Thursday, January 12, 2017

Power Up 2017 with DK Canada!

Well, we're a few weeks into 2017 already. Did you make some New Year's Resolutions? I prefer to think of it as changes I would like to implement over the coming year. My changes involve both mind and body. To that end, DK Canada has some great books to help you make some positive changes this year!

Mindfulness is a subject that I've heard much about and have been meaning to investigate and I've decided that now is the time. Happiness the Mindful Way: A Practical Guide seemed like a good book to start with. Plus, I always love how DK lays out their books - text boxes, colour photos, infographics, white space and clear concise information.

I leafed through the book at first - there is so much info packed into 217 pages. What I got from those first few random readings was a sense that yes, I would find valuable insights within. So, with that in mind, I went back and started with page one.

What is mindfulness you ask? The definition from Happiness the Mindful Way:

'It is a practice of purposefully paying attention in the present moment and bringing a non judgemental, compassionate awareness to the nature of things. It is a way of being, a way of relating to our inner and outer experiences, and a coming to our senses, literally and figuratively. At the same time, it is nothing at all, nothing but a rediscovery or a remembering of our natural inborn capacity to be fully awake in our lives, in contact with things in a direct way without the filters of concepts, past experiences, or likes and dislikes." to begin.... The first chapter was eye opening - I found I could only read an entry or two at a time - I needed to take the time to think about and absorb the information. As I finished that first chapter, I realized that this was something I really wanted to learn and put into practice. It's not going to happen overnight, so I can't expound on the entire book at this time. But I will say that so far it has been excellent. The first chapter was Discovering Mindfulness. Further chapters are Toward a Mindful You, Mindfulness Meditation, Mindfulness Life Skills and Mindfulness When You Need It. An index at the end lets you quickly find certain subjects - anxiety, pain, etc.

Happiness The Mindful Way is a great introduction and beginner's guide. And a book I'll be referring to often.  See for yourself - here's an excerpt.

Foam Rolling by Sam Woodworth addresses the physical changes I mentioned.  My daughter has one of these rollers and swears by it. That and the subtitles on the book - Relieve Pain, Prevent Injury and Improve Mobility had me wanting to know more.

Why a foam roller? "Using a foam roller increases flexibility, promotes healing after injury, improves the alignment of your spine, and heightens your body awareness."

Foam Rolling includes 60 step by step exercises and 26 programs. Chapters include Foam Rolling Basics, Core Exercises, Lower Body Exercises, Upper Body Exercises, Pain Relief Programs, Lifestyle Programs and Sports Programs.

Effective illustrations are a key for this type of book. DK Canada always hits the mark. The guide is full of full colour pictures using real people. The layout is great - clear instructions, info boxes letting you know what muscles are being targeted, how to breath and some cautions on avoiding injury. Modified versions of each exercise are also depicted.

I always end up flipping through a book before settling in to read. As I did flip through I actually saw exercises prescribed by my physical therapist. Okay, so I'm on the right track. I was interested in the pain relief programs - specifically those for the upper back - my job (and hobbies) are most definitely straining this area. That and the 'too much standing' module. Things I could do at home to help myself. Note that the book does call for some equipment other than the roller for some exercises - notably a massage stick and/or a sports ball.

So, I am going slow, easing myself into the entire program. There is going to pain associated with releasing the fascia. The key is to not overdo it. One step at a time, one exercise at a time.

A good introductory book for those interested in foam rolling. Have a look inside Foam Rolling.

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