Monday, March 31, 2014
April 2nd is the day the American Heart Association declared "National Walking Day".
Hey, it's for your health.
No glitz. No glammor. Just... for... you.
Go for it.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
I've been on SP actively since joining seven years ago... today. Never a 'pointaholic', my SparkPoints don't reflect all I do here. I do only those things that help me and don't always bother getting points. Yet those points add up even when we ignore them. Maybe if I'd clicked for points each time I did something, or if I'd tracked online instead of on paper for a few years the numbers would be higher. Frankly,I don't care: every point I have had (until we got that 'give bonus points' thing) means something to me as measurable progess in my journey.
Having 'met' many remarkable, nice people in this time here in our corner of Cyberville, I've found more support here between the people and the site's many tools than have been accessible in any other group scenario available to me. Coordinating what I learn and do here with my own 'real life' docs, dieticians and physical therapists, I transformed how I live... my lifestyle... into a healthier one. Kind of significant to be healthier at 64 than I was at 57 or even 43.... and yet that's true. Without SP I would not have pulled together resources for the results I've gotten that show improved health and even contentment!!
In my book, my seven years of 'little' accomplishments have added up wonderfully!
And it just keeps getting better.
Thank you to all my friends who have supported me with comments, with cheers, with shared chuckles and wonderful inspiration!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
The relatively new feature on our Spark Pages - the Goal Board Check-In - seemed rather trite to me at first. Couldn't see collecting 'points' that had no meaning. (I'm truly not a pointaholic; use that button for points just as a checkmark that tells me 'done' on my to-do site list!) One day I decided to turn this goal board into a sort of daily re-affirmation of goals. I tweaked it a bit and now really zoom in and think about the items selected/personalized on it! It helps.
My items? Ok:
"I'M DOING THIS FOR ME"
Health issues and malnutrition brough me here to SP when my dietician recommended I use the nutrition tracker and tailor it to track various nutrients that labwork showed deficient. So my main goal was not and has not been the mirror-obvious one of working/needing to lose weight. True, I was and am in need of it, but hurdles need to be knocked down before significant loss will be visible on the scale or to others who see me. My goals have been and are like a pyramid, with lots at the bottom so that I can lay a foundation that is solid. I'm proud that as of about 2 or 3 years ago I'm now able to state that losing weight is among my priorities! Many people cannot understand that, so in fact: I most certainly am doing this for me. And the reminder on my goal board helps me feel better about all those unseen hurdles that I've crushed and left behind.
"TRY NEW THINGS"
My grandmother used to say that reaching out to meet new people and do new activities, to try new ideas... was crucial to being happy, to feeling alive.
My Goal Board reflects my grandmother's wisdom!
This is BIG for me!
Since disability struck, many of the things I loved doing outdoors fell out of my possibilities. I can't go for LONG walks, let alone hikes, because if I get a half-mile or mile from home or car I might not be able to get back. I never know when pain will hit. And so my tendency is to stay where I feel 'safe'. And that is not only boring, but pretty darned depressing for someone who absolutely craves being outdoors. I now live in an apartment building that has walkways circling it; my key works in any exterior door. So my goal board reminds me that as long as weather allows, I should walk out the door and start walking... because I can always rest on a bench and get in one or another door.
When you no longer can do activities that were once your joy, you must shove aside wishes for the past and grab onto the goodness that is close at hand. You must also expand your concept of what you can do, can find pleasurable. Which means of course that the goal to "enjoy life" is closely related to the goal to "try new things"!! VERY IMPORTANT IN LIFE and HEALTHY LIFESTYLE! What is change for the better and more healthy if it is work and feels oppressive!? Indeed, I am making changes and they are changes I LIKE... so that my goal to 'enjoy life' is always right there with me!
"PLAN AHEAD MORE"
Going with the flow is a real Flower Girl sort of attitude, and while I was never a Hippie, I've always had a go-with-the-flow approach to life. In recent years, I have with my Spark Goals discovered that I accomplish more by planning to do it instead of thinking "someday...", so my goal to "plan ahead more" emphasizes the word MORE. I am planning. But I want to include more into my plans. "Make my plans go further to include more activities and challenges" is what the words mean to me! Hmm and doesn't this link nicely to trying new thing and enjoying life and getting outside?! How about THAT, huh?
"WALK IT OFF -- 5,000 STEPS A DAY!"
All the rest lead to this specific action plan. It's huge on the plan because walking is truly the one exercise that can assist in many of my goals... including walking off pounds. Before developing knee and foot arthritis issues, I was averaging 9,000 to 12,000 steps a day over a week period. So I'm sort of back where I was in 2008 on the walking goal. That could get me down, but it doesn't. You see, I know I can do it! I CAN and will get back to previous levels and go beyond them. My current mid-range goal is to be certain the pedometer measures at least 4,000 steps EVERY day. OK, some days I go beyond the Ultimate Goal of a 10,000 minimum, but on a bad day I can sink to 400 steps. Fact is that if the pains are bad, I NEED to do 3,000.. which s still a 'sedantary' level. 5,000 is rated 'average activity level'. I want it. And more. I easily do the 5,000 steps 3 times a week in my pool exercise because I walk laps for 20-30 minutes... but those minutes are NOT counted since my pedometer is not waterproof let along able to count low-impact water-walking. (I hope you chuckled there?)
All in all, my Goal Board Check-In items 'speak' to me.
I've personalized the goals so that this SP tool truly IS a useful tool.
When I go to my Start Page each day,
I READ and think about those items I've listed above.
When I click 'for points', every point means something to me.
Do you look at your Goal Board?
Did you personalize it... or ...?
If your answers are "no" to either/both, why not go to your SparkPage and turn your Goal Board into a tool that truly helps you maintain focus!
And remember... you can do this weekly or periodically to concur with any challenges facing you or goals you are working to achieve!
GO FOR IT!!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Many people will say, "oh I can't exercise" or "well, I walk a little bit but can't do much more" and they truly do have physical limitations. Limitations are not roadblocks; we almost always can find detours when it comes to exercise as well as other goals; we can lower hurdles so that we can still move forward. Yet of those who view physical limits as stop signs in life, many often don't realize that if they have access to a pool of water, they can in fact move so much better with low-impact pool time! And some who think, 'yeah, that'd be great', many don't dig to find how to locate a pool. Money is the usual Big Factor here. My thought? Keep trying. You won't know what is possible until you commit to the effort.
If you've known me for even a short time, you know that exercise in a warm-water (physical therapy) pool is key to my exercise plans: without it, my 'land' exercises just aren't as doable because movement becomes pretty dfficult. I refer to my pool-time as my "lifeline to normalcy".
The low-impact movements in water gently strengthen muscles and joints in good health so that moving on land becomes easier.
I always loved water. Used to swim "like a fish". In the early to late 60's my local outdoor swim-spot featured JFK's Presidential fitness challenge. Other sports had challenges, but included in the program was a challenge to swim 50 miles. Every summer for 4 years I swam between 75 and 100 'logged' miles in 1-mile or more increments. I loved every minute! In my 20's and 30's I'd swim at the lake where my parent bought land and later built their retirement home; and of course, again: I loved every minute in the water!
-- The Presidents Council on Fitness (etc) is no new movement. www.fitness.gov/be-active/
It still challenges young people, too:
I can only be in water at or above 90 degrees. So p.t. pools are 'it' ... and actual swimming still isn't possible. But that doesn't mean I can't MOVE in that water! Especially when the music is just right: peppy! The minimum workout takes 30 minutes and is not enough; an hour feels good. But the workout that leaves me grinning with endorphins flying and having an all-over healthy feeling is a two-hour session that covers all levels of the activity I crave: slow warm-ups with stretching, strength, cardio and then slowing down.
Exercising in water - no matter which temperature you like/need - is incredibly flexible: it is for almost everyone. I've exercised next to children with juvenile R.A. and some with cystic fibrosis; young men with brain injury who are parapalegic (at the phys rehab hospital); people with multiple sclerosis; people in their 80's and 90's; athletes with sports injuries. Yup: water exercise is pretty flexible.
This week my pool schedule was set for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
We are expecting snow Wednesday night through Thursday.
Could I get to the pool - which is very close but still... - or not on Wednesday and Thursday?
I called the p.t. office this morning and changed my appointments:
I went yesterday, and now will go again today and Friday.
The sky can do its snow-dump all it wants on Wed and Thursday.
But my pool time won't suffer!
It's like heaven on earth. My life-line. A joy.
Having seen how water exercise changed abilities and outlook of many people, including myself, I'm pretty obvious in my advocacy of moving in water.
Appreciation is pretty kewl stuff.
Monday, March 10, 2014
I love music.
Some people use prerecorded exercise music when exercising, but I would rather pick and choose my own tunes. Am always open to new ideas for anything from slow and relaxing to tempest tempo.
Music can lift a sad mood or make a glad one even more joy-filled.
Music can sooth nerves on a stressful day, give reprieve from the chaos.
Music can ... do so much!
Being open to the new keeps appreciation of all types at a better level for me. I don't like or dislike a song because of its label: the sound or lyrics will do that. Hmmm ok, so twangy country, hip-hop and rap don't reach me, but... who knows? someday maybe one will? I can seldom remember a group or song title off the top of my head, because I'm one of those 'creative thinkers' that didn't get a cataloging capability at birth. I just... enjoy. Artistic people need people like me: we cannot DO the music or the art, but we savor what we find to be good, appreciate talent or views expressed.
This morning a morning talk show had a group perform a song that made me think: 'wow, that is perfect for walking!!' From my perspecitive, this song is ideal for teenagers and baby boomers alike. See what you think:
"Believer", by American Authors
I think I'd put it right after my difficult-day warm-up song:
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