Thursday, January 14, 2010

Be The Example

I just read Dr. David Ludgwig's book, Ending the Food Fight, and it was excellent. Essentially it is a guide for parents on how to manage nutrition, exercise and sedentary habits. The book is chock full of information (including food lists and recipes), written in a non-judgmental way, and a fantastic resource.

He talks about lots of things, but what I found most important was this:

The best way to help your kids get fit and healthy is to commit to these things yourself.

All the children around us are watching and listening (whether they will admit to it or not). If you promote and model healthy behavior, everyone benefits.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Try It Sideways

Every time I go to the gym to exercise on the treadmill, I walk sideways. First one direction, then the other. And every time I do this, someone on another treadmill or elliptical will look up at me in surprise. I want to tell them why I am doing this, but I'm not about to shout. So, I'll do it here.

3 reasons You Should Walk Sideways (& Backwards) On The Treadmill:

1. It uses muscles that get neglected when you just walk forwards

2. It breaks up the monotony of exercising on a treadmill

3. It helps with balance

And as an extra super bonus point, my new physical therapist, Mike, says walking sideways on the treadmill is fantastic.

Just be prepared to smile at all the people that stare at you.

Learn more about walking sideways from Prevention Magazine or Livestrong.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Find the Hidden Gem

I'm always on the lookout for pro-girl, pro-individuality, books and magazines. Mostly to see if it would be interesting for my 14 year old niece, but some of it is also for me. I want to try and understand the complexity of being a 14 year old girl in the United States (yes, I was once one myself, but I'm not sure I even understood what was happening).

So when I came across Exactly As I Am, I was somewhat excited. That excitement dampened considerably when I saw that it was written by Shaun Robinson. No offense to Ms. Robinson, but her job, as co-host of Access Hollywood, doesn't exactly scream girl empowerment and self acceptance. She does get extra points for working regularly with the non-profit, Girls Inc.

But the book left much to desire. She essentially interviews various "famous" people (mostly celebrities) about the difficulties they had as girls and how that didn't stop them from being the fabulous women they are today. Yawn.

I was about to toss the book back in to the library book bag when I came across this gem:

Your Health

For you as teenagers, it's so important that you look for healthy and positive ways to manage and cope with stress. Exercising, sports, writing in your journal, listening to positive, uplifting music, and creating art-these are ways to chill, "veg out," and download your feelings... During times of confusion and intense feelings...the endorphins from exercise and the calmness that comes from working out can teach your body to manage these stress hormones, so that you can control how you feel to some degree.

I'd been struggling with how to explain the importance of exercise to my niece, in a way she could understand and maybe even agree. I didn't want to make it about looking a certain way, or about avoiding disease (fear doesn't really motivate people) but this is a perfect (& true) way to talk about it.

I exercise because it strengthens my body & mind so that I can excel in life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Print It Out

Yesterday, I had my first appointment with a physical therapist for my six week LUMBAR SPINE REHABILITATION PROGRAM. I had prepared a sheet ahead of time with my current exercise program, with times and weights all nicely listed for his reading pleasure. He was giddy with joy when I gave it to him. Right there, on the paper, in black and white, was exactly what my body was currently capable of. He didn't have to drill me about what I had been doing, how much weight I could lift. None of that.

He was confused a little at first. "Wait, you are walking on a treadmill for an hour, three times a week?" he said. "Wow. That's awesome." He gave a huge thumbs up to my walking sideways and backwards on the treadmill, and my use of the incline.

I did some tests (mostly about how far back I could bend) and then we started on my new exercises. When we were done, he told me that he sees most people 3x a week, but that since I was could do everything at home, and since he knew I was super motivated (he had the proof of that in his hands), I would only have to come in once a week.

I'm planning on incorporating the new exercises in to my plan, have set up a way to track that I am in fact doing them everyday, and plan on giving him a full report next week.
And I am monumentally proud of myself.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Know That Slow Is The Way To Go

Happy New Year! I'm sure you are just bursting to the seams with resolutions: You're going to lose 40 lbs! Eat better! Exercise more! And you are going to do all of it full force, all at the same time. Yeah, well, good luck with that. I'd love to see you succeed, I really truly would, but making that many broad changes at once is not going to be sustainable.

So, let the foolish ones spout on about their fabulous (and detailed) new exercise programs, watch them shop to get new clothes, new shoes, new food gadgets (that will just gather dust after 2 months), while you smirk, and quietly think to yourself, "Go Fast and It Won't Last"

You need to do something 16-20 times in order to make it a habit. So just focus on these five things, until they become a habit, then add five more.

5 things you can do right now to improve your health:


1. Eat sitting down, and focus on the smell and taste of everything.

2. Add an extra serving of fruit or vegetables to every meal.

3. Sit up straight when you find yourself slouching.

4. Take 15 minutes every day to decompress. (This could mean lying down in a dark room, thumbing through a magazine, kicking a soccer ball, etc. Do what works best for you.)

5. Know that you are the most important person in your world, and act accordingly.

5 things you can do right now to improve your health:


1. Up the intensity of your workout by adding more time, more incline, or more weights.

2. Change up your meals: add new vegetables, try new spices and foods.

3. Encourage friends to get together to exercise, rather than just eat.

4. Try new brain boosting activities (Play games, learn a new sport, read a book you wouldn't normally read, learn a new language.)

5. Know that you are the most important person in your world, and act accordingly.

Happy 2010!