Tag Archives: fitness

Lazy Lady’s Exercise Excuses

As I inch ever nearer to having to do active physical therapy for my shoulder, the specter of actually having to exercise again looms large. Sure, I’ve been doing household chores, stairs, and stuff like that for a few weeks, but in general, I’ve been trying to take it a bit easy and let my body heal. That alone is a first for me. In the spirit of firsts, then, I present exercise excuses and some ways I plan to deal with them, once I am given clearance to actually resume exercise.

Excuse: I am hungrier when I exercise.

Excuse Buster: If I was exercising rationally – like walking briskly – this might actually lessen my appetite. I might also have better luck if I make sure to eat a light snack and a heavy-duty protein drink right after a work out or walk, to give my body recovery fuel. I can probably do this for 150-200 calories with skim milk and a protein powder plus a piece of fruit. This might also help me feel full until meal time so I don’t just waste my workout binge eating.

drink

Chocolate-y Post workout Protein Drink

 

Excuse: I don’t have time.

Excuse Buster: As long as I am off work, that is just baloney. I have nothing to do BUT work out. Once I return to work, however, things get dicier. I work afternoons and evenings, and often overnight as well. In addition, I do this blog thing and freelance writing on the side, have a house to maintain alone and five pets. I even have vague aspirations to have a social life occasionally. The American Heart Association says I need to get about 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in per week. By my bad math that is about 15 minutes 6 days a week of hard exercise on top of my personal goal to walk an extra ½ hour most days of the week.

Hard exercise for me is something like doing a brief plyometrics, cardio or ab killer workout from my P90X DVDs, or doing what we called a “burn out” workout from the police academy. The burn out is this: Do 1 minute of pushups as fast as you can, rest for 30 seconds, do another minute then another rest, then another minute. Rest for 1 minute then do the same routine with sit-ups. Rest for another minute then do it jogging in place, running steps or sprinting. Total time actually working out = 12 minutes, not including the 30 second rest breaks or the 1 minute rests between exercises.  Just for fun, keep track of your number of push-ups, sit-ups and distance on stairs or running during each 1 minute burn, and see how much you improve. This one was a killer, but it worked and it didn’t take much time. We did this about every other day in order to give the muscles time to repair before the next killer session with lighter stretching and walking on the in between days.

burnout

Burnout Exercise

Excuse: I hate to get sweaty.

Excuse Buster: I get sweaty doing many things. Get over it, whiner, and take a shower after you work out. You know perfectly well the warm water will make you feel better. In addition, it is not good to just crash on the couch right after a workout. The body needs time to get blood pressure and heart rate back to normal. Work out, drink my protein drink, have my fruit while walking around the house, and cooling off, then take a shower. I can handle that. I don’t have to like getting sweaty, but I am a grown up and can deal with it.

 

some ecards

I hate to sweat

Excuse: I’m too tired/I’m too sore:

Excuse Buster: Supposedly, regular exercise actually increases energy and you get less sore over time. However, due to multiple medical issues like fibromyalgia, arthritis, thyroid issues and some replacement parts I don’t rebound like a normal person. I stay sore as long as I keep exercising. I was in the academy for 4 months and exercised every day. I never got more energy and I never got less sore. I did get much more fit, however. I need to set my mind to this fact and decide whether comfort and rest is more important than being fit, or the other way around. Somehow, I survived the academy and kept up with people literally half my age. I probably whined twice as much as they did, too, but I did it. There is no reason I can’t do it again.

Hit Girl

Kick Ass Hit Girl

I need to figure out the best time of day for me, given my weird work schedule and my dislike of mornings. Probably the answer will be working out before work – say, noonish – then taking my pre-work shower and dealing with the soreness by continuing to walk most of my work hours as I do anyway. If I take care with my food packing for work, I can have energy boosters like protein and slow carbs to get me through the evening. I also tend to drink a lot of water while I am at work, because we have one of those cool Sonic ice makers and I love Sonic ice. Drinking tons of water after I workout might help the energy level and the soreness. I have also already started taking a prenatal vitamin to boost my basics and add more B-complex vitamins. This might help me out in this department, too.

opinion

If I want your opinion….

 Other things I might try:

I can have my workout clothes and shoes laid out on the chair beside the bed when I go to sleep. That way when I wake up at noonish, I can climb into them before I am all the way awake and my body and brain have a chance to rebel. I can grab a yogurt to cushion my hunger grumbles, get the workout done, eat the post workout “second breakfast” and hit the shower.

I can log my workouts on Sparkpeople.com again and actually occasionally interact on a message board and read some articles there. I can track my progress on my burn outs, and add my food and water tracking, too. I have a cloth tape measure and can record and track my inches. That is much more motivating than tracking pounds since I tend to lose inches faster than weight. And really, it is the inches I care about more since my ultimate goal is to look better.

I can actually use the fitness app I downloaded to my Android to do similar things, and to keep track of stuff during the day when I can’t get to a computer. This might be tricky at work since we can’t carry our phones. I can carry my little notebook, though, so I might as well use that.

I can get back into doing a yoga routine a few times a week as my exercise. This hurts a lot less and actually helps the fibromyalgia and arthritis. I still sweat, because yoga isn’t easy, but it is a less stressful sweat.

cobra

Yoga – Cobra Pose

Therefore, it is resolved. It is written.

 

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford Bitch Slap

This article is copyright © 2013 Holly Cochran/iamintellectuallypromiscuous.com

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Lazy Lady’s Quick and Dirty Ways to Get Healthier and Be Happier

Let’s face it. I am lazy. A couch potato, a homebody, a slug. Those all describe me. I am also tough as nails and have been through a lot, and somehow rated in the 95th percentile for flexibility, ab strength and (before my shoulder surgery) upper body strength for women my age. That age is “over 40 under 50.”

As such, I offer for your consideration some easy-peasy quick-n-dirty ways to do things to improve your health without going to a boot camp or cross fit gym. Those places make you actually work out and that just isn’t right.

Stretch. Stretch a lot and all the time.

-Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds. Lather, rinse, repeat.
-Stretch your hamstrings and calves, shoulders, forearms, back, neck and hips multiple times a day.
-Occasionally measure your progress and notice how you have gradually become more limber and flexible.
-Flexibility helps you avoid injury and minimize the severity of injuries like sprains and strains. It also helps you get away from people trying to hurt you more often than someone who locks up as soon as their wrist is bent funny.

Be a complete freak about washing your linens.
-I switched over to all white linens and bedding, so I can wash them in hot water and bleach – lots of bleach – every week. This kills dust mites and gets rid of allergens like pollen and pet fur, plus de-germs the whole mess. I feel much less chronically congested since I made the switch. Also, my favorite smell in the world is freshly bleached linen so sleeping in this smell is heaven for me.
-Wash your mattress pad and comforters at least once a month in the same manner, even if you have to go to a Laundromat and use the $3 machine to do it.
-Regardless of your linen color choice, launder the works every week and use at least a color safe bleach and the hottest water your fabrics can stand.
-Wash everything immediately if you are or have been recently ill with any virus.

Practice sleep hygiene. Granted, I generally fail massively at sleeping BUT my sleep is a hundred times better since I started practicing sleep hygiene.
-Go to bed in a dark, quiet and cool room (I like around 62-64 degrees) in a bed that is comfortable for you.
-Use lightweight layers of linens so you don’t mush your feet flat in bed and get leg cramps. I use a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, a cotton open weave blanket or a flannel sheet as a blanket, a lightweight cotton down-substitute comforter and another thin flat sheet on top. The top sheet is to keep the pet fur to a minimum on the bed, and could be left off if I was merciless and kept the cats out of the bedroom.
-Go to bed and get up at around the same time each day, even on your days off. I have been a shift worker for years and have found that keeping to my weird shift sleep schedule on days off is crucial to sleeping well during my work week. Flipping schedules around is a good way to get bad sleep.
-Do NOT take your phone with you to the bedroom unless you know there is a pending emergency call or the high likelihood of one, AND it is an emergency that you can do something about in the middle of your night. Otherwise, silence the phone and leave it in another room. Check your messages when you get up in the morning and respond to anything needed then. Just the light coming on your phone if you get a call can be enough to wake up a fussy sleeper.
-Learn to use earplugs and a sleep mask if you work odd hours and have to sleep during noisy times or day light. I like the pink “for ladies” soft foam earplugs and my memory foam sleep mask.
-No caffeine for at least 6 hours – preferably 8 hours – before your bedtime. Chocolate, sadly, contains caffeine. Stick to water, milk, and juice in moderation or herbal teas.

Cut your stress as much as possible. I know, again I am not one to talk. I blow up those “rate your stress level” tests and suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. However, I have also spent a long time in high stress jobs without freaking out too much.
-When stress attacks think about the big picture. Most things that cause us to be worked up are small potatoes in the end. -Do some exercise – walk around the parking lot at work, run up and down the stairs a few times, do some calisthenics, walk the dog. Anything that burns up some of that anxiety will help you manage your stress.
-Stay away from sugar, caffeine and energy drinks in general if you can and especially if you are particularly stressed. They just raise your heart rate and make you feel more anxious.
-Meditate, if you can, or at least listen to some calming music or a meditation tape. I like Gregorian chants personally. Your mileage may vary.
-Drink some chamomile or bedtime hot tea or a glass of warm milk.
-Talk to someone trusted about what is going on in your head or journal about what is in there. Anything is better than keeping that junk bottled up and rattling around in your head making you nuts.
-If you find you are having anxiety regularly or episodes of racing heart and feeling panicky for no apparent reason, check in with your doctor. If you are diagnosed with anxiety or panic attacks, don’t be too proud to try medication.

Get your annual medical checkup. Annually, as in every year.
-The Affordable Care Act has made it a requirement that insurance companies cover an annual check up and a well woman exam plus mammogram if you are of a certain age or have risk factors.
-Get your lab work done every year, too, including a full range thyroid check (there are at least three different thyroid hormones that can get wacky and affect how you feel).
-Have the lab tests include hormone testing as well as the usual cholesterol, blood count, liver and kidney functions and blood glucose level. If something comes back amiss on your labs, follow your doctor’s advice on how to fix it.
-Listen to your body and if something feels wrong keep on top of your doctor until it is resolved. Lots of symptoms and illnesses are masked by other things or very tricky to find. You have lived in your body all your life and are in an expert position to what feels right vs. what feels wrong.
-If your doctor recommends a mammogram or a pap smear, suck it up and get it done regardless of your family history. Something like 40% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of it. Newer digital mammogram machines make the procedure feel much less like slamming your girls in a sliding glass door.
-Annual check up includes getting your dental exams and eye exams, even if your teeth seem fine and you don’t wear glasses.
-Get your flu shot and whooping cough shot, and any other shots your doctor says you need.
-Get your kids vaccinated and keep every one’s shots up to date. Just. Do. It.
-Do the same for your furry friends.

Track your eating in a food diary. Every bite, every day.
-Sparkpeople.com and other sites have great food trackers, and there are tons of apps for your SmartPhone or iPhone, too.
-Studies have shown that just writing down what you put in your mouth makes you more accountable to yourself and helps you follow a healthy diet.
-Learn about portion sizes if you need to in order to keep a rein on your food intake. A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of most green veggies is about ½ cup.
-Use a smaller plate to make your servings look bigger, and eat slower than you think is rational. Give your stomach time to tell your brain you are full.
-Eat the healthiest stuff on your plate first – vegetables or a salad, then protein, followed by fruit and whole grains. Save the starchy stuff like bread, pasta and anything sugary until last if you have it at all.
-If you can, give up white carbs altogether.
-Keep your dairy intake to high protein Greek yogurt, healthy hard cheeses and skim or 1% milk as much as possible.
-Drink 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of your body weight every day no matter what, and don’t count caffeinated beverages or sweetened drinks towards your water goal.
-Avoid artificial sweeteners and “no fat” stuff altogether – if you are going to eat or drink something bad for you, do the real thing. Your body will feel more satisfied and you are less likely to overdo it with the Big Gulp and full dozen donuts. Shoot for the medium or small Coke and one donut cooked in real oil, or a scoop of real and super-creamy ice cream.

Track your fitness using an app or an online or paper exercise diary.
-Walking ½ hour at a moderate pace is about 1 mile under normal circumstances.
-Wear a pedometer or some other means of tracking your steps.
-Count any activity outside your normal get up and do your job routine. On days at work where I have had to do extra stairs or restrain kids, I count that.
-I count a day of walking around shopping, too, because most of my days are not spent standing and walking for a full 8 hours.
-Count your stretching as fitness, too, because it is.
-Try one new yoga or Pilates move every week or every month, just for the hell of it.
-If something hurts when you are exercising, STOP doing that thing! Breaking yourself or making yourself hurt will not motivate you to exercise more, and sometimes the damage can be permanent.
-Find exercises that do not hurt you but that do make you sweat at least a little.

Become at least slightly germophobic. Not the washing your hands sixty times a day type – unless you are in the health care field and you will be doing that anyway.
-Wash your dish sponge in the dishwasher every time you run the washer. This sterilizes the sponge.
-Use Clorox with Bleach wipes every week on your phones, light switches, doorknobs, and any bathroom handles and fixtures.
-Go overboard with the Clorox wipes on everything if you or anyone in the house is sick with anything.
-Keep hand sanitizer mini-bottles with you at all times and use them.
-Any time you are out in public and there is hand sanitizer prominently displayed for use – use it, they are trying to tell you something.
-Wipe down that nasty shopping cart handle before you use it, too. Remember the Wal-Mart kid that was sitting in it right before you and his mom? Yeah, that’s why.
-Toss your toothbrush after 4-6 weeks no matter what, and immediately if you have been ill. Your dentist gives you a new one every 6 months, and you can buy mega-packs at Costco for the other times.
-Be wary of public bathrooms and be extra-germophobic in those places. I carry a mini-pack of Clorox wipes in my bag for just these situations, and use them to wipe down the seat, the handle, the stall door handle, the exit door handle, the paper towel dispenser handle and the sink handles almost always unless I see the cleaning person in the bathroom cleaning.
-Learn the “hover’ maneuver for really skeevy places like rest stops and convenience stores.

Eat a decent breakfast every day.
-Include a protein and a slow carb like whole-wheat grains or multi-grain oatmeal. My personal favorite is vanilla Greek yogurt, berries and lower fat organic granola mixed together. This hits every food group except vegetables and keeps me full for hours. I could probably add a V-8 if I could stomach the peppers in the drinks.
-I try not to skip meals in general because I have found I tend to binge eat when I am feeling starved.  Sometimes I get lucky and binge on fruit or something really healthy.  More often, it is something far worse for me than anything is in my regular diet.

Don’t weigh yourself constantly.
-Weigh and measure once a week and keep a diary of your progress. More often than this and you are just beating yourself up for nothing.
-Everyone’s weight and inches varies daily and throughout the day, so get off your own back.

This is the most important healthy lesson I have ever learned: Laugh at something (not someone) every day.
-Find something about which to be happy, joyful, and mirthful about every day.
-Find something beautiful to see or hear every day and laugh with joy at it.
-Laugh every chance you get, and don’t be afraid to laugh aloud and let everyone know you are laughing.
-There are studies that show laughing helps release feel good hormones called endorphins, relieves stress and burnout, and just generally makes you a happier person.
-It is pretty hard to be a negative Nancy when you are laughing your ass off!

Am I the paragon of health, fitness and virtue? Not by a long shot. But I have been to a lot of classes and counseling, seen doctors more than most people see their families, and had enough surgeries and procedures to read my own MRI scans as accurately as my doctor (true story). I have also lost about 50 pounds over a 2 year period and kept almost all of it off for the past two years on top of that. I have survived things that might have killed other people. I graduated second in my class from the law enforcement academy at the age of 42 – including getting a fitness endorsement. I have studied this stuff and what I can’t necessarily do I can certainly speak about with some authority. Not once did I lose anything of value by trying something new to be healthier.

This article is copyright © 2013 Holly Cochran/iamintellectuallypromiscuous.com

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