Movement is a Gift

“Verbing”

Here is a quick activity to prepare you to read this post. Read through this list of verbs picturing a 3-year old child doing each one: jump, run, skip, hop, walk, crawl, bend, sway, swing, shake, twist, gallop, leap, roll, twirl, kick, tip-toe, stamp, grab, punch, pull, push, wiggle, catch, throw, dig, wave, climb, shuffle, creep, march, turn, dive, skate, dance, jog, and stomp.

As I did this exercise myself, by the end of the list I was giggling. I especially like wiggle and creep.  Little kids are so adorable and watching them move in almost any way is cute.

We were created to move. Expectant moms celebrate the movement of their children before they are even born. As babies develop into toddlers, movement is eagerly anticipated and even documented in baby books: first time to roll-over, crawling, pulling up on furniture, first step…and on and on. Movement is miraculous and wonderful. It is awe-inspiring to consider all that occurs, beginning from the cellular level and spreading throughout our body systems, just for us to be able to get up to answer the door!

jumpropeMovement, then, should not be taken for granted! We want to do all we can to protect this ability, strengthen our bodies, and live life to the fullest…right? Now picture yourself doing all the verbs in the above list! When was the last time you shuffled, twirled, or galloped?

Re-framing Exercise

I love and am inspired by hearing about all the various types of physical activity that you guys are involved in! Hiking, half-marathons, boot camps, walks for charities, running, biking, weight lifting, cross-fit…I could go on and on. So wonderful! If you are regularly out there making it happen just take a moment and tell yourself “good job, self!” You are celebrating your ability to move and giving yourself a much better shot at being able to keep moving!

It takes a lot of determination and lifestyle changing to create a dedicated work-out routine. If you are watching from the side-lines and wish you could get a routine going, it is time to make it happen! Every person that regularly works out, at some point had to start and then keep going.

Re-framing exercise in our minds can motivate us to get started or continue to challenge ourselves. Our perspective holds a lot of power. For instance, when I don’t feel like exercising, I think of someone that can’t. We all know of people that struggle with chronic pain or other health issues that limit their mobility. We know of those with acute disease processes or medical treatments that make physical exertion impossible. Maybe this sounds dramatic, but it is important to think about how blessed we are to be able to move around!

Over the past 3 years my Dad has gone through two back surgeries in an effort to alleviate intense and chronic back and leg pain and weakness. It has been a difficult journey for him physically but also emotionally and mentally. Traveling this road with him has changed my perspective on the ability to move and exercise. During this time, if I didn’t feel like running one day, I would do it for my dad. While I ran, I’d pray for him and text him when I got home to tell him “we” had been for a run. When I hurt and ache from exercise, I am motivated to stretch and keep working so that those aches don’t become debilitating. Yes, I want to look good, but my perspective has shifted away from that desire to a more big-picture point of view. Being healthy, fit, and strong are my goals for whatever circumstance I may find myself in.

Maybe you need to re-frame your views of exercise. If you make it a “should” it can cause you to feel pressure and that can give birth to rebellion. If you put unrealistic expectations on yourself, they can be discouraging and lead to destructive behaviors. Instead of looking at someone else and wishing you were them, create the life you want. My dad is back on the tennis courts 3 times a week now. He and my mom are working out at a gym a couple times a week. I am so very proud of them! He still has a lot of pain, but he has re-framed his attitude about exercise and decided what kind of life he wants! He is making forward strides in improving his mobility and decreasing his need for pain medication. He is being active with my mom which is an important show of commitment to her and a time of bonding for them.

Exercise is not just a “should”. Being able to be physically active is a gift. A gift that comes with a lot of perks: better sleep, improved memory, cognitive sharpness, stress relief, increased self-confidence, better time management, higher productivity, improved mood, reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure,  & stroke! On top of all that: strong muscles, endurance, less fat, and less stress on our joints and spine. Feel better, play hard, get moving. I think a big twirl and some marching might just be in order.

Advertisements

Moving It Just Got Easier

Here is a simple exercise plan that doesn’t require any equipment and can be done in a small space, like a hotel room or dorm room.  There really isn’t any reason to not get your sweat on…and the benefits physically, emotionally, and mentally are enormous.  You know you want to give it a try…come on! Three days a week, pick two segments and repeat those for 25 min., then breathe and relax for 5 min.jumprope

Here are some descriptions and tips:

  • If you don’t have a jump rope, you can just go through the motions.
  • Once you are ready to work harder, swith the marching to jogging in place.
  • Squats:  this is the motion of sitting in a chair and standing back up, legs shoulder width apart
  • Hip raises:  lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, push hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your buttock and hamstring muscles
  • Jump shots:  motion of picking up a basketball from the ground and jumping to make a basket.
  • High knees:  marching with a focus on bringing your knees up as far as you can
  • tricep lifts:  bend forward at the waist with back straight, hold arms with triceps parrallel to the floor, bending at the elbow, move hands up and down while keeping upper arms close to your body and parrallel to floor.
  • jumping twists:  jump up and twist at the waist, land with toes facing right, then jump up and twist at the waist and land with toes facing left.
  • Shoulder, knees, and toes:  Remember the song, “head, shoulder, knees and toes, knees and toes”?  Okay, maybe not, but you simply stand up straight and then touch your hands to your shoulders, bend and touch your knees and stretch to touch your toes, then stand up and start all over again.

#1 Lower body focus:              March x 3 minutes.

10 right leg lunges, 10 left leg lunges

Jump rope x 2 minutes

10 squats

10 hip raises

10 jump shots

10 squats

High knees x 30 seconds

March x 2 minutes

Walk x 3 minutes

Repeat

#2 Upper body/core focus:   March x 3 minutes

5 push ups, then hold plank x 60 seconds

10 bicep curls

20 crunches

10 tricep lifts

High knees x 30 seconds

Large arm circles x 10

Shoulder level small arm circles x 10

Plank x 30 seconds

10 leg raises

20 crunches

Walk x 3 minutes

Repeat

#3 cardiovascular focus:        March x 3 minutes

10 Jump shots

March x 1 minute

Jump rope x 2 minutes

Shoulders, knees, and toes x 20

10 jumping jacks

Walk x 3 minutes

5 jump shots

Jumping twist x 1 min

High knees x 30 seconds

10 jumping jacks

March x 3 minutes

Repeat

**After your workout lie down on the floor and just breathe**.  You deserve to rest and relax.  Take 5 minutes of quiet to just rest and breathe.  You have time and you are worth it, just rest and breathe.

High Intensity is where it’s at!

baby fat Ok, as promised I am posting something about H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training).  You have probably heard that interval training increases the fat burning of your workout effort, but if not…you have now, and it does.  So is there a simple way to add this into your workout routine?  Is there a way to use this news in your life even if you don’t workout regularly?  YES!

There is a lot of information available online and in health and fitness magazine about H.I.I.T., but I like things simple so I’m going to give you the “Jodi version”.  I do workout regularly and am an advocate of the K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) model in as much of my life as possible and certainly in my workouts!  When I first started hearing about interval training it sounded like a complicated recipe:  start at an effort level of 3 for 1 min, then change to an effort level of 5 for 3 minutes, then change to an effort level of 3 for 1 minute, then change to an effort level of 8 for 30 seconds…you get the picture, it didn’t sound like anything I was interested in!  As I continued to read about interval training and the benefits to your bodies, I decided to work it into my routine however I could.  Sometimes I think we get the impression that if we can’t (or won’t) do something the “perfect” way then we should not do it at all and that is just not true when it comes to adding intervals into your life.

Enough about that, let’s get to the bottom line.  I run a couple of times a week.  Nothing spectacular, not in races, just for me, for my fitness, for my mental stability.  I also lift weights a couple of times a week, so that I workout 4-5 times a week most weeks.  I tend to get bored quickly so I really like to mix things up.  I run one day, then lift the next, then run, then do a yoga DVD, then run…you get it I’m sure.  Last week I ramped up my intervals on one of my runs and I felt like a super star when I was done!  I did not so much enjoy it while I was doing it, but the reward at the end was worth it.  Instead of timing intervals and having to keep track of that, I just set landmarks while I was running, or counted in my head, that way I didn’t have to focus on a watch and I could just pay attention to my body and make sure I didn’t trip and fall down!   This plan is great because you can start wherever you are physically.  If you are used to walking for exercise, great, as you walk, add in an interval where you walk as fast as you can for a time, then resume your normal pace, then after a while ramp it up again.  After you do that for a couple of times, you can add an interval of an easy jog.  See…simple.  If you are already someone who works out, just add in intervals to whatever you are doing to get your heart rate soaring a few times during your workout.  The health benefits are enormous as your heart muscle becomes stronger, your intervals can increase and your endurance will increase and feeling like a super star will be part of your normal life!  A perk to all of this is that after a workout with interval training, you metabolism remains high for several hours longer than if you have a work out without interval training.  Hence…more fat burning…yay for fat burning.

So, give it a whirl.  If you don’t normally work out, you can add this in too.  A few times a day just do 10 jumping jacks, or run up a flight of stairs, or play tag with your kids…be creative and you can find ways to start ramping up your heart rate and your fitness and you will start seeing the benefits too!  This is the perfect week to start with turkey day just around the corner I might add…

 

 

 

 

Night Songs

Surviving life with grace and hope

u.b.healthy

Create the life you want