Your Body. Rest Or Rust.

if-you-rest-you-rust

I’ve seen this quote before and it always resonates with me. Of course it refers to working hard and the value of perseverance but I see it in a different way too.

Do you ever think of your body and how you use it ( or don’t use it) in terms of “getting rusty”?  If you’re like me when you hear the word “rust” you get images of weathered worn pipes or an old car that’s been left to sit for years, the paint long faded and gone and the metal rusting through.

For anything to not become rusty requires some work and care to keep it in good condition and working order. Without proper care (that item) will not function in the way it was intended to function.

Now let’s apply that concept to our bodies.

Without proper work and care they can become less functional as we age. They can get achy. We can lose muscle mass and strength. We lose the ability to bend well and move in ways that are free. We get out of breath doing easy tasks or walking short distances. Walking a flight of stairs can make us winded and the idea of bending to touch our toes or place our hands flat on the floor could make us laugh.

Our bodies are designed for daily, vigorous movement. To bend, stretch, lift, walk, run, jump and play.

Personally, I’m soooo ready for hard work again!

Doing the duathlon at the end of November and coming off a year of hard work and training I let myself do some easier work in the weeks after. Mentally it can be hard for me to “rest” but intellectually I know it’s good for my body to have a little down time too.

But then… it was December and life just happened in ways that slowed me down. Then hubby was off  2 weeks for vacation and as awesome as that was hanging out, doing stuff together, sleeping in some,  going out for breakfast and some days just being a little lazy, it shot my “normal” schedule. I loved every moment of having some relaxing weeks with him and having a mental break from my usual routine is good… but….I have been reminded of this more than ever…

I feel way more energetic and my muscles feel less tight when I’m working out, than when I’m not.  My body has now been trained for that work and needs it as much as it needs food.

I don’t see this as a “bad” thing, but it does show me it’s a most necessary thing. Purposeful, daily movement is essential for our well being.

It’s essential for MY well being.

With that being said… I’m more than ready to get back at it.

What about you? Have you had some time off or done less in the past few weeks? Perhaps you’re inspired by the start of a new year. Maybe exercise has only crossed through your mind but you have the thought you’d like to get started doing…something…

Depending on where you are and what you do or have done will determine the level of what you get out and do.

For me, as you’re reading this and maybe drinking your morning coffee, I’ll be out getting some miles under me on the bike. I will most likely do yoga on Tues and some strength training a couple times this week as well.  I won’t push myself hard but will ease back into it letting my muscles get used to the activity again. I know my body will quickly adjust to the routine and I will be pushing myself harder next week.

But what if you’ve not done anything since you were like… 12… on the school play ground playing tag with your friends? What if you haven’t done anything physical in so long you wonder if you can but you are willing to get out there and give it a try?

Good for you! There’s no better time to get moving and long before you might see results outwardly, mentally, you will always feel great doing something positive for yourself.

Ok.. I’m motivated. Give me some tips.

I always tell people I talk to, find something that you can be excited about doing or want to go do. It will ensure you are proactive about doing it each day.

If you are unsure, start with walking! All doctors will support walking as a healthy way to help with weight loss and to get fit. You can walk at your own speed and increase as you get stronger. All you really need are some good shoes and you’re set to go.

Start small. Don’t try and walk 5 miles your first day or anything like that. It might just be a couple laps around the block and maybe it’s what you do for a week or two until you are comfortable to increase distance.

Don’t like to do it alone? recruit a friend or family member to workout with you.

Write it down! Scheduling a time in your day should be just as important as anything else you do.

In the beginning  you might need to start with every other day to help you get going and to protect from doing to much to soon.

If you have health issues or concerns, always consult with your doctor first.

Imagine yourself getting stronger at the activity you choose. The massive hills I ride don’t necessarily get easier,more like I get stronger for the task of doing them. Think of being able to walk faster, for longer periods of time, or maybe even eventually running.

Look locally for free or trial classes to experiment with a new activity before you make a commitment to it.  Local gyms will often offer free trial classes before you commit.

Be willing to grow and learn new things and to challenge yourself in new ways.

Finally, celebrate as you get stronger and have more energy for living your life. Embrace the changes of your hard work and most of all, have fun with it!

 

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On the road… my happy place….running, walking or cycling… this is my gym.

 

 

Do you have a favorite activity you enjoy doing ? Is there something you’ve learned to do that you previously didn’t know how to do?

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New Year’s Weight Loss Tips

Day 3 of the New Year. Raise your hand if you are tired of food. And sweets.

I’m beyond tired of seeing sugar. I bake what seems like, all month, whipping up various treats  for Christmas so about now I’m ready to walk away from it all.

#officiallysickoffood

I bet you are too.

It’s possible you are thinking of losing some weight as many are at the start of a year. For some reason the start of a new year makes us want to tackle things in our lives that may have been previously untouched or started but not finished.

My social media accounts are flooded with all kinds of hyped up “diets” and weight loss promises, all of which will take some of your money, thank you, but most likely only leave you with lighter pockets and no missing fat.

Coming out of the holiday season can be difficult since we’ve been enjoying more tasty foods than we usually have. You might be wondering where to start.

Don’t start by thinking you have to eat all the “bad” food that might still be around.

Getting started doesn’t have to be hard, painful, or restrictive. In fact, a slow gradual process will help you be more successful than just trying to cut everything out cold turkey ’cause I mean… there’s still gonna be chocolate around.. am I right? And really, if a piece of chocolate here or there helps keep you sane and  moving forward, it’s ok.

I’m eager to get back to my “normal” eating. What always works for me is eating more lean meats, veggies and fruits to get me back on track as well as adequate water.

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My favorite kinda meal
green and red healthy food
Eat these to build a healthy body

 

This works for me, but might not be where you are.

Here’s a few new years tips that might help….

If you don’t trust yourself start by removing all leftover temptations of holiday goodies from your kitchen.

And I don’t mean eat them. Give them to your neighbor Susie Q or toss them in the trash. Really. You can.  If you think you’ll sit down and eat the bag of chocolate, toss it.

Next, make sure you have healthy foods on hand like lean meats ( chicken, turkey, fish, eggs etc) fresh fruits, veggies, and other snacks like cheese, yogurt and raw almonds.

Once you get a plan for food you will eat and won’t eat, set some short term “mini” goals for yourself.  Small changes add up and in time they do add up to bigger changes.  Not only that, accomplishing your mini goals will give you confidence to push on to bigger goals.

For example, week one you might simply try to reduce sugary drinks if that is a problem for you. Maybe you’ll try to drink more water.

Week 2 you might decide you will intentionally park farther from store or take the stairs at work instead of elevator.

Week 3 you might decide to eliminate fried foods from your diet.

Set a date.

Be intentional about what you are doing. Set out specific dates for yourself to achieve goals. ( in 4 weeks you want to be walking 3 miles or committing to 3 days a week in the gym) whatever it is, put it in front of you. To be ambiguous about a goal is the same as saying you’ll start “next week” … it’s easy to ignore and not get done.

Let your mini goals spur you on to bigger things as you accomplish them.

Learn to write down what you eat and how you feel when you do. Make it a goal to understand your personal relationship with food.  This can give you insight into your behaviors with food and eating.

Don’t be afraid to take some before pics of yourself as well as progress ones along the way. A photo journal is the best way to see how you’ve changed on your journey.

Finally, set realistic and manageable goals for yourself. You don’t gain weight in a few weeks, you won’t lose it all in  a few weeks. A steady one pound per week will be sustainable weight loss.  Allowing yourself  after the holidays to settle into a slow, steady routine will be the best way to be successful in your efforts while not feeling deprived or taking things to the extreme.

Do you have any tips for healthy weight loss?

 

Aging And The Fountain Of Youth

Botox. Creams. Anti-aging serums. Plastic surgery. Lotions and creams that promise to restore youth or keep you young looking are all over the market and you don’t have to look further than magazines or the tv to find numerous products being offered to help you look younger.

The question that begs to be asked is this…. “is there such a thing as the fountain of youth?”

Is there some secret, magical potion that will keep us looking young and vibrant ? Is it to be found in bottles or jars? Is that secret lurking in our medicine cabinet for us to discover?

The skin care industry is a booming business and lots of it comes from products promising a youthful appearance.

But… what if it isn’t found in a  jar? What if it’s something that’s free and you always have it available to you? Would you want to use it?

My childhood friend accuses me of voodoo or some kind of witchcraft telling me I’m not aging and in fact appear to have gotten younger. She proclaims to not love me for that but I think she’s lying 😉

Where that is a flattering compliment, the reality is, of course I’m aging like anyone else. However, it’s what I do and how I live that might be actually slowing that progression down.

So what is this secret formula? How do you get your hands on it ?

It’s already in you waiting to be used, every single day, and it’s exercise.

grow old

Now wait! Don’t check out on me here. Not yet since I’m fixing to share some scientific(y) stuff with you about exercise, our bodies, and the whole aging process. I’ll try to keep it basic and to the point but of course I’d encourage you to do your own research if you want to learn more.

Exercise cannot change our chronological age as that is set in stone. We were born on a certain day and year, our “age” hinges on that. It’s immovable.

Our biological age boys and girls, is a whole new game, and exercise fights against aging by protecting cells from the ticking clock.

Our biological age, can be changed.

Say what ?

Exercise can fight against a cellular level and staying healthy means you can keep your cells young.

Keeping cells young allows tissues to function properly.

Exercise boosts muscle levels of a compound  called NRF1 which impacts telomeres at the ends of each of our chromosomes.

Yikes! What is NRF1 and how does that work for me?

As simple as possible, it stimulates the production of proteins that are needed for cellular energy production and proteins involved in the making of new healthy mitochondria.  If you don’t remember from biology class ( cause I didn’t ) mitochondria are the powerhouse of our cells and are responsible for creating more that 90% of energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function.  Their function typically declines with age but with vigorous exercise mitochondria function improves ( and you can grow a lot more)

Exercise boosts muscle levels of the compound called NRF1 which impacts our telomeres at the ends of each of our chromosomes.

Hang on with me here ok?

Maybe you forgot what telomeres are. They are basically like little biological clocks on the ends of our DNA.  When in good shape, our DNA (cells) stay young. When they get damaged the cells get old. Telomeres are protective caps at the end of our chromosomes that keep them stable- think like plastic at the end of shoe laces. Every time a cell divides telomeres get shorter. Eventually they become to small to protect chromosomes and cells get old and die resulting in aging .

Unfortunately, telomeres get eroded with time.

Pay attention now boys and girls…….

the speed of erosion is not fully fixed which explains why you can impact biological age! This is where producing NRF1 is helpful. when activated by exercise it can produce protective molecules for telomeres, like varnish on nails. This all works on an anti-aging level, biologically.

Not all exercise is created equal for these benefits…

where as all types of exercise is good for our bodies, relieves stress, keeps our health balanced and leads to overall fitness, the type of exercise to reap the biggest anti-aging results is HIIT or cardio exercises done for at least 30 minutes or more 5 times a week.

Strength training is good for building muscle and overall body strength but it won’t have the same benefits for cell renewal as cardio or high intensity exercises.

In a study done by Newsweek in May 2017, it found of 5,000 adults in a research study that those who exercise regularly are younger on a cellular level than their sedentary or moderately active counterparts.  The study also compared telomere length with levels of physical activity. The study showed significant differences between those who did vigorous exercise and those who did not. The adults who did strong, vigorous exercise were biologically 9-10 years younger. ( for the study a high physical level was considered to be 30-40 minutes of running at least 5 days a week)

Why exercise appears to preserve telomere length is not known but it could be linked with inflammation and oxidative stress over time.

To see a real difference in slowing your biological age it appears a little exercise won’t do the trick, you have to work out regularly and at high levels.

Of course other benefits that come with strong level of exercise is reduced inflammation in the body that comes with aging, which can also help decrease your risk of developing related diseases and conditions like heart disease, depression, muscle loss and decreased memory.

Skin deep…..

Why do some of the fittest 60-plus women look younger than their age? The answer lies in the question. A recent study from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, found that women over 65 who worked out for a minimum of two hours a week for three months had the skin composition of women 20 to 30 years younger. It seems that sweating it out at the gym leads to pumping myokines, a group of proteins secreted by muscle cells and diffused throughout the body. (Best Health Magazine)

and it’s true…some of the fitness women I know don’t look their age.  ( I’m not leaving the guys out… vigorous exercise can yield similar health benefits).

The Game Plan….

Don’t worry about fancy creams, instead, get on a consistent, regimented exercise plan and stick to it.

Don’t look for instant results but keep in mind all of the great health benefits your body will reap by being active and sweating a lot.

Don’t forget other factors that can help keep your age a secret too. Make sure you’re nutrition is focused on whole, healthy foods, skip the smoking and drinking, watch your sugar/processed food intake, hydrate well with plenty of water, get adequate rest, protect your skin, laugh a lot  and get your exercise in at least 5-6 days a week.

And then… hey…go ahead and share your age… no one will believe you 😉

Has exercise helped you maintain more than just being fit? Have you noticed results in your health and appearance  from consistent exercise?

The Commitment To Exercise

commit

 

“Uggghhh. Cathie, I don’t know about this whole exercise thing. I just don’t see any results”

The frustrated comments I’ve heard from many of you.

You jump in with good intentions and start doing “something” and at the end of the week you want to look like a ripped fitness model. Ok, well maybe not that extreme, but you do expect some pretty serious results in a short amount of time and the reality is, it’s not gonna happen fast.

There are often unrealistic expectations when someone begins an exercise program. I’d say everyone has (some) goal in mind. And if you’re like me, you’ll get going and those goals will be a constantly shifting process based on your abilities, strength and love for what you’re doing.

Whatever goals you have, whether it’s just a basic level of activity to keep your step tracker happy and move some during the day or if you want to train for a triathlon there is a process of evolving that gets you there.

I think, in my humble opinion for what it’s worth, when someone begins some type of program they overlook things that aren’t as obvious as visible abs or their pants getting looser.

Follow me here….

the minute you step out the door to do something, you’re empowered. The sheer act of getting yourself together and taking steps out the door is huge. Once you’re moving that way, you’re gonna do it.

Then, once you finish, I can say with certainty, you’re going to feel proud of yourself that you did do it. You’ll feel that sense of accomplishment and can celebrate a personal victory. And it’s really ok to pat yourself on the back… no one will be there cheering you on when you come cruising in… but that’s irrelevant… you…did it.

Which moves me to how you’ll mentally feel… which is amazing. Will you maybe be sweaty or a little tired or whatever? That’s possible ( don’t overdo it !) but nothing compares to the mental feeling you have of getting it done.

And the more you build on what you do, the better it feels.

Do you see that none of this…. has anything immediate thing to do with instant weight loss or smaller pants? Oh, it will lead there with consistency, but it’s not present when you wrap up whatever physical activity you’ve chosen for that day.

What about how you start feeling when you can bolt up a flight of stairs and not be winded? When you willfully park further out because you appreciate you can walk and enjoy it and that you don’t feel desperate to be as close as possible to front of store?

How about doing activities around your home and not feeling exhausted from doing it?

With time and persistence, intentionally pursuing your choice of physical activity, your body stats changing and responding to what you’re doing.

And guess what? You’ll anticipate it, look forward to it, have a desire to do it.

Who knows what you might learn about yourself in the process? What you’re capable of or what you might be challenged to do ?

I jokingly say I started off as a reluctant walker. 2 miles a day and I was done and off to other things. That was enough, thank you.

Yet, if you know my story, it continued to eventually grow and expand leading me into an eventual runner and taking on everything from 5K’s to a 50K and everything in between.

To now, a cyclist with my sights set on a lot of bigger goals. I don’t limit myself in what I think I can take on.

All because one day, I just committed to walking out the door.

No focus on anything other than “getting it done”. No ab muscles in sight. My pants at that time a bit larger. Out of shape and no where being a fitness junkie. The idea of being a runner or cyclist so far from my mind I’ll tell you it was.. laughable.

Yet, because of my consistency things did eventually change, and continue to, almost as a “by product” of the activities I currently enjoy and pursue.

Guess what? it will happen for you too.

The changes will happen….but first…..

You’ve gotta get out the door.

Tell me have you taken the steps to get more active? Do you expect quick results ?  Have you been at it for awhile ? What has been your “by product” of physical activity?