Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Fitness Challenge: How Will You Change Your Life?

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.


Tina said...

Way to go Lyn! I've been not doing enough cardio which is the part I hate the most. Headed out now to get my walking in. Thanks for the inspiration!

Deborah said...

It's so funny that I should come across your entry today of all days where I've been in the fitness center for the first time.

Like you I've decided that this year is the year for CHANGES. Both in my exerciseregime and my weight. I need to loose a serious amount of weight as well. I'm hoping the exercise will be a good exstra help apart from reducing my aches and pains. Actually since I came home today I haven't had back-pain, which always have otherwise. We can do it :-)

LHA said...

Thanks for posting this challenge. I really need some kind of kick in the pants to make me exercise! My goal may be the most modest that anyone posts, but I am starting from LESS than nothing in terms of activity. My goal for the week is to do some form of exercise for thirty minutes, 5 days out of 7. I like to swim, I have walking shoes, I belong to a gym....the list of possibilities is pretty long actually. I work long and sometimes crazy hours, but I know I can carve out 30 minutes on most days to do some form of exercise.

Thanks for encouraging all of us in this new year!

spunkysuzi said...

I made this plan a week or so ago and have stuck to it since.
Monday-walking group
Tuesday-weights and stretching
Wednesday-interval walking
Thursday-Leisure walk
Saturday-interval walk
Sunday-yoga/rest day

Now today I not only did weights but also got tomorrows walk in so tomorrow I'll just do some stretching :)
In the spring I'll also be doing some biking!

lisa~sunshine said...

I'm ready to bump my fitness level this year.. Thanks for doing this challenge..
My plan for the next 14 weeks..
3 days walk/jog using a progressive program to get close to being able to jog a 5K or more miles than I can now
2 days of full body progressive strength workout
2 days of a cardio workout of choice.. either wii, walk, treadmill intervals with walking/powerwalking... or anything else I think is fun and want to do..
Most of my workouts will be Mon-Friday with anything I want to be done fun on the weekends with my family...
Thanks again for doing this challenge and helping us to hold ourselves accountable..

Anonymous said...

That was a powerful post, Lyn. As always, you articulate exactly what I am thinking and feeling! My mother died in Sept., my little boy is growing up, and I desperately need to return to my fitness and Medifast regimen. MF helped me like nothing else, I agree with you on that.

For the past five years, I've been helping care for my mother. The last year was the most difficult and time-consuming. Now that she has passed away, I of course am sad, but am also grateful that I have the time to focus on myself and get healthy. Hopefully, I won't wind up dying a horrible death due to morbid obesity as she did.

Anyway, I can absolutely relate to everything you said...best of luck with your own resolutions, too. You've done great and should be truly proud of yourself!!!

karen@fitnessjourney said...

Thanks for sharing that moving story of how you took things one step at a time. It worked for you then so you plan with the biking and weights could surely be as successful.

Bobbie said...

I haven't been doing anything for a very long time. I will start though. Also, had cabbage for supper tonight. So that was Kale on Sunday and cabbage today.

Rachel said...

Go Lyn! For the fitness challenge, I'm committing to 3 workouts a week involving any combination of walking, strength training, and yoga. That may sound vague, but my biggest problem has always been lack of consistency and a tendency to make grand, detailed plans with no follow through. So to do ANYTHING, for ANY amount of time, three times a week consistently for 14 weeks would be a huge deal to me.

Also, just wanted to mention that although my blog is new, decluttering is one of its themes. I feel so good when I let go of stuff I don't need anymore! In December, I threw away or donated one thing per day; it only takes a couple of minutes out of the day and I plan to keep this up all year. I'm not posting a challenge or anything, but I welcome anyone to follow along and post their own progress and tips in the decluttering area. Best wishes for reclaiming the "dungeon" and turning it into something beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post (Well, except for the exercise requirement that hung in the air...). So much of the past in one room...gives you a specific place to start putting action to the mental letting go you've already been doing, doesn't it? You don't even have to hunt! :}

Okay. Fitness plan. I was all in for this. I said I'd join because I knew I needed the "commit & report in" bit to keep me focused. I planned on starting Monday.

ha. It has become apparent that I really do need to follow your rules and set a time. You know, since I put it off all day and, then, didn't do it.

So. Here's my plan. I will walk every weekday, at 10AM, for at least 1/2 mile and increasing that to three miles a day. Or I will work my exercise machines on the days that the weather won't let me outside. (I'm in Pittsburgh.)

10 A.M. Every weekday. Walking.

It's on.


Rose B. said...

I pretty much jumpstarted Weight Watchers again this year and just in the last few days have seen a change in the scale numbers and feel my clothes looser in the waist. I am also a person who in the last year, let my nice exercise routine go down the drain and can really see it and feel it. So, I am starting slow with Leslie Sansone Walking program with a CD from the library. I do it with my kids. 1 mile per day this week, 2 miles next week, etc.; and then in Week 3, Leslie Sansone introduces some strength training exercises. It's a start.

big_mummy said...

Its been so long since i checked in on you and hell look at you!! Amazing!!! Trying to get back into this blogging malarky xx

Bonita Gordita said...

I'm trying to work on the inside, out. Changing my brain and attitude. Most of my battles are lost in my head.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by accident and just wanted to say THANK YOU for inspiring me! I appreciate all you are doing to help the rest of us get healthy!

underneath the bunker said...

Lynn, thank you - sometimes I think I need permission to just start small, that I have to bike for a long time or a high mileage. It's the starting that's the important part.

Kelly said...

Thank you for this blog, Lyn! I recently began a weight loss (or as I prefer to think of it, "strength gain") program. I eat a lot less, and a lot more healthily, and exercise more than sufficiently per day. I don't really need to lose much weight; probably six pounds would leave me perfect; but it's so, so hard to keep up. The hardest part about it for me is keeping up. I hate not having instant results; when I look in the mirror the next day, and see no difference, or still am not able to run more than a mile, I get frustrated at the amount of effort I'm putting in compared to the amount of benefits I'm getting out. Probably that's just because I've never been able to keep going more than a few days before! To keep myself going this time, I've started a strength gaining blog, and have been surfing the web in order to find great tips on how to work out and diet. Thank you!
And, if you or any others do care to visit my blog, here's the link: caloriebudgeting.blogspot.com

Cathy said...

I have been pretty rigorous with exercise the past year. My goals for the next few months are to 1) run on treadmill 2-3 times per week 2) do Jillian Michaels shred 2 times per week 3) do yoga once per week.

Twitter @HealthyBirch

Kat said...

I'm going to do Zumba classes twice a week and at least one day a week at the gym, doing some weight lifting and some cardio.

I think you hit the nail on the head about not need to exercise because you were on that diet. I feel like sso many people think exercising is just for people who want to lose weight. It's not! It's also about being healthy!