You Can Get Fit!

Posts Tagged ‘balance

Hey, all! The sun’s been shining here north of Seattle, giving us some glorious cool winter crispness. Hope you’ve been enjoying the weather where you are! I spent Saturday afternoon with a group of fellow singers from the Acappella Joy Chorus caroling at a local mall. We were well-received (and even had our picture taken with a few tourists)!

Here are a few health and nutrition-related posts that I’ve discovered over the past few weeks, that I’d love to share with you!

Caroline from The Broccoli Hut on Protecting Your Bones — listings include both vegetarian and vegan sources of bone-building and –maintaining foods. Studies show that we women may start losing bone density at age 40, so let’s fight back nutritionally as much as we can!

MizFit reframes an injury as a gift, using it as time to reflect, time to visit with others, time to rest her body. And—a way to discover new hobbies!

Monica at SmarterFitter shows how we can apply Seth Godin’s Purple Cow principles as businesspeople in the fitness industry… and these principles apply in any industry!

RhodeyGirl Sabrina does a fabulous video recipe—Stuffed Chicken Breasts. Quick and flavorful dinner!

Try your best to keep you and your health a priority over the holidays! I’ll see you all next week!

How much protein do I need to eat? Do I need a protein supplement or a protein powder? So much confusion! Ack! Kinda makes you want to run into the corner and eat more turkey. (OK, maybe we’re not that desperate. Luckily, I avoided the turkey!)

For a long time, I’d read conflicting information: the general media told me that Americans ate too much protein, while fitness journals suggested that active people needed more (but never really quantified it to my satisfaction). But I finally found a satisfactory answer!

If you are inactive or lightly to moderately active (say, an hour of exercise 4 days a week), you should consume 0.8 gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight. If you are more active, increase this to 0.9 gram. If you are extremely active (4+ hours activity per day, every day), you probably need 1 gram per kg body weight.

Don’t freak out—the math is easy. To convert your weight in pounds to kg, simply divide your weight by 2.2. So, if you weigh 150 lbs, you would also weigh 150/2.2 = 68.2 kg. (Hey, isn’t that a better number? You might want to use that on a regular basis when people ask your weight.) So, then, this person would want to eat between 54.5 and 68.2 g of protein in a day, depending on their activity level—and you can always figure out the grams of protein in a particular item by reading a nutrition label, or by looking up a whole food (meat, beans, milk, etc) on the internet.

Your best bets as protein sources are whole foods rather than supplements, if at all possible. Go for meat, poultry, or fish for the highest nutrient density. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, the protein in soy has been found to be roughly equivalent quality to that from animals, whereas other legumes are slightly lower quality proteins. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat beans! Maybe choose some edamame over garbanzos if given the choice.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit! A word of caution: it’s really easy to overeat your protein RDA if you’re not being careful! Not too long ago, I bought a sandwich from a take-out chain that contained both chicken and cheese. I looked up the nutrition info online, and was shocked that I’d eaten my day’s allotment of protein in one sandwich! (I tell ya, supplementation is often unnecessary!)

Enjoy the last day of November! Start thinking about your December goals!

I’m jumping on a blogger bandwagon! (Who, me, a joiner?) Some of the big-name bloggers post their weekly wrap-ups of their recent “best-of-the-best” posts, articles, videos, etc. Tell me if you like the idea! I’m shooting for twice a month, and sticking to relevant You Can Get Fit themes.

For this week…

Ending Negative Self-Talk by Medicinal Marzipan. MM reminds us of the power of the words many of us so casually toss around every day. Try to celebrate success instead.

The Thing About Weight Loss Is… by Lynn. Lynn has been 120 pounds, 300 pounds, and everywhere in between, yet in this wonderful post, she reminds us that no matter our weight, we’re still the same person inside.

Susan at The Great Balancing Act shares her strategies for setting fitness and other life goals.

22 Ways To Practice The Art Of Relaxation by Tammy at Rowdy Kittens. A happy, relaxed body is ultimately healthier. Many of Tammy’s tips involve simplifying our lives, as well.

Kath Eats Real Food’s photo tribute to oatmeal. Lots of recipes, here! They all look so good! I’m going to have to try some of them. (btw: try the cold overnight oats. They’re great!)

Do you like this format?

I think that gives us enough food for thought for now. Keep on being strong and successful!

So, you work all day, you take the kids back and forth to school, you have to make sure the kids (and you) are fed, not to mention helping them with their homework, maybe sleep, and—what’s this about your doctor recommending exercise for 30 or more minutes every day? Huh? Just when you had your routine down pat… sort of…

The author Robert Maurer uses the Japanese technique of kaizen—taking infinitely tiny steps—to reach your goal, in his book One Small Step Can Change Your Life. It may seem silly at first, but the theory is that by breaking a large, scary task down into bite-sized pieces, it eliminates a lot of the fear. It’s a lot easier to think about writing one paragraph of a book (or even one sentence!) than it is to terrify yourself with the daunting task of The Great American Novel in one sitting.

Early in his book, Dr. Maurer relates the story of a patient in the above situation—given the exercise prescription of 30 minutes a day, which was overwhelming considering her crazy life situation at the time. Maurer suggested, instead, that she start out by marching 1 minute per day in front of her television. (You’re saying, “what? She’ll never get any health benefits that way.” Consider that she would’ve given up, otherwise.) Ends up that on her follow-up visit, instead of having given up, she was still marching enthusiastically, wanting to know what else she could do. The changes were doable, fun, and exciting! Little by little, her healthcare team added small chunks on to her workout routine, and within a few months, this patient was indeed exercising 30 minutes per day.

It may have taken this woman a few months to get to the 30-minute-per-day goal, but otherwise, it’s unlikely she would’ve gotten there at all.

How can you apply the concept of kaizen to your workout routine, or to your life? You may already be working out 30 minutes per day, but maybe you’ve been promising yourself to “start lifting weights”. Maybe, instead of a full-body weight session three times a week, you promise to complete two sets of one exercise, one or two times a week. That’s easy enough, right? A few weeks later, once that becomes routine, I’m sure you’ll want to add more exercises to your routine. (Ask me for suggestions!) And you’ll just start building your way to success!

Are you ready? I am!

Do you do the same exercise day-in, day-out? Don’t get cross, cross-train! Doing different forms of exercise is good for the brain and the body.

We get in ruts, right? Get out of bed, put on running clothes, go for morning run. What if you joined a gym at one point and did something different, say, went to a group cycling class? Or lifted weights?

Uh oh. I can smell your fear from this far away! You’re getting uncomfortable. That’s what happens—we get happy with our routines. But sometimes, it serves us well to break away. If you’re a frequent walker, you’re constantly working the muscles in the front-to-back plane of the body. Taking, say, an aerobics class would get your body moving laterally, developing strength in new muscles.

So, participating in a completely different fitness activity is great for your body, because it will strengthen your body in new places. It may also get you thinking in new ways. I find that when I try a new activity, it gets my brain’s creative juices flowing. Besides, it’s just plain fun to do something different!

What’s your favorite way to cross-train?

You know that feeling when you first start out on (or recommit to) your diet and exercise routine? Excitement! You’re the first person at the gym every morning. You smugly shun the vending machine at work. You gladly quaff two bottles of water every day.

And then…….. you know the drill. For so many of us, drudgery sets in, and enthusiasm wanes. How do we keep our perspective fresh and keep our healthy habits going?

One thing I like to do is make concrete goals. So, instead of “I’ll go to the gym more often”, say “I’ll go to two yoga classes per week and run 45 minutes three times a week”, or whatever exercise routine suits you. It’s easier to accomplish a specific goal when you’ve laid it out.

Also, make sure you’re being realistic with your goals. The media is not our friend, here. Magazines at grocery checkout stands constantly remind us how thin the new, hot young celebs are, and just follow their diet plan… right. First of all, many of those profiled have enough money to afford the best food and the best gyms, and most of them are under 30. Not to use this as an excuse (after all… look at Madonna!), but try not to constantly compare your body to those of the teenage heartthrobs! Take-home message here: only compare yourself to YOU. Are you doing better than last year? Great! Keep on going!

Bottom line: don’t let boredom or unrealistic goals keep you from being your very best every day!

How do you all break through the doldrums? Share your inspirational ideas!

How’s your footprint these days? More importantly, how do your feet feel at the end of a long day of standing? Throughout my childhood, I was constantly diagnosed with “flat feet”, so that when I left behind a footprint, it didn’t show much of an arch. Yet arches are the shock absorbers of our feet, so they are important!

Years of orthopedic shoes later (and lots of money), and I still had “flat feet”. Believe it or not, I became athletic, using custom orthotics in my shoes. Still, my legs and feet would get achy before my friends’ would. I thought there was no solution.

When I started running marathons in my mid-20’s, the specialty shoe stores fitted me in motion control shoes in addition to my orthotics, to prevent my feet from running inward. I ran like the breeze… with cement bricks on my feet. Still, I’d reach the 20th mile with my lungs feeling great and my feet feeling terribly.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I received tremendous insight in combination from some runners and podiatrists who are “in the know”, so I thought I’d pass that along to you. More recent research has proven that motion control shoes often function more like a crutch, merely holding our weak arches up, doing the work for us, and not allowing them to strengthen. Wow. So I decided, then, to try running and working out in some (less expensive! hooray!) neutral-support shoes. I still used my orthotics, as I have structural problems that need correction, but using orthotics plus motion control was just over-the-top.

And the experiment was a rousing success! My feet are no worse for the wear. (I just need to get my joints happy enough again to experiment with more long running.)

I have also incorporated balance work to further strengthen my arches. Stand near a wall (so you can hold on in case you fall over), make sure your pelvis is level forward/backward/right/left, and just lift one leg off of the floor. Your hands can be on your hips, or out to the side. I suggest doing this barefoot to really work your arches. Hold as long as you can stand it, and work the other side as well. Your deep core will get a workout, as well, and this will also help you if you are a frequent ankle-sprainer!

Between switching shoe type and barefoot balance work, I can’t say that I’m not flat footed, but I’ve made significant improvements in foot pain, and also in knee pain (when your foot rolls inward, your knees follow). Try these things out, and of course, your mileage may vary. I’d love to hear your experiences!

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