Food & Fitness

Perspective Adjustment

And the winner of the Musselman’s Applesauce Holiday Giftbasket is… Mary! She of the comment:

My son, who is working on his master’s degree in anatomy, says that applesauce is the perfect pre and post workout food since it has simple carbs and natural sugar. It is my plan to try to lose 65 pounds this year (fingers, toes, arms AND legs crossed) so I could sure use this for my workouts-to-be.

By the way, how do you make an apple turnover? Push it down a hill.

Tehe. I know that made me giggle. Congratulations Mary! Email me your mailing address and I’ll make sure your giftbasket is mailed to your door.

Play to your Strengths

On Christmas day, when my family came over for brunch, my little twin cousins spent much of the time (once they got over their initial shyness of being in a new place) running around and playing. They explored my bedroom and discovered both my stability ball and my dumbbells.

Both Taylor and Alexa were all over the stability ball. They pushed it together and rolled it up and down my hallways. When Alexa found my lighter set of dumbbells, the ones that are only about 2-3 lbs each, she reached for one of them and managed to pick it up in both hands, raising it up to chest height! I took it away from her pretty quick (envisioning her getting bored with it and letting go, causing it to crash down on her cute little toes- eek!), but I was amazed at the strength of a 14-month old little girl.

So often we consider exercise to be something we “have” to do, something that we need to “get out of the way”; it’s a nuisance that feels like “work”. To little kids, it’s fun. It’s play. When I was younger I used to watch my mum doing her aerobics on the TV and I would clamber onto her rowing machine and play on it. It looked like a game.

It seems to me that we needlessly over-complicate things much of the time. We over-think, agonize, and blow things out of proportion, causing us to become anxious and to dread certain tasks and duties which, if we instead just went ahead and did them and considered them to be a part of our lifestyle, we wouldn’t find to be nearly as much of a bother.

Transportation can be a major issue in a city without a good transit system (check), a city with wicked weather (check), a city with crappy roads (check), and a city which is built in the sprawl-style (check). Because of this, not having a car inhibits many people severely. But if we just consider that from the centre of the city, everything is easily accessible in a 15-minute walking distance, and that we are perfectly capable of carrying heavy loads for a few blocks, then we’d realize that our own two legs are the only real transportation we need for the majority of the time.

Life isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be. It isn’t as complicated and frustrating as we moan that it is. When we put things into perspective, when we change our perceptions and attitudes, we will find that much more is doable than we believed.

Lesson learned: exercise is fun.

Grateful for: strong legs to walk on.

What has the holiday taught you?

Day 28 of the 200 Reps Challenge

20 Step-ups with Dumbbells (targets thighs, glutes, and cardio)

20 Downward-facing Dogs (targets arms, back, butt)

Perform this set ten times for a total of 200 Step-ups with Dumbbells and 200 Downward-facing Dogs!

For the Step-ups with Dumbbells:

1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand in front of a step. It can also be a bench. Keep your arms at your sides and stand with your feet hip width apart. Step onto the step/bench with your right foot, following with your left so that both feet are on the step.

2. Step back down with your right foot, following with your left. This is one rep. For one set of 20 reps, start with your right foot for the first ten, and for the last ten, start the movement with your left foot (just to switch things up a little).

TIP: Keep your back straight and face forward to prevent back injury. Ensure that your legs do the work, rather than letting the momentum swing you forward and backward.

For the Downward-facing Dogs:

1. Get into plank position, with your hands flat on a mat and your toes on the mat as well so that your body is parallel to the floor, arms extended and legs out straight. Your hands and feet should both be hip width apart.

2. Exhale as your push your weight backwards, bringing your head closer towards the ground as your hip and butt go up in the air. Your body should form a triangle with the floor.

3. Inhale as your return to starting position, looking downwards the entire time. This is one rep.

TIP: Move fluidly to prevent harsh jarring of your limbs. Keep your back straight and your body in alignment the entire time, neither leaning to one side nor allowing your head or back to flop.


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  2. Dr. J

    When I was in medical school I lived in the city center. I would walk to school every day. On weekends, I road my bike everywhere, which was actually faster than the heavy traffic! Because medical school involves rotations in several hospitals, I did need a car for some, but if possible I always road my bike if the other hospital was close enough. Really, after a hard day, it was FUN to ride a bike home 🙂

  3. Lance

    Exercise is fun…now there’s a great message to spread!! And it’s really about finding what is fun for each of us…adding in a little variety, and getting out there and doing it!! Love the message…

  4. Tony

    “It seems to me that we needlessly over-complicate things much of the time. We over-think, agonize, and blow things out of proportion, causing us to become anxious and to dread certain tasks and duties which, if we instead just went ahead and did them and considered them to be a part of our lifestyle, we wouldn’t find to be nearly as much of a bother.”

    I do this all the time. It’s all in the mind really. I procrastinate because I think something is going to be way too much work when in reality it isn’t that bad at all.

  5. The Candid RD

    I’ve been doing more yoga lately, and really enjoy it.

    I agree with you about working out, and feeling like it’s something we HAVE to do. It’s important to choose an activity that we enjoy, so it’s not a chore, it’s a fun activity! I used to play with my parents’ row machine when I was a kid too 🙂 I never thought of it as something boring, it was fun. Of course, I didn’t push myself really hard, but I do remember thinking it was hard to do, and I enjoyed it!

  6. Sagan Morrow

    Bag Lady- We always learn SOMETHING from considering the world in a new perspective 🙂

    Dr. J- Exercise is such a good stress-reliever!

    Lance- Variety definitely makes things interesting.

    Tony- Absolutely. Changing how we view it all can really help the physical aspect.

    Steve- Exactly!

    Candid RD- That’s what I like about dancing, too. It’s something that is just tons of fun but you can up the intensity to get in a decent workout if you want to.

  7. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

    Great post…and a good reminder that we don’t have to dread exercise. It sometimes just requires a change in mindset. It’s a shame we so book our days that most people don’t spontaneously exercise like your cousins did. I wish I would spontaneously do something fun and physical instead of scheduling gym time.

  8. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    Great insights, Sagan! I once had a friend who would drive around a parking lot for 15 minutes trying to find a close parking spot. Even at my heaviest, I would pull into the first empty spot I found, regardless of the distance from the store. My friend complained one time and I told her (kind of snappishly, in retrospect) that we were gifted with legs that worked and we should gratefully use them. She didn’t complain again.

    Love both of today’s exercises, btw!

  9. julie

    what a great post! i think its so important to not beat ourselves up over workouts! i do that a lot and then i take a step back and check myself at the door and realize helloooo its not the end of the world. have fun!

    thanks girl 🙂 p.s. you have some strong fam members!

  10. Monica

    People don’t seem to have enough fun anymore. Exercise NEEDS to be fun for it to become a daily part of routine. That’s what I like about swimming – splashing around in the water feels like being a kid again. Same goes for frisbee! Holidays have taught me that one… two… or even three crazy blow-out meals are not the end of the world. They’re cause for celebration!

  11. Sagan Morrow

    Tracey- A little bit of spontaneity can be a really good thing. Especially if it’s of the exercise variety.

    Cammy- I like the parking lot trick. I pretty much always choose the farthest spot as well, though at first I did it because it’s easier to park where there aren’t any other cars around. I hate driving/parking. It’s all such a pain. Then later I realized it was a good way to get in a little bit of extra exercise 😀

    Diane- And you know all about that!

    Julie- We all need a good reality check once in a while 😉

    Monica- Yes! So much of day to day life is viewed as trying to just “get through the day”- but for what? To go home and watch TV? Lame! Life ITSELF should be the fun thing. I think that if we aren’t having fun for the majority of the day, then we have to re-evaluate how we live our lives to turn it into something that we can truly enjoy.

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