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Sue's Blog

Thursday, 04/17/14 - Getting Yourself Off To a Good Start

“Then the Lord said to me, “Arise, begin your journey.”

One way to love yourself is to keep your physical body in shape, and one of the best ways to do that is to be committed to some kind of physical activity.   I started a regular exercise program when I turned 40 after having our second child.  He's 21 now so you do the math!    I remember taking James to a work out class in a church carrying all his baby, work out stuff and him through the snow!  Can you picture this??!  ha!  

He was really good when he was 9 months old but as he started to grow out of his little carrier he became fussy and wanted mommy to get him out of that chair!  So I’d have to pick up all my stuff and leave in the middle of the class.  It was a bit frustrating but I kept coming back for more because it made me feel so much better! Plus I was getting out of the house and making new friends! 

Finally I decided to take him to a sitter while going to exercise class just to give me some mommy time alone!  Well it paid off because I kept up this routine for the next 15 years getting into all sorts of aerobic training, weight lifting, kick boxing, boot camps, Karate classes, etc.!  

After that I started becoming ill around 2007 with serious health issues which later I discovered was from the gluten/wheat allergy.   It wasn’t until about 2010 that I got back into walking on a regular basis.  Now I’ve gotten back into Curves for Women in Lakeway and absolutely love it!  It’s a great place for women my age too because I can go as fast or slow as I like and some days I’m slow!!  But I can really tell the difference in my body and muscle tone!   There are women that come to Curves in their late 80's!  I admire those women for staying active and want to be there too yaking it up with friends on into my 90's!

The toughest part of a new exercise program is getting started.  Following are some extremely simple ways to begin fitness programs that stick for life –

  1. A Daily Walk – Something as simple as walking thirty minutes every day is very beneficial for your health.  Do what’s manageable, not what leaves you gasping for air!  If you’re able to talk while walking with a friend that’s a good start!  Or consider spending time with The Lord during your daily walk. Even if it’s only 15 minutes.  I often take my ipod or mobile phone to listen to spiritual lessons or uplifting music if I’m walking without my husband or a friend.
  2. Indoor Activity – You can exercise in the privacy of your own home using a video, or you can take an exercise class.  Personally I try and make it to Curves for Women 4 days a week and at least 3 days.   Sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t make it as much that week.  Never beat yourself up for not making it to class, etc.; the important thing is just to get back on track!
  3. Strength Training – Strengthening your muscles can be done quickly and at home too, without any special machines.  Sit-ups, push-ups, or lifting simple weights doesn’t take long or cost much, but these things are very good for you!  I get strength training from working the circuit at Curves.  I go as fast or slow as I want depending on how I’m feeling that day.   You can even use furniture and do knee bends if you’re just getting started or are weak at first.  Hold on to the furniture and squat up and down about ten times.  Do this throughout the day for a few minutes a day if you feel you’re not getting enough activity.
  4. Running or Biking – Personally I’m not a runner, but my husband has run 10 marathons in his life. I always say you either love running or you hate it and I'm not one of those who loves it!  Running and biking are good options though for those who love those activities.  Riding a bicycle is easier on your joints than running and they have spin classes too at the gym for those who are interested in this activity.
  5. Swimming – Swimming provides a good, gentle cardiovascular workout and works many muscle groups at once. It’s also wonderful for those who have arthritis or joint issues and is a gentle exercise for the elderly to get and stay in shape. 
  6. Gardening - Working in the yard or planting a garden provides great physical activity.  Of course it's important to do this consistently or you're most likely gonna feel some real pain if you just go out once in a while and do some bending and stretching!  ha! 

The main thing is to start slowly if it’s been awhile since you’ve done much physical activity or you have had some sort of injury or serious illness.  It's always going to be harder in the beginning but remember what they say, "no pain no gain".  That doesn't mean though that you have to strain yourself!  Go slow and pace yourself.  Let your body tell you when it's had enough!  

Another good thing is building up a habit and they say it takes about 21 days of consistency to build habits so try it and stick with it and you’ll notice yourself feeling much better, blood pressure drops, sugar levels improve, etc.  Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any exercise program if you’ve been under their care recently.    Exercise can add more healthy years to your life so get started today and keep it up!

“What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health,” said principle investigator Professor Peter Elwood of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. “Healthy behaviours have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.”  Read more here about how exercise affects your brain, preventing dementia and more -

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/exercise-most-effective-lifestyle-choice-for-preventing-dementia-researchers-say-8994202.html

Enjoy the Journey,

Sue


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