Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good Health Guidelines: Activity

This is the one that people either love or hate. I fall into the "love" category most of the time, though I definitely have my days where I would rather stay home and read blogs. This time of year is easy, with the weather and scenery cooperating to make me want to go play outside. In the middle of winter, I am less thrilled to put on my running shoes. Even if I'm working out in the gym, I still have to scrape my car and get there first!

At my last Weight Watchers meeting I saw very few hands go up when the leader asked how many people got their half hour of activity on most days, even after the leader explained that activity could include things like housework, gardening, or walking the dog. I don't think that's unusual: An activity-free life passes for normal with most people. This time of year, my suburban neighborhood is filled with ear-splitting noise from leafblowers, which, from the sounds of it, take longer than a real rake to remove leaves from a yard. When I mentioned that I had walked the two blocks from my house to my Pilates class, the other women there seemed surprised. My husband and I chose this neighborhood for its walkability, but I have to say that I don't always take advantage of it. There are days when I choose to drive to my office rather than walk the 1.5 miles, even when it's beautiful out and I have plenty of time. It's a nice walk, but it's so easy to just jump in the car.

Lately, I have been trying to include more balance in my fitness routine. For a while, it was all about hard-core triathlon training: Swimming, biking, running. Now I'm doing a little less of that to make time for things like Pilates and strength training, as well as more restorative activities like walking and yoga. One nice fall day last week, I suggested to my husband that we take the digital cameras out and go on a photo safari to get pictures of the colorful leaves. It was a lot of fun and turned an hour-long stroll in the park into an adventure. Plus, I earned enough activity points to have some popcorn later that night when watching TV!

Most of the time, I really look forward to my exercise, especially my runs. I was happy to hear that running is not necessarily bad for the knees because I'd love to be able to keep doing this well into my Medicare years. There are so many days when I see something on my run and think, "If I had stayed on the couch, I would have missed that!" Today was a really windy day, and I was almost tempted to skip, but when I got out, the park was beautiful and there were ducks and geese playing in the water. It's a rare day that I don't enjoy the workout once I'm out doing it.

But there are days that are really crummy. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes, I tough it out and just get through the workout, knowing that I will be glad to do it when I'm done. If I'm in any real pain or if I'm just feeling miserable, I bag it. Sometimes my body -- or my mind -- needs a break. I always plan at least one day a week that is either a total rest day or at least a lighter workout, like yoga or a relaxed walk.

What motivates you to get your activity in?

1 comment:

  1. I love that picture and I love the bridge. You should get a shot (from the back) of you running across the bridge. It reminds me that there are so many things on the other side that we don't anticipate.

    Something that I find very motivating is that as we age we either have to use it or lose it. I volunteered at a nursing home and saw way too many examples of people who lost it because they did not remain active. It is totally a quality of life thing and it becomes more and more important as the years go by. I think one of the saddest things was when this 83 year old (who I came to love dearly) said to me that perhaps if she was more active as she got older, she might not have spent the last 10+ years in a wheel chair. I don't want to ever look back and have that thought.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07