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How Sports Changed My Life: From a Couch Potato to a Go-Getter

How Sports Changed My Life: From a Couch Potato to a Go-Getter

“I have a really nice office job, working with great people, having fun on the weekends. It sounds like I have my life pretty much sorted out, but something is wrong, I just can’t put my finger on it.

The work I do is not that difficult, and I get plenty of sleep, so why am I feeling so tired?

It is as if I somehow accepted the monotonous circle of work and sleep with a night out every once in a while being my only exhaust. This awful feeling affects my mind, my willpower so I stopped urging for progress. I’ve lost my ambition.”

Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me. That was my daily chain of thought not more than two years ago. I still have the same job, the same friends I go out with, but I’ve changed my state of mind from a static observer to a man full of energy.

I realized that the only way I can redeem my confidence and the will to go forward is to engage my mind and my body in vigorous exercise regularly. After an extensive research and a lot of futile attempts, I found what gets my blood to pump and my brain to go into high gear.

I’ve changed my life around with three activities: running, cycling, and golf.

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In the beginning, I felt a lot like Sisyphus, but once the results started to show, it was clear that it is all worthwhile.

I have no interest in posing as a coach or a motivational speaker. This article is meant to be an example of an average Joe making a step in the right direction. I’ve decided to include a couple of things you’ll need if I have managed to get you interested in these sports. Check out what turned my life around:

1. Running

running
    Image Credit: Ryan Knapp, Flickr

    Running was actually my first activity and after a couple of weeks that were spent simply catching my breath, I realized what the fuss is all about. Running melts away all the stress, clears your head, and pushes your body to its limits. For me, running has always been a part stress release and a part exercise.

    Long gone are the days when you would head out on the run through the park with just your phone, earphones and a set of keys in your pocket. Whether you run alone or in a group, there are certain accessories which will help you go the distance or simply give you a boost in inspiration that’s going to keep you moving.

    Running shoes

    runningshoes
      Image Credit: Dawn, Flickr

      Since you do not want to end up with blisters, cramps, and skin-torn-toes it is important to pick the right running shoes. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

      High quality running shoes are important for both hitting the treadmill and for enjoying a run in the morning fresh air.

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      Tracking device

      trackingdevice
        Image Credit: N I C O L A, Flickr

        If you want to record how far you go on each run, you should be tracking your routes with a tracking device. The easiest way is to download the appropriate app for your smartphone, but if you want to go pro, you can get a specific running wristband which will measure track steps, calories burned, distance, etc. Check out some fine tracking devices here.

        Running Backpack

        running with backpack
          Image Credit: Sagundo, Flickr

          If you are enjoying long distances through the countryside, some additional items are definitely helpful during your long runs, and a running backpack is a good investment. However, you do not want the added weight to cause discomfort when you hit the trails, so it is vital to choose the right kind to have a smooth run.

          2. Cycling

          Cycling is, first of all, a great way to commute and it can be an exercise that perfectly blends into your daily schedule. If you are like me and want to enjoy long bike rides, cycling in a nearby forest or taking up a long distance ride is the best solution. Bicycle rides give you stamina, determination in the long run, and relaxation every time you ride your bike.

          The world full of wonder and joy that is cycling is pretty much in these days, but whether you already have a bicycle or opting to buy a new one, it is recommended to have accessories to go with it. Be it a helmet, a repair kit, appropriate clothing or some basic gear, the technology in this day and age allows you to put so much more on your bike than simple lights or a bell.

          Helmet and crash sensor

          Even if laws do not require them, a bicycle helmet is a must for its safety aspects. You can find helmets for different riding styles, and some advanced and modern types can have a crash sensor attached to them which will send alerts to your contacts if you have had an accident. In that case, the crash sensor app triggers a countdown, and if the countdown is not disabled, a distress signal and your GPS coordinates are immediately sent to specified contacts. More on quality helmets here.

          Lights and wireless turn signal

          For better visibility when riding at night or to make you more visible to others, you should use front and rear lights. For a more technologically advanced solution, there are wireless turn signal lights with LEDs and a loud beeping sound which will emit when you make a turn, all activated wirelessly using a controller attached to the handlebar. Check out some bicycle lights here.

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          Repair Kit

          repairkit
            Image Credit: Andrew Toskin, Flickr

            You should consider bringing at least a basic repair kit with you when you hit the road. It should contain a multi-tool for basic adjustments, tire levers, a spare tube, a puncture kit, etc. The bonus is that all of these things can fit into a bike bag mounted to the seat or the frame. Other more advanced tools are certainly needed at your home, basement or a garage servicing, but when you are out there on the road, these basic tools should be all you need.

            I learned to have a small repair set the hard way – you don’t have to.

            3. Golf

            Golf might seem like the odd one in the list as it is not as physically challenging as running or cycling. However, golf is one the best sports out there to train your willpower and focus. I was a bit of a skeptic at the beginning, but when I tried it, I found that it takes a lot of self-control, thinking, and focus.

            The secret is that in golf, there is no winning or losing. It’s all about the challenge and improving; to be better than you were yesterday.

            First of all, you’ll need golf clubs (I ordered my online) and a golf course near you, but there is some advanced equipment I picked up along the way that should really help a beginner.

            Glowing Balls

            sport - golf - glowing balls
              Image Credit: Scott Akerman, Flickr

              There is one obstacle for the golf players – night. Glowing in the dark, these balls are created for the ones who want to finish playing even when the sun goes down.

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              Swing Analyzer

              Swing Analyzer is a sensor that you attach on your glove and it connects with the app installed on your mobile phone. It can track club head speed, hip rotation, tempo, swing plane and lot more. This way, you can analyze and improve your game significantly.

              Golf GPS

              Golf GPS works the same as a car or mobile phone navigation. You can find a variety of models on the market, but they all have the same purpose – to provide you with information on the exact distance from the place you stand to the next hole regarding the obstacles. Depending on what you find suitable, you can choose between Golf GPS Watches, Clip-on Golf devices, Voice clip-on devices and Golf GPS Handhelds. This small device provided so much quality information for me that I improved significantly.

              Engaging (and getting better) in sports improves us.

              Nowadays, I feel like the world is my playground. I won’t go as far to say that it is solely because of sports, but they have played a major part in helping me consolidate my time and feeling confident.

              Of course, what I’ve done is just an example, and there is no way to tell if my regime will work with you, but simply trying is half of the process.

              Don’t settle for less; you are the only one who can change your habits and make you the person you would like to see in the mirror every day.

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              Dejan Kvrgic

              Blogger, Writer

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              Last Updated on January 17, 2019

              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

              8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

              In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

              Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

              Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

              Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

              Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

              The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

              There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

              How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

              According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

              Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

              Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

              The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

              Listen carefully:

              We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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              The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

              Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

              8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

              There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

              Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

              1. Pray Daily

              You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

              When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

              Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

              Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

              2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

              A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

              By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

              Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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              If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

              This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

              How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

              3. Smile Often

              Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

              Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

              Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

              The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

              4. Organize Your Working Desk

              A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

              When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

              Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

              Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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              5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

              I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

              Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

              What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

              6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

              God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

              I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

              I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

              7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

              You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

              How do you do that? This is my formula:

              First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

              If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

              If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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              If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

              Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

              8. Go Exercise

              Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

              The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

              You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

              12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

              The Bottom Line

              It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

              It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

              Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

              More Resources About Mindfulness

              Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

              Reference

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