Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I just started a 10-week challenge yesterday. I'm trying out a different attitude this time, and have enjoyed the first two days of the challenge more because of it. In the past, for many years, I used a hard-hitting "boot camp" approach for exercise, work, and most everything I did. I would throw myself into it, pushing myself hard. This worked well when I was in my twenties, and even my thirties. Over the years, though, it has led to overdoing things to the point where it has led to self-damage. My digestion is a mess, I have aches and pains in nearly every part of my body, and my energy had fallen into the pits.
I turned 60 this year, and am focusing on learning to take care of myself well. I started by finding a naturopath who understood endocrinology and metabolism well. She identified a lack of stomach acid as the source of my abdominal pain (gall bladder) and lower back pain (kidneys), and the biggest source of my lack of energy. Taking apple cider vinegar before each meal has been a miracle for all those issues.
Next I began a series of rolfing sessions. I have stressed myself so much during my life that my muscle fascia are stuck in tense positions and I've lost flexibility. My rolfer is loosening up those stuck places so I can stand up straight again and have better flexibility overall. It's been fantastic.
With improved energy and increased flexibility, I finally felt I had a foundation to build on so I could begin to focus on getting more exercise again. I started some gentle treadmill walking at the naturopath's recommendation for getting my blood pressure under control, and it worked well. I know exercise quickly affects my weight positively, and it helps regulate my appetite as well, so exercuse is now my priority. The 10-week challenge came along at just the right time for me.
I started with a 30-minute yoga routine with lots of gentle twisting and stretching to support the flexibility the rolfing has improved. I've planned that for aerobic workout days.
Next, I like interval aerobics because I get more results in less time than other things I've tried and they're not as boring as straight walking or running. Since I've been increasing my walking for awhile now, I was pretty sure I'd be able to do a 30-minute interval walk/run program again. Yesterday was the first day, and it went well. I was able to hit all the heart rate targets, except I was just short of the full AT (only 1 bpm short).
Finally, I did a short overall body stretch routine with a stability ball. I know from experience that stretching after exercise will help keep me from feeling sore the next day.
Today I was a little worried about the stregth exercises, because the only other time I tried them, I really overdid it. (I'm using the No Excuses Workout-- www.noexcusesworkouts.com/ -- routines for both aerobic and strength work.) Today I decided my goal would be to try to do 1/3 of the reps. I was able to meet that goal on most exercises, and I ended up doing more on some. I also took some rest time between the sets of exercises. I moved slowly and tried to stay in touch with how my body was feeling as I progressed. I kept my attitude open to stopping after any of the sets, but by feeling my way through it I was able to do a little of everything except the jackknives. Again I finished with the stability ball stretches. Earlier in the day I had also gone hiking with my grandson Sam. Sam is only 2, so it was barely aerobic, but I was moving for 45 minutes.
I'll probably feel the exercise a little more tomorrow than I did today, but I'm feeling really good about how this is going this time. Before I was so intent on doing everything optimally that I made it impossible to maintain. For example, I used to focus on exercising in the morning (which is really hard given my daily activities) since I knew morning exercise sets me up for burning more calories throughout the day. The reality is that doesn't work for me right now. I can do the yoga and strength exercises anytime during the day, and the treadmill work at night before I go to bed. THAT works, so I'm not worrying about those few extra calories which I'm not burning during the day. Some calorie burn is far better than no calorie burn, for heaven's sake!
I'm feeling really good about how this is going. And tonight after I recorded my workouts for today, I got another perk. I was listed as one of 14 people tied for number 1 in the Challenge Results! Woohoo! Never did that before!