Get Ready for Father's Day
Get Ready for Father's Day

Get Ready for Father's Day

This weekend we’re celebrating the most important men in our lives – our...

Get Ready for Father's Day

Lifestyle

Get Ready for Father's Day

This weekend we’re celebrating the most important men in our lives – our dads, grandfathers, husbands, sons, partners, uncles, friends… If you’re planning a backyard barbecue, we’ve got some spectacular recipes for appetizers, salads, drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and more…everything you need to make your party a smashing success!

Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud.
Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud.

Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud.

The Gratitude Game. Neil Pasricha is an expert on happiness, and “Rose, Rose,...

Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud.

Lifestyle

Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud.

The Gratitude Game. Neil Pasricha is an expert on happiness, and “Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud” is one of his hacks. Whether you’ve heard of it before or not - now might be the perfect time to brush off this simple game and give it a whirl.

Summer Trip?
Summer Trip?

Summer Trip?

Likely not this year. But that doesn’t mean you can skip your week off. In fact,...

Summer Trip?

Lifestyle

Summer Trip?

Likely not this year. But that doesn’t mean you can skip your week off. In fact, if at all possible, you mustn’t. Summer holidays, like weekends serve a few specific, vital purposes. The wants and needs differ from person to person, but we all benefit from an occasional, healthy dose of a few - or a lot - of the following: Rest, recovery, escape, play, sleep, fiction, family-time, me-time, down time, outdoor time, slower pace, faster pace, different pace, more exercise, sex, less exercise, more beer, no beer, no news…

Transition
Transition

Transition

We’re in the midst of transitioning from Spring to Summer. The earth is filled...

Transition

Lifestyle

Transition

We’re in the midst of transitioning from Spring to Summer. The earth is filled with growth and promise: there are glorious flowers peeking through the soil and nutrient dense fruits and vegetables simmering just below the surface.

The Lion and The Unicorn
The Lion and The Unicorn

The Lion and The Unicorn

More than four-hundred years ago, a single sovereign came to rule two kingdoms. Each...

The Lion and The Unicorn

Lifestyle

The Lion and The Unicorn

More than four-hundred years ago, a single sovereign came to rule two kingdoms. Each possessed its own coat of arms: one depicting two lions, the other two unicorns. Unification of the lands resulted in the creation of one single coats of arms, with one beast on either side.

Virtual Pride
Virtual Pride

Virtual Pride

When something exists virtually, we mean it is essentially the same. The same in...

Virtual Pride

Lifestyle

Virtual Pride

When something exists virtually, we mean it is essentially the same. The same in essence. When something exists in essence, it is simpler, while the fundamental, important parts remains in tact. Pride will be celebrated virtually this year. As with many things – Personal Training certainly – nothing can replace the energy, power, and impact of person-to-person contact. But still, we can keep the integrity of some of the essential things that Pride Month tries to accomplish.

Your Life Matters
Your Life Matters

Your Life Matters

My Exercise Fundamentals have borne these titles: Movement Matters. Mindfulness...

Your Life Matters

Lifestyle

Your Life Matters

My Exercise Fundamentals have borne these titles: Movement Matters. Mindfulness Matters. Intensity Matters. “To matter” means to be of importance, significance, of great consequence. My titles are deliberate. My own attempt to make you the reader, you the exerciser sit up and take notice. 

Acceptance
Acceptance

Acceptance

People don’t typically ask to be celebrated for their differences. They ask to be...

Acceptance

Lifestyle

Acceptance

People don’t typically ask to be celebrated for their differences. They ask to be accepted. Presumably accepting others begins with accepting ourselves. We need to know our whole self. To accept our whole self. As the foundation for embracing and being our whole self. Love is a basic human right. And so, therefore, is love of yourself. 

Different Differences
Different Differences

Different Differences

There is a lot of literature out there on the power of being different. The importance...

Different Differences

Lifestyle

Different Differences

There is a lot of literature out there on the power of being different. The importance of honouring your uniqueness. Of being strong and courageous and holding true to your different-ness because this will open doors, build new bridges, change the world.

Pride.
Pride.

Pride.

This month is Pride Month. And I would like to “lean in”. I am afraid to do...

Pride.

Lifestyle

Pride.

This month is Pride Month. And I would like to “lean in”. I am afraid to do so. Fear is a strong emotion. A strong word. I don’t use it lightly. I am more afraid of silence.

Lip-Smackingly Delicious Summer Recipes
Lip-Smackingly Delicious Summer Recipes

Lip-Smackingly Delicious Summer...

What a beautiful start to the weekend! Our team has been spending some extra time in...

Lip-Smackingly Delicious Summer Recipes

Lifestyle

Lip-Smackingly Delicious Summer Recipes

What a beautiful start to the weekend! Our team has been spending some extra time in the garden and whipping up our favourite summer treats to help beat the heat. Spoil yourself, your family, and your friends with these delicious recipes all summer long.

Creative. Determined. Inspired.
Creative. Determined. Inspired.

Creative. Determined. Inspired.

That’s you. No virus is going to hold you back from taking charge of what you can...

Creative. Determined. Inspired.

Lifestyle

Creative. Determined. Inspired.

That’s you. No virus is going to hold you back from taking charge of what you can control: your strength, your health, your fitness, yourself. Today, June 6th, 2020, is National Health and Fitness Day. And today, we want to celebrate you.

Adversity Exposes Weaknesses
Adversity Exposes Weaknesses

Adversity Exposes Weaknesses

Sometimes weaknesses are a direct reflection of our strengths. We are tenacious yet...

Adversity Exposes Weaknesses

Lifestyle

Adversity Exposes Weaknesses

Sometimes weaknesses are a direct reflection of our strengths. We are tenacious yet stubborn. We are patient and careful, but prone to overthinking, overanalyzing to the point of paralysis. We are sensitive, dogged, or committed in ways that are admirable, but can be frustrating, overwhelming.

Adversity Inspires Risk Taking
Adversity Inspires Risk Taking

Adversity Inspires Risk Taking

Some people like taking risks. They love the thrill, the excitement, the freedom. For...

Adversity Inspires Risk Taking

Lifestyle

Adversity Inspires Risk Taking

Some people like taking risks. They love the thrill, the excitement, the freedom. For others, it makes us far too uncomfortable, insecure, nervous. Still, others, don’t necessarily enjoy risk taking per se, but do it anyways: They understand – usually from experience – that incredible innovation, transformational change, unprecedented achievement typically requires assuming a certain degree of risk. They know that risk can lead to failure. They know that failure – in the right hands – cultivates humility, curiosity, and can be a phenomenal learning experience. 

Adversity & Opportunity
Adversity & Opportunity

Adversity & Opportunity

Sometimes an adversity will burn trees, homes, and bridges for miles around. For a...

Adversity & Opportunity

Lifestyle

Adversity & Opportunity

Sometimes an adversity will burn trees, homes, and bridges for miles around. For a moment there seems to be so little you can do. As indeed there is. And that can be the magic of it. We know that too many options, too much choice can be debilitating. It can leave you questioning your judgement to the point that no matter what you decide, you remain a little anxious that you could have chosen better. 

Adversity & Survival
Adversity & Survival

Adversity & Survival

Our bodies are physically programmed to handle adversity. It’s one of the reasons...

Adversity & Survival

Lifestyle

Adversity & Survival

Our bodies are physically programmed to handle adversity. It’s one of the reasons we’ve survived for as long as we have. When bombarded with an onslaught of incredible physical demands, the human body ultimately responds by increasing energy efficiency, building lean tissue, and increasing neuro-muscular mechanism so we are stronger and more powerful, and improves our capacity to resist fatigue and handle stress.

Adversity
Adversity

Adversity

Adversity comes in so many different forms and can be physical, mental, emotional, or -...

Adversity

Lifestyle

Adversity

Adversity comes in so many different forms and can be physical, mental, emotional, or - often - an intricate combination of all three. Adversity creates real pain and can be accompanied by fear, anguish, and despondency. It can also incite anger and spur furious, violent action.

The Art of Putting
The Art of Putting

The Art of Putting

The putter is the most used club in a Golfer’s arsenal, so it’s certainly...

The Art of Putting

Lifestyle

The Art of Putting

The putter is the most used club in a Golfer’s arsenal, so it’s certainly important. But I imagine being a good putter is far more important than having a good putter. Being a great putter can be the difference between winning and losing. And while you might think you need to spend hundreds on a new putter… it’s likely more valuable to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide what you can improve in yourself first.

Don't Stop Believing
Don't Stop Believing

Don't Stop Believing

Believing in something… believing in yourself… that’s the stuff of...

Don't Stop Believing

Lifestyle

Don't Stop Believing

Believing in something… believing in yourself… that’s the stuff of survivors, champions… the people who make it happen… when everyone else said it was impossible. Hope – even unfounded – keeps a fragile spirit alive. Hope when it’s founded? That’s a beast to be reckoned with. A belief that is founded is based on facts: historical or scientific evidence that the future hoped for is not only probable, it’s inevitable.

Getting out of trouble
Getting out of trouble

Getting out of trouble

Pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. These are the golf clubs with the...

Getting out of trouble

Lifestyle

Getting out of trouble

Pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge, and lob wedge. These are the golf clubs with the highest loft. Designed for chips, pitches, and playing out of sand bunkers. Designed – in other words – to get you out of trouble after you’ve made a less than optimal shot.

5 Minutes with Meg: Stress Edition

Posted: Sep 16, 2019

I’ve been thinking a lot about...
…stress and exercise.

Exercise makes people feel better. Among other things, it experientially and physiologically lowers our stress levels. 

Peculiar thing about exercise: most of us know it’s good for us. And many of us exercise less than we plan to/would like to/feel we should. We tend to exercise most when motivation is high. And what increases motivation is different for everyone. For the majority, the benefits need to be valuable and meaningful. I’m going to assume you wouldn’t have read this far unless you were interested in reducing your stress to some extent. So, check that box.

For some, understanding why and how…or knowing the benefits are proven is motivating. So, to be brief, exercise creates both acute and long-term physiological adaptations that either counter stress or make the body more resilient to its pervasive effects. Physical activity has been shown to lower sympathetic nervous system activity, increase endorphins, and alter HPA axis activity. There’s recent evidence to also support that exercise supports neurogenesis.

Did you know that the simple act of elevating your heart rate through exercise on a regular basis can make you more tolerant to psychological stress?!?

Beyond the physiological mechanisms, exercise has also been shown to attenuate stress and anxiety through mechanisms including: improving concentration, distraction, socialization (here’s looking at you group fitness!), improved sleep, muscular relaxation, and improving self-esteem.

Okay, here are 7 quick (and hopefully useful) sound bites:

  1. Everything counts: It doesn’t have to be 60 minutes, and it doesn’t have to be super complicated or tough. A 15-minute brisk walk has been shown to be incredibly effective and, in fact, for some individuals, long, intense workouts are NOT conducive to lowering stress. Especially in the context of a long busy day, where trying to make time for a long gym workout simply stresses the person out!
  1. Moving meditation: Whether you prefer to run, do Yoga, or try Pilates, steady methodical breathing will increase oxygen flow to the brain, and quieting the mind often allows people to problem solve better. Return to the office with a new, positive perspective or a solution to a difficult problem.
  1. Distraction: An activity that is technically or physically really challenging will distract you from the stress. Boxing? Step Class? Compound Lifting? Any and all of these will do the trick! Consider it a moving “break,” if you will!
  1. Pleasure: The simple act of having fun, socializing, and connecting alleviates stress. The natural endorphins released during physical activity are jacked up even more for some when they are enjoying themselves. Get to one of our amazing Group Fitness Classes, head outside and PLAY with your kids, friends, and/or partner!
  1. Sleep: Lack of sleep is a HUGE stressor. People who get more than 150 minutes of physical activity a week tend to sleep longer and better. The tricky part: the what and when is different for different individuals. For the majority, exercising 30 to 90 minutes prior to sleep isn’t helpful at all, whereas many find 3 to 6 hours before bed is the perfect time to exercise in order to improve sleep. Some find exercise first thing in the morning does the trick; perhaps as it wakes them and they therefore decrease their caffeine intake throughout the day. Relaxing yoga is better for some, high intensity 30-minute strength workout for others, or a walk, run, or bike ride in the outdoors for others.
  1. Relax: Try progressive relaxation, whether in a Yoga or Stretch class, or simply on your own.  Stressed bodies hold excessive muscular tension. Learn to allow that tension to dissipate… from your eyebrows… to your shoulders… to your toes… Ahhhh…
  1. Self Esteem: Sometimes our challenges overwhelm us. For me, there is nothing like mastering a super heavy deadlift, finishing a grueling run, or nailing a HIIT workout that makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING. I feel strong, powerful, able: to tackle that stress down to the ground.

I hope there’s something in that list that can help you. It’s your journey – not anyone else’s – do what works best for you. Just remember that we’re always here to help, however you need it. Need a little extra motivation? Schedule a session with a trainer. Can’t seem to relax? Join one of our Yoga or Stretch classes. And if you’re struggling with a specific challenge? Reach out!

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Meg Sharp, MSc., B.Ed.Kin, FST, Executive Director of Personal Training, Cambridge Group of Clubs

msharp@cambridgegrourpofclubs.com

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