Today I invite you to join me in the 2012 Fitness Challenge: making this year the BEST year for fitness ever! Even if you're rather sedentary, like me, you can increase your activity slowly. you may remember that back in 2007 I was unable to walk up and down the stairs in my home or out to the mailbox across the street and back without pain, heavy breathing, and exhaustion. I changed that very gradually by first walking out the door, 2 houses down the street and back each day. Five minutes was all I could tolerate. I used to lament that I could not walk my kids to the park only 2 blocks away; now, we do that on a regular basis and it is not at all difficult. You CAN change, even if it seems impossible. Do check with your doctor first before you begin any exercise program.
To join the Fitness Challenge, I asked you to choose some activity (or activities) that you would enjoy and are able to do, and make a commitment on your calendar or planner to do them regularly. It will be like an appointment you keep with yourself. Have you done that? Have you started your activity yet? If not, now's a great time!
Over the past 2 years, I have used Medifast as an excuse to let my fitness slide. I figured since I was doing a restrictive, low carb, low calorie plan, I didn't *need* to exercise to lose weight. Since I had been doing a lot of exercise in the two years prior, stopping has had a profound effect on me. I've become weak, unable to carry or lift much, and unable to tolerate any kind of aerobically intense activity, I get tired easily when raking leaves or doing heavy work. I was unable to complete a hike this summer that I had completed easily the year before, even though this year I was a good 40 pounds lighter. I do not like this weakness. I want strength, so that is what I am going to build. Even on Medifast, it is recommended to exercise for up to 45 minutes a day vigorously. I can handle that. I will have to work up to it so I don't injure myself, and I do have to limit certain activities because of my severe degenerative arthritis. But I am determined that this year I will become the fittest I have been in my life.
I am starting slow. My goal is to work up to:
Walking 2 miles/day, every day (with my dog)
Biking (on my indoor recumbent bike) 30-45 minute a day, 6 days a week
PT exercises 2-3 times a week, 20 minute sessions
Strength training/lifting 3 times a week, 20-30 minute sessions
Other activities as desired, such as swimming, skating, and hiking.
My ultimate dream goals are to be able to do a complete agility course with my dog, and to rollerblade (with my dog would be nice, but not sure if she will cooperate!)
I am starting from basically nothing. My only exercise these past months has been walking the dog a mile here and there. So this week I made a goal of walking 1 mile every day AND biking for 5 minutes a day. Five minutes might not seem like much, but it's a start, and I do not want to cause any injuries. It's more a mental game at this point anyway.
I walked a mile on the first and the second. Yesterday, I went to the dungeon, I mean office, and stared at my bike under the piles of boxes and junk in that roomful of clutter. It's where I shove all the boxes of "I don't know what to do with this" stuff. I took a deep breath and dug in. It only took me about ten minutes to clear all the stuff from around and on top of the bike. I dusted it off and got on. I didn't have a radio or music or a TV to watch or anything... just me and my room of clutter, biking for 5 minutes, deep in thought. I looked around at all the boxes. They represent my life. All the stuff I have been hanging on to, unwilling to let go. Unwilling to move forward. The boxes of trucks and army men and stuffed snakes reminded me of my houseful of little boys, how loud and fun and sweet they were, how much I miss my little boys who've turned to teens and men. I saw the old computers stacked in the corner and remembered how I met my second husband on one of them, nine years ago. How things have changed. I looked over at the boxes and boxes of paperwork dating back twenty years, all the bills that used to stress me out but now are paid, the divorce papers, the pictures of my foster children, the piles and piles of medical records from my children who suffered so much from health conditions. I remembered the long stays at the Ronald McDonald house, the procedures, the surgeries, the tears from my little ones afraid in the hospitals far from home as I stayed by their side. The therapy dog who cheered up my son... the little stuffed bear they gave my daughter as she came out from under... the tubing from oxygen tanks that used to line the walls...
The timer beeped. Five minutes was up. I have a lot of work to do, and I am ready to let go and move forward.
I biked just over a mile in that 5 minutes but I went a lot farther than that mentally.
Next week, I will increase my bike time to ten minutes and I will add a few PT exercises and perhaps a bit of lifting... just a ten minute routine to do on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. And then I will work my way up from there as the weeks go by.
Take this challenge and make it your own. Make a plan. Share it here. Change your life.
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