Tag Archives: health

Getting in the zone of Flow – A guest post by Daniela Martinez

Hello friends! Most of you may not be knowing this but I had started my blog with the idea of a fitness blog(you can read some initial posts related to fitness by selecting ‘Gym and workouts’ in the category section). Later on it became a home for my thoughts and feelings. I have not posted anything related to fitness for a long time.
My friend Daniela who blogs at http://theillegalgal.wordpress.com/ shares a passion for running just like me and we both have experienced something called as ‘flow’ several times. I thought it would be a good idea to ask her for a guest post and allow my readers to understand about the flow associated with running.


This concept is quite complex to understand for those who have never experienced it. It is a feeling. You may explain a thought, but feelings are to be felt and expressed, they can’t be explained. So it becomes very necessary for you to watch the videos linked to the article. This post is just an expression of feeling and also attempts to make people aware of this interesting phenomena. I hope it encourages you to start running and make a commitment towards your fitness goals. Once exercising becomes an obsession, you are not just following a routine, you are revealing the strong side of your character by feeding that obsession! Happy reading!

Last year I started running at the beach next to my flat in Barcelona. What started as a way to stay fit, it became a passion. Each time I ran I could have a sense of inner peace and clarity, I could keep running without feeling my body nor hearing my thoughts, until my notion of time and space vanished just as the people around me. It was amazing!

Later I knew that what I felt had a definition, and I understood why Forrest Gump couldn’t stop running[1] or why Haruki Murakami wrote a book called What I talk about when I talk about running[2].

It was the flow[3].

According to the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi[4], to be in flow feels like:

  • Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
  • A sense of ecstasy-of being outside everyday reality.
  • Great inner clarity-knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
  • A sense of serenity-no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
  • Timelessness-thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
  • Intrinsic motivation-whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

I can tell you from my own experience that to be in flow is a wonderful sensation. I only get to feel it almost every time I run or write, but I’ve realized that it is possible to be in flow voluntarily. If you want to try it while running, these are my recommendations:

  1. Run without goals. Forget about the time or distance you think you need to run. Just run.
  2.  Get lost. If you run within the city, be an explorer. Don’t follow a path, make one. You’ll discover new places in your own city, even after living there for a decade.
  3. Don’t think, just breathe. I know this is hard, but if you start thinking on something, try thinking about your breath. Stop the mental chat and control your thoughts by telling yourself “inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale…” Focus your attention on your breath and in the words following it.
  4. Build your own playlist. The day I started to REALLY LISTEN to the music I heard was the day I discovered I could control my flow. As with following your breath, if you focus your attention on the sounds of the music that motivates you to keep running, you will have the sense of getting into the music, of knowing the notes as if you were the musician.

Until you have your own playlist, you can use mine either on spotify[5] or youtube[6].

Not everybody likes jogging. In fact, most of my friends, including the sporty ones, hate it. However, I highly recommend you to give it a try just for the possibility of having the experience of being in flow.

I could say that my life changed since I started running and discovered what meant to be in flow. I don’t exaggerate if I tell you that my perspective about life, people and things changed dramatically when I experienced what was like to let the ego fall away[7]. Not only my health or my body shape improved, but also my mood. I started to see life through a more positive glass, gaining control of my emotions, feeling powerful, and having a sense of knowing that I could lead my life in any direction I wanted.

For me, running has become an irreplaceable activity. I know that no matter what my circumstances are, I won’t stop running, because now I know that I will make it only if I run.[8]

Improving metabolism through lifestyle changes.

Hello guys!!!In my previous article I told u how we can improve our metabolism by proper exercises.In this one I’ll tell you about the small lifestyle changes that we can make to increase our metabolic rate.

Most of us lead busy lives and therefore it’s challenging to really keep an eye on all of our habits.We have limitations in our lifestyle choices;there are some small changes that can be made in our daily lifestyle and that can boost our metabolism.Men especially need to change these 2 habits:

1.Alcohol:People who consume alcohol in a wrong manner are seriously undermining their efforts to boost metabolism.Studies have shown that drinking alcohol with meals encourages over eating.Alcoholic drinks are laden with calories;almost as much as sugary-rich soft drinks.A bottle of beer can deliver a few hundred calories.Wine is generally considered to deliver the least amount of calories,but if you have 3 glasses of wine that means you have consumed 300 calories.

Am not asking you to stop drinking alcohol together.If you enjoy drinking with your friends ,then there’s no particular reason why you have to quit it.The tip here is to keep everything in limits.This is a big problem with many people,especially Indians.Instead of having 2 glasses of wine or a single bottle of beer daily,Indian men generally tend to stay away from alcohol for few days or a few weeks.So when they actually land at the bar,they have a tendency to gulp down everything-2 bottles of beer,4 shots of rum,3 shots of whiskey followed by another bottle of beer,for example.Such mindless drinking forces your system to deal with huge amount of calories.Anabolism will inevitably occur and is likely to create new fat cells.So,if you drink in limited amounts,then you prevent generation of new fat cells,you save your money and you are not likely to be involved in creating a ruckus at the drinking place.

2.Zzzzzzzz…..Zzzzzzz…. :Getting a sound sleep and in the right amount is the toughest thing to manage.Sleep deprivation affects your metabolism because it directly affects your digestion.In absence of proper rest,,your body lacks the strength to break down food efficiently.Also,if you exercise by stealing some time from your rest period and have a lesser amount of desired sleep,then you are actually doing more harm than good to your body.You should not oversleep,because you’ll feel lazy the next day.7-8 hours of sleep is said to be ideal.6 hours is a minimum unless you’re a workaholic and feel that your body and mind can give their optimal performance even at 5 hrs of sleep.

But there’s a problem.You might not feel asleep as soon as you go on bed.You go to bed at 11PM and intend to wake up by 6AM,but you fell asleep only by 12:30…so u actually get only 5.5 hours of sleep instead of 7 hours.U’ll find a variety of advices to deal with sleep -related disorders on internet.3 small changes can help you get a better sleep……First,don’t exercise close to bedtime.It may get you so energized that your body refuses to enter the sleep state.Second,try to keep a gap of atleast 2.5 hours between your dinner time and the time when u go for sleep.Third,avoid using earphones/headphones just before sleeping.Listening to a soothing song may calm your mind,but it may delay your sleep as well.

And if you can’t follow these.then there’s yoga for you.You can do ‘shavasana’ to get a good sound sleep.(search on wikipedia).

To conclude,I would tell you that lifestyle changes alone will do improve your metabolism,but if u want to have better results then you’ll definitely have to follow the appropriate lifestyle,exercise and diet patterns.