Bikes & Brews Cancelled

Stay dry! Bikes & Brews will be back, April 15th, see you then!

Celebrating Women’s History with Ann Axtell Morris

Ann received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College in 1922. After graduating, she traveled to Paris for field training with the American School of Prehistoric Research in France. Ann entered professional life as an archeologist at a time when men largely did not include women in the discipline. In 1923, Ann married Earl Halstead Morris. Though an archeologist in her own right, Ann referred to her “career of being an archeologist’s wife,” eluding to the tactic of women archeologists to navigate institutional sexism and find a place for themselves. Smith College awarded Ann an honorary master’s degree in 1935. 

On their honeymoon, Ann and Earl excavated Mummy Cave, now inside Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, where they hired Navajo to work on the dig. From 1923 to 1929, and again in 1932, the Morrises excavated Canyon del Muerto. Ann developed methods to document architecture, petroglyphs and pictographs, and landscapes. Ann’s colorful drawings captured information that then-popular black-and-white photography would have lost. For example, while at Canyon del Muerto, she made watercolors of the cave and kiva wall paintings to “copy in full color and accurate detail as many of the hundreds of pictographs along the canyon’s gallery walls as possible.” In 1929, she illustrated the ancient art at Antelope House, Pictograph Cave, and Standing Cow Ruins. These paintings were exhibited at the American Museum. The couple worked on multiple sites during this time, including Mesa Verde in Colorado and Aztec Ruins in New Mexico. 

Starting in 1924, in cooperation with the Carnegie Institute of Washington, the Morrises spent five winters excavating the Mayan city Chichén Itzá in eastern Mexico. When Ann first arrived, archeologist Sylvanus Morley told her to babysit his six-year-old daughter and act as hostess to visiting guests. Ann, instead, convinced him to allow her to excavate a small, overlooked temple.  Ann also copied the Temple of the Warrior murals, which took four seasons. Her final illustrations were published in Temple of the Warriors at Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, coauthored with Earl and a French painter, Jean Charlot.

Together, Ann and Earl wrote many studies on ancient lifeways within the American Southwest and Mexico, including one on Native American sandals that their archeologist daughter Elizabeth Ann expanded upon years later. Ann herself wrote two popular books, Digging in the Southwest (which upended conventional thinking about the Anasazi people) and Digging in the Yucatan. Ann intended the books to have a popular audience, in order to educate the public about the field. The publishers, however, marketed the books to older children because they did not recognize that women could write literature about archeology for adults.

Ann and Earl Morris had two daughters, Elizabeth Ann and Sarah Lane. Elizabeth studied Anthropology at the University of Arizona, and following in her parents footsteps, became an Archaeologist and Professor at Colorado State University.

Image credit: Gift of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1958. © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 58-34-00/2.1347

Morris, Ann Axtell
1931 Digging in Yucatan. Junior Literary Guild. New York City.
1933 Digging in the Southwest. Doubleday, Doran & Co.

Sources:
Burgh, Robert F.
1957 “Earl Halstead Morris, 1889-1956.” American Anthropologist, Vol. 59, Iss. 3.

Lister Florence, C. and Robert H. Lister
1993 Earl Morris & Southwest Archaeology. Western National Parks Association.

Theis, Aaron
2013 “Ann Axtell Morris: Art in Archaeology of the Southwest and Mesoamerica.” Archaeological Institute of America.

https://www.nps.gov/people/ann-axtell-morris.htm

Use Monday to Stay on the Right Track

New routines can take some time to get going. If you’ve been trying to make your day more active, use this Monday to check in on your progress and to stay on track. Did you use January to make a new resolution? Consider Mondays instead! You can resolve to keep moving and try new activities every week. You haven’t fallen off the wagon yet! You might just need to make some minor adjustments.

Staying active can become second nature to you no matter what your fitness level is. In the beginning, keep track of how often you get up and move throughout the day and how much time you spend moving.

Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, or about 30 minutes per day, five days a week. You can build up to that kind of goal over time. For now, draw up an hourly schedule and note when you get up and what you do. If you find that you’re sitting for a long period of time, find an activity that will help break up that block of time.

You can use every Monday to reset your practice, add to it, or change it up if you want to do something more or less challenging. Changing your lifestyle is not a sprint – it can be done incrementally, over the course of time. You can hit the “reset” button every Monday and reach new goals every week!

Here are a few simple exercises that will keep you moving throughout the day:

Mini workoutsWhenever you can find a few moments, do quick exercises in short bursts that will get your heart beating and muscles moving!

Chair yogaIf you can’t leave your desk, take some time to stretch and prevent yourself from getting stiff. Bonus: A little yoga will help you reduce stress!

WalkingWalking is real exercise. Consider organizing or walking a Monday Mile. But if you can’t find the time to do that, take short walks throughout the day. Park your car further away from your destination instead of finding the closest spot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during conversations or meetings at work. Every step counts!

It’s never too late to start being more active on a daily basis. Monday is a great day to start adding a little bit more movement to your day that can continue through the rest of the week!

Scott Park Garden Club

Scott Park Community Garden is excited to announce that we have been awarded the Food Well Alliance 2022 Community Garden Grant! Decatur Active Living applied for the grant in November 2021 and will use the funds to fix and update our 3 bin composting system.

Established in 1992, this urban oasis, hidden away in the “backyard” of the Decatur Recreation Center, features an organic community garden that brings residents together, keeps them active, and provides urban greenspace therapy. The composting system was well used and started to age and deteriorate. Composting has so many benefits, not only to the surrounding garden but to the environment as a whole. The soil becomes more nutrient dense and helps the plants grow. It combats erosion, reduces greenhouse gases and helps to filter local water sources. By maintaining a well working garden the benefits of having a community garden can shine through. Community gardens strengthen community ties, educate not only about gardening but interacting with community members from various backgrounds.

Be sure to stop by the garden and watch our progress as the new composter is being built!

Today is Parent Mental Health Day

This year is the first Parent Mental Health Day (PMHD) and will encourage understanding and awareness of the importance of parent mental health and its potential impact on the whole family system with the theme ‘Balance’. The day aims to get parents and caregivers to take a moment to reflect on the balance they have in their lives, as well as how they balance looking after their family’s mental health and to take steps to make positive change and ‘balance out’.

The past two years have been like no other, with huge impact on young people’s mental health. With ever-changing restrictions, uncertainties, multiple roles, health, educational, economic and social impact, it is easy for parents and caregivers to overlook their own mental health as they juggle daily tasks.

Parent Mental Health Day is here to shine a light on the unsung heroes who have parented under changed circumstances throughout the pandemic, but now need some focus on themselves.

It’s important to take care of yourself as much as you have taken care of your family. Below are a few tips to look after your mental health.

Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

Keep in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.

If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.

Local services are there to help you.

Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.

It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past?

Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem and lowers stress.

Accept who you are

We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

Today is GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Check out some ideas listed below to participate and have a wonderful #GivingTuesday

Happy Veteran’s Day

Thank you to all who have served our country.

Just Keep Moving with Bobbie Elzey

Bobbie Elzey is living an extraordinary life. From a schoolteacher and dancer to a pioneer for dance aerobics, Bobbie has paved the way for many females in the health and fitness industry. Beginning her fitness journey in the 1970s at a local YMCA, she built a dance fitness program with five participants to 1,000 participants. She ventured her way to Russia to teach across the country and to judge the National Competition for Aerobics eventually making her way to teach in Decatur in 1985.
Bobbie has taught Dance Aerobics and Functional Exercise for Seniors with Decatur Active Living for the past 36 years. Bobbie quickly became a staple and champion for health and fitness as well as our older adult population. We had the opportunity to sit down with Bobbie to hear her advice on how to prioritize health and wellness, especially for the older adult population.

Bobbie’s Health and Wellness Advice:

  • Age and disease should not be a roadblock to exercise!
  • To be successful in staying active, be sure to find activities that you enjoy. Think about what fitness activity you enjoyed during your childhood and do that now.
  • Every day movement and balance is important. Older adult populations can develop muscle quickly and gain confidence.
  • Challenge yourself with movement, balance, and strength activities daily. Get up and get moving!

Just Keep Moving with Bobbie’s classes at Decatur Recreation Center. Visit our website to learn more about our programs and be sure to contact Bobbie at www.lzaerobics.com to learn about her weekly classes and pricing.

The Benefits of Walking!

Here at Decatur Active Living we love walking and seeing as how it’s Walktober we thought we’d share some benefits of walking from our friends over at Clarity Fitness. We got together with Abbey Griffith, owner and founder of Clarity Fitness and below are her thoughts on the wonderful benefits of walking!

Abbey Griffith
Owner, Founder, NASM CPT Clarity Fitness

As a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Gym Owner, and Eating Disorder Recoveree, I know that there is no one “best”, “right”, or “ideal” workout. What you do to workout, how long it lasts, the intensity, where it is, and so many other factors truly come down to what will be sustainable, flexible, and fun for you! You’ll not only find it easier to incorporate movement into your life longterm, but it won’t be something you dread and feel you “have” to do. Movement will be an act of kindness and respect for your body.

Let’s talk about walking. Walking in itself is an absolute blessing, privilege, and gift. To be able to stand our entire bodies over two tiny flaps of bone and muscle (feet), then coordinate our incredible bodies over top of them while propelling ourselves forward to where we want to go? Wow! For those who can’t walk, don’t worry, your body is just as phenomenal. Think about what all goes into reading this article – the neurons firing, your eyes tracing along these words, the cognitive behavior of processing the information – can we all agree that our bodies are beyond incredible?

Now that we’ve locked in gratitude for the vessels that will take us through our entire lifetime, let’s explore how we can treat them with the respect they deserve in regards to movement. Exercise is a tool to work with, not against, the body. It is our right to play with different types of movement and explore what brings light into our lives. Be it walking, dancing, lifting, running, climbing, swimming, etc. – it is movement, and it is enough. 

I so regularly hear people beating themselves up because they “should’ve” worked out harder, longer, or in a different way. Critical and scientifically untrue comments like, “I went on a walk, but my friends ran – they did so much better than me”, or “I only walked today – I’ll have to go for a run tomorrow”. 

Both running and walking are excellent forms of exercise, but it’s time to give walking the credit it deserves. Functional movement means that a movement is found in your regular day to day motions. Think about sitting down and standing up at your desk – a squat! Or bending over to pick up a pen you dropped – a deadlift! The most functional movement of all for the many of us who get around throughout our day to day this way – walking. A study on “Walking versus running for hypotension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction” states that, “Equivalent energy expenditures by moderate (walking) and vigorous (running) exercise produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and [coronary heart disease].” In essence, running is not “better” at defending against major health complications than walking, especially if you would much rather walk.

Walking is also a great option for injury prevention, as running without appropriate shoes, progression, training, stretching, and recovery can more easily lead to injury than doing so in a walk (although also risky!). If you’re interested in or love running, go for it! However whether you’re walking or running, we always recommend form checks from a Certified Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist to keep you safe and feeling your best.

Last but not least, movement and mental health must be clearly connected. If running causes you anxiety, you dread your workouts on cardio day, or you just really love walking but feel like it’s not a “good enough” workout, explore that with a Health at Every Size, Eating Disorder Informed, and/or Body Positive Mental Health Provider or Personal Trainer. It is incredibly important to tailor movement around what works for you and your body on any given day, and it’s allowed to change regularly. 

Now, go play!

Celebrate Children’s Environmental Health Day

The City of Decatur, in partnership with Georgia Clinician for Climate Action will celebrate Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Day on Thursday, October 14 at Legacy Park from 5pm-6:30pm. The purpose of the Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Day is to raise awareness about the importance of clean air and water, safe food and consumer products, healthy environments, and stable climates to children’s health and development.

Join us for a wonderful walk with city officials and staff around the beautiful grounds of Legacy Park. Activities will include tree identification along the walk, youth groups and climate/environmental health facts from doctors. Together we can safeguard the health, safety and well-being of our most precious resource, children.  

For more information on Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Day visit cehday.org or if you would like to participate in this event contact Gregory White, Director of Decatur Active Living at 678-553-6543 or greg.white@decaturga.com