t’s been a long day at the office. You get home at 7:30 p.m. and root around through the refrigerator for leftovers. You pour a glass of wine. You flop on the couch and wake up your dog. And just as you go to take a bite of your dinner, just after you turn on Netflix, you hear your phone twinkle. You know who it is. Rather, you know what it is: Work. Navigating life in the modern age can be difficult. Connected to ever ything, it’s hard to know when you’re allowed to disconnect, to take time for yourself. To figure that out is to find balance in your life. In this year’s A New You, we included stories to help you find that balance in your life. You’ll read about the nature and histor y of the balanced life, and how keeping things in proportion affects all areas of your life. There are features on how to find balance through sleeping and exercise. You’ll learn about old-school health remedies, how you can better balance your nutrition and what the fuss is about concierge doctors. Lastly, you’ll see stories about how to proactively take steps to achieve balance—local nature hikes, listening to productive podcasts and finding how to strike a work-life balance. There’s never a better time than right now to seek out balance in your life and to create a new you. Open the pages and start exploring.
Finding balance through nature in South Orange County
Las Ramblas Trail. Photo: Eric Heinz BY DANNY RITZ
hen we choose to actively participate in the environmental beauty right outside our doorstep, we are embarking on a journey that encourages reflection and invites a sense of balance into our lives. For some, “natural” and “balanced” may not be the first adjectives that come to mind when discussing getting into nature in Orange County. But it is ubiquitous and all around us and that tapping into it may hold the key to discovering our inner peace. Considering the often overwhelming complexity of modern society, it is understandable that we often find ourselves yearning for a simplified experience to counter-balance our sophisticated lifestyles. Through this pattern, however, we often find ourselves ping-ponging back and forth between the familiarity of routine and the relief of escape. “We truly live in the land of confluence,” stated Melanie Schlotterbeck of Friends of Harbors, Beaches, and Parks, “Here in South Orange County, simply by stepping
San Mateo Watershed. Photo: Danny Ritz
outside, you are inevitably stepping into a natural intersection. Like few other places on earth, we have it all. You can literally taste the salt air from the mountain tops.” South Orange County’s natural spaces have many unique aspects that inspire an awakening to the natural balance that is important to prioritize in our lives, therefore relieving ourselves of the anxious quest to find it. Cristianitos Trails San Clemente The San Onofre State Park trail system is the most visited in California, but it is possibly also one of the most underutilized. By following the path of the San Mateo Watershed, the last completely untapped watershed in the state of California, pure sea-to-summit experiences are attainable in south San Clemente. From the San Onofre Bluffs and the worldrenowned beaches of Trestles, a series of uninterrupted trails cross the Old Pacific
Caspers Wilderness Park. Photo: Danny Ritz
Highway and meander along the San Mateo Valley. Viewing the 9,000-year-old former site of the Acjachemen civilization of Panhe below as you walk along parallel to Cristianitos Road toward the campground at San Mateo State Park, you slowly turn due east along Camp Pendleton’s western border and look directly into the snowcapped peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains. Here, with multiple trails of varying intensity, one can take in the plethora of native plant species before enjoying the jaw-dropping panoramic vistas. For more information, visit San Onofre Parks Foundation website at www.sanonofreparksfoundation.org or stop by any of the local State Park kiosks. Las Ramblas Trail San Juan Capistrano/Dana Point Possibly the most accessible of the bunch, the Las Ramblas Trail begins only minutes from the Interstate 5 exit bearing the same name. Lush after this past winter’s continuous rains, these gently rolling hills offer a wide variety of options for casual walking, running, and mountain biking. Leisurely alternating from crest to valley, this is a fantastic opportunity to breathe in some fresh air and relish as to just how tightly knit the different parts of our communities are woven into the environmental fabric. Ultimately, all trails crescendo at panoramic viewpoints that look out upon Capo Beach and Dana Point Harbor to the west and the hills of Laguna to the north.
Caspers Wilderness Park San Juan Capistrano As you drive east on Ortega Highway outside of San Juan Capistrano, the approach to Caspers Wilderness Park ushers you into a California of old. Bordered by the National Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary to the north, Caspers Wilderness Park offers more than 20 trails in its present day 8,000-acre form. Upon arrival at the entrance, one quickly becomes entrenched in the deep river terraces and impressive sandstone canyons. Complementing the groves of native Coastal Live Oak and California Sycamores, several late-season wildflower plumes are still there to be enjoyed by those willing to spend time walking on what used to be the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Orange County’s largest County Park, Caspers Wilderness Park offers multi-generational appeal through a variety of educational centers and interactive exhibits. For more information on Caspers Wilderness Park, contact park officials at 949.923.2210 or visit www.ocparks.com/ caspers. It has been said that not all those who are happy are grateful, but all those that are grateful are happy. Taking the time to achieve greater depth of understanding and appreciation of the awe-inspiring spaces that surround us may encourage us to consider looking more closely than ever for the personal sense of balance we seek.
Your Focus Saying ‘no’ and feeling good about it BY ANDREA PAPAGIANIS-CAMACHO
ith life, as with innovation, focus is about striking a balance. Time blurs easily. Life quickly gets out of focus. Between our many obligations, it isn’t hard to lose sight of what is most important—the elements that bring joy and create harmony in our day-to-day lives. Do you take on too much? Or find various aspects of your life suffering because you too often say yes? If so, maybe it’s time to discover the power of no. As Steve Jobs put it, focus isn’t about always saying yes, but rather about saying no. Our focus comes from editing ideas down, from turning options away and from learning to say, ever so politely, no. Admittedly, I’m probably the wrong person to be giving advice on the subject. As I sit down to write, chaos in my life ensues. The remnants of two weekends away, coupled with an ever-growing to-do list leaves my home in disarray. The car is dirty, folded laundry litters the sofa, suit-
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things. —Steve Jobs, Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997
cases wait to be unpacked. Thankfully, my children are clean, fed and happy. It’s the basics that really matter. Here it is: I am a classic over-committer—relentlessly saying yes to family, friends, coworkers and, yes, even to my children. All these yeses come at a cost. I often find myself stressed with my life out of whack and just a little off balance. And why? Because I am afraid of saying no.
I am pathologically accommodating. Not just hesitant to utter the word, but scared of the impact that one little word will have. How will my mother react to us not extending our stay? My friends to turning down yet another night out? Or my boss to not tackling that additional project? While I may not be able to provide the clarity you are looking for, I can provide comfort—relief in knowing that you are
not alone. There is someone else out there, me, coming into focus. This is my proposal. Let’s take a cue from my 2-year-old and say, “No!” I give us permission to be selfish with our time. It’s time to take a step back, prioritize and refocus. Take time to find balance in saying both yes and no in your personal, professional and social lives. Bring you into focus.
BY VICTOR CARNO
The Water Rule of Thumb “An easy way to remember how much water you should be drinking on a daily basis is to drink half of your body weight in ounces,” Valenzuela said. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should drink 90 ounces of water per day. Water is key in more ways than one. Your
body loses electrolytes and sodium when you sweat, and it is extremely important to replenish what is lost. Some side effects of dehydration include muscle contractions and cramping during physical activity. Secondly, water affects your metabolism. Being well hydrated can actually boost the rate at which you burn calories. Eating a Paleo Style Diet What is Paleo? Most people have heard this term, but are still unclear as to what is and what isn’t considered Paleo. Be sure to steer clear of starches, refined oils and processed food. Instead, look for lean meats and seafood, while also munching on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Valenzuela laid out her ideal meals during the course of a day. “I would start the day with an egg scrambled with some veggies mixed in and maybe some salsa. This is a very clean meal and also offers some variety.” She suggests building a super salad filled with chicken
and vegetables for lunch, and then ending the day with some broccoli, sweet potatoes and a lean cut of chicken. If you still find it confusing to choose healthy options, Valenzuela suggests a service called Sun Basket that will hand pick and deliver an organic, Paleo meal to your front door. Take Prescribed Vitamins “A majority of my advice is very specific to my patient,” Valenzuela said. “I highly recommend people check in with their primary care doctor to see what they personally need.” Taking vitamins isn’t as easy as it may appear. Some vitamins will interfere with the purpose of other vitamins; make sure to ask your primary physician how to combine vitamins. Get Six to Eight Hours of REM Sleep “It’s important to get to that deep REM sleep. Just being in bed isn’t going to do you much good,” Valenzuela said. Sleep
alancing one’s health and nutrition is about more than wanting to look better; it’s about feeling better too. Clinical Nutritionist and San Clemente local, Emily Valenzuela, is a specialist in fundamental medicine, in addition to being a California licensed acupuncturist. A scholar in both Eastern and Western medicines, Valenzuela has compiled four easy tips to help balance your nutrition.
Four Tips for Balanc
nist , E mil y Valen
actually has a lot to do with balancing your diet and nutrition. For example, sleep deprivations plays a huge role in weight gain. When your body doesn’t receive the proper amount of sleep, it releases a stress hormone called cortisol that increases your cravings and appetite. So getting a good night’s rest will help you fight off those midday cravings. For more tips on balancing your nutrition and diet, visit Valenzuela’s website at www.apointofhealth.com.
of Old-School Health Remedies o To clear the sinuses, try adding fresh garlic cloves to chicken soup, or eating hot and spicy foods like chili. o To help prevent or relieve sinus infections, try flushing with a saline solution. A bottle can be purchased at most grocery stores, or you can make your own. Be sure to boil tap water first and then let it cool in order to sterilize it.
BY ALLISON JARRELL
rug stores and pharmacies are full of quick and easy fixes for what ails you, but sometimes remedies that utilize the healing benefits of nature can be just as effective. Whether they’re from The Old Farmer’s Almanac or wisdom passed down from a parent, natural remedies can save you time and money; don’t be afraid to give them a try before heading to the nearest pharmacy. Below are a few old-school remedies:
SORE THROATS, COLD OR COUGH o Various mixtures for relieving a cough, include lemon juice sweetened with some sugar, catnip tea, or horehound drops combined with honey or lemon.
o If it’s your stomach that’s bothering you, try drinking chamomile, ginger or peppermint tea.
HOUSEHOLD FIRST AID o A mixture of salt and water can be used in a multitude of situations. Apply salt water to an insect sting in order to relieve the pain. If you’ve had a brush with poison ivy, you can also soak the affected areas in hot salt water. o A bee or wasp sting can also be treated by applying ice or a cold pack, followed by a hydrocortisone cream or a mixture of baking soda and water.
o A sore throat can be eased by mixing salt into some warm water and gargling. Boil tap water for a few minutes and let it cool.
o For itchy mosquito bites, try applying a cold compact followed by one of the following: lemon juice, mashed garlic, oatmeal or baking soda paste and water. If the area around the bite isn’t raw, you can also try using white vinegar.
o Natural remedies for a cold include lemons, oranges, apple cider and rose hip tea. Ginger root is also good if you have the chills.
o For a sunburn, natural remedies include: aloe vera leaf, coconut oil or apple cider vinegar. You can also try adding any of the following to a bath to treat a sunburn: lavender
oil, bergamot oil, black or green tea, or peppermint or spearmint tea. o Witch hazel is one of the most popular natural remedies; it can be used to soothe itchy or painful bug bites,stings, sunburns or abrasions.
ANXIETY AND STRESS o Chamomile, basil, marjoram, sage or mint teas can help ease stress. It’s best to use about an ounce of fresh herbs for every two to three cups of water. Rosemary tea can also help alleviate depression or melancholy. o Lavender can be used in a multitude of ways. Lay it in your linen closet to add the scent to your bed sheets, or put a few drops of lavender essential oil under your nose. Natural anxiety relief can also be achieved by massaging your temples with lavender oil. o A warm bath with a couple drops of chamomile oil can also promote sleep and ease anxiety and stress.
striking a work-life balance in the
BY ALLISON JARRELL
dds are, you’ve been there before—a friend or a relative breaks the flow of conversation to look down at their phone after hearing a ping. Perhaps they apologize as they swipe their finger across the screen, but more often than not, you’re simply left staring at them as they begin typing out a text or an email. “I’m sorry, it was a work thing,” they say, finally breaking the silence after two minutes of rapid-fire texting. Two minutes later, another ping, and another break in the conversation. The hard truth to swallow is that many of us are the friend or family member in that scenario. When you have a smartphone on you at all times—and you feel the need to attend to its every ping and jingle—any intimate gathering can swiftly becoming a working dinner.
messages or emails from work-related people—such as a boss, co-worker, clients, customers or contractors—you may be more likely to ruminate about work-related issues or worries... When people are really under stress their psychological and physical resources are drained, so they are less likely to selfregulate hostile behaviors and provide sufficient support for their spouse,” Park told Walton. So what’s the solution? A good step in the right direction may be downloading a phone app (ironic, right?) The app, called Moment, is currently only available for iPhone, but an Android application is on its way. Moment tracks how much you use your iPhone or iPad every day, and even lets you create daily limits and notifications when you exceed those limits.
the average person checks their phone 150 times during a 16-hour day— Roughly every six minutes. Of the 95 percent of Americans who own a cellphone, 77 percent own smartphones, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center study. That’s up from just 35 percent in 2011. And according to a 2013 study commissioned by Nokia, the average person checks their phone 150 times during a 16-hour day—so roughly every six minutes or so. Studies have shown that people need time to mentally recharge after work to prepare for the next day. A 2013 Forbes article by Alice Walton quotes Kansas State University researcher YoungAh Park on that very subject. Park’s study found that communicating with colleagues after work creates stress and prevents the brain from being able to rest. “If there are any unpleasant text
But if that’s not your style, try starting even smaller. In a recent New York Times article by Jane Brody titled, “Hooked on Our Smartphones,” author Nancy Colier, who recently wrote the book, The Power of Off, was quoted on the subject of reliance on smartphones. Her tips for cutting back on phone use included making small changes like not using your phone while eating or when you’re out with friends. Colier also suggested making an effort to recognize when your phone use is necessary, versus when it’s merely a habit. “Become very conscious of what is important to you, what really nourishes you, and devote more time and attention to it,” Colier told Brody.
finding balance Z BY ALLISON JARRELL
hether or not you get enough sleep can impact many facets of your health, from your mood to your weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least seven hours of sleep at night, while teens need eight to 10 hours, and school-age children need nine to 12 hours of slumber. Studies show a link between a lack of adequate sleep and the development of serious health issues, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity. Getting enough sleep can also reduce chronic pain, lower your risk of injury, improve your mood, help with weight control and boost your immune system. Brain feeling fuzzy? Sufficient sleep can boost mental clarity while also improving memory. And while the amount of sleep a person gets is important, the quality of one’s sleep is also crucial to achieving balance. If you find yourself repeatedly waking up throughout the night or experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders such as snoring or gasping for air, you may want to consult with your physician, or try implementing some of the following sleep habits.
Tips for Achieving Sound Sleep:
1 Avoiding caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soft drinks may be obvious, but it’s worth noting that chocolate also contains caffeine. One bar of dark chocolate can have about 70 milligrams of caffeine, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s about as much as a cup of green tea. So skip the chocolate snack before bed, or eat a piece of caffeinefree white chocolate instead. Better yet, try fruits like pineapples, oranges and bananas that are good sources of melatonin, a hormone found naturally in the body that promotes sleep.
2 Aromatherapy and other herbal remedies can also prove to be helpful when trying to relax into slumber. Studies show that inhaling lavender oil can relax the body and improve the quality of sleep. Chamomile tea has historically been used as a sleep aid, so enjoy a warm cup before bed.
3 Try “unplugging” an hour before bed. That’s right—no phones, computers or other electronics for a full 60 minutes. It may be a challenge, but studies have shown that the blue light from device screens can interrupt your body’s rhythms and suppress melatonin.
4 And speaking of melatonin—you may want to try a supplement as a short-term solution. According to the CDC, Americans’
use of melatonin more than doubled from 0.6 percent in 2007 to 1.3 percent in 2012, which makes sense when you look at the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll. Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 95 percent said they used an electronic device within an hour before bed a few nights a week. Melatonin pills are available at most pharmacies and grocery stores, but the ideal long-term scenario is to boost your own natural melatonin production. The Institute for Natural Healing recommends adding foods with magnesium to your diet, like almonds, avocados, shrimp tart cherries and spinach.
donating benefits all BY KRISTINA PRITCHETT
iving blood may be a terrifying thing for some people, but not only does it help save lives, it has added benefits. The American Red Cross states approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed daily in the U.S., and 13.6 million whole blood and red blood cell units are collected in the U.S. in one year. That equals a lot of donations. Whether you’re donating blood because you want to, or because you know it will go to someone who may need it, giving blood is a benefit to all. “You will help ensure blood is on the shelf when needed. Most people don’t think they’ll ever need blood but many do,” according to the American Red Cross’ website.
According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. You will receive a mini physical before each donation that checks pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and hemoglobin, and you’re able to track your risk for heart disease. As a result, this awareness might lower your risk for heart disease. According to the Alliance for Natural Health, by giving blood regularly, individuals are able to reduce the risk of a heart attack because the blood viscosity decreases. The process may take an hour, but what’s 60 minutes when you can help save someone’s life? To find out more information, or to host a blood drive, visit www.redcross.org or call (800)RED-CROSS.
UPCOMING BLOOD DRIVES: DANA POINT, SAN CLEMENTE AND SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Friday, May 26
Monday, June 19
San Clemente Community Center 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente. 1-7 p.m. Volunteers can donate blood and power red.*
Capo Beach Church 25975 Domingo Avenue Capistrano Beach. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers can give blood and power red.*
Tuesday, May 30 Monarch Coast Apartment Homes 32400 Crown Valley Parkway, Dana Point. 1-7 p.m. Volunteers can donate blood and power red.*
Friday, June 9 San Clemente Community Center 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente. 1-7 p.m. Volunteers can donate blood.
Sunday, June 11 St. Edwards Catholic Church 33926 Calle La Primavera, Dana Point. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Volunteers can give blood and power red.*
Thursday, June 22 Pacific Medical 33081 Calle Perfecto, San Juan Capistrano. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Volunteers can donate blood.
Friday, June 23 San Clemente Community Center 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente. 2-7 p.m. Volunteers can give blood and power red.* *Power Red donations collect the red cells but most of the plasma and platelets will be returned to the donor. The donor must meet specifically eligible requirements and have type A Negative, B Negative or O Blood.
Are you interested in volunteering, but aren’t sure where to begin? Some ways to learn about opportunities include:
More than Just Helping Others
• Call local organizations or nonprofits and ask what help they may need. • Attend city meetings, or events. Often announcements are made of upcoming fundraisers or events that need volunteers.
BY KRISTINA PRITCHETT
hether you’re picking up trash along Southern Orange County’s beaches, helping out at church or lending a hand at a nonprofit, service work helps both the organization, as well as the individual volunteering his or her time. You may say with your busy schedule it’s not possible, but that’s one of the beauties of volunteering. It’s not meant to be a stressful thing; it’s meant to be an avenue to serve the community in any way that fits into your schedule. The benefits from volunteering are endless. Not only does it help others in your community, but it can lead to making new friends, getting exercise, learning new skills and can give you a sense of purpose. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), research indicates that volunteering provides individual health benefits. “Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer,” the CNCS wrote. Think about it, if you’re outside helping clean up the beach, you’re getting exercise which is a health benefit. According to a United Health Group survey “Doing Good is Good for You,” 76 percent of the people who volunteered said they felt healthier.
• Call your local church . At the end of the day, spending an hour with your favorite organization can go a very long way. Zoe Oliver volunteers by picking up trash at Doheny State Beach. Photo: Kristina Pritchett
The survey also showed volunteering reduces stress and those surveyed said they felt more relaxed and had more energy. Not only can you feel healthier, but volunteering may allow you to expand your social network by meeting other like-minded individuals. Volunteering may also lead to a job. According to a CNCS 2013 report, volunteers had an increased likelihood of finding employment for all volunteers regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area or the job market conditions. Throughout the three communities of Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano there are a variety of ways to get involved. Volunteering can include tutoring, being a coach for a little league team, collecting and donating items or food, engaging in labor and more. The options are endless.
At Your Ko r y
Tuom i n e n, M. D
BY ERIC HEINZ
oncierge medicine and home doctors are not necessarily a new service, but as health care evolves and technology provides easier access to people, new variations of health services are emerging. Kory Tuominen, M.D., a staff physician for PersonalCare in Aliso Viejo, said his practice’s version of concierge medicine approaches health somewhat differently. The practice is based on a monthly or annual fee for membership, which includes amenities such as executive physicals, and fitness analysis and nutritional advice. “That gives them 24/7 access or sameor next-day appointment times. We focus more on prevention of illness rather than
treatment,” Tuominen said. “It’s like you’re the CEO of your own health. We are on that board of directors, and we’re here to help advise, counsel and devise plans.” The concierge doctors also offer annual physicals equivalent to executive examinations that take two to three hours. They look at different cardiac risks and other possible ailments someone may experience. “All of my patients have my cell number and email. They can contact me outside of the usual office hours,” Tuominen said. “Traditional care is system-based, and you have to fit that into a 9-5 day; this is patient-focused. If they have a question or concern, they call me.” Tuominen said traditional family practices, or internal practices, can have 2,000 to 3,000 patients on their client lists. He said he and his staff cap their lists at 350 patients.
Balance via exercise
Concierge doctors look to help patients find balance by providing convenience
The monthly costs for the services cost about $300 month, which can be reimbursed through health insurance or cash. State law requires at least some kind of in-office visit charge, Tuominen said, which is usually a $45 copay for in-office visits. More information can be found at www. personalcarephysicians.com. Michael Haga, M.D., of Doctor in My House, and his partner focus on homebound seniors. Haga said the business helps people who cannot easily get to their doctors. They go to them instead. Doctor in My House also provides 24/7 connectivity with physicians. “Working children are often the ones who are responsible for taking their parents to medical appointments,” Haga said. “So it provides balance to the kids’ lives by us taking care of them at their parents’
150 MINUTES of moderate intensity workouts each week
PICKET FENCE MEDIA
e all know the feeling of satisfaction as we leave the gym after a solid workout session. Our legs are tired and our muscles ache; it all hurts. But the temporary pain is worth the eventual payoff. Exercising several times a week has proven to be vital to our physical and emotional health. A structured workout regimen that incorporates a variety of exercises, from weight training to cardio to yoga, can keep you feeling fresh and keep your body in tip-top shape. While 150 minutes of exercise per week is a nice target to hit, many fitness experts would recommend even more. Chelsea Cruz, fitness manager at Crunch Fitness San Clemente, said you should carve out time for a workout six times a week. Individuals with a structured workout regimen will immediately begin to reap the physical and mental benefits. “Working out that often has multiple physical benefits. You’ll boost your metabolism, add lean body tissue and improve your cardiovascular health,” Cruz said. “It also is a great confidence booster and a great stress reliever.” We spoke with several fitness experts in the area to help you create an exercise game plan to become the best “you”
ael Haga, M.D
home. It provides a huge peace of mind for the patients as well.” The practice is also introducing holistic medicine. Just like PersonalCare, the services are paid with an annual or monthly fee. Patients are not locked into a contract for a certain amount of time, Haga said. Home visits are scheduled for Monday through Friday. Haga said the company can also provide blood testing, electrocardiograms, ultrasounds and x-rays at clients’ homes. “There’s just a need for it, and to do house calls without a concierge fee is not feasible on a Medicare reimbursement,” Haga said. “This allows us to provide the things that Medicare couldn’t cover.” For more information, visit www.doctorinmyhouse.com.
cross-training exercises like boxing or swimming. “I encourage resistance training four times per week. Go outside on the other days, whether that’s hiking, surfing or joining a dance class. It’s important to mix it up and have fun,” Cruz said. 2. EMBRACE THE FITNESS COMMUNITY
Fitness experts recommend several days of moderate exercise a week to round out a healthy lifestyle. Photo: Courtesy
possible. Here are two major guidelines to follow: 1. MIX THINGS UP Routine can be the enemy! Sure, you put in a few hours at the gym, but if you do the same workout over and over again
with limited variation, your body will make slow progress. What you want to do is shock your system every now and then. Rattling off the same old routine, like pumping bicep curl after bicep curl, can be a bore. Research and try new exercises. Mix up your tempo or weight loads when lifting, and remember to throw in some
The thought of joining any type of structured gym or fitness program can be daunting. Novices can feel overwhelmed by the massive machines and odd-looking exercises at any gym across the country. But fear not. After overcoming the initial anxiety, joining group fitness classes can be a blast. At Training Camp Fitness in San Juan Capistrano, manager Max Trette witnesses first-hand the power of teamwork on a daily basis. The local business specializes in popular exercises such as hot yoga, heated barre and outdoor boot camps. The boot camp is a fun, high-intensity group workout that features box jumps, battle ropes and tire flips. “We really are a community of people working together,” Trette said. “When they’re doing the boot camp exercises, you can see people coming together and cheering and encouraging one another.” Another added benefit of working out with others every week is the accountability factor. You and your new workout buddies will push each other to show up and put in the work.
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (NPR)
for Your Heart Five podcasts that help people achieve balance in their lives BY ERIC HEINZ
MEDITATION OASIS This guided meditation podcast talks people into a trance and allows the mind to drift. Soft music accompanied with directions from a soft-spoken instructor provide an opportunity to slink into a private world of relaxation. Such episodes of the podcast include titles such as “Emotional Ease” and “Going Deep Within.” The collection is narrated by Richard and Mary Maddux. Visit www.meditationoasis.com/podcast/ for more information.
The leader in American radio for decades, NPR gives people a plethora of topics to help you with your life. From direct categories about nutrition and sleep to witty banter in such podcasts like “A Conversation with the Reluctant Therapist,” there is something for everyone looking to improve themselves and find balance. For example, Public Health Minute with Bill Latimer, Ph.D., is a one-minute segment as he interviews professionals in the field of health and medicine. www.npr.org/podcasts/2031/health.
JUDGE JOHN HODGEMAN A funnyman and consummate analyst of human nature, John Hodgman provides conflict resolutions with gusto and levity in a mediated courtroom setting. By doing so, he leaves both parties with a better sense of understanding of one another and brings balance to their lives in a calm and diplomatic way. In one podcast, two sisters argue over sharing clothes, but Hodgman’s responses evoke laughter from both as they come to
a mutual solution. His judgment is fair, and people may be able to apply the “cases” in the podcasts to their own lives. Hodgman has been a contributor to National Public Radio, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, various acting roles and more. Visit the podcast at www.maximumfun. org/shows/judge-john-hodgman.
BRIGHT HORIZONS FAMILY RESOURCES Parents know better than anyone that balance is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Running around and trying to drop the kids off at their different activities, maintaining communication with your spouse, being able to let frustrations at work go—all these topics and more are covered in the Bright Horizon’s Family Resources podcasts. Bright Horizons is a “provider of early education and preschools, employersponsored child care, back-up care, educational advisory services and other work/life solutions,” according to the organization’s website. Episodes include titles such as “Strike a Balance with Good Enough Parenting.” Visit www.brighthorizons.com/ family-resources/podcasts/ for more information.
BALANCE BOLDLY WITH NAKETA THIGPEN Upbeat and positive, Naketa Thigpen gives people the tools they need to recharge their lives. Thigpen tackles topics like getting back into a routine, loving yourself and understanding where emotions build up. Her confidence vicariously transfers to listeners’ emotions with uplifting messages about balance and how to achieve it. Thigpen starts out each of her episodes by saying her podcast is a time for people to “Get bold about our balance and campaign to shake the shame that stunts our growth.” The podcast is intended for women and “a few brave men,” Thigpen says in her opening address. It’s also geared toward business professionals and team settings. Listen to the podcast at www.thigpro. com/podcasts/.
What is Balance
Why do we need it?
BY ERIC HEINZ
etween constant and instantaneous racket from beckoning phone calls, tweets, texts and all other hellacious noises from the work day, finding and maintaining balance is critical to ensuring a healthy lifestyle. “I think we have a world that is very integrated, and there is not a boundary between work and home,” said Kim Lee-Thorp, a health coach, massage therapist and doula with San Clemente Wellness. “I’m not even sure if ‘balance’ is a good word anymore; we’re juggling. It’s not about weighing one over the other; it’s how we keep the balls in the air and find a healthy way to keep them going without dropping. We used to look for balance.” With all the chaos in everyday life, Lee-Thorp said being able to plan well, maintain consistent and adequate hours of sleep, is important. “We’ve given up a lot of our traditional routine, and we are simply responding to things,” Lee-Thorp said. “There are so many things we commit to during the week.” Taking a break from electronics, even for just a couple hours a day or a cumulative rest period, is important to ensuring your mind is clear and can refocus on tasks at hand. Lee-Thorp also said balance is being able to enhance positive emotional attractors in order to combat negative attractors in our lives. “If we don’t spend that time in those positive emotional places and remember our dreams and our purpose, it makes it difficult to figure out how to return to balance,” she said. “If you remember why you shouldn’t be (living in
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a negative space), then take the time to do so.” Sahel Anvarinejad, owner of Care4Yoga in San Clemente, works alongside her son, Tabay Atkins, the 12-yearold yogi prodigy who already has certifications across multiple disciplines of yoga mastery. Anvarinejad said many of her clients come for yoga just to find balance. She said it’s a mental therapy as much as a physical workout during the 90-minute sessions. “The clients say they feel like they just went on a mental retreat after a session,” Anvarinejad said. “They just become so calm and relaxed, and they get sort of a refreshment. When you’re going at such a fast pace, you kind of get away from that when doing yoga. When you get on the mat you leave everything behind.” But even master yogis like Anvarinejad and Atkins need a retreat. Atkins has become so popular with the TV circuit and has been offered numerous acting opportunities in the last year he sometimes feels overwhelmed. Anvarinejad said he is booked until at least October. The two made an impromptu weekend trip to get away from their busy schedules on a recent weekend. Their day-to-day routines start with breathing exercises as well as talking about their emotions and dealing with them in a positive way. They also advocate journaling for reflection and getting massages occasionally. “It sometimes takes people time a long time just to surrender (to relaxation), and it’s not even that they’re being stubborn; it’s that we’re so used to the fast pace,” Anvarinejad said. “People sometimes feel guilty. This is just an hour to surrendering to your time and become so much more balanced and efficient.”
A New You