Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spreading Wellness: Is social wellness part of your health plan?

Soon after I had graduated with my Associate's of Applied Science/Physical Therapy Assistant degree, my Granny (Great-Grandma) had a stroke. She needed some assistance so that she could move back to her farm. She had been at my Grandma's (her daughter's) house, but she was antsy to get back to her own home. This led to an amazing opportunity for me...I went to live with her until she could function on her own. My stay lasted about 9 months. In the mornings, she would send me off with her signature smile and wave from her front porch. and by the end of my stay, I was coming home to a snack on the table, and 3 course dinners.

In the evenings we shared stories, many times over a game of scrabble. My claim to fame is that I beat her one time! Something that didn't happen for most people. In her 90's, she was one smart woman! I enjoyed listening to her stories and experiences that she had growing up, and it was amazing to hear first hand about the historical changes that had happened in her lifetime. From foot travel and trains, to automobiles. But the one day that sticks out is the day that I asked if I could record her stories, and she said "no, I won't talk if you have a pen and paper." I asked why, saying that she has so much to teach all of us, and I would love to be able to look back upon her stories so that I could remember the history that she shared, and the lessons that she taught. She became very quiet, and her tone changed to one that was full of deep reflection...she said, life just isn't the same anymore...sharing my stories now is not the same as it used to be. I begged to differ, saying they were wonderful to hear. But, she nodded and said something like, "No, they aren't the same for me. I'm ready to go anytime...my last friend just passed away...reminiscing about my life was more fun with people that shared my experiences." I wanted to tell her that we were all her friends, but realized she was talking about the friends of her generation, so I stayed quiet, and never asked to record her stories again. I have them in my heart, and can reflect upon them...remembering some of the lessons that she taught me, and grateful for the time that I had with her.

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Now, as a health and wellness researcher, I've read many studies about the importance of social connection and health. Jane McGonigal and Dan Buettner are two scientists that have compiled applicable research on healthy aging. (Click on their names to listen to their Ted Talks.) Both share about the importance of social connection. One thing seems sure, humans are meant to connect, and fostering healthy connections is vital to our health. I learned this from my Granny, and when I read research on social connection, I remember that moment when Granny was sitting in her rocking chair and I on her couch, when she shared with me her feelings of loneliness.

During every one of our programs at E3, we share research about holistic health and wellness, and how to age youthfully. We at E3 combine Outdoor Education with Exercise Science, and every adventure with us includes a mini group wellness coaching session. We also create fantastic group experiences, with opportunities to socially connect with others in a natural way. This is one of the reasons behind our 6 week series programming. This past week, 2 participants had met at a community event the weekend before, realizing that they have many of the same friends! Super exciting! We recently read an article that stated it takes 7 meetings with someone to consider them your friend. We didn't dig to see if this was scientifically researched or not, but it did seem to make sense. So after 6 weeks of our programs, you just might walk away with many new friends! But for sure, you should feel a welcoming sense of belonging.


Registration ends on April 7th. 
Registration ends soon, on April 2nd.
Our "Introductory Rates" continue for 2 more series - Women's Outdoor Adventure Group and our New to the Twin Ports group. Then in June, we will have 8 programs running! Registration is now open, and we encourage you to sign up soon. Space is limited in all programs, and a minimum number of participants are required for them to run. So gather your friends today, and register together! For more registration information, check out our newly updated website www.e3twinports.com, follow us on Pinterest for all of our latest programming and educational information, and like us on Facebook for daily updates and inspiration.

Has anyone in your life shared stories about social connection or loneliness? Are you taking care of your own social wellness? Maybe this is one of your strengths, or maybe you want to make it part of your health and wellness plan. We would love to hear your stories about connection! Feel free to comment on our blog, or send us an email. We enjoy hearing from our readers. It helps us to feel connected to those that are following us! :)

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise
Combining Outdoor Education Programming with Exercise Science and Health and Wellness Research.
You don't need a gym to be healthy and live a long, active, and meaningful life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spreading Wellness: Who has helped encourage an eruption of ideas within you?

At 6:30 on a Saturday morning, the little one came downstairs with random curiosity. "What do you know about volcanoes?" So I explained that I had watched 2 very different kinds of volcano eruptions, one in Hawaii and one in the state of Washington...took out the picture book to share photos and stories, and then since her curiosity continued, I asked if she would like to make a volcano. It was welcomed with excitement, so by 7:00 we had the playdough out, along with construction paper, baking soda, vinegar, and art supplies to make the best volcano ever! And, shortly afterwards, our kitchen was filled with pungent odors, squeals of excitement, and "can-I-do-it-agains?!" And so our day began.

As a scientist, I love experiments and experiential learning. I am passionate about fostering an exciting learning environment filled with the use of as many sensory experiences as possible, talking, touching, doing, tasting, smelling, moving...I know those aren't very scientific names of learning, but kids don't want to hear "let's use our olfactory nerve now by mixing vinegar and baking soda." No, they want to hear an excited voice saying, "want to make a volcano?!" And then work in fun educational opportunities to deepen that experience.

Still in my pajama's, working on volcano creations, I realized my little ones curiosity had sparked an eruption of ideas in my head for expanding E3! :) An outdoor science and movement program for kids would make a fun summer learning series! And so, I have spent the past couple of months creating a science based program for this summer. Our registration and official launch is being prepared, and we will share our launch, or in volcano terms, our "eruption of ideas" at the Northland Wellness Community Day, this Saturday, March 28th, 2015.

Join us there, meet us in person, and register for any and all of our fun programs! This will be our big release, and we are so excited! :) We are also guiding a family hike in the Bagley Nature Area at 10:30 a.m., so you can come and experience E3 for yourself. If you cannot make it to the Community Day, you can simply check out our website and Pinterest for our offerings, and email us to register...but registration won't open until Saturday, and that is when we will launch all of our web information as well. All programs have limited space, so be sure to stay tuned! :)

Fostering the learning curiosity of children (of all ages) is something that comes naturally to our owner here at E3 Twin Ports, LLC. She enjoys helping everyone, young and young alike (yes, that is intentional), to lead healthy, happy, and meaningful lives - using the outdoors as her classroom.

Have you ever made a volcano in your kitchen? Has anyone helped encourage an eruption of ideas within you? If so, what are they? We would love to hear! For us, it is often the children in our lives that help encourage us to think in unique ways...to spark eruptions of thoughts, ideas, questions, & dreams within us...to look at life from a very different and refreshing angle...to stop and ponder their curiosities...which helps us all to grow.

For more information about E3 Twin Ports, LLC, check out our website, follow us on Pinterest, like us on Facebook, and email us with any questions info@e3twinports.com.

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
E3 = Energy and Empowerment through Exercise

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spreading Wellness: How will you encourage the bees this year?



"Oh the buzzin' of the the bees and the peppermint trees.
Round the soda water fountains,
Like the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain."
~Traditional Song~

This traditional song from our youth was so fun-loving and magical. To the dismay of my older brother, I would belt out this song as a child, reciting my "Wee Sing" tapes over and over again...

Now as an adult, this magical song has a new meaning.  As a child, I never thought about the buzzin' of the bees going away...I just sang about them, and remembered them when they stung my toes, because I ran around barefoot and I'd step on them as they frolicked in the clover.  Now, as an adult and an urban farmer, I think about them much more.  This past year we were hoping for some yummy pumpkins and squash.  We planted a number of starts, and as the season went on I kept finding beautiful male and female flowers, but no pollination.  So I started to pollinate manually...something I've never had to do before. My manual pollination worked, but it was late, and as you can see, our squash were tiny. We did eat them, but hope for a better crop this year. My neighbor told me that we should consider bee-keeping so that our crops can flourish....and we have started wondering if we should jump on the bandwagon of bee-keeping. Did you know that one in 3 bites of food depends upon pollinators? Along with the obvious fruits and vegetables, this also includes two of my favorite food groups - coffee and chocolate. :) YUMMY! I had known about the Bee decline prior to last years growing season, but this heightened my awareness about the problem that we face. I started researching what we can do, and befriended a member of the Lake Superior Bee Club. They have great resources to help educate the world on this issue. Did you know that some greenhouses still treat their flowers with neonicotinoids that harm the bees? Another big challenge is the "treatment" of lawns. Bee friendly lawns have not been treated with harmful chemicals. For more information, check out the The Lake Superior Bee Keepers website, to see how you can help these amazing creatures...which ultimately will help us to continue to eat delicious food, and drink our morning cups of coffee. :)

Here at E3 Twin Ports, LLC, we truly do our best to live and practice what we teach. Our holistic wellness flower (seen below in our trifold) describes our philosophy. It was created after the beauty of the sunflower (a bee friendly flower), which our owner loves so much! We enjoy Wellness Coaching (see attached poster), helping people learn how to create healthy lifestyle habits, and maybe take little steps toward growing their own food. We love teaching parents how to help their children learn to eat fruits and vegetables. The research shows that kids who are involved in growing their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat themBut, in order for any of this food to grow, we need healthy bees to pollinate our crops. 

Have you thought about these wonderful little animals as your friends before?  Have you ever pondered what really creates the food that we eat?  Have you thought about bees and their struggles? How will you help our bees flourish this year? If everyone takes just a small step to improve their "bee friendliness" each year, we can make a great impact as a community.

For more information about us at E3 Twin Ports, LLC, visit our website www.e3twinports.com. Send us an email at info@e3twinports.com. Follow us on Pinterest. Like us on Facebook.
E3 = Energy and Empowerment through Exercise.
We do many things...but lately we've been spreading wellness by sending this message...
"Live Happy, Dream Big, Smile, and Play Outside!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spreading Wellness: What has travel taught you?

Travel was part of my childhood, one of many things that I am forever grateful. One incredible bundle of memories that taught me how to read maps, budget, travel inexpensively, the meaning and power of anticipation, history, the reason to embrace geography and our vast wilderness...explore, adventure, have fun, and learn!

As I grew into adulthood, this love of travel stuck with me, and I sought it out. It truly invigorated me. I took a number of road trips and oversea adventures with friends and family. And, I also chose to embrace the life of a traveling therapist for 3 years. With each new assignment, whether it was 2 months or 9 months, I needed to relocate to a new town or city...usually far across the country. With each new relocation, I needed to reacquaint myself with trails, libraries, outdoor adventure, and people. As a young professional I sought sports and recreation as a way to meet like-minded and fun folk in the new towns that I lived. I found pick-up hockey leagues, or other travelers (traveling therapists) who wanted to explore the wilderness. One time a landlord introduced me to his mountain biking buddy, and yet there were times when I explored solo for the entire duration of the assignment. Always, I had amazing experiences, and the memories will last forever...helping shape me into who I have become. Some towns were friendly and welcoming, others were cold. When I was in a place that was less than welcoming, I took that time for peaceful solo exploration and reflection on life's journey. I knew though, that I couldn't live a life in solitude, and I wanted to find a "home" that was not only full of adventurous opportunities, but also welcoming, with happy people. I learned about the significant differences in cultures across our beautiful USA, and I decided when I found a place to call "home" I wanted to become part of the community that made newcomers feel welcomed. It made such a difference for me as I was traveling around the USA to live in towns/cities that had welcoming people and opportunities, and challenging to live in areas that made me feel like an outsider. It is not easy to relocate as a professional adult, because there aren't the natural meeting locations like college, where there are others excited to make new friends. Many adults have their circle of friends, and are okay not adding to their circle. I found that social well-being is much more difficult to master as a professional adult than I anticipated, especially when relocating. I moved to the Twin Ports just 3 short years ago, and I am creating my "home" here. I have met some fantastic people, and found some gorgeous areas to explore!

With this past experience in mind, I have teamed up with E3 Twin Ports, LLC, and we are launching a new program, with introductory rates! "Explore Outdoors, New to the Twin Ports!" This 6 week outdoor adventure series is meant to give newcomers a taste of the amazing outdoor opportunities that the Twin Ports has to offer. And, we welcome them with open arms! Long-time Twin Ports residents are absolutely welcome, and we hope that this mix of newcomers with "long-timers" will help to spread a little bit of cheer to those new to our area. We will show you some highlights including a disc golf course, hiking trails, biking trails, and one of our favorite destinations, Ely's Peak. Research shows that social well-being plays a major role in our overall health and wellness, so we are excited to launch this new program. Sign up today! Pre-registration is required, and ends April 9th, or when the class fills. Space is limited.

And, if you have a family, our next guided group family hike is going to include a Scavenger Hunt! We will be meeting in the Superior Hiking Trail parking lot on the corner of Highland and Skyline in West Duluth. Pre-registration is required by mid-night on March 11th (that's tomorrow!), so don't delay! :) We look forward to sharing this gorgeous section of the SHT with you and your family, all while engaged in a Scavenger Hunt! :)

Travel has taught me many things, including the importance of social well-being, the importance of welcoming newcomers, and so much more! What has travel taught you? Will you join us in welcoming the newcomers to the Twin Ports? We welcome you.

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise
www.e3twinports.com
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spreading Wellness: How comfortable are you with eliminating in the woods?

Birthday Adventures in the Upper Peninsula
of Michigan! Fantastic memories! :)
Monkey bars, building forts in the woods, playing in the creek, and exploring were a large part of my childhood. This is still true, and quality time (doing fun things) with family and friends means more to me than anything else. When my oldest nephew was born he was the oldest on all sides of the family, and had so many toys that I decided I wanted to create memories with him instead of getting him a toy that he would forget. So when he turned 7 years old, I took him on his first birthday adventure. He was bubbly, so excited to be going with his auntie for a weekend, and such a fun kid! Looking back, that was my first real guiding experience, and what a great kid to help teach me what to expect! :) We went mountain biking on Grand Island in Michigan, and camped at a state forest campground. We had a great day, took a ferry to the island, swam in Lake Superior, had our picnic lunch, cooked on our little backpacking stove, and were supposed to be eating our supper when he clammed up. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what could be wrong, when I realized he hadn't gone to the bathroom. Sure enough, he was afraid to go in the woods...but now we were back at the campground and there was a pit toilet, so after some gentle questioning, and encouragement, all things went well. He was able to eat his supper. The rest of the evening we spent relaxing, skipping rocks, learning about the cargo ships that passed by, and chatting around the campfire. He learned the importance of our human needs. And, for all birthday adventures that followed, no encouraging was needed...but it was always in the back of my mind to remember to ask if needed.

When I took my first Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, there was a large section on leading children in the wilderness. The teacher brought up the importance of eliminating in the woods, and teaching kids how to do that early in their life so that it wasn't an issue later on. I had first hand experience with this, and what he said made sense. Being in a WFR class, we always had the most extreme issues on your mind, but sometimes we overlook the simple fix...one should note, it isn't always easy to encourage someone if they hadn't learned as a child.

Wilderness adventure is in our backyards here in Duluth and Superior, and we at E3 encourage you to take advantage of everything our area has to offer! We have access to over a million acres of playground within a 3 hour drive of the Twin Ports, including the Boundary Waters, the state forest lands in Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands, and so much more! If you aren't a natural explorer, join us for our adventures. E3 is leading a Women's Outdoor Adventure Group, starting with a Spring Hiking Series (registration ends tonight at midnight), and we are planning a "New to the Twin Ports" Outdoor Adventure group as well, so stay tuned! We are in the midst of planning spring/summer BWCAW trips, and still have 2 Guided Family Hikes coming up (March 14th and 28th). We are passionate about the outdoors, and want to share this passion with you...and we encourage you to do your part in preparing for our wilderness trips. Ask yourself, how comfortable are you with eliminating in the woods? :)

If you have funny stories to share about your wilderness adventure, we would love to hear them. :) You can feel free to comment on our blog below, or send them to us in an email (info@e3twinports.com). Let our laughter continue, and all in good fun! :)

For more information about E3 Twin Ports, LLC, visit our website at www.e3twinports.com, follow us on Pinterest, and for daily updates "Like" us on Facebook! :) We love sharing our passions with everyone, and helping to Spread Wellness. To sign up for our weekly blog, simply send an email to info@e3twinports.com, and write "Blog Sign-Up" in the subject line.