Monday, January 25, 2010

Wii Fit

So my blog posts have become a bit more infrequent, but I’m attempting to change that over the coming weeks. There’s been so much happening in my life, but there hasn’t seemed to be any time to write about it. So this blog post is one step toward changing my current blogging trajectory.

So, for starters, this one’s not so deep. (Be warned though, a few I have in mind for the near future will be). I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to my new trainer, Wii Fit.

Now you may be giggling a bit as you think “How on earth could a Wii game do anything for increasing fitness, let alone serve as a trainer?” Well, let me tell you, I was a bit of a skeptic too, but here’s what happened to me.

Over the Christmas holiday, I visited my best friend in the whole world, Willie. His family has a Wii Fit, and using it combined with a change in diet, Willie has lost over 20 lbs since October. As a skeptic, I decided I would give the game console a try during the four days I spent with Willie and his family. And do you know what I found out—I was actually sore and tired after working out with the Wii as my trainer.

When I returned to Morgantown, I realized one of my roommates had a Wii Fit complete with balance board, and now our whole house (as well as a few friends) have started using the Wii for working out.

What are the benefits? Well, aside from a solid core body workout and a series of functional exercises and balance games, there are a few. One of my biggest problems with developing a consistent fitness routine is that my schedule is erratic. Wii Fit helps me make sure I get a workout in, even if it is late at night or early in the morning. The weather doesn’t impede me either because I do my workouts in the house. Beyond all of this, each time I work out, I see a score that tells me how I’m doing in the area of balance and development of strength as I do the exercises.

And, I can do this with my friends and roommates even though we all work out at different times. I can see how my roommates are progressing, and I can attempt to beat their scores and set goals with them. We can monitor each other’s workouts and trainings, and give each other a little accountability and encouragement along the way too.

And beyond all of those benefits, I’ve found my posture, core muscle strength, balance, alertness, and diet improving as well. Wii Fit has made exercising fun, and has allowed me to join a few friends to set short term weight loss and fitness goals for the new year as well.

If you have a Wii, I highly recommend using this program to increase your balance, posture, and core muscle strength and have fun while you are doing it.

Regardless, I hope you are setting and achieving some great goals as we are ending our first month of 2010.

Monday, January 11, 2010

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

This is my first blog post for 2010, and I apologize in advance that I haven't posted for quite some time. I really wanted to share some perspectives on the new year, and other sundry thoughts, but I need to inform you about a major issue affecting our world right now. I don't know if you knew this or not, but today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Did you know that this month has also been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month?

Actually, I don't know if you know what human trafficking is. Let me start by laying out a definition. Human trafficking is the practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country and being compelled to work with no or low payment on terms which are highly exploitative. You can find out more about the issue by reading this wikipedia article too.

Many of the victims of trafficking are women and children. They are sold, enslaved, and forced to work for next to nothing. There are some great websites with resources for reporting this issue to others as well. A quick google search is extremely helpful, as is this blog post by my friend Charles Lee. He has listed 11 practical ideas to combat slavery.

I'm writing this post because I believe we all really need to be more aware of this issue. I think sometimes we can be guilty of thinking that this kind of thing happens only in big cities like Amsterdam (where some reports state that up to 75% of the prostitutes "working" in the red light district are victims of human trafficking) or Los Angeles. The truth is that this is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it could be happening in your neighborhood. I was in a small town not far from Morgantown late last year when I saw a "business" that looked like a text book case for a trafficking and slavery operation. After doing some further research I called the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 888 373 7888. If you have a cell phone, store it in your phone in case you see something that looks suspicious.

I also recommend tuning in to television programs/news today that may have a focus on this issue. It is estimated that there are over 27 million slaves in the world today (as I have blogged before), but we can reduce that number by understanding the issue better, and taking steps to combat the problem.

I hope you will join me in taking a step today and maybe starting a conversation at work, at school, or at home about this issue, and what everyday people like you and I can do to prevent this problem from growing.

Happy New Year everybody! Let's make 2010 the year of fighting injustice!