee maker this morning, I began to wonder if I’d have to start my day with a half-cup of coffee, and how my wife would feel when she had to start her day without. We don’t have instant coffee in this house, so my only Plan B is to stop by the gas station on the way to work. And I’m sorry, but that’s just not a truly acceptable substitute.

Things will happen to mess up the best of plans. You’re on vacation and you hit a detour. The hotel you’d planned to stay in is full. You get a flat tire on the way, and finally arrive at Wally World only to find the park is closed. It happens to the best of us. But somehow, you find the resolve to keep going.

Anybody can breeze through an easy day and come out looking good. It’s how we handle those not-so-easy days that makes us who we are. Just take a step back, assess the situation, and re-focus on the goal. There’s always another way to get there. All you have to do is find it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Best Dreams Are the Ones We Share

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Every Monday, I get to spend a couple of hours with my two youngest grandchildren. At the ages of 3 and 4, they can be a handful. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of the energy they expend so readily, with plenty more in reserve. Thankfully, most of that energy is heartwarming and entertaining. And when we do have a test of wills, they usually let me think I won.

It’s a fun age, mostly because they still crave interaction with the old folks. When I got home yesterday, I became a jungle gym as they took turns bouncing into my lap so we could sing a wacky song. As soon as one was done, they’d move out of the way for their sibling to take a turn. It was steady back and forth for a good fifteen minutes. After that, they just wanted to cuddle.

And I’ll be honest, at 61, my energy level just isn’t what it once was. Their older brother will be 19 in a week, and he got the best part of me in that respect. We were together all the time, and it was only in the last several years that Grandpa started to peter out a little. But I still tried to keep up. They’re only young once.

Then came the age of throwing a football, shooting hoops, and all-day outings to the local theme park. We did pretty much everything together and, even though he wore me out completely, it was some of the best days of my life. I only wish I had that much energy to share with his cousin and younger siblings.

I mention this because, as we talk about our dreams and things we want to accomplish, those dreams almost always include the people we care about the most. It’s no secret that I want a motorhome. That’s a personal goal that I plan to accomplish within the next year.

And I don’t want to park it in front of the house to make the neighbors jealous. Unless they happen to be on the front porch as we pull up long enough to pack for the next trip, they’ll never see it. Because we plan to spend our time traveling – meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying new adventures. Otherwise, I could just buy a lawn chair and yell at passing kids to stay off the grass.

But here’s the thing – when I think of the places I’d like to explore in that motorhome, I see my wife and grandchildren right there beside me. Okay, my daughters too, but they may have to sleep in a tent. Convertible dinettes are made for kids, not adults, and I’m not giving up my bed for anyone.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. But all joking aside, none of the dreams I have for my remaining years on this planet mean anything unless I can share them with the people closest to me. And I’d venture to say that’s true for most of us. Sure, there are things we enjoy doing alone. But, for the most part, it’s always better if we can share those things with somebody special.

Friday, I challenged you to define your dreams, to write them on paper and even try to get pictures. But, without considering the people you want to share those things with, they’re little more than words and pictures. There’s a reason cruise ship advertisements show families having the time of their life. It’s because nobody wants to buy a ticket for a ride on a boat. They want the adventure.

So, write your own commercial. Visualize not only your dream, but the people you want to share it with. Picture them enjoying every new adventure with you. Sitting by the campfire, snorkeling off the coast, hiking up a mountain trail, enjoying an afternoon cookout in the back yard, or simply gazing at a herd of bison or the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk. I see it almost every day. But that picture alone isn’t enough. It’s the image of my wife gazing through the windshield at things she’s never seen before, and my grandchildren enjoying experiences they’ll remember a lifetime – those are the visions that drive me to make it happen.

Most dreams don’t mean much unless we can share them with others. So, as you picture your dream, be sure to include the people who make it important. Make them an integral part of it. Because, once you have that vision clearly in mind, there’s not much that can stand in your way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Into Every Life a Monday Must Fall

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

For a day of new beginnings, Monday seems to get a pretty bad rap. We spend all weekend bemoaning its pending arrival, and then start the day with pretty low expectations because, after all, it’s Monday. Nothing good ever happens on Monday. It’s a day when all the forces of nature (not to mention the corporate gods) are aligned against us. To hear people talk, you’d sure think so.

But Monday is the start of a new week. Okay, technically, Sunday is the start of a new week. I’ve never quite understood that because the Bible says that on the seventh day God rested, and that’s supposed to be Sunday. But according to the calendar, this is the second day of the week. I guess with all the time changes over the years, that one got lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of time changes, this is a Monday we tend to dread even more than normal because, for most of the United States, we lost an hour of sleep this weekend. When the clocks moved forward in the wee hours of Sunday morning, our normal wake-up time came an hour sooner than we’re used to. That’s worthy of at least a few complaints, right?

Okay, it’s understandable that Monday isn’t our favorite day of the week. It means the weekend is over, along with any rest you may have gotten during those two days. And it means we’re back to the grind, slaving away in the salt mines for the next five days. The countdown to Friday begins today. We even have a mid-week celebration for going over the hump.

Any time we wished for another day (usually birthdays back then), my mom would tell us, “Don’t keep wishing your life away.” And you know, she was right. Every time we wish for the clock to advance a little faster, whether it’s an upcoming vacation, a birthday, date night with somebody special, or simply next Friday, we’re wishing ourselves that much closer to the end.

It’s a grim thought, but most of us don’t tend to see it in that light. “I just want to get to the good part and skip all the bad stuff in the middle.” We’ve all felt that way at times, especially when the stuff in the middle isn’t so enjoyable. I don’t know of anyone who wakes up every day to another 24 hours of sheer bliss. Some days are better than others. It’s all part of this thing we call life.

There’s something to be said for making the most of each day, even Mondays. As I said at the start of this post, it’s a day of new beginnings. Last week is behind us and we get to start fresh. Even those tasks left over from last week don’t seem so bad, because we’re able to look at them with a pair of fresh eyes. Sometimes, the job that wouldn’t go away is over in just a few minutes.

It’s also a new day to begin working toward your dreams. In fact, if you spend a few minutes every morning (especially Monday) thinking about the things you want to accomplish for yourself and resolve to spend just a little more time this week doing that, you’ll find reason for a little excitement. And when you approach anything with a sense of excitement, it’s just automatically better.

Instead of thinking of all the work you have to do, think of all the things you’ll accomplish. Instead of looking at the five days that stand between you and your next weekend of rest, look at five days in which you can find a little time to work toward your own goals. With five days of leaving the house every morning, you get five days of coming home. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Every day is a new beginning. It’s a chance to do the things you couldn’t do yesterday, or even to launch into a brand-new endeavor that will make life that much more enjoyable. And even if it’s only a day to go to work and earn a paycheck, it’s still an opportunity to make the most of the time between waking up and going back to bed.

Each moment of our life is gone as fast as it came, and we can never have any of them back. That includes Mondays. As we race through our lives, it’s important to enjoy the moments that make up each day. Some will be better than others, to be sure. But it’s our ability to find the good in most situations that will make the bad times not so bad, and the good times even better.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Dream and Make It Happen!

Good morning, and happy Friday! The weekend is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but this has been an especially long week for me. I wrote a few days ago about frustrations on the job and, though they’re nothing major in the overall scheme of life, they can make the days really drag and send you home completely exhausted. It’ll be nice to have a couple of days to rejuvenate.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of things to do this weekend, courtesy of not getting them all done last weekend. It seems to work that way. Time runs out, but the work never really goes away. But that’s okay. I’ll get caught up and still find some time to enjoy what should be a mild improvement in the weather. And then Monday we’ll start all over. It’s the cycle of life.

One thing on my list for the weekend is to buy a new outdoor grill. Our old one rusted out in less than two years (thank you Sears), and we’ve developed a passion for grilled food over the years, so it’s pretty high on the list of priorities.

I know there have been studies indicating that grilling your food causes cancer. Well, so what? Everything causes cancer. I’m pretty sure the food itself, with all the dyes and growth hormones is a lot more of a problem than a couple of sear marks. Besides, it’s the only way I can get salmon at home. I’m not allowed to cook it inside. And salmon is healthy, right?

Beyond that, I have some freelance work to do and some things I need to do for my business. But I don’t mind because it’s part of building our future. I think for most of us, the paycheck from our daily job pretty much pays the bills and leaves a little left over for a couple of life’s conveniences. If you want to make a real difference, you have to do something extra.

It’s all about goals, and we talk about that a lot. Everybody has a dream. We don’t always share those dreams, and sometimes we can’t even articulate them that clearly in our own mind. But they’re still there, tantalizing us from time to time as a reminder that there could be more to life than what we’re currently experiencing. And that’s a good thing.

I know the Bible tells us to be grateful for what we’ve got, and to find a way to share some of that with others. It also tells us that two men had a talent (apparently the currency of the day) and, while one man spent his talent in one swoop, the other invested his talent and made ten more. Guess which one received more praise in the scriptures?

It’s okay to want something more. It’s even okay to go out and get it, as long as we do it in a way that isn’t detrimental to those around us. And there’s something to be said for being humble instead of rubbing our good fortune in people’s faces. Nobody likes a jerk.

If there’s something you want, a burning desire that won’t go away, get up and do something about it. You don’t have to work 100 hours a week to do it. Once the bills are paid, a little extra begins to add up. It only takes a few hours a week if you’re doing something productive. We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter instead of harder.” Well, there’s something to be said for that.

I’m a firm believer that we all have within us the ability to achieve anything we desire. Whether that’s learning a new skill, getting a college degree, enjoying more time with our family, or living on a tropical beach with nothing to do all day but soak it all in, you can do it. Forget where you’ve been. The past won’t get you a thing. It’s where you’re going that’s important, so make it count.

Take a little time this weekend to focus on your dreams. Write them on paper and describe them in vivid detail. Get pictures if you can. Then ask yourself what it will take to make those dreams come true. If it’s going back to school, do it. If it’s getting closer with your family, make it happen. And if it’s something that will require more money, get some. No more excuses – just do it.

No matter what you’d like to accomplish in life, the only thing standing in the way is you. If a person with two prosthetic legs can run the Boston Marathon, there aren’t too many limitations the rest of us can hide behind. Figure out what needs to be done. It’s probably easier than you think. But you just have to want it badly enough to make it happen.

That’s all for now. Have a fantastic day and an awesome weekend!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time to Recharge Your Batteries?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

My wife and I had dinner with an old friend last night who was in town for just a couple of days. It’s always nice catching up, especially outside of work where the conversation can go to pretty much anything but work. And maybe a couple of things about work you wouldn’t say inside the office. It happens. But we mostly talked about vacations and grandkids. Fun stuff.

I had a manager several years ago who had a simple rule when we all went out to lunch – we can talk about anything except the job. If anybody violated that rule, she’d call them down quickly. “Excuse me … were you taking about work?” It was just a friendly reminder that this was our time to socialize. Whatever is going on at work would still be there when we got back.

It’s important to get away sometimes, whether it’s work or family or even our favorite hobbies. You have to take a breather and focus on something else for a while, even if that “focus” is on nothing at all. Just taking in the world around you without any expectation for what happens next. It’s not only relaxing, it’s energizing. Few things can recharge our batteries like a little solitude.

And solitude doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be alone – just that you’re away from the bustle of everyday life. It means you’re enjoying something other than the routine. It means you’ve left all the cares of the world behind and you’re just enjoying the moment.

I’m the kind of person who loves to be around other people. I have the option to work from home, but I choose not to. When I’m at work, I’m focused on work. And I have the chance to not only chat with people through text messaging, but to stop by their desk and share a more personal moment. A few seconds is all it takes. I just like people.

On the other hand, I also like being alone sometimes. When I was on the road doing comedy, I had hours each day driving to the next show, and that was my private time to think, reflect on life, and write new jokes. Sure, by the end of the day I was craving a crowd, but that’s all part of it. And then after the show, I went back to the hotel and into my world of solitude until the next show.

It’s all about balance. Too much solitude can lead to withdrawal, and too much bustle can lead to burnout. I have a friend who is one of the most gifted writers I’ve ever met. She was asking me about Stephen King’s book on writing, and I had to be honest – I’ve never read it. She was shocked. “You’re a writer and you’ve never read that book?” I know. It’s almost a requirement of the job.

But when you sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day, writing technical manuals for other people to read, and then come home and write something more personal for a different audience, your eyes get tired of looking at words. Woodworking was my thing back then, and I when I needed a break from it all, I went downstairs to my shop.

I do read a little more now, mostly motivational books. At the end of a long day, I need that reminder that I have the power to accomplish great things. If you’re not getting your shot of positivity each day, I highly recommend it. Even fifteen minutes of reading will make a difference. Because, when you’re reading, no matter what it is, the outside world ceases to exist.

We all need that breather from time to time. Whether it’s dinner with a friend, driving through the country with your significant other, sitting by a river and watching boats go by, or just curling up on the sofa with a good book, we all need that escape. Even if it only lasts a short while, it makes a huge difference.

So, give yourself a little time to just enjoy whatever is happening at the moment. Schedule that time if you must and follow through. There will be times when you have to interrupt your plans, but don’t let everyone else’s whims become your priorities. Save some of that time for yourself. You’ve earned it. And even more importantly, you need it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Healthy Choices for Healthy Living

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

According to the weatherman, yesterday may have been winter’s last punch in the gut for some of us here in the US Midwest. I sure hope so. We’re not completely out of the woods yet, but the forecasts show gradually rising temperatures into more of what’s considered “normal for this time of year.” Whatever that is. It’s the last time I’ll ever believe that groundhog. Early spring? Right.

Two weeks ago, the stores started putting bathing suits on display. I also put my motorcycle up for sale (again). So far, there hasn’t been a rush to buy either of them. We look at them longingly and think, “Well, if it ever warms up a little, I may have to give that some thought.” Last year, by the time the weather got really nice, the riding season was half-gone. Hopefully we won’t do that again.

But there’s something about bathing suits and spring clothing that makes us look at our winter body and think, “Let’s lose a little of this first.” Sure, we’d love to be among the first to hit the beach, but it would be nice to sunbathe without well-intended animal lovers dumping buckets of water on you. Just me?

First, let’s establish one fact – nobody (but you) cares how you look in a bathing suit. Anyone who does is probably not admiring your bathing suit anyway. Find something that fits correctly and appeals to your sense of style, and rock it. You’re there for your enjoyment, not somebody else’s.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying to shed a few pounds and tone up a little if that’s what you want. But a great beach body doesn’t mean much if you’re too sick to take it out for a little sun. It’s easy to get so hung up on losing weight that we make some really poor decisions on how to do it. Here’s a clue – exclusion diets are generally not good for your overall health. Period.

I’ve got a cousin who knows more about healthy eating than most doctors, and right now she’s saying, “Just eat what nature provided!” And you know, there’s something to be said for that. I don’t think anybody can argue that we all need to consume less junk and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

But that means eating the right balance of foods so we get all the right nutrients. If we leave out entire food groups because somebody told us we’ll burn more fat without them, it’s like running a car without some of the vital fluids. Sooner or later, you’ll hear a loud clunk and find yourself sitting on the side of the road.

Most nutritionists point to the food color wheel as a starting point for ensuring we’re getting everything our body needs. If your plate is filled with color – red, orange, green, purple, and white – you’re off to a good start. And sorry folks, jelly beans don’t count. I don’t make the rules.

When we eat whole foods, we get all the nutrients nature intended. And we process the essential vitamins a lot better because we’re getting everything in balance. Loading up on a single vitamin is generally not beneficial, and it may even cause problems. This is why so many doctors tell patients “You don’t need vitamins – just eat right.”

But most of us don’t eat right. And even if we try, the foods we’re getting don’t have nearly the same amount of nutrients they had decades ago. We can thank modern technology and irresponsible farming practices for that. So, what’s a person to do?

Take a little time to educate yourself. Read something that isn’t an obvious promotion for a certain diet or “miracle food.” Talk to your doctor. Ask to see a nutritionist. Pick up a book in the library. Read labels. Find out what all that information on those labels means. The better you’re able to understand the choices, the better you’re able to make the right choices.

And if you just can’t make those healthy choices, consider a good plant-based multivitamin to help fill in some of the gaps. You’ll pay a little more, but generally speaking, anything that comes from nature is better than a chemically made substitute.

Finally, don’t sacrifice your health in a quest for the perfect body. Set some reasonable goals and discuss them with your doctor. Find something you can live with, something that doesn’t require you to eliminate anything (except maybe donuts) and pay attention to any sign of ill effects.

For most of us, it took years of education and experience to get good at our jobs. If we would invest even a small percentage of that time in learning about nutrition, think of how much healthier we could be. The perfect beach body may never come. But isn’t it more about just getting to the beach? Take care of your health first. The rest will take care of itself.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved