Sitting: The New Sugar

Posted: 643 days ago in Health

Sitting: The New SugarWhaaaat? Are you confused? Don’t be.

All of you know that sugar is not good for you. There is no upside. You should minimize your intake, though that can be difficult because it is hidden in so many things. Sitting should be approached with the same apprehensions.

The best advice I can give you, bar none, is to move more, sit less. And by move more, I don’t mean that you have to exercise! Of course, dedicating 5-7 hours each week to exercise is a beautiful thing, but if you sit all day, it is simply not enough.

Did you know: People who seldom sit, but never exercise, are generally far healthier than those who sit a lot, even if they exercise regularly! A.k.a. the moms of toddlers, teachers, and construction workers are healthier than commuters, and desk jockeys (even if the latter are avid movers).

Let me repeat: if you rarely sit but don’t exercise, you will quite likely be healthier than those who exercise regularly, but sit all day! This actually blows my mind, but it shouldn’t. Our bodies were designed for movement, and depend on it to keep our muscles, bones and organs healthy, and our minds sharp.

Don’t panic if you are one of the millions that sit for many hours each day! You have many opportunities for movement – you just have to take them.

  • Stand or walk with every phone call
  • Practice active sitting on an exercise ball
  • Walk to a colleague’s office instead of emailing them
  • Stand on the train
  • Walk on your lunch break
  • Set an alarm on your iPhone reminding yourself to move at least once an hour

I did a sugar elimination diet and, well, it was hell for a few weeks, but then I began to realize how good I felt without it. Minimizing how long you sit can be a similar process, but I promise, you will be healthier for it.

Move more, sit less. Period.

The Benefits of Cross-training

Posted: 1181 days ago in Lifestyle Wellness

crosstraining

Bravo to you if you are exercising on a regular basis! Getting started is half the battle.

The other half of the battle is making sure that the exercise that you do is working for you, and not against you.

Repetitive stress on the same joints, day after day, month after month, will wear them down. Do you notice how your most oft-used eyeshadow in the bunch wears out the soonest? Or how the most frequently pushed button on your keypad fails first? The same thing happens with your joints.

Oh great, something else to worry about, right? As if it’s not good enough that you are exercising. It is, it is! But distributing the stress amongst several different areas of your body will make it last longer and go a long way in preventing injury. When you switch activities, say from running to swimming, this break will give your knee joints a chance to heal from the repetitive impact of running. Additionally, participating in different types of exercise will keep your body guessing. Which means that cross-training results in… well… better results!

Our bodies are very efficient machines – challenge them with cross-training.bike

Let’s say during your first few runs you burn 250 calories. If you keep running at the same pace for a similar distance, your body will figure out a way to be more efficient at that, which means it’ll burn fewer calories. This is why programs like Cross Fit and P90X work so well; every day brings a new approach and challenge to exercise. Triathlon training also has a built-in cross-training aspect. I was amazed at how quickly my body changed for the better when I started alternating biking, swimming, and running instead of my usual daily step class.

And an added bonus for those of you who would like to cross-dress: you get to wear different wardrobes for each of these individual activities.

Who can argue with that?!

The Unlikely Triathlete

Posted: 1423 days ago in Wellness

theunlikelytriathlete

I was not an athletic kid.

I was not an athletic young adult, for that matter.

In fact, I had never run at all until I was around 40 years old. (With the exception of that time some creep flashed me, but even then I thought about it for a second…)

My early forties were a really stressful time in my life, so I decided that I’d best put my stress somewhere positive, lest I end up eating bagels in bed with greasy hair and a long-term relationship with the Kardashians. So I signed up for a triathlon…

even though I couldn’t run.

Or swim.

And the last time I rode a bike, it had a banana seat and handlebar streamers.

At least it sounded like a good idea at the time!

The day of my first run, I ran until I threw up. That run totaled around 100 yards.

The next day one of my patients, who is a Sergeant-Major in the Marines, suggested I run really slow, and really long; so slow that when I did, the old lady with a limp lapped me while walking her dog. But I was able to keep that up for almost an hour!

My first swim was not that much better. I did my version of the doggy paddle, but was able to stay in the pool for 30 minutes. I think I did a sum total of three laps in that time.

Nearly every day, I would do one or more of the activities that the triathlon would require. On particularly intense days, my therapy would include what’s called a ‘brick’ in triathlon-speak, slang for a bike-run workout. I think of it as Bike-Run-ICK! It’s hard! And therapeutic! There’s no way you can have a pity-party when you are trying to run with legs that feel like cinder-blocks (another reason I think they call it a brick).

Flash forward six months, and the finish line of the Iron Girl triathlon. I did it! It was not fast, nor pretty, but I have the finish line medal to prove it!

And guess what? That stressful time? A distant memory, hugely overshadowed by the satisfaction of being THE most unlikely triathlete, ever!

Confessions of a Yoga Convert

Posted: 1503 days ago in Wellness

Confessions of a Yoga ConvertI’ll admit it – I used to be an exercise snob. And an adrenaline junkie. Especially since I started competing in triathlons and half-marathons at age 40. After an intense cardio or weight workout, I would drag myself past the zen-like women politely padding into the yoga room for their ‘gentle stretch’ and think to myself, “Ha! Get a real workout! You are such posers.” Those were even some of my kinder thoughts. Then one day out of nowhere – I blew out my Achilles tendon while training for a marathon (the irony of that is not lost on me), and my days of ‘real’ exercise came to a grinding halt.

I was hurting physically, but was also really distraught emotionally. My workouts were a huge part of my day! Desperate to maintain my fitness level – and to continue fitting into my skinny jeans – I shamefully snuck into my first yoga class.

Boy was I bored to tears…. for about 30 seconds. Very quickly, I learned that yogis are fierce! And firm! A few weeks into my practice, my husband confessed that I should, “keep doing whatever it was that I was doing at the gym lately,” because, “you come home looking like you’ve gone to therapy. And church. And had sex.” I guess the whole ‘body-mind’ thing that yoga has going for it was showing all over my face!

After a while of practicing yoga regularly, I found differences ‘off the mat’ too, like finding peace throughout the day; that’s a wonderful part of yoga. And talk about bonus points: it was having a great effect on my body! Since starting yoga, my fitness level has not declined at all, and my muscles are long, lean and strong. Even though I can run again, I only do so occasionally and only when it fits in between the 4-6 yoga classes I take each week. I love it all: Vinyasa, Bikram, in a studio or on the beach – bring it on! So just when I thought my life was falling apart, it was actually just falling into place.

Namaste!