Movin' With the Yard Work

My neighbor is in constant motion. She stands just over 5 feet, but that small frame delivers purpose and addition to speed. When it comes lawn and garden work, no one can keep up with her. Trimming. Weeding. Planting. Harvesting. Mowing. She even mows for another neighbor. She rarely stops moving. And she's got 10 years on me. She's the epitome of "YES, you can count yard work as exercise!" It depends on what you're doing, but aerobic conditioning, strength training, and flexibility, can all be done outside. But, take care.

Don't go crazy as the weather turns nicer. If you've been more sloth-like all winter long, don't expect to zip right out there and mow lawn, weed the gardens and plant all in one day. That's a recipe for bit time pain and suffering. Be sure to warm up by walking and going through some general full body motions to get prepped for your yard time.

And, be mindful. When your body gets tired, listen and respect what it's saying. Fatigue means it's time to stop for the day, stretch out, and do the rest tomorrow. It doesn't mean to man-up and bust your body trying to get it all done. Respect yourself.

It's a beautiful time of year. Time to enjoy your body in motion and learn to use mindfulness to understand it's limits. You'll get along much better inside that body of yours if you do...

Nicely Done, Mom

The screaming toddler was getting louder and louder. I had no idea what I was doing in the grocery store at 6 on a Saturday evening. But, there I was 3 deep in a self-checkout line that wasn't moving at all. And, the high voltage toddler was closing in. As they walked by, the mom calmly talked to the 3 or 4-year-old boy dressed as Spiderman. She didn't yell, she didn't give in. They settled in line right next to me. I smiled at her and let her know I raised 3 kids and remembered the tantrum stage well. Then I turned to chat with Spidey himself for while, finding out that he also spends time as Batman and Superman.

Even in the midst of this crazed grocery store, his mom remained calm with excellent parenting. She didn't have a big cartload of food, but I did notice it was all healthy. Spiderman tried to coerce a candy bar, but it was nixed. I asked if I could give him a clementine, which was readily approved.

As this wonderful mom checked out, I looked at the healthy food and calm but tired little boy, and it made me happy. I wanted to give them both a hug...

Exercise for a Crazed Woman

I started to pick at a loose edge. I'd been considering peeling it off. I was tired of looking at it. I knew wallpaper hadn't been a current trend in home decorating for a long time. The big yank that followed kicked off a series of actions I call exercise for a crazed woman.

I didn't stop there. I ripped off the wainscoting that skirted the entire breakfast nook and part of the kitchen. It turned out to be glued down with so much glue it ripped off globs of plaster off with every piece. So, I hauled each wood & plaster panel away and set it out by the garbage at the end of the driveway---should have worn my pedometer. I had to use big tubs of spackle, with an extra wide putty knife to get the wall back into shape. Couldn't believe how hard this stage was: sand, spackle, repeat. And, eventually paint. 

Then, like a virus, I keep going. I noticed the entry way looked pretty doggy scratched and worn. Definitely in need of fresh paint on the walls, trim, and door. After I got all that done, I considered why my small foyer had a chair rail around it. Was that a 1950's thing? Since I was still in destructor mode, I got the hammer and chisel out, and ripped that right off. It was spackle time again! Did I have a problem? Or was this a good type of work out?

Seriously. I've never had this much energy for house work, but I headed to our bedroom where water damaged one wall after a raccoon had wrecked havoc on the gutter, pulling it away so water had a chance to seep down the wall. Not so cute. We had the raccoon, roof, and gutter taken care of a couple of years ago. So, I grabbed the wide scrapper, and put some muscle in it as I broke through the dried bubbled bumps. End result: repainted all walls and trim in a calming new neutral. It makes me happy.

The Energizer Bunny was still going, and I had to do something with the half bath. A candle with a wild wick had actually created sooty stuff on my ceiling and walls that wouldn't wash off. Had to repaint. Since I've loved the light blue and white Nantucket-y look I had in there, I just wanted to use my old paint. Except, I had no idea we had so much blue paint. I found 2 cans. I started with the lighter one and got through 3/4 of the room. It just wasn't lightening up to the right shade. I tried the 2nd can on most of the room. Way too bright. Geesh. I gave up and decided a nice light aqua would work. After my 15th trip to Home Depot in a week, I got the entire bathroom done. My husband gets home, looks at it, and says, what do you think? Yea. Then he tells me it'll be "fine." Right. Obviously, he's not a fan. Oh, well. It's done. Fresh, clean paint. A little while later, I run down to the basement's storage closet for more paper towels, and I notice a can of paint on the floor under the shelf. You guessed it. Blue ocean mist or something like that label downstairs bath in big black letters. And, it was 3/4 full. Some weeks are like that. I guess the fact the I didn't find my pretty blue paint gave me lots more exercise in addition to frustration. Does that count as a little extra to my workout routine?

You know, sometimes you just don't have to hit the gym, you get plenty of exercise doing house or yard work. And, lately, I really mean, house work!!

I'm really looking forward to that massage I scheduled this week for those overworked, achy muscles!

Fit After 55: Senior Exercise

Winn, 96-years young

After traveling 750 miles, this field trip didn't disappoint at all. I absolutely love the Fit After 55 senior exercise class provided by the University of Connecticut's exercise science department. I'm proud to say that my parents have been part of this group for about 20 years. Incredible!

This group has had their share of difficulties to overcome including the typical hip, knee, elbow replacements, and some tough life changes, but they stay with it. After visiting several times over the years, it's clear that this wellness gang takes pride in their overall fitness. And they should. The quality of life for these folks is clearly above that of many if not most people in their age group. They are active and engaged in life. They know they have to move it in order to stay mobile and sharp. They get it. 

And, they aren't exactly new to the senior side of life. Heck, my dad's 85th birthday is coming up next week, and he's not even close to the oldest in the group! Winn takes that prize at 96 years old and he's still going strong. 

As they arrive twice a week, each heads to their preferred exercise machine and gets started. My dad likes to hit the stationary bike for a 15-minute program that includes a few hills to keep his cardiovascular system and his relatively new hip strong. My mom considers the walk to the class aerobic conditioning, so she focuses on the strength training equipment. I love the fact that they choose to park at their church 0.35 miles away and walk to class. Compare that to the 30 and 40 year olds at my gym who circle the parking lot trying to find the closest space!

Think for a moment about your own future self. What do you want to be able to do in 1, 10, or 25 years down the road? Active and healthy? If so, now's the best time to start working on it! Aim to do what it takes to care for the future self you want to be. Remember, it's never to late to improve your health!

Back to School and Healthy Living

New notebook and pens are ready to go!

There's something in the air. And it's something more than ragweed. A sense of busyness. Of unease.

Kids are heading back to school this week if they haven't started already. Parents and teachers are scrambling to get last minute shopping done and schedules organized. The relaxed time of summer snaps shut and the structure of routines begin again. Now, there is structure to adhere to and forms to fill out.

If you are involved with the start of school, you're already in the throws of this annual transition period. If you're not, it still impacts all of us to some extent. My office product junkie friends have had a field day these last couple of weeks stocking up on all the discounted file folders, notebooks, and writing implements of all colors. 

I've noticed over the years that many people seem to struggle with eating challenges when seasons change. Maybe its feeling melancholy, knowing those long summer days are shortening up and the nights are getting cooler.  Or maybe it's just that any changes can shake us up a bit. Whatever it it, 
we can use this seasonal change to our advantage to help us.

Get Back Into the Swing of Living a Healthy Lifestyle. Here are a few ideas that may help you transition to healthier lifestyle this fall and maybe even losing weight.

  1. Scheduling improves success, a.k.a. using your calendar!
  • Exercise 
    • Walking dates with friends
  • Sign up for a new class
    • Healthy cooking
    • Yoga
    • Walking/running group
  • Wellness support group or coach
  • Grocery shopping
  • Sleep
  • Joy time: time to do something that fills your soul with happiness
  1. Buy a fun, new insulated lunch bag with great new containers to refill daily. You don't have to be a kid or head out to a job every day to make one work for you. Packing a healthy lunch in the morning increases the likelihood that you'll eat a nourishing meal instead of noshing on whatever is at hand. You could even pack a second one for your planned, healthy snacks!
  2. Pre-package single serving containers of snacks. As you prep fresh veggies, put single servings into bags that are ready to grab at the front of your fridge. Individual bags of whole grain crackers or chips, popcorn, nuts, dried fruit, and cereal, all make great grab-n-go snacks. Great to have on hand at school, work, or home.
  3. School supplies can help you succeed
  • Colored pens make writing down your food intake much more fun
  • Stickers can give you an immediate "way-to-go!" celebration
  • New calendar or day planner to schedule time to take care of yourself
  • Little notebook to journal your food, workouts, grocery list, thoughts or goals
The key is to recognize the opportunity that the back-to-school fall season brings us. Take advantage of it and develop a way to structure your days and develop new routines that will enable you to achieve your health and wellness goals!