Another rainy day here, but I’m not complaining. The trees, plants and grass really need it. Last year we couldn’t sit out on our covered deck because of the smoke from forest fires. Yesterday, I sat outside and read while listening to the rain: so soothing. While the weather may have prevented me from taking my daily, outdoor walk, it didn’t stop me from getting some exercise and having a lot of fun.
I’m sure that I have already mentioned that I am a fan of Jessica Smith’s workouts. This 30-Minute Latin Spice Walk is low impact and it doesn’t require a lot of room to do. Give it a try!
Over five years ago, a good friend introduced me to Jill Miller and Yoga Tune-Up as a way to help alleviate my chronic neck and shoulder pain. She gifted me my first set of therapy balls, which you can see have been well used.
Jill is offering a free Three Day Tune Up: 3-Day Tune Up Mini-Program. You can choose an area to focus on, and will have a video delivered each day. You don’t need therapy balls to participate (although they are fantastic). A couple of tennis balls and a sock will do.
While the title of this post might lead you to believe that it will include more information about the benefits of decluttering, I actually want to discuss non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. NEAT refers to any exercise you do throughout the day outside of formal exercise. When looking to lose (or maintain) weight, we often focus on eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress; however, NEAT is also a big piece of the puzzle.
You might spend an hour a day in the gym, and seven or so sleeping, but what you do the other sixteen hours of the day has a huge impact on your energy expenditure (calories burned). If you have an active job (you’re a fire fighter, construction worker or server), you probably don’t have to worry about your NEAT; but if you are more sedentary, you may want to give it some thought.
I spend a lot of my day sitting or standing in front of a computer, and at the end of the day (after I have driven home), it is so tempting to just sit and watch some television. I have to be really conscious about increasing my NEAT. That is one reason that I purchased a Fitbit. Mine is a basic model: the Flex 2 (affiliate link), but it does everything I need: tracks steps and reminds me to take at least 250 steps each hour. It also allows me to track my sleep, food and weight.
A common recommendation is to aim for at least 10,000 steps a day if you are looking to lose weight. When I reach my goal, my Fitbit buzzes and puts on a little light show for me, which I never tire of. If you are interested in a tracker, there are lots of options at different prices.
A funny thing happened while I was doing my cardio yesterday (low impact, step aerobics). A few minutes in, I noticed this strange sensation in my midsection. It took me a moment to recognize what it was…. My core muscles had engaged: all by themselves, without any conscious effort on my part! Not only that, but they stayed engaged for the entire workout.
Strength training has become a regular (three to four times a week) part of my self-care routine. While I certainly would like to look toned in my tank tops and shorts when the sunny weather finally gets here, now that I am in my fifties, my reasons for including it have changed. This is especially true when it comes to strengthening my core.
Our core muscles are the central linking point between the lower and upper parts of our bodies, and, in the long run, they can determine the quality of our daily lives. I want a strong core so that I continue to live my BEST life for many, many years to come.
Here are a few beginner exercises to get you started:
In December, I gifted myself a TRX (Total-body Resistance eXercise) trainer (affiliate link). This fitness tool is made from durable, high quality nylon. I first encountered it on a business trip. The hotel I was staying at had a fully equipped gym, and while I was on the treadmill, I watched a trainer working with a client on the TRX. After they left, I decided to give it a try. Although I only did a few squats, I was hooked.
Here’s why I LOVE my TRX:
It is portable. I can take it anywhere. It weighs about 2 pounds, so it will definitely be in my suitcase when I head off for vacation.
It doesn’t take up much space (to store or use). The photo shows my TRX set up in my mud/laundry room, which is about 8 by 8 feet, and I have no trouble working out. When the weather gets nicer, I will be able to move outdoors.
It is great for all levels. I can keep advancing by adding balance and movement.
It works the entire body, and the core is constantly engaged.
It allows me to keep my alignment right. I struggle with a regular squat, but can get lower user the TRX while maintaining the correct form.
The TRX can be used to help improve sports performance, lose weight, gain strength, rehab an injury (I am using it for my shoulder), and more. While I would recommend having a trainer take you through the first time, this is an excellent video for beginners from BodyFit by Amy.