Week 24 To Health and Fitness

I persevered through another week on my mission to health and fitness. This week has become another turning point in my journey – mostly in a good way but I do have a bit of a challenge going.

Starting with the POSITIVE – my physical and emotional health are definitely going well. We have been getting a lot of heat and rain so very humid (for us). Despite that… I have managed to keep up with my daily walks with Molly and my daily You Tube work outs. The workouts run 30-45 minutes and I can work through them without a single pause.

This is the one I did today. It is one of the videos that I have been using regularly lately. 🤗

Molly is still having her difficult days on our walks and today was no exception. I am expecting a package from Amazon today which includes a new training harness for her. I sure hope it helps settle her down a bit!

I did clear out some clothes in my closet that has gotten to be too large for me now. That has to be a good sign and I am sure happy to see it happening! ☺️

I am noticing a definite shift away from just pushing myself through workouts, walks, salads, and cold showers. I still do all of those things but now those things are a natural part of an overall active and healthy lifestyle. I am still excited about getting fit – and my goals are going beyond myself to others –

  • Being able to provide Molly with the active lifestyle she deserves
  • Being a stronger, healthier partner for Dan
  • Being a better role model for our grandkids
  • Being more active and outgoing in our neighbourhood
  • Being an inspiration to others who are toying with the idea of adopting a healthier lifestyle
  • AND something that has become increasingly important to me – Doing everything I can to avoid being an unnecessary burden to our already overburdened Health Care Services. Even without my chronic health issues, I think that is so necessary.

The NEGATIVE this week is that I am finding myself dealing with a mental meltdown of sorts.

I have been on this journey for five and a half months. I have been more than happy with how it has been going and the results I have been seeing. Whoo hoo! Yay me!

Living LARGE!!!

But during the past few days, I have been finding myself interacting with likeminded souls. I have met a number of people in our local parks – one here, one there, walking their dogs, jogging, on their bikes and I have joined a small group of fitness conscious individuals online. This should all be great! They are all friendly, amazing people working towards a common goal.

But here’s the thing. My mind is suddenly flashing back to high school phys-ed classes. My Saskatchewan highschool phys-ed classes of the early seventies were NOT about physical fitness or developing a healthy lifestyle. They were about discovering the next hockey or football star or the next Olympic athlete. They were about competitions between teenagers who were not even close to being on a level playing field but being judged by who could run faster or jump higher or throw a ball further. They were about winners who were given trophies and medals and losers who were abused mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I know, this is bizarre and rediculous. I am sixty-seven years old. I have done things in my life – big things – major accomplishments. I should have the confidence and capability to see someone who can outperform me physically without coming unglued. But here I am…. judging myself and finding myself lacking. 🙄

The good thing is, I know it is just one more challenge to face and overcome. Just like the physical challenges that I have pushed through and the emotional challenges that I have pushed through, I know I can and will push through this and come out all the better off for doing so. Hopefully sooner than later. 🙂

Just another bridge to cross!

That’s it for today and this week’s fitness update. Take care and have a great day!💞🌞

Eighteen Weeks

Anyone close to me in real life or online knows that in mid-February I went on a mission to improve my fitness.  My initial ‘program’ has evolved considerably as have my health and fitness and my ultimate goal.

I think this evolution can best be explained by posting the  TOP 10 benefits I have experienced in these past eighteen weeks. (Not in any particular order)…

#1 – I am stronger – I can easily  lift weights that I have not lifted for years.    I mean full, heavy garbage bags, rocks, BIG solid fry pans – on Saturday I even lifted our big dog  Molly into our pool!  Every part of me is stronger.  I opened a new pickle jar with my bare hands yesterday.   Seriously!  This is real life, everyday strength that makes my life easier.

#2 – My balance and flexibility has improved.  – Again, this is life changing especially when navigating around our garden or Molly and her toys. (Or Molly and our shoes, sofa cushions and anything else that she makes off with).

#3 – My husband has noticed and remarked on the noticeable improvement in my physical shape. That is great because I want to look good for my husband, even after 25 years, and because it isn’t just about how I look. He respects the effort and dedication that I have put into improving my health and fitness. Respect is huge in any relationship.

#4 – I breathe easier. I still have asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis. I always will, but getting fit has improved my lung function despite asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis. I breathe easier and in turn I sleep better!

#5 – My collagen levels have improved. I know this because I have a genetic collagen disorder and because collagen levels drop for everyone as they as age – making things even more noticeable for anyone with pre-existing collagen issues. For me, an improvement in collagen has meant healthier skin. It has meant muscle strength and joint stability. I can crouch/squat down AND get back up. And it is so noticeable in the connective tissue between all of the multiple little boney areas in my body. My hands are virtually pain free, the little bones in my middle ears no longer wobble around causing vertigo, AND when I get up in the morning my feet do not feel like I am walking on bags of marbles.

#6 – My mental health is stronger. My mind is sharper. My memory is better. Overall I am functioning better and it is just easier to perform any mental task.

#7 – My emotional health is better. My life isn’t perfect. Lately there have been some seriously stressful family situations. Sometimes I struggle to meet the challenges. But I do meet them! I laugh, I cry, and I function in a healthy way.

#8 – My clothes fit better. That isn’t the be all, end all of any fitness program but it feels so good to just feel good in ones clothes. For the past ten years it has been hard to get anything to fit right because nothing about me was proportional.

#9 – I am excited about my future health and fitness levels. That is a big one for me because I am turning 67 years old next month. But for me, I know my best fitness years are not behind me. I am in better shape now than I have ever been in my life and I know that I can and will keep getting better. I don’t know how much better and I am not looking for immortality, but I know that unless I get hit by a bus or stricken by some major disease, I will get better. I have found a system that works for me and I know I can adapt as I go to make it better.

#10 – I have inspired others to work on their fitness and well-being. I am not saying that to brag or anything, but people have mentioned it. I had a long talk with my sister-in-law yesterday and we got on this subject. She moved from Costa Rica to Canada last year and has been struggling with the same type of health issues that I have struggled with for years and we are the same age. I started telling her how well I was doing and it turned into such a good conversation. She was so excited about starting her own fitness program when she gets moved into her new house next week and I am so excited for her! Never in my life have I ever inspired or imagined that I could inspire anyone to improve their level of fitness. 🤗🤗🤗

Inspiration from my sister Elaine. 😉

Anyway that is it for today, and for how my life has been going for the last eighteen weeks. Take care and have a great day!

Four Weeks….

It has been four weeks since I looked in a mirror and decided that I had work to do to be ready for the arrival of spring.

“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.” – African Proverb

I wasn’t a complete mess, but I was not good. I had allowed winter to wear on me. I was feeling funky – mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was tired of being cooped up indoors. I was feeling the strain of ongoing family issues – offspring issues. I was tired of being bombarded by bad news – locally and globally. I was tired of the years of Covid – especially the division of those pro caution and those pro ‘freedom’. Division over everything – health, government, economy, environment. It had all taken a toll.

With my favourite time of year on the horizon, I knew that I had work to do if I was going to get to fully appreciate the return of sunny days, fresh air, green grass and leafed out trees, planting seedlings in the warm rich soil, cleaning up the yard and preparing for the indoor/outdoor living of summer, and a return to regular walks with Kat (my little dog) sniffing along beside me.

With where I was, and all of the incentive to be in a better place by the time spring sprang, I decided to get to work. I started by dancersizing ALMOST every day. On a few days when I got a good workout moving snow, I may have let that slide a bit. I have worked on our diet – it’s not perfect, but it is better. And… I have been meditating, relaxing, and renewing mentally and emotionally.

Four weeks later… I am doing better. While I haven’t really lost any weight at this point, my energy level is UP, my oxygen level is consistently up three to four percent, my pulse is down six to eight BPM, and I am feeling pretty good. Mentally, I am getting sharper. My memory is better, I am doing better at word puzzles, and my reading comprehension is improving. Overall, I am more focussed. Emotionally, I am also feeling much better – happier, calmer, stronger.

I still have a ways to go, but I am impressed with how far I have come in four weeks. 🌞

And NONE to soon! Yay spring 🌸

Time to get my dancing shoes on. Take care and have a great day!💞

7 Best Ways To Deal With Stress

Having spent a good part of my life dealing with stress, I have had ample time figuring out what works, and what does not work for me. These are some of my favourite stress relievers.

1. Nature. There is nothing as calming and perfect as nature for dealing with stress. In Saskatchewan, it is too frigid for a good portion of the year to get warm and fuzzy in the great outdoors.   During these times I get my nature fix by going through pictures of nature – mine, those on social media, or even  via Google Earth.  I also tend to give my houseplants a little more TLC in the winter, just to spend time around something living and green.

2. Positive Affirmations. I keep a journal where I write out positive affirmations every morning. At night, I make a point of sending some special thoughts to any particular challenges I have coming up the next day. Both exercises tend to give me a feeling of control and a positive focus.

3. Deal With It. If I feel myself getting stressed over something I try to deal with it asap. I make the worst call of the day, deal with the most difficult file, go through the most challenging task as early as possible in the day. Once that is over, the rest of the day is easy. I try to tackle any stressful situation in the same manner.  I hate personal or medical appointments.  Last summer I was seriously behind in that department so I booked up the early days of my summer holiday. In three days I saw my doctor, dentist and optometrist, I got my hair cut, my nails done and my eyebrows trimmed, finally as an added bonus I took my dog to the vet to get her checkup and shots.  The rest of my holiday was my best ever!

4. Own The Stress. When I start feeling stressed out, I try to find ways to make myself feel better and relieve my stress. I take a walk, do breathing exercises and meditation, practice yoga, or take a bath.  I work on getting plenty of rest and make sure I am getting a healthy diet – particularly cutting back on salt, sugar, and caffeine.

5. Stretch My Safety Zone.  I got this bit of advice from an article I read years ago.  It said,  (I am paraphrasing) “You will always feel discomfort when you are expanding your safety zone, but if you keep retracting  back into your safety zone to avoid the discomfort, you will ultimately end up curled up in your bed watching your life go by.   If you ignore the discomfort and keep pushing your limits, your safety zone will expand and your life with it.”    Great advice! I welcome that feeling of discomfort now as I recognize it as a good sign.

6. Tidy Up. Clutter and mess does nothing to calm my frayed nerves. When I am stressed, I love to get neat and organized, whether I am at home or at work. The activity helps burn off nervous energy and having a clean and orderly space just makes me feel better.

7. Mental Exercise. There is a scientific reasoning behind this – if you are particularly stressed (emotional) you can calm yourself by focusing on a mental exercise. I use this one if I am waiting for a meeting, appointment or stuck in traffic. It works like a charm

These methods of stress relief work for me. I hope if you are stressed out, you will try them. And I hope that you will share any methods that work well for you!