Archives for category: exercise

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During my last doctor’s visit, while my numbers still needed improving, he was impressed with the amount of walking I did. Most months I walk around 65 miles, and while I was hoping to keep that up, August happened.

I’m not a fan of August now that I’m older. When I was young it was prime summer vacation time…hot, trips to the pool, weeks spent on Martha’s Vineyard. But now? It’s just hot…too hot to walk other than in the early morning. And add to that equation the fact that my daughter starts school the 2nd week of August, and my morning walks go out the window.

But I really didn’t even walk on the weekends. I’m not sure why. I was being lazy, I guess.

But today dawned cool and rainy…what is left of Harvey is paying us a visit. And while I can forgive myself for letting August slip away, I won’t let that same mistake happen in September. So I grabbed my umbrella and did my morning walk – just a little over a mile and a half.

It felt good.

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This week I decided to kick my nonexistent diet and work out regime into high gear. Vacation in July will be here before I know it, and I had trouble buttoning my favorite summer shorts this past weekend.

So I am doing an experiment this week. I am sticking to a 1400 calorie a day diet, and working out 3 times per day. Not per week….per day.

A few weeks back I hooked up our old VCR to an equally old TV in our garage and made a little gym area. I have a zillion VCR tapes filled with movies, MTV videos and TV shows, and I thought it would make a session on the treadmill easier to bear. We threw a few old carpets so we could do some of my old aerobic tapes as well.

So, my routine this week has been a half hour on the treadmill (1.25 miles) while watching a movie, a long 2+ mile walk during my lunch, and a short, 20 minute aerobic/weights workout after dinner.

Last night I decided to pop my old Jane Fonda’s Step Workout video into the VCR. I have the whole kit shown in the photo above. I bought it in the 90s, and subsequently have done it hundreds of times.  I have it pretty much memorized. But I got a rude awakening last night.

I could barely make it through the starter song…the easy one that you pretty much get warmed up to. I did my 20 minutes worth, but I couldn’t do all the moves…there were times I had to either march in place or do moves that were less “intense” than the already lame/easy moves in the video.

Holy crap. I used to do this video with one hand tied.

So what’s a 52 year old gal to do when she can’t keep up with a Jane Fonda tape? I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not switching to Sweatin’ to the Oldies. I’m determined to master that tape once again.

And I’m curious to see what kind of results I get by week’s end. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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A little over a year ago, my then 13 year old daughter had to go to the doctor for her yearly checkup. She was dreading it, because she knew she was chubby, and that the doctor would lecture her on losing weight, just like she did every year.

Old doc didn’t disappoint. My little girl left the office depressed and sulky with a wounded pride and a prescription for her acne.

Over the next few days she moped around the house, barely eating. When I’d fix her breakfast or dinner, she would bring her plate back up having eaten little. This went on for a few weeks, and I finally had to give her a talk about how if she wanted to lose weight, not eating wasn’t going to get her anywhere in the long run.

We shopped for sensible snacks, and cut out soda all together. She started walking on the treadmill we have in the garage for 30-45 minutes most days. I begged her to let me weigh her, but she refused. I think she was scared that the scale was going to reflect the same old fat number she’d had at the doctor’s office.

One morning I told her that she was going on the scale – that we had to see if what she was doing was working. If it wasn’t, we’d find another solution, but we had to know.

My girl had lost over 10 pounds in less than a month. And this was why I wanted her on that scale – that number motivated her to keep going.

All through the year she watched what she ate, but didn’t deprive herself of the occasional cupcake or egg roll, and kept up her exercise. I knew the weight was coming off because pants I’d bought her just a few months back didn’t fit her anymore, and the XL T-shirts I’d bought her for Christmas hung on her like nightgowns.

Fall rolled back around and it was time to head back to the doctor for another check up – but she was looking forward to this one. The nurse took her blood pressure, checked her vision and her height, and put her on the scale.

A few minutes later, she came back into the office to double check the number on the scale. She said the doctor had seen the difference in weight, and wanted her to double check that she hadn’t made a mistake.

My husband, daughter and I chuckled at this.

When the doctor came in, she was amazed at the change. My child, with hard work and determination, had lost almost 40 pounds over the course of the year. The doctor asked her how she did it, and congratulated her on good choices. She apologized for sending the nurse back in to double-check the scale, but explained that so few children actually lose the weight once they are told they need to, that she’d assumed it was an error.

Doc looked at her and said, “you really made my day.”

And doc made her day too. She was floating on air the rest of the afternoon, even though she had to endure a flu shot and her final HPV shot. She’s still watching her portion size and getting on that treadmill.

And I’m still buying her new clothes…size small.

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As many of my readers know, I tried to walk 1,000 miles last year, but my final tally was only a hair over 900. Even though it was twice as far as I walked the year before, there was little real improvement in the shape of my body.

I mean, I’m not a dope; I know all that walking did my body good in other ways…blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. But it did little to nothing in changing the shape of my body. My legs were still flabby, and the scale only showed a loss of maybe 30 pounds. I realized that just walking wasn’t the real answer.

So I kind of lost my passion for it. Here we are more than halfway into 2016 and I’ve only walked 200 miles.

Monday morning I realized I hadn’t been out to walk for almost the whole month of June. I’d been so busy with jobs and freelance that every single morning was devoted to meeting deadlines and getting work done. But with one of my magazines going to press, I finally had some time.

The walk was glorious, and I scolded myself for letting work get in the way of those cool, green morning walks to my favorite podcasts.

Then on Monday night, I got the call that my father had died. I’ll blog about that later. Now just isn’t the time.

I went out Tuesday morning, but my walk was anything but enjoyable. My legs felt heavy and my head and heart just plain hurt. I took out my earbuds and turned off my ipod and just walked, heading back home.

I thought of my dad, and how this was the first morning in my entire life that he wasn’t waking up to. How he’d never have another morning with the paper, and his slew of vitamin pills, and his breakfast with his wife Gabi.

But I also thought of how when I was a child, my dad would always go out very early and run. He’d drive down to a park in our town that had a long track, and he’d run. When I started walking a lot he reminded me of that, and said something to the affect of being a chip off the old block.

So Wednesday morning I went out again. And again today. I walked not so much for exercise, but more as a tribute of sorts to my dad. He’d want me out there, enjoying the morning, breathing deep and living life.

Both walks were phenomenal…I felt like I could fly. It felt less like a workout and more like a spiritual and physical release. It felt really fucking good.

Yes, there will be times when my walks are going to feel labored and annoying. But for now, with my dad looking over me, they are out of this world.

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I used to love springing forward. It meant longer days and warmer weather. But this year? It plain pissed me off.

You see, I realized about two weeks ago that it was starting to get light out at right around 6 am. So, I set my alarm earlier and head out the door to do my 2+ mile walk right at daybreak. But I wrote about that last week, and am boring you, dear reader, with repetitive nonsense.

So when I woke up on Monday morning, after the obligatory spring forward, it dawned on me that now the sun will be coming up at 7:00 am rather than 6:00 am. Curses! Just when I was so happy to get back into the swing of things, we have to go and spring forward.

I am not a happy camper. Now I’m largely stuck walking at lunch, which usually is no problem. But, it’s getting warmer here in good old Virginny – even though it’s only March, walking at lunch is getting to be uncomfortable.

It’s supposed to be 80° tomorrow….like I want to walk in that!

I guess there’s nothing much for me to do except wait for mother nature to catch up to the government mandated time change.

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Yesterday I noticed that the sun is beginning to rise at around 6:00 am, and this was very good news to me.  I really dig walking first thing in the morning, but until now, it was just too dark for me to do it safely, and if I waited until the sun came up, there wasn’t enough time to walk before I had to get the house ready for school/work.

So I’ve been stuck walking in the afternoons, which I don’t like as much. But today, I woke up at a little after 4 am – I got my freelance work done, at promptly at 6:00, with the sun cresting over the treetops, I went out for a nice 2 mile walk. With a few episodes of “The Lapse,” one of my new favorite podcasts as company, the walk went by quickly, and just like that, I got my daily exercise done.

Tada! Mornings are great.

Now, any extra exercise I do later today is gravy…the proverbial icing on the cake. I adore my morning walks, and have missed them over the winter. Hello spring. I welcome you.

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Today while taking my lunchtime walk, I was amazed by the number of people who got in my way. I mean, on an average walk in downtown Charlottesville, I may cross paths with a few people, but today? It was like Grand Central.

And it wasn’t just passing people on the street. It was intersecting at a corner where one of us had to stop or we’d simply collide. Or on several occasions I would meet up with a group of people walking together, none of whom would make room for my passage.

I have to tell you, all that stopping and starting? It got a little annoying.

And it made me think, why now? I mean, if I had left my office 38 seconds later or earlier, I may not have met up with any of these people – the sidewalks may have been all mine, or doubly as crowded. You just never know.

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Today during my morning walk, I passed the 900 mile mark. I had meant to make it to 1,000, but weather and time management got in my way during late November & December.

900 miles. It required me going out to walk 302 days out the the 365 – I only skipped 63 days the whole year – every other day, I walked.

Funny thing is, you’d think after 900 miles I’d be in much better shape. I’m not. I don’t feel like I’m in a better place physically than I was a year ago. If anything the opposite is true.

However, I have to wonder if I hadn’t walked that 900 miles, what kind of screwed up shape I’d be in. Perhaps being mobile most days of the year kept me alive.

I know I didn’t lose any weight…I didn’t drop a size. It just proves that exercise alone will not make a dent if you need to lose weight. But I did go through two pairs of sneakers.

One benefit of walking all year was my discovery of the podcast, especially ones that involve story telling. I don’t think I could’ve made it half the distance without all the funny, touching, bizarre stories told through podcasts like “Risk,” “Story, Story Night,” “RadioLab,” “The Moth,” and “Porch Light Storytelling Series.”

I recommend them all. Along with walking. I more than doubled my mileage compared to 2014. Why not get out and see how far you can travel in 2016?

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Clear strategy and leadership solutions

In the spring I set a goal for myself…I wanted to walk 1,000 miles by December 30th. Well, after some calculating, it seems as if that goal will not be reached.

I’d have to walk 136 miles before New Year’s Eve, and I’m fairly certain that ain’t gonna happen. I know that because I walked 100 miles in April and it meant never skipping a day and going out for 4 walks a day towards the end.

December is a super busy month, and although I will probably walk every day, I doubt I can do the required 4.53 miles per day to make my goal. Too bad I can’t measure all the steps I’ll take to do my Christmas shopping. That just might send me over…

But you know, I’m not giving up. Knowing I won’t acheive this goal could make it easy for me to sleep late in the mornings rather than bundling up and heading out in the dark at 6:10 am to put in a mile or two.

But I still get up at 5:00 am, and still bundle up at 6:00 because I want to see how close I can get. Plus, the walking is really good for my blood pressure, and at least I’m out doing something physical almost every day. I may not eat right all the time, but dammit I have the exercise thing down pat.

I’m at 867.5 miles so far in 2015…that’s more than double of what I walked all last year. I’ll be curious to see what I can do in 2016.

 

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It’s been pretty cold the past few days, but I haven’t minded at all. You see, cool to cold weather is my favorite climate to walk in. Here’s why…

  1. Being hot sucks. Unless you are at the beach with a cooler full of beer, being hot just plain sucks.
  2. I always have pockets. When I walk in the warmer weather, I don’t always wear clothing that has pockets. This means I have to hold my phone and my iPod while walking 3 miles…not fun. Or worse yet, I have to shove them in my sports bra, which I’ve heard can be hazardous to your health.
  3. Disrobing is an option. If for some reason while walking I begin to feel warm, I can take my jacket off and tie it around my waist. Let’s face it…in the summer whipping off my T-shirt isn’t a viable option.
  4. It’s Refreshing! There’s something about feeling that chilled air on my cheeks that is truly invigorating! Plus, taking a deep breath is so cleansing…unlike when it’s hot and muggy.

I’ll admit, walking in the cold isn’t all moonlight and magnolias. If you head out ill prepared, it can really suck. For example, the other morning I started my walk before the sun came up, and it was cold. I had gloves on, but they weren’t the greatest. My poor fingers were frozen a mile in…even shucking them up my sleeves didn’t help.

So even it means bundling up like Nanook of the North, as long as it’s below 55°, I’ll be out there pounding the pavement.