Wellness Tour: Let Your Five Senses Travel

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Stay fit and well by seeking new sensory experiences; this stimulates the tactile organs and the brain. You do not have to travel around the world; every day you can experience something new, if you want to: Be mindful and proactive.
Let your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin ‘wander’; keep all your senses happy by treating them to different things.  

I took a sensory trip late summer to Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus. The sound of the wind and waves is always pleasing to the ear and seaside air feels and smells refreshing.
This ‘trip’ was mainly a visual experience, though, as most of the sculptures were surrounded by signs ‘Do Not Touch’. However, some artworks were meant to be touched and used, eg. a lively bathing jetty and a tea ‘frame’ (at bottom of post).

One special piece attracted my attention. At a distance it looked like stone, alabaster, but when I got up closed and touched it, it was sticky and foul-smelling! A surprise:
Beautiful art is nice, but so is ugly and puzzling art.

Sculpture by the sea Grain of Soap photo Henrik Elstrup 1) I see something somewhat different. 2) I listen; no sound except for the waves.
3) I touch it, it is sticky! 4) I smell it, a strange smell (later learned it was raw soap).
Due to the smell, I refrain – for once – from tasting it.

This piece – I discovered when reading the program later on – was meant to resemble a super large grain of sand.
Grain of Soap. Material: Soap. Approx. 200x200x300 cm. Artist: Esben Brandt-Møller.
The artist used a microscope to map a grain of sand from the Aarhus beach, enlarged the image, then had it modeled in clay and cast in soap. Just as a grain of sand is worn by water, wear and tear reshaped and dissolved the ‘grain of soap’ continuously throughout the exhibition. A thought-provoking idea.

Sea kaffeTea with a view # 2. Wood, acrylic. Artist: Anja Franke. Spectators could sit on the frame,  many did, and make a cup of tea (with herbs planted next to this) and become part of  the view and landscape. Art with a touch of taste.

Jetty at Sculpture by the Sea photo Henrik Elstrup Vandmodul A1 og B2 Fase 1. Floating pontoons, larch wood. Artist: Jesper Dalgaard.
A sculpture, special movable-element bathing jetty in-between art and architecture.
Challenging your sense of balance.

Your senses are truly fantastic, treasure and protect them. Here is a quick guide to strategies for improved sensory fitness and wellness and anti-aging:

Senses | Senses Super Life and Sport

Eyes | Look See Super Performance Tip

Ears | Hear Hear Performance Listening

Nose | Sniff Sniff Air Energy and Life

Mouth | Chew Chew Life and Energy Anew

Skin | Touch Touch Feel Much …

Cruise Holiday At Sea Day: Senses Go Overboard

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Baltic Cruise Day 7: At Sea (again)

At sea all day, all night, what a delight.
The calming view of the sea, the gentle rocking of the ship … and chefs catering to your dinner desires: Cruising is sense-sational: See, hear, touch, smell and taste it. 

The Baltic Sea (415,266 km²) is located between Central and Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 10°E to 30°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands.

Below: Morning and evening view at sea. Mmmmmmmmm.

Baltic sea during cruise ship holiday

At sea sunset bjerg

Daily program offers morning walk pilates, aerobics and more aerobics, yoga, stretching, salsa, zumba, merengue, bachata and oriental dance plus sports, games, demonstrations, quiz show, bingo, a show at the theatre (a new one every night) and Champagne Disco Night. Today was a fitness, dancing and relaxation (wellness) day.

Cruise ship song and dance show

And – the last chance for cruise ship overeating – a five-course Gala Night dinner at the restaurant. So dancing afterwards was ‘compulsory’.

Cruise ship dance lesson

Food art food photography

Cruise ship dinners are very nice, but with a few exceptions (e.g. above), not really unique photo opportunities. Other dinners can be, so food photography (foodstagram) has gone overboard (guilty as charged)! Result: In some restaurants food photography is prohibited. So if you want to do this on ships or elsewhere: 1) Do not use a flash (natural light makes the food look tastier), it destroys the restaurant mood, and 2) be very discrete in order not to disturb or aggravate fellow guests (no standing or standing on chairs etc.).

Bon appétit.

Fitness and Wellness: Return to Sculpture by the Sea

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

It is brilliant. A fusion of nature, art, architecture and fitness and wellness.
I have been. I have been again. And I am going again.
To 
see, hear, touch, feel and taste Sculpture by the Sea.
Aarhus University has already offered running seminars to this open air exhibition. I have done my own walks. Now I will go for a run in the sand and on the stairs into the forest to experience more. Go artychitecturitness.

Fitness

sea bro

Bathing Jetty. Extra lively. Good for balance training.
Vandmodul A1 og B2 Fase 1.  Artist: Jesper Dalgaard.

sea neonStairs. Great for walking running variation. With unexpected sightseeing.
Bubbles. Artists: Markus Hanakam, Roswitha Schuller.

Wellness

sea sandkort ma snus

What is wellness? Sensations for all of your senses: A massive grain of sand soap.
Brilliant: Artist put grain of sand in microscope. Enlarged, modeled in clay, cast in soap. During exhibition, wear and tear will reshape and dissolve the grain continuously, as if it were a grain of sand. Grain of soap. Artist: Espen Grandt-Moeller.

sea te husIf wellness is a coup of tea, this is wellness. From the bed of herbs on the ground, you can make yourself a cup of tea. Water, kettle and cups are ready. Sit down and enjoy.

Become part of the work and the landscape.
Tea with a view # 2. Artist: Anja Franke.

My body jogs.
My mind wanders.
Mindbody fitness wellness moves.

Breakfast and Lunch is Brunch! Too Munch?!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Brunch! Brunch! Brunch! Is It Too Much?
In my continued search for performance enhancing ‘supplements’ – diet and lifestyle measures for improving happiness, quality of life and performance at work, leasure time and sports – I keep on testing eating my way through different kinds of foods and meals.

Even a sunday brunch. It is not healthy eating too much; it ‘wears’ on your cells and counteracts anti-aging and keeping fit and toned. The whole idea of combining two meals in one is not healthy! However, it is a feast for all of your senses and may possibly boost your quality of life (short term!).

E.g. a sunday brunch in may, Restaurant Unico, by Aarhus Golf Club, Denmark …

Serving #1
Salmon en Bellevue; salty salmon, truffle, herbs, etc. with soft-boiled egg.
Plus sausages, cheese, marmelade, bread and much more.
Drinks: Water (naturally) and blood orange juice … and an unneccessary ‘pink bubbly’.

Unico Gourmet Brunch Mad

Serving #2
French toast. Brioche (fatty, fatty, fatty bread) fried in milk and eggs with spicey ham and Abondance raw milk cheese and mustard mayonnaise sauce.

Unico Brunch Mad 2

Serving #3
‘Brunsviger’ sweet toasted bread with warm caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And a mini-mazarin, petit four, with white chocolate and rhubarb and a brunch-classic: Yoghurt – here with hazel nut crunch and passion fruit compote.
Dessert (for brunch) is not healthy, however, this was a treat!

Unico Brunch Mad tre

Thanks for food!

Touch, Touch! Feel Much …

Touch, Touch … your sense of touch is an important one … 
‘Feel’ m
uch more and feel more alive, more healthy … and perform better.

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Top Tip 

Right here, right NOW: Give yourself a pat on the back,
plus a good rubbing, from lower legs to head and ‘six-pack’.
Massage and pull on your earlobes, a wellness sense-‘attack’.

Caring for the sensitive sense of touch, that is the new black! 

The sense of touch is controlled by a network of nerves and touch receptors, the somato-sensory system. Notice how you experience a whole world of different sensations: Hot, cold, rough, smooth, pressure, vibration, tickle and many more through these receptors:

Mechanoreceptors; texture, pressure and vibration.
Thermoreceptors; hot and cold.
Nociceptors; pain (keeps the body safe).
Proprioceptors; body positions (detect changes in muscle tension and length).

Pamper your body, your muscles, your skin and sense of touch with warmth*, water (hot and cold), smooth materials, touching, caress and massage (and self-massage, eg. with massage balls and foam rollers) for physical, mental, emotional and social well-being; it enhances recovery, reduces stress and increases general wellness.

* Warmth generally makes you feel safe, secure and positive; a study by Bargh and Williams ‘Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth’ showed, that people judged other people to be more generous and caring after they had briefly held a cup of hot coffee rather than a cup of cold (iced) coffee”.
(from their abstract: “Warmth” is the most powerful personality trait in social judgment, and attachment theorists have stressed the importance of warm physical contact with caregivers during infancy for healthy relationships in adulthood).

Fascinating fact
Your sense of touch not only affects how you feel physically and mentally, but also how you perceive the world around you.

Researcher John A. Bargh, PhD, says, that physical experiences “not only shape the foundation of our thoughts and perceptions, but influence our behavior toward others, sometimes just because we are sitting in a hard instead of a soft chair.”
His fellow researcher Christian C. Nocera states that touch and “greetings involving touch, such as handshakes and cheek kisses, may in fact have critical influences on our social interactions in an unconscious fashion.”
(from Sense of Touch Affects Our World View, Bill Hendrick, WebMD Health News).

Sniff, sniff! Air, Energy and Life!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Use your nose! Breathe deeply and calmly through your nose for more air, equals more energy, and improved, healthier, breathing and increased mindfulness and relaxation.
You breathe an average of 28.000 times per day. If you make each of those breaths just a tiny bit better, you will look, feel, think and perform better. Enjoy breathing in life.

Top Tip

Move your head outside the house today,
take 10 deep breaths, it will ‘blow you away’.
Inhale through the nose, it’s better that way,
it fills you up with energy for a greater day.

Your olfactory sense, your wonderful sense of smell, is an important sense; humans can distinguish over 10.000 different smells.
Your smell tells you about your surroundings and provides a strong sensory experience, that can influence your mood and emotions, your mental and physical well-being.

Try it. Smell the world around you: Nature, your loved ones, food and drink, houses and gardens. You will enjoy a whole new world of experiences and enhanced mindfulness by using all of your senses including smell.
Bonus: Better, deeper breathing will improve your performance at work, school and sports.

Note: Avoid or reduce artificial ‘smells’; perfume, air fresheners and scented candles in your home. Do what you can to avoid breathing in (too much) solvents, chemicals, gases and exhaust fumes. All of these are hazardous to your health. 

Senses, Super Life and Sport

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

You have The Fantastic Five senses. Protect them and use them actively:
Enhance your everyday, leisure time, fitness and sport … life.

Top Tip 

Use your senses as much as you can,
use eyes, ears, nose, mouth and ‘hand’.
Enjoy many more experiences every day,
enhance performance in more than one way.

Sight 
Open your eyes. Train your eyes. Improve your performance by 10-30 % instantly.
Do you wear glasses? Then your “eyes are in a cage” according to Dr. Eric Cobb, Z-Health, which means that your field of vision and bodily performance is diminished (during the every day and sports); your eyes and vision are crucial for performance.
Check if you have other options; glasses without a ‘frame’, contact lenses and/or vision training? ‘Release your eyes’ and see more and better.

Hearing
Open your ears … and close your ears …
Listen to more than just muzak,
listen to classical and indie, a mood attack.
Music can improve your workout motivation and results!

Protect your ears: In fitness- and sports environments there is often a lot of noise and loud music (many instructors have lost part of their hearing and are not aware of this) …
Note: Avoid too loud noise, sudden (loud) noise, and too much sound too often.
Recommendation (in noisy situations): Guard your ears (eg. customized ear plugs):
Avoid harmful noise and avoid hearing loss and tinnitus!

Smell
Inhale through your nose. Breathe deeply and slowly. Perform better and improve your health and wellness: More air, more energy, more wonderful smells.
Reduce artificial ‘smells’; perfume, air fresheners, scented candles, etc.
Increase fresh air consumption.

Taste
Treat your body like a Ferrari, treat it to V-Power (top-notch gasoline) …
Sound nutrition improves your health and performance significantly.
Wholemeal, green, healthy oils and variety: E.g. don’t just eat the same 10-12 fruits or vegetables through life, there are thousands of edible plants, berries, fruits and vegetables.
Taste something new and different (preferably organic) and enjoy it.

Touch
Pamper your body; warmth and wellness. ‘Touch and feel’ more during the everyday, leisure time and sports; it is healthy for your body and mind:
Shake hand, pat the back, massage, caress … bathe in water, steam and heat (and cold) … roll away on massage balls and foam rollers …