I'm hoping these posts will get everyone moving on their New Year's Delusions... um, Resolutions. Maybe you decided, along with millions of others, that this is the year you are going to get fit. Maybe you are already doing well, and just need some encouragement.
Fitness Fridays are designed to help encourage you through the weekend, as well in your daily endeavors for a healthier life style. Let's be honest. You do wonderfully through the week in keeping up good eating habits and fitness routines, but things tend to fall apart. Anyone else in that category besides me, or am I the only weekend slacker here?
Here is what I want you to do. Each Friday challenge yourself to DO something to help with a healthy lifestyle. Don't just make plans and say "I want to do this and such, or try this or that...." . Fitness Friday is about DOING not dreaming, planning, or wanting to do something.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Try a new healthy recipe
2. Substitute a sedentary activity with something active (for example, instead of watching something with the kids, make them get up and do a Walk Away the Pounds DVD with you, or make up your own workout).
3. Do something active with the family (see above, or go for a hike, or a walk, or sledding, etc.)
4. Try a new workout DVD.
5. Make up your own circuit training workout
6. Make up your own cardio workout.
7. Do both #5 and #6.
The options are endless. Fitness Friday is all about an proactive step in your step to a healthier living style, whether you are just starting out, or an expert. Challenge yourself, and make it memorable so that you remember it throughout the weekend. Let it encourage you, push you forward, invigorate your thinking about fitness. Exercising, eating right.... it doesn't have to be boring.
Also, PLEASE post a comment. Let's encourage each other in what we are doing!
I'll go first. :)
For Fitness Friday I want to talk about jogging. Now don't laugh, because of the snow storm forecast for our area. Elizabeth and I got out before it really hit, though there was some tiny little flakes and a bit of wind involved.
Here are some things to remember when you are taking up jogging.
1.Start out slowly. Learn how to pace yourself. I have what I call an "All Day Pace". In other words, it is a pace I could do all day. I use it for endurance runs, like when we do a 5K.
2.Learn to love interval training. Seriously. Walk three minutes, and run as hard as you can for 2 minutes. If that is too much, then bump back the time ration a bit... maybe walk for 3 minutes and run for 1 minute. The interval training is very effective, and good for getting that heart rate up for some major fat burning!
3. If you are planning on running regularly, make sure you have good running shoes. Whatever money it costs, it is cheaper than getting foot problems later and having to deal with it. I need to take my own advice on that... my sneakers are worn out so much that there is absolutely no tread on the bottom. They've seen a lot of use over the last couple of years... running, interval training, walking, hiking, biking, you name it. I'm the only person I know who is looking forward to a new pair of running shoes in the spring instead of an Easter dress!
4.Observe proper running form. Keep your hands below your heart. It's going to be pumping like crazy, and it doesn't need to have to circulate the blood to your arms, above where it is in your chest. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Have you ever jogged and gotten that weird pain in the shoulder? You are getting tense, and you need to relax. Also, remember to take long, even strides. Find a "comfortable" breathing pattern. I say "comfortable" but what I mean is "tolerable". You shouldn't be breathing easy, as if you were sitting down or just standing and talking. You should be working at it, feeling a little out of breath. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to talk a little, but it should be difficult.
5. Plan your route.
6. DON'T plan your route. Both #5 and #6 are useful. Sometimes it is fun to know where you are going, where the beginning and end are, etc. Sometimes planning a route may help you to go a little further than you thought, or a little faster (if you time your runs... I don't, but to each his own). By NOT planning your route, you are opening up a fun, "whatever" and "wherever" type of run. Kind of like surprising yourself.
7. Bring water... especially if it is warm out. In the winter, I don't bother. But in the warmer temperatures, make sure you bring a water bottle. I know, at first it is going to be annoying to have to carry it while running, but you'll soon get used to that, and you'll never be sorry to have it when you need it. Sometimes a little mid-workout hydration is necessary.
8. Wear clothes you are comfortable in. If you aren't comfortable in those tight fitting running outfits, then don't wear them. There are no "workout wardrobe" police out there. Personally I like a nice, loose t-shirt. It breaths well in the summer, and I feel comfortable. This next part is a somewhat delicate subject.... women's unmentionables, if you will. Whether you call it "full figured" or "generously endowed" or anything else, invest in a good quality running bra. You can google them online. Look for "high impact sports bra" or something like that. And read the customer reviews! Women are not usually shy about saying if such a product lived up to their expectations, and you may find that invaluable.
9. Bring music! Or an audio book... a podcast... whatever. Even the most dedicated runners will tell you that sometimes you hit a wall or get bored. The best thing to do is to keep moving, and tickle your synapses with music, audio books, or a podcast. Keeps your mind active, as well as your body.
10. When you hit a "wall" while running (and you will at some point in your run) don't look forward. Put your eyes down, watch immediately in front of you, and keep going. Having something to listen to helps a lot here. Your brain may not realize what you are capable of. Just tell the part of the brain that says "I need to stop for a minute!" to shut up, and keep going to the end of your run. Then you can stop, and celebrate a wonderful victory.
11. Stretch. Please... don't ignore that! At the end of a run your leg muscles can get all ball up. Stretch the legs. My lower back sometimes aches a little, so I stretch that out as well. Waking up at 2a.m. with leg cramps is not fun. It can also prevent that "tight" feeling later in the day that you might get after a good run. I don't recommend stretching before you run. Cold muscles and stretching don't usually go well together.
12. Warm up first. Not with stretching, but walk a bit first. You can kind of feel your joints warming up and juicing up from fluids moving as circulation starts to increase. Then go ahead and go for a nice jog! Enjoy it!
So, there are my 12 basic steps for jogging. Now, today Elizabeth and I decided to go out before the storm came through. We haven't been for a good run in a while because of the weather. As we left the house there were tiny little flakes, almost like sleet, but not quite, falling. However, the road was still passable, so we just went ahead.
Our usual endurance route is down to the main road and back. We don't run all of it, because we walk for a bit first. However, what we do run is usually around 2 miles. I've clocked it all out in the van, so I know where certain mile markers are.
We started the running a little bit earlier than we usually do. We were both excited to be out pounding the pavement, and off we went as soon as we felt ready. The jog up to Route 6 was fine, and I had a decent stride going. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, I had a trick up my sleeve. We had planned to jog to Route 6 then either walk or do intervals on the way home. Instead I told her not to stop as we turned, and said "Keep running back, we're doing a 5K!" I was hoping to see her face fall in dismay so I could torture her. However, she smiled broadly, pumped a fist, and let out a whoop.
On the way back I realized there were two things I didn't take into account when planning our impromptu 5K. One, the wind was now AGAINST us, which wasn't too bad I guess, though getting a bit of sleet in the eyes isn't pleasant. Also, I need to remember that Elizabeth is MUCH younger than I am, and she took off without any indication that we had already run 2 miles.
As I approached our usual stopping mark for a 5K, I had to smile. I'd made it, and we would have a nice, long cool down time walking back to the house. However, my dear daughter had other plans. "Let's go up to where we started running." Oiy.
In my most loving, maternal tone I told her that I hated her, but of course kept chugging along. It was a good feeling to know we went above and beyond our initial goal. The total route from our house to Route 6 and back is 4.2 miles. As best as I can figure, we ran about 3.7 miles of it.
When we got home we did some strength training, too. That is one of the things I knew I needed to get back on track with this winter. I'm trying to do it at least 2 times a week, and hoping for 3. So, this morning, we added in a little bit after we refreshed ourselves with some water, and before we collapsed after the longer than usual run.
So, what have you done today, or this week, to help realize your goal of a healthy lifestyle?