The Joy Of Exercise

I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now.  With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters.  ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions.   Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear and  be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight. Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself.  I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train.  Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it. Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully,  I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen.  I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment,  something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”. To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspective  During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly,  the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. 😁
Boxing is just one of many activities I enjoy
The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) 😀 found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. The  next day do it twice.  Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movement  of being outside. *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to
train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating.  Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity.  My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling,  rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical.  Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday kids!Where oh where do I start in today’s Monday Musings edition?Let’s start with one of my fav topics…. snake oil offerings…. aka health and wellness companies looking for those desperate to lose weight, along with their cash.When it comes to health and nutrition there are some guaranteed buzz words that will send me head on into the other direction. If you come at me with words like “cleanses “, “detoxes”, “fat burners”, telling me I need to get toxins out of my body, and that I need to spend my days drinking shakes or mystery drinks, I’m gone.Like yesterday, gone.I like to eat my food, not drink it.I get it. With the weirdness of the last few months people are stuck at home alot more.Feeling emotionally strung out they reach for the ice cream cartons and chocolate.”Quarantine 15″ is a reality for many people. Well, hopefully not that much. Life has been crazy and food, for alot of us, can be entertainment, comfort, or simply boredom eating. Being home extra time gives more opportunities to graze when we usually wouldn’t.No matter what your current weight situation, you don’t need to be cleansed or detoxed from your affair with ice cream or fries.Just incase you don’t know, cleanse and detox are buzz words for “starvation and being miserable “. I’ve never met an honest person who wasn’t ready to finish and get back to normal life from being “cleansed”. And the weight loss from it? Nothing but water loss, not fat.And I’ll say it again for the kids on the back row…..there is no such thing as a fat burner! If that stuff actually worked, everyone would use it and we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic.So what would I recommend? I’ll put it as succinctly as possible.Eating! Eat good nutrionally dense foods with adequate protein that satisfies you.Feed and nourish your body with good foods, don’t deprive it or eliminate foods it needs.And don’t forget to allow treats because life is good and you shouldn’t live deprived.You don’t have to starve to lose weight or feel constantly hungry.Movement!If there is one thing under used for our wellness, mental and physical, it’s exercise. Exercise makes us feel strong and can clear our minds. I do my most creative thinking during exercise.Don’t get caught up in thinking you “have” to do it to lose weight. Take the weight loss out of the equation.You can build strength, gain energy, develop more muscle mass, develop your cardiovascular system, and flex your creative mental energy without actually losing weight. ( do it often and frequently with my suggestions on healthy eating and it will happen) you should exercise no matter your body size because it benefits you in so many waysBut please, don’t get on the cleanse and detox hype bus in a quest to get to lose weight.Speaking of building strength….I have been making strength training a part of my physical discipline for awhile. This week I tossed a little more weight on my bar moving from 155 to 185lbs on my dead lift. I did 3 sets of 3 for a starting place. I was pleasantly surprised when I did it again yesterday, it didn’t feel as hard as I was preparing for. I look back to several years ago when I got 8 lbs dumb bells and they were a little work for me ha it seems crazy now since I use 25lb for alot of my arm work. Consistency does pay off.You… no matter where you are… have a starting place for your health and fitness. You just need to find it.Speaking of all things health I’m excited to be reading this book, Give Yourself More. I’m also excited to finish so I can write a review on it. This book takes women past “just” losing weight to learning more of themselves to giving themselves “more” in life. I previously did a book review on Georgie’s “Lean Habits For Weight Loss” ( find both reviews in my posts) which focuses on building healthy, sustainable habits for life long weight loss. You’ll find my review here on my page when I finish this book .Oh…..and if you never had a black Nitro brew coffee, you need to. 😉No how about some fun stuff? I’ve shared with you before that I have a little vintage furniture business. Of the many positives I ponder in this weird time we are in, is how it has continued to grow. I moved into a larger space in the shop,and became a retailer for a well known chalk paint company. It took off so fast I made the move to become a premier retailer (lots of perks with it) all within a few months. I put together my website and launched it. I’ve gained alot of followers and picked up lots of custom orders with new customers.My little hobby, this fun little side gig, has turned more and more into a thriving business.All during a time things were closed and nothing was moving.I used that down time to be productive, to work and accomplish new things. I firmly believed that things would get moving again and I wanted to be heading that way, ready.Guess you can say I never let grass grow under my feet.I’d challenge you in this time to find something new to learn, build a hobby or craft. Take care of yourself and maybe get into some type of exercise. Use this time as an opportunity of personal growth. Read, write, reflect.Ok you wanna see some of the things I’ve dragged home recently, don’t you? I love showing you pieces from days gone by 😊

Antique six leg table
Harp media holder
Gorgeous antique china cabinet. Selfishly. I’m keeping this
These antique cabinets got a little make over
I transformed this cute telephone bench. She sold this weekend 😊
Painted in my fav, Antebellum Blue
Just a little snap shot of some of my projects, my many, many projects 😱So I guess I’ll leave you with this thought. Are you using this time to be productive in new ways? A lot of our lives and schedules may feel perhaps, a bit disjointed right now. We can look at it all in a negative way, or a way of accomplishing new things we haven’t done before.Tell me…. have you used this time to try new things or to learn something new? Are you focusing on caring for yourself in how you eat and move ?

Running Health And Rolling Pins

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I glanced out the window taking a break from my writing. I was as per usual, hanging at my fav coffee cave and enjoying some caffeine, some socializing,  and with a goal of getting a new blog post written.

Some days I’m more successful at some parts of that combination than others 😉

What caught my eye was a group of kids running around and all over the place in a field that was on the other side of the parking lot. Part of me wanted to just go out and join them …to shake the kinks out of my body from my time in the chair writing. The cool part was knowing I still had the abilities to do it if I wanted to crash their fun afternoon romp in the sun.

I decided I should behave myself and focus on getting my writing done for the day and not running around the field like an over grown kid .. I choked back a giggle imagining their faces if I just joined them 😛

Watching them though got me to thinking about our lives as adults… what happens that we stop running and being vigorous ? When do we get to a point that the idea of it seems funny and like it’s something only left for kids to do ?  Like running and using our bodies isn’t a total natural thing we should be able to do for a good long time…if not a life time ?

You know why?

We stop using them like they were designed for. We get lazier and less interested in moving around fast, much less running. Then at some point we start viewing running as an activity that a select group of crazy people doing in varying distances.

We look at running as an activity in a separate bubble that doesn’t apply to us anymore. True, some get older and have health problems that arise or some issue that truly keeps them from being that active.

But overall, we simply stop moving that way. We lose the ability/desire to do it.

However, for some of us, we find it again. We find the pure, natural joy of running again as grown ups, and we embrace it, perhaps in a way we never appreciated as a child.

I did. I was in my mid-40’s when I somehow evolved into a runner.

Go freaking figure.

Questions that are often posed to me.. “Oh, so you must’ve run in school?”, ” were you athletic in school?” “have you always run?”

No, no, and no.

I simply changed from a fast walker to running… in some ways I found it easier than fast walking.

But however it occurred, it started to get in my blood. It was my exercise, my therapy, my way to clear my head and process creative thoughts. It could also be my escape when I needed to retreat from moments in life that felt heavy.

Needless to say when an injury took me out of it last year, I felt frustrated and angry to not be able to pursue what had become my passion.

I have been slowly working my way back up. I’ve spent time on the road doing lots of fast walking. I’ve been trying to do things that will promote healing and let me go after it full speed and mega miles again.  I’ve also done strength training and cycling to help work me in different ways while keeping me strong and keeping my cardio levels where I want them to be.

One of the biggest things that has helped is basically learning to be more aggressive with the things I do BEFORE and AFTER I’m active.

Rolling, stretching, some yoga moves, etc all are contributing to helping me get back out there the way I want to be.

This is what I want to remind you of if you’re a runner or engage in pretty serious physical activity… the things we do before and after matter a lot to keeping our bodies strong and healthy for the activities we love.

I always joked that running was as simple as tossing on your shoes and taking off, and it is.

But there needs to be some time to prepare your body for that activity to let  it get loosened up, or to help it unwind afterwards. This was a part I was missing. Oh yeah, I did a little warming up, but not the rolling and stretching I’m factoring in now.

So I offer up some “tools of the trade” that I have found helpful and use before I workout, after I work out and usually in the evenings watching tv

 

The foam roller. A handy tool to roll out most of your body. It’s great for even rolling up your back and shoulders. It’s a great way to loosen things up. The negative to foam is it can start getting “soft” and losing it’s healing abilities. Make sure you change it out frequently if it doesn’t have the same firmness.

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I don’t use foam much anymore since the Airrosti clinic got me rolling on a pvc pipe. Yes…a pipe… a hard pipe like what water runs through. In the beginning it was definitely an adjustment but they told me my muscles would adapt to foam and the pipe would be more aggressive to working out tight hard muscles.

Yikes they were right and now I hands down prefer it over foam. It doesn’t give under my weight so I can really work my muscles into it.

A lacrosse ball. It’s great for feet. I use it constantly to really work into the tight areas. It’s also great for getting specifically into a muscle that needs some serious attention. It can be ridiculously painful in a good way… like make you whimper and cry kinda way… but it’s good

A plain old kitchen rolling pin. You can use it to work into the backs of your calves or other small areas that feel tight.

Yoga. Ok I’m far from an expert or yoga guru, but I do have a few go to moves that I took home from some classes. Learn a few basic stretches to help keep you loose.

Besides all of that I learned it’s important to stretch my feet, ankles, and toes…yes…toes! Go figure, but it actually feels good and with the impact feet take from running, stretching all those ligaments and muscles not only helps, it feels good.

Yes, running is fun and hard and rewarding and on many levels, just natural and easy. Taking a few extra steps to warming up and cooling down will hopefully keep you and I on the road for a long time to come.

Tell me, do you have any tips or tricks to keep your body healthy and well for running or other physical activities?