As a child my grandparents would often vacation with us and one summer we went to Daytona Florida. Back in the 70’s you could drive automobiles on the beach and when we sat back far enough, the traffic passed between us and the ocean.
My grandpa loved to sit on the beach and look through binoculars at the activities on the sand and in the water. (We all knew who he REALLY was watching.)
When cars would pass within Grandpa’s line of sight, he would pull his feet back. Even though the cars where several yards away, through his binoculars they were going to run over him!
According to Webster, “Perspective” is defined as “A glass through which objects are viewed”.
A perspective is a filter on how we see our lives and the world, it affects our attitude and even influences how we order our days.
Lester Sumrall started and pastored several churches, including growing a church in the Philippines to 24,000 members. He was the founder of World Harvest Bible College, World Harvest Radio International and a Christian magazine. He also acquired television stations that are now known as LeSEA Broadcasting and many consider him the “father of Christian television”.
During the latter part of his life, Lester said “I have never done anything great for God. I just do something for Him every day.”
I think Mr. Sumrall had a “today” perspective.
Each day is a building block for your life. Where you are now did not suddenly happen. The sum of your days thus far equals the life you are currently living and the impact you are making in the lives of others.
I love the image from Psalm 95:7: “For He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care.”
A good shepherd is never absent. He is constantly providing.
“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
(2 Corinthians 9:8)
A good shepherd is always instructing.
“I am teaching you today-yes, you- so you will trust in the Lord.”
A good shepherd is always protecting.
“Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.” (Proverbs 19:23)
I think many of us fall for the trap of building our lives in blocks of weeks, months and even years, which can cause us to take our eyes off the possibilities of today.
Just as Jesus is the Lord of today, I want to encourage you to have a “today” perspective. Today, you can realize God’s presence in your life. Today, you can draw closer to Him. Today He can be your shepherd. Today you can do something for God by being a blessing to others.
One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is knee pain. Someone will tell me they can’t exercise because they have bad knees, or I will hear they don’t want to exercise for fear of hurting their knees. Knee pain is something that affects millions of people in the United States. According to a study published in American Family Physician, “Knee pain affects approximately 25% of adults, and its prevalence has increased almost 65% over the past 20 years, accounting for nearly 4 million primary care visits annually.”. There are many reasons why one could be suffering from knee pain and it can happen at any age.
The Knee Joint
The knee is the largest joint in the body. It allows your leg to bend and straighten by connecting the upper leg bone (femur) to the two lower leg bones (the tibia and fibula). There are two pieces of cartilage (the medial and lateral meniscus) that sit and act as cushions between these bones. (There is also additional cartilage that covers the long bones that is different than the meniscus.) Numerous ligaments act as stabilizers in your knee and tendons connect the bones to the muscles. Your kneecap (patella) sits on the front of your knee and moves up and down when you bend and straighten your knee
Two groups of muscles are the main support to the knees. One are the hamstrings, which are the muscles on the back of the thigh. They run from the hip to just below the knee and work to bend the knee. The other are the quadriceps, which are the four muscles on front of the thigh that run from the hip to the knee and straighten the knee from a bent position. Your hip muscles can also affect your knee, as they control the way your knee moves and work together with the other muscles connected to your knee.
What Are Some Causes of Knee Pain?
A common cause of knee pain can be from an imbalance in the strength around the knee. For example, “Runner’s Knee” (patellofemoral pain syndrome) is pain right behind and around the knee cap. Runner’s knee isn’t a structural problem (like a torn meniscus), the issue lies in how your muscles function. It is most often a result of abnormal mechanics caused by muscle weakness and/or tightness in the legs or core that forces the patella to bump against the femoral groove causing pain. Often our quadriceps are stronger than the hip muscles and/or hamstrings. Strength training for the posterior hip muscles, like the gluteus medius will help correct this incorrect movement of the kneecap. Tight muscles can also be a cause of misalignment. Static stretching after exercise and foam rolling can help relieve tight muscles.
This doesn’t just happen in runners. Many people have an imbalance in the strength around the knee which causes the knee to be unstable. This can be caused by our sedentary lifestyles. When we spend the majority of the time sitting, our hips, glutes and hamstrings are tight and not as strong as our quadriceps.
Hip or foot pain can change the way you walk. This altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint. In some cases this can cause knee pain. Identifying the cause of the hip or foot pain is important to realign your gait and subsequently ease the additional joint pain. Sometimes a pair of shoes can change your posture and walk. Making sure your shoes have the support you need is important to prevent any injuries or ease existing pain.
Excess body weight can also put a lot of pressure on the knees. A study showed that each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees.
Inflammation is another cause of knee pain and can be due to a variety of reasons. Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight, a healthy diet, reduction of stress and good sleep are all things that can reduce this inflammatory response. Inflammation is also a symptom of arthritis.
There are many different types of arthritis. The three types that most often occur in your knees are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post-Injury Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that slowly wears away joint cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that can strike at any age. Another type of arthritis can develop following an injury to the knee.
Knee injuries can include torn meniscus or ruptured ligaments, inflamed tendons or torn cartilage. Injuries can be caused by many different reasons; including sports injuries, falls or other accidents.
Should You Exercise with Knee Pain?
Now that you have a bigger picture of how it all works together, it should make sense that having strong muscles and bones to support the knees can help, and may eliminate or prevent pain. By building strong muscles, you can reduce knee pain and stress and help your knee joint better absorb shock. Strengthening exercises involve developing stronger muscles in your quadriceps, hips, and hamstring. Having strong muscles in place can take some of the pressure off your knees.
A common misconception is that exercises can harm your knee joints by placing excess pressure on them, especially in high impact activities such as running or high impact exercises. A study in the National Institutes of Health shows that arthritis in the knees is not more common in those that run. A report by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides strong evidence that exercise is, in fact, good for the knees. The findings concluded that exercise actually helps improve the cartilage in between joints instead of breaking it down.
Keeping moving with low impact activities and strength training will help arthritis pain. Swimming, water aerobics, stationary bicycles and low impact aerobics are all good examples of low impact activities appropriate for those with arthritis. Movement is lotion for the joints.
Here are a few exercises to help strengthen the muscles that support the knee. I would recommend starting with 10 repetitions of each. Only increase that number when you can perform them easily, without pain or difficultly. Complete a 5 minute warm up, a walk or stationary bike, prior to completing these exercises.
Lateral Band Walks
Place a resistance band around your ankles. Come into a half-squat position, with core tight and glutes engaged. Without letting your knees cave in, and keeping your weight in your heels, step out sideways with one foot, and slowly follow with the other foot. (You can add a second resistance band above your knee for additional challenge.)
Forward/Backward Band Walks
Place a resistance band around your ankles. Come into a half-squat position, with core tight and glutes engaged. Step forward at a 45-degree angle with one foot, and follow with other foot. Repeat on the other side.
For backward, take a step backwards at a 45-degree angle.
Stand up straight with your back to a wall and your feet parallel, about two feet away from the wall, spread hip-width. Slide down the wall slowly until you are just about in a sitting position. Hold that position for up to 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up. Don't allow your knees to overextend in front of your toes.
Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bring your heels as close to your butt as you can, and hold that position for a few seconds then release and extend your legs. You can also do this exercise standing while you hold onto a chair and lift one leg at a time.
Hip Raise or Bridge
Lay on your back on the floor. Bend knees keeping feet on the floor. Heels should be close to the butt. Pushing off with the heels, squeeze your gluteal muscles and lift the hips towards the ceiling and slowly lower your hips back to the floor rolling your spine down one vertebrae at a time.
Simply stand with your heels hanging over the edge of a stair and rise up onto your toes to perform calf raises.
There are many ways to strengthen the muscles that support the knee. Exercise selection depends on your fitness level and your specific knee issue. Consulting with a physician, physical therapist or personal trainer can help determine what is appropriate for you. The best thing you can do for existing knee pain, and to prevent knee pain, is to strengthen the muscles that support your knee and keep them flexible. Don’t let knee pain keep you sidelined, keep moving!
Topics: LivRite News
Did you make any new year’s resolutions back in January? How are you doing on them? Fitness resolutions are among the most popular aspirations among resolution-makers. But the brutal truth is that, of 40% of Americans who make them, less than half are still on-track at mid-year, and less than 10% report achieving their goal.
What’s different about the few who make it to the end of the year to achieve their goals? I believe it’s grit. I define grit as the convergence of passion and perseverance around a long-term, meaningful goal. Grit has been shown to be a better predictor of success than talent in every domain in which it has been studied, including the classroom, West Point, and professional sports teams.
The good news is that grit is not something in your DNA that you are born with; but rather, more like a muscle that can be developed. Here are several tips for strengthening your grit muscle to help you achieve your LivRite Fitness goals.
First and foremost is to be crystal clear on your high-level goal and why it is important. For me, this is about achieving a high level of physical and mental fitness for the demands of my new role as a care giver for my wife, who has Parkinson’s. I’m passionate about this goal. It is more important to me than my comfort or anything else that might ambush me to sabotage my progress.
Second is to recognize that there is no such thing as overnight success. I know that achieving my goal is a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t expect immediate results. That being so, I’m focusing on enjoying the journey. And the best part about the journey is our community. I appreciate the team at LivRite Fitness, especially Jill, who demonstrates tough love to guide me towards the achievement of my goal. There are others, like Matt Lymberopoulos, who are always there to provide encouragement. Plus lots of regulars who are on their own journeys and meet up at the same time each week at LivRite Fitness in Noblesville to encourage one another.
If you’d like to strengthen your grit muscle, choose to do something hard – something out of your comfort zone – that will move you a step closer to a long-term meaningful goal.
Healthy habits include anything you do to benefit your physical, mental or emotional well-being. They help create a healthy life. If you are not used to living a healthy lifestyle, these habits can be difficult to develop.
Change is hard! However, if you are ready to commit to improving your health, creating healthier habits is possible and will greatly benefit you in the long run.
Why a habit? Habits free us from decision making and from relying on self-control. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.
Once something is a habit, it becomes almost automatic and you do it without thinking. A habit is formed through a habit loop consisting of a cue, an activity and a reward. Something cues you to complete a certain activity like a location or time of day.
When that activity is complete your brain releases chemicals (like dopamine) that signal pleasure. Because of the reward, your habit loop is reinforced. This reward can feel like stress relief or happiness or another benefit that feels good to you at that moment.
Your brain will want to complete that activity again next time it is cued so you will receive the reward. This works for all habits, healthy ones and bad.
For example, say whenever you get ready for bed (cue), you brush your teeth (activity), which results in clean feeling teeth that makes you feel good (reward).
Or a bad habit, whenever you drive to work (cue) you stop by Starbucks and get a Venti Mocha Frappuccino (activity) on your way in and you are rewarded by that rush of sugar (reward).
Do you have some unhealthy habits you want to break? Think of the habit loop.
A habit starts with a cue. Because bad habits serve you in some way, it’s very difficult to simply eliminate them. Instead, the activity you would like to stop needs to be replaced by a new habit that provides a similar benefit or reward.
Let’s say you want to quit smoking. What cues you to smoke? Identify your triggers and replace the bad habit with a healthier one whenever that cue comes up that will elicit a reward/similar benefit.
If you normally go outside on your work breaks (cue) for a cigarette, ask a coworker to go for a walk with you instead. Or, if possible, remove those cues that make you want to smoke. Another example, if you would like to stop snacking in the evening after dinner, think of what cues you to do so.
If it is sitting and watching tv, switch the mindless munching to knitting or doodling. Or remove the cue of watching tv by meeting up with a friend instead or talk on the phone. Cut out as many cues as possible. If you can’t remove the trigger, replace the unwanted activity with a healthier option.
James Clear said, “When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.”
Here are three more ways to create and keep whatever healthy habits you want to start.
- Add a healthier behavior to an existing habit. You brush your teeth every day right? It’s automatic (because it is a habit!). Try adding an action you want to make a habit at the same time as one of your existing habits.
For example, if you want to eat more vegetables you don’t have to necessarily completely change your normal eats. If you normally make eggs for your breakfast start adding spinach to them to get more vegetables.
Or if you need to drink more water, add filling your water bottles for the next day to the time you normally brush your teeth before bed. Put your water bottle right next to your tooth brush so you will remember. Then your water bottles are ready to go the next morning. Pretty soon when you go to brush your teeth, filling your water bottles will just be part of the routine. Do you drive by the gym on your way home from work? Make it a new stop on your usual drive home. Before you know it, going to the gym after work will be automatic.
- Start Slow. You wouldn’t go out and run a marathon if you’ve never run a mile. Make small changes (a few or even just one at a time) and slowly add more from there. This goes for anything, including both exercise and nutrition. It is important to make SMART goals. (Check out my post about SMART goals here!) The R stands for realistic. Setting small, measurable, realistic and time measured goals will help you reach a bigger milestone and keep you motivated along the way. If you are new to exercise, a SMART goal, or habit to start, may be to go to the gym twice this week. Or to take a walk for 20 minutes three times this week.
It can be easier to make changes to your nutrition slowly as well. Eating healthfully should be lifelong, not just for 21 or 30 days. A SMART goal to start eating better could be to cook at home three nights this week if you usually go out or get take out every night.
Or pack your own lunch if you normally go out. If you drink soda, replace it with water or unsweetened tea. As you get used to these changes and they become habit, you can add more.
- Pause, don’t stop. In her book “Better Than Before”, Gretchen Rubin says restarting is harder than starting. If you derail from your new exercise routine or healthier eating, take a step back and pause. Don’t think all is lost because you missed a few days of your new habits. You didn’t stop, you just paused and are able to start right back up where you left off. This happens to everyone and it will to you as well. So plan for it and know what you will do when you do get off track. Building healthier routines is not all or nothing, and missing a week or workouts or one weekend of unhealthy eats doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human and you can start right back where you left off.
Not sure what kind of healthy habits to adopt? Here are a few things that might be a good fit in your daily routine. You don’t have to do all of these suggestions, some of them you might already be doing, plus it’s better that you don’t try too many new things at once. As we already discussed, start small and pick one or two things to turn into a new habit then build from there!
- Drink More Water – Track your water intake with an app like My Fitness Pal. Drinking one full glass of water before every meal is a great start and a great habit to implement!
- Walk during every break you have at work or aim walk for 2-5 minutes every hour
- Strength train two times a week
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
- Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bed
- Keep a Sleep Schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Be Mindful – Stay in the present moment, whatever you are doing. This could be meditation or simply focusing on the task at hand. Pay attention to your breathing and all the sensations you are experiencing.
Change can be hard. Be patient, give yourself some grace and keep reminders around of why you want to create this healthier life.
“Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”
― Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
Topics: LivRite News
Influence is a great word. To say one has influence “on” you or “with” you does not capture the depth of the word. According to Webster, it literally means: “a flowing into; a power whose operation is invisible and known by its effects”.
Influence penetrates. It flows into you and can become a permanent part of who you are.
Here is the great news about influence: you have it! In fact, it is highly probable that you influenced someone today. When you are in the presence of others, you can influence them.
In the early 80’s I started in the hotel business as a desk clerk. Kerry, the Front Office Manager became my mentor. He had a genuine interest in my success and taught me everything he knew about leading and managing the front desk staff, bellman and night auditors. In a short time, I was promoted and transferred to a hotel as their Front Office Manager. The impact of Kerry’s tremendous influence is still evident in my life today.
I will always remember my mentor Kerry. His life mattered to me. He influenced me for MY benefit!
Leadership expert John Maxwell said, “Deep down we all want one thing. We want our lives to matter. We want our stories to be of significance. Nobody wants to feel like the world wouldn't miss him if he'd never lived.”
Isn’t that true for you? Don’t you want to matter to others by having influence into their lives, for THEIR benefit?
I believe this desire is planted in our hearts by God.
The Lord said, “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!” -Jeremiah 15:19-
Since I gave my heart to the Lord in 1989, I have experienced the blessings and warnings of this biblical truth. I have witnessed God influencing others through me. Sadly, there are times when I speak worthless words resulting in negative influence. Also, I am keenly aware of the ongoing battle to resist the negative influences of this world.
That is why I am thankful for the mercy and grace of God. Despite my failures, He loves me and restores me as my heavenly Father and continues to bless my life with the honor of serving Him.
Jesus is the Master Influencer. When you ask Him into your heart, His first act of influence is to let you know how much you are loved and that you are now part of the family of God.
“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our own spirit, (assuring us) that we are children of God.”
Are you under The Influence?