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“Spend time outdoors and or on the water.” with Dr. William Seeds & Cindy Present

Get Out. Spend time outdoors and or on the water. There is so much science that shows us what outdoor space can do for mental space. And we all need more mental space now because of constantly being “plugged in” and connected. We have to disconnect to connect — to our mind, body and spirit. […]

Get Out. Spend time outdoors and or on the water. There is so much science that shows us what outdoor space can do for mental space. And we all need more mental space now because of constantly being “plugged in” and connected. We have to disconnect to connect — to our mind, body and spirit. Twenty minutes a day can make a huge impact. Park where you have to walk through a park to get to work, gym, lunch. Put a fountain in your office space. Instead of coffee on the patio, take your coffee for a nature walk. Our civilization originated connecting to the outdoors and water. It’s imperative we continue that to connect to ourselves mentally and emotionally.


As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cindy Present, of Lake Austin Spa Resort. Cindy Present is a Blue Mind ambassador and fitness director at the resort. She works with the spa to combine water and wellness with the philosophy that being in or near the water is good for your health and happiness.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Ihad a love for outdoors and water. As a very active young girl raised in the country, life was about being outdoors, on the lake and moving. That was our entertainment — thus fitness and health became a lifestyle I pursued naturally throughout my life.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

My passion to utilize the water for positive mental wellness impact. As a watersports athlete, I began utilizing the water for sports and recreation. Over the years, I found myself taking individuals to the water who were suffering — had a bad day, a bad diagnosis, a bad relationship. Being on or in the water always seemed to help unlock their emotions and inspire them to either keep moving on or find assistance/coaching/counseling to assist. As I’ve gotten older, I’m now an ambassador for Blue Mind and the evidence based science that states being in, near or on the water has significant positive mental and emotional impact.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

“Trying” a gluten free diet for three months prior to a significant marathon so I’d have more knowledge and understanding about that methodology for my clients. NOT the way for this body to prepare for a marathon! I found myself eating my way through the entire event! I did ok — I won my age division, but I consumed about 1000 carbs in three hours to make it happen

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I’m a passionate about the importance of mental before physical wellness. For so many years, so many of my colleagues advocated (and some still do) physical health. But I’ve witnessed and seen the biggest life changes take place with the mind and emotions are unlocked. Mental Fitness and fortitude is the trailblazer.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband is my biggest advocate. He’s seen me grow and learn so much in this industry. He understands my platform of inspiring and empowering others and knows that my gift to utilize water as a method for others to navigate to higher levels of wellness inspires me to keep immersing myself deeper into this industry — into what and how I can truly be a catalyst for others to change their lives.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

  1. Loving Ourselves. And I mean that from the mental and emotional side. When we Own Our Story — great things happen. We all have our life traumas, stories, situations. We need to own them and who we are. No apologies. Once we Own Our Story, we quit denying ourselves and who we are. One of the biggest outcomes is how we then begin to want to take care of ourselves, inside and out.
  2. Keeping it simple. Don’t overcomplicate nutrition. If it’s real, it’s food. Keep it real.
  3. Live Intentionally. Think. Create space in your life. Slow down. Be deliberate. Life is happening all around us faster than it ever has in our society. We have to step off that fast moving train and slow down. Once we become intentional with what and how we do things in our lives, again, nutrition follows.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

  1. Own Your Story. And I mean that from the mental and emotional side. When we Own Our Story — great things happen. We all have our life traumas, stories, situations. We need to own them and who we are. No apologies. Once we Own Our Story, we quit denying ourselves and who we are. One of the biggest outcomes is how we then begin to want to take care of ourselves, inside and out.
  2. Live Intentionally. Think. Create space in your life. Slow down. Be deliberate. Life is happening all around us faster than it ever has in our society. We have to step off that fast moving train and slow down. Once we become intentional with what and how we do things in our lives, again, nutrition follows.
  3. Get Out. Spend time outdoors and or on the water. There is so much science that shows us what outdoor space can do for mental space. And we all need more mental space now because of constantly being “plugged in” and connected. We have to disconnect to connect — to our mind, body and spirit. Twenty minutes a day can make a huge impact. Park where you have to walk through a park to get to work, gym, lunch. Put a fountain in your office space. Instead of coffee on the patio, take your coffee for a nature walk. Our civilization originated connecting to the outdoors and water. It’s imperative we continue that to connect to ourselves mentally and emotionally.
  4. Get Connected. To yourself. Others. Your community. When you’re out of an “I”, “Me” mode, science shows we are mentally and emotionally healthier. Know your neighbor, know your community. Get involved with a community event. Walk, talk with your neighbor, partner, family member.
  5. Get Active. Move, breathe. We all need to breathe deeper, with purpose, with passion. Movement helps us do that. Pull your own weeds, mow your own yard. Walk around your own block. Paddle your local river or lake. Activity is activity. There is so much you can do to be active that absolutely does not involve a gym or a fitness studio or box.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Cognitive benefits of mental clarity, increased creativity, decrease in cortisol and stress levels. So much more important than just weight loss. In fact, those items above are what can assist with weight loss.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

  1. Cardiovascular for heart strength
  2. Weight bearing for bone strength
  3. Ability to get up and get down — meaning mobility, strength and flexibility. To be able to get up unassisted from the floor, from a chair, from a bed.

In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?

  1. Level of Activity: “Cake on the Plate” don’t go all out, save some for later. Hold back a bit.
  2. Fuel for Recovery: I’m a huge advocate of 4:1 Carb:Protein ratio for recovery. For me, it’s king. Others go for higher protein. But know your secret sauce and intake it within 15 minutes of a hard workout or training session.
  3. Active Recovery: But if you do get sore, know what works best for you for recovery. It used to be only ice/cryotherapy. Those work well for some. Others find heat is beneficial. Heat increases circulation; cold reduces. I’m a heat person. Give me a heating pad, heat it up and my recovery is so much quicker.

There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?

  1. Keep it Real. My diet is mostly natural. I do eat meats and sides are always fruits and vegetables. It’s super simple and real food.
  2. Limit Added Sugar. Use it as a currency. If you were allotted 5 sugar cubes a day, how would you spend them? Where is it most important to have that “added sugar”?

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

I love reading about the trials and tribulations of others and how they overcame adversity. There are many books that I’ve loved: Boys In The Boat; Unbroken; Swimming to Antarctica; Born To Run. But truly watching Ironman World Championships year after year ignited an “I Can Do That” attitude in me. It was my own “Me too” movement of She Believed She Could, So She Did. And I did.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m living that movement right now #letthewatermoveyou utilizing the science of Blue Mind — inspiring individuals to intentionally utilize nature and the outdoors to unlock and inspire positive mental and emotional wellness impact. I provide these programs through Lake Austin Spa Resort for guest programming and also have created a #bluemindsisterhood through Get Out Girl to take women and girls of all ages onto the water in honor of two female first responder friends who lost their lives and utilized water for their mental wellness. We use surf and paddle ecotherapy and let the water move them, to unlock emotions, feelings and stress that life has dealt through illness, trauma, loss, PTS and exhaustion. I’m currently working with female first responders and it’s been life altering for many. With the current mental wellness stigma finally being a conversation in our society, it’s an amazing asset to immerse people in this concept that #waterismedicine, it is readily available, low to no cost — and very addicting in it’s own right as a therapeutic source.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, (with your hands raised to the sky) and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” Hunter Thompson

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Oprah Winfrey. She’s so smart, so passionate, so articulate. As an influencer, I think she’d be great to start a mental wellness movement utilizing nature and the outdoors.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

@LakeAustinSpa

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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