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Monday, July 27, 2009

BLOG-iversary: 1year of the SPARKES WELLNESS blog!!

The SPARKES WELLNESS Blog turns 1year old!!!

So much has happened in the last year! Usually we wait until January 1st to look back on the last year and make goals for the upcoming year. Why wait?!? Now is as good a time as any! So, with the SPARKES WELLNESS' BLOG-iversary I took time to reflect and realized some important goals that I had set and saw manifest since last July.

One goal I had was to develop Sparkes Wellness into a full private practice.
Now it is!...

Sparkes Wellness offers wellness counseling, personal training, dance, stretch, and Thai yoga massage. Schedule a session for one or all of these amazing wellness modalities to ignite health in your body, mind, & soul!

Another specific goal of mine in the last year was to try activities I've always wanted to pursue, but never had the time (or insert any other excuse here) to do.

I challenged myself to expand my general routine of ballet, yoga, and strength training to incorporate new forms of exercise into my life.

Here's a list of links to the exciting new activities and adventures I participated in...

~Indoor Rock Climbing & Gymnastics @ Aviator
~Whitewater Rafting @ Whitewater River Challengers
~Hip Hop dance @ Dance New Amsterdam
~Turkey Trot run @ Prospect Park Track Club
~Jiu Jitsu @ Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
~Lindy Hop dance @ Dance Manhattan and Sandra Cameron Dance Center
~CrossFit Training @ CrossFit Brooklyn
~Tumbling & Trapeze @ Lava
~Rope Course & Zip Line @ Alpine Adventures, New Hampshire
~Lap Swimming @ The Berkeley Carroll School pool
~Dragon Boat Racing with the Stingrays @ Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
~Kickboxing @ Park Slope Fitness Collective
~Pilates @ Park Slope Yoga Center
~5 Rhythms @ Gabrielle Roth's The Moving Center

...all of these activities were fun, social, and active!

Have you tried any new activities yet this year?
If so, Great!, what are they? If not, what is it you'd like to try??

I challenge you all to participate in one of the above (all highly recommended) or find an activity of your own to experiment with this year. You'll work your muscles in a new way, expand your exercise techniques, make new fitness friends, and stimulate your mind.

As a wellness counselor, I can help you find those activities that are so much fun you won't even realize it's exercise!

Let me know how it goes ;)

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Invigorating Park Workout

We're well into summer and even though the summer storms abound, you can still go outdoors and exercise in the park!

It's approaching the one year anniversary of my blog (check back for the upcoming special Blog-iversary post). Incidentally I was inspired to write another park workout, much like my first post The Lazy Sunday Workout.

Last weekend I knew I needed to get some exercise, but was only going to motivate myself to take a fast walk around the park. Luckily I met up with two friends, and together we created a kick butt park workout. I find working out with a buddy is the best way to challenge myself and have fun at the same time!

We did this is Brooklyn's Prospect Park, but you can be creative and bring it to any park, playground, beach, hiking trail, track, gym, etc.

Special thanks to co-personal trainers Leah and Sandra for helping with this workout ;)

The Invigorating Park Workout

Warm Up:
Walk 5min
Run 12min

1. Sprint up Stairs (approx. 8 flights)
2. Alternating Side Shuffles 2min
3. Single Leg Step Ups on Stair 15x/leg

REST 1min & REPEAT 1-3

Run 10min

4. Pull Ups 10x
5. Leg Raises 10x (hang from monkey bars, lift both legs up until hip height & lower, try not to swing)
6. Push Ups 10x
7. Reverse Row 10x

REST 1min & REPEAT 4-7

Run 12min

8. High Plank 30sec
9. Side Plank 30sec/each side
10. Forearm Plank 30sec

REST 30sec & REPEAT 8-10 2x

Downward Facing Dog
Straddle & Side Bend
Spinal Twist
Pigeon Pose
Child's Pose

Cool Down:
Walk home 5min

...and at home use a foam roller to roll out your ITband and quads!!! :)

Contact me if you have any questions and let me know how it goes!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Sailing

Sailing in Maine...requires a surprising amount of corework!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Change is in the Air...

...can you feel it?

Every area of my life is in a period of transition right now.
I see this happening in my client's lives as well.

The shift into summer automatically brings some new situations...the end of school or work...the beginning of travel and new adventures...

You may be:
~moving to a new apartment
~spending more time with family
~developing a relationship
~transitioning in your career
~getting married
~adjusting to a new job or work schedule
~experiencing the death of a friend, family member, or celebrity figure
~expecting a baby

These major life changes -whether you label them "Good" or "Bad"- affect your daily mental state, exercise, and nutrition patterns.

How can you cope with all this 'newness' and maintain your health?

Here are some guidelines I've been using to help stay centered through life transitions...

Choose activities that create a supportive social outlet and keep you active at the same time. You could...
~Join a recreational sports team
~Go out social dancing
~Gather friends for a group jog & follow up with a picnic in the park
~Plan a beach day highlighting a volleyball tournament

#2 Keep to a TIME SCHEDULE
Your daily routine is going to get off kilter if you're packing up your apartment for a move, taking a camping trip, or preparing for your wedding... Try to keep as close as possible to your normal time schedule in your nutrition, exercise, and sleep patterns.
~If your personal training session is usually at 8am, reserve that hour for your exercise - even if it's a fast paced walk or some yoga & stretching.
~Even a healthy amount of stress affects when, where, and how you eat. Keep to your meal & snack times, even if the types & quantity of food is different.

#3 Breathe, Breathe, and BREATHE!
(Oh, and did I mention to Breathe?)
So simple and so important!!
Wherever you are, whatever you're going through, take the time to slow down & observe your breath.
~Lie down or sit in a comfortable position.
~Take one hand to your chest and one hand to your low belly.
~Focus on the sensation of your breathing. Take note of the placement and movement of your hands as you breathe. Which area (chest or abdomen) feels more at ease?
~Stay here for at least 3 minutes (set the timer if you need to!), 1x per day.

Observe all these changes around you and approach them as opportunities for growth, love, & acceptance.

I look forward to hearing about all the coping strategies you use throughout these transitions... let me know how it goes!