Friday, May 31, 2013

Exercise: My Thoughts

Author's Note:
As I was browsing through my older posts earlier, I realized that I don't have much on my exercise routine.

It's interesting to try to strike a balance within my posts as I try to lean away from the "HLB" label, but still incorporate my love of food, fitness, nutrition, and my thoughts on recovery.

Therefore, I've been hesitant to get into any sort of detail on exercise, but as I started thinking about it, I figured that this is just a part of my journey through wellness. There's no judgement, there's no crazy weird plan that I follow, and there's nothing to be ashamed of. So here goes:

P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos!

If you've been reading for a while or you know me well, you know how much I love move move moving. I have a love of the outdoors, the fresh air, and that feeling of being active. I'm also a big fan of "non-workout workouts." Where this all came from, I couldn't tell you exactly. Perhaps the fact that I've been practically on bedrest and restricted activity for rather extended periods of time, yada yada; maybe from my Dad who also enjoys being outside, yard work, fixing up cars, and racing; probably because I'm really in tune with my body now and know it feels just.....great.

I could get all science-nerdy and talk about the awesome health benefits of exercise, but for now I'll just start with the basics of what I've been doing and why.

I really, really enjoy "non-workout workouts" because I think that exercise should be incorporated into our every day lives without a lot of stress and confusion. I think back to how our bodies were made, and how in the Bible, there are mentions of how keeping your body physically active is important, but most people in those days were getting in their physical activity through their occupations and every day lives. People walked everywhere, harvested grains, hammered metal, hand-washed textiles, most of the day every day. Only in modern times have our occupations and lives become less active, with technology developments such as cars, the appearances of fast-food chains, the spread of public education (and transportation), and the inventions of televisions and computers. Because of this, people had to start getting "additional" exercise, which according to our bodies, should have been the exercise we were getting in the first place.

To me, "non-workout workouts" expend the energy that we need to expend without being a conscious "workout." Confused?

Here's some examples of what I *personally* consider daily exercise. Going out and doing yard work, cleaning up the house (I'm talking major house-cleaning, not just a few chores), shopping (yeah, it's true - especially the mall: bleh!), working in the garden for a few hours, swimming at the swimming pool, and just playing outside such as playing baseball and jumping on the trampoline with the bro or biking in the park. Hiking is at the top of my favorite non-workout list.

I've said it like 15 times now, but I'm not a big fan of the word "workout" in general. It feels like something forced, or deliberately done, and not enjoyable. I like to enjoy what I'm doing, even if it isn't easy. Believe me, there are runs where I'm like, "Why do I like this again?!"


So before I get carried away and mega-wordy, here's what's been going on my fitness life right now: I've given you tibits on the fact that I'm starting to add running back into my life again. WOOHOO!

I kept this to myself for a while, but this actually happened quite a few weeks ago - I've been at it for 2 or 3 months! Before, I was just walking and doing my other activities such as hiking and biking and whatnot. I've also been enjoying yoga and strength routines for a while.

And let me tell you: I have never felt better. I have been incredibly blessed with support from my nutritionist (whom I see once a month, or less if possible), my therapist (who I see once probably every 2 months), my family, and my friends.

Running just feels so right to me. I can't explain it. I prayed so hard, had so many sleepless nights worrying about when I would ever be able to do it again. I knew I loved it. I'll admit it was difficult not being very good  being really bad at running at first, but I pushed on and I am proud of what I've accomplished in strength, speed, nutrition, and getting in necessary relaxation time. I had a bout of calf muscle fatigue once (fixed), but have so far avoided shin-splints (which I better not jinx my luck by typing that! ;)), and I really credit my efforts of taking it slowly!

I do wear a watch to record time, mainly out of curiosity and goal setting, but I do not measure paces or try to make certain distances over certain times. I tried this at first, but I started getting stressed and frustrated, especially when I couldn't hit my goals. My philosophy now is a cliche, but so true: just do it. I just get out there and enjoy it. I normally hit about three miles (the perimeter of the neighborhood - that includes Mount Doom!), sometimes it takes me 35 minutes, and sometimes it takes me 24 minutes. It all depends on the day, how I feel, the weather, etc. I also make an effort to space out my days and have rest days. My max is generally 3 times a week, sometimes I've done 4 times, with rest days or strength days in between. But normally I stick to 2-3 runs a week, because that suits my legs best. I actually run faster with a couple of days in between.

I just feel so great adding fitness back into my every day activities. I've had to adjust nutrition and food to suit it, but that really wasn't a problem for me. Smoothies, here I come.

There's no way to explain how amazingly awesome this stage of life I'm in feels. I am so blessed by God - I feel blessed to have the great outdoors, blessed to have strength, blessed to feel so healthy, and this just solidifies my trust in the Lord that His timing is right and He is with me always. I could not have done this without my walk with Him, and His love overwhelms me daily.

All this to say: I'm excited to add some fitness into my blog posts. It will be a topic in upcoming posts! I'll mention it here and there along with my every day life, as usual. Thanks to everyone who supports me and believes in me - you'll never know how much it means.

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