Thursday, January 03, 2013
I've found that many of the things that lead to happiness or healthy lifestyle success are counter-intuitive. Therefore my goal for 2013 is to remember this and fight the natural urge to just go with the flow.
The best thing to do when I feel chilled in the winter is to go outside for a walk. Yesterday it seemed particularly cold. You know how some days feel that way? Often they aren't the coldest days or windy or subject to precipitation. It just "feels" cold. Both DH and I were bundled up inside the house, before and after dinner. I knew what I needed to do to fix it, but it sure didn't seem logical! I knew that if I put on my anorak, hat, scarf and gloves (and reflective vest and flashlight) and did the two-mile loop of our street, I'd feel toasty warm by the time I returned home. The hardest step was opening the closet door and donning the jacket because it seemed an insane option. My hands were like ice and the rest of me was protesting too! My brain knew this was okay and would ultimately make me happy, but my gut was thinking I was nuts. With my warm wardrobe, I wasn't uncomfortable, even with the first steps. By the time I returned home I was toasty warm and the metabolism boost stayed with me until bedtime.
Arthritic body parts hurt a lot less when you give them regular exercise. That one is definitely counter-intuitive. When my knees are really sore and creaky, the last inclination is to consider that I haven't been active enough. But it's true. I was sick for almost a month with a bad bout of bronchitis, starting right before Thanksgiving and lasting until almost Christmas. They put me on all sorts of medicines - inhalers, steroids, antibiotics, cough medicine...the works. The coughing and breathing issues threw a total wrench in my normal fitness routine. By Christmas, my knees were creaking like an old woman and stairs were slow and achy. Missing out on strength at the gym also impacts my hands and wrists. I've found that upper body work involving free weights really strengthens those areas and makes the carpel tunnel issues retreat. So of course the answer is to JUST DO IT and ignore the seeming logic of babying myself. I took a challenging eight mile hike on Sunday, a rest day on Monday and started up my normal routines again yesterday. I anticipate being ache free within a few weeks.
Since time alone on my feet, outside, is also a very contemplative time for me, my mental health benefits from these habits too. All the stresses of the world are minimized by heading outdoors and planting one foot in front of the other.