Tag Archives: exercise

Snapshot: May 26, 2015

Time: 8:08 p.m.

Feeling: Pretty good – yay! This early morning walking has really been making a difference. I love it, and I feel so energized for much of the day. Mind you, I end up going to bed earlier than normal, but that’s a good thing, since it’s something I’ve been trying to accomplish for a while now.

Eating: I’ve got spinach and ricotta sausages in the oven. Will pair them with stir fried cabbage and stir fried spinach.

Drinking: Water! Loving my water. But also looking forward to my nightly glass of Malbec.

Reading: Lots of things! I’ve been peckishly bookish all day—ever have that, when you find yourself jumping from book to book? So I’ve basically read a little bit of everything I’ve got going.

the damned

Sped through the first part of Andrew Pyper’s The Damned this afternoon. Very readable, although things kind of slowed down a bit towards the end of part I. I’ll probably finish this one fairly quickly, as long as it picks up speed again.

disclaimer

I’m also reading Disclaimer, by Renée Knight, for a book tour scheduled for next week. The story is compelling. The writing? Not so much. Still quite readable though.

Listening: I finished Jurassic Park in audio last week, so I moved on to Lost World this week. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while listening to it the other night, so a whole lot of rewinding is in order. My falling asleep while listening to it shouldn’t be held against it—I was just really, really tired that night (all that walking, right?) So far, though, it’s as interesting as I remembered.

Writing: Well, I’ve been thinking about it, so that counts, right?

Working: Finished off an indexing deadline last night, and have four articles to write this week and next, but otherwise the deadlines are light. Which is great because it gives me time to work on the book marketing stuff for Booktrope. And I still have to create a website and Twitter account for that particular hat.

Exercise: I’ve now gone for my early morning walk five days in a row! I’m really really excited and pleased and happy about this new routine. The best part is, I’m even sneaking in some running!

I don’t love running enough to wake up in the morning eager to go for a run, but walking’s a totally different thing. So what I’ve been doing is running just a little bit when I start my walk—and when I say a little, I mean a little! Like, maybe two minutes! Okay, I might be up to three minutes by now. What I’m doing is going just a tiny bit further every day. Building up my stamina bit by bit. Eventually I’d love to be running for half of my walking hour, but I’m quite willing to take it slow.

Saturday Random: Walking Gear, Anyone?

Time for a bit of self-congratulations (or should that be self-congratulation?): I went for another walk today, first thing in the morning! So that’s two for two, right? Fifty-seven minutes and one more tick on the ole habit chart. With any luck I’ll be able to say, “Yay! New walking habit firmly established!” once I add another 64 ticks to the habit chart (because science tells us it takes 66 days to create a new habit, rather than the 21 days of myth).

So now that I’m thinking I may be on my way to daily exercise via walking, I’ve also been pondering all the gear I need. And you thought all one needed for walking was a pair of good shoes, right?

Well, okay, that’s true, but the consumerist in me wants a bit of fun, too. (Confession: the consumerist in me often wants a bit of fun.)

I already bought a bigger walking pouch yesterday; I could barely squeeze my phone and my keys into the old one I had. The bigger pouch lets me carry a small bottle of contact lens solution plus a lens case (in case something gets into my eyes), my sunglasses (which I don’t like to wear but if I’m walking past construction sites with mounds of dirt I need them on to keep stuff from flying into my eyes … are you noticing a trend here?); my earbuds, my debit card (for, you know, in case I get thirsty for an iced decaf Americano or get the munchies) and a loonie and a toonie—for non-Canadians, the Canadian dollar coin and two-dollar coin (for places that don’t take debit cards).

So what’s on my want list, you’re wondering? (I’m sure it’s more likely you’re thinking, what on earth else do you want to lug around with you, Belle?) No worries. I’m feeling only a little bit consumerist, so there are just a couple of things on my list.

First, I’d like a wide-brimmed a sun visor because unfortunately, when I get too much sun on my face my freckles now like to multiply into brown spots, even when I’m wearing zinc oxide sunscreen. My baseball cap doesn’t have a wide enough brim to do the trick of shading more than just my eyes. I do have a big floppy straw hat but I look kind of ridiculous wearing it with my t-shirt and workout pants. Plus it tends to fly off when things get even a little windy.

Second, I’d like a bottle to hold my water, with a handy dandy wrist strap. So much better than carrying bottled water (more environmentally friendly, too). Plus, as I know already from my walk today, it means I won’t have to juggle holding a water bottle plus a decaf Americano while trying to fish my keys out of my walking pouch. (I have no willpower when I smell coffee.)

I’m also thinking about trying one of these walking apps, too. Luckily, they all seem to be free for the basic versions.

Not that I’m going to let the lack of these things deter me from developing a new morning walking habit. Which is a good thing, because I’m the kind of consumerist who likes to add things to her want list but doesn’t like to actually head out to the stores to find and buy them. (It’s the “find” part that puts even the consumerist in me off.)

Now that I think about it, though, a Fitbit would be nice, too. And easily available online …

Do you like to go for long walks? What’s your favourite walking gear?

So I Said Those Fateful Words Today …

roadway

I managed to get up bright and early for my walk with my friend Christy—I actually woke up before my alarm was supposed to go off! And while 7:15 a.m. probably sounds like a normal wake-up time to a lot of people, I can’t remember the last time I was up so early in the day, as in up and about and doing things like, you know, moving around.

We met at 8:10 a.m. and walked together for a little over an hour. Then I race walked the ten minutes it took me to get home. It’s just a little after 10:30 a.m. right now and I am absolutely bursting with energy!

It was SO much fun, we’ve decided to meet up every Friday morning. Plus I want to walk every morning, so I’m planning on walking by myself all the other days, too. This energy I’m feeling is just amazing!

But for Christy, our walk today was really later than she’d like. She runs a food business and usually has meetings scheduled on Friday mornings.

So yes, as we were discussing  meeting up next Friday, I said those fateful words.

“Why, yes, I can meet you at 7:15 am on Fridays.”

I know, right? I ACTUALLY SAID THIS.

But you know what? I think I can do it. I really think I can start getting up at 6:30 am.

But just in case, if you all could send early-morning-wakefulness vibes my way, it would be much appreciated.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Snapshot: May 21, 2015

The Victoria Day long weekend really threw me off—I normally write my Snapshot posts on Tuesdays, but when Tuesday came around I thought it was Monday, and on Wednesday I wanted to write about something else so I’m doing my Snapshot post today. Whew. That was a long, and probably unnecessary explanation!

Time: 2:09 pm

Feeling: I wish I could say refreshed, because I’ve been feeling quite refreshed the past few days, but wouldn’t you just know it, since I’m writing a Snapshot post of course today I’m feeling tired.

Eating: I’m about to make my anything-goes veggie soup. So delicious, and with heaps of veggies in it. And parmesan cheese.

Drinking: Water. Lots and lots of water. It’s my latest thing, drinking water, and I’m really liking how it makes me feel. Plus I’m starting to recognize again when I’m thirsty (which is fairly often).

Reading: Still working my way through Good Omens; it’s been mostly in my bag, so I’m not getting through it as fast as I would if it was an “at home” read. It’s good and funny and just a great read for when I’m out and about.

I also started A Game of ThronesI just couldn’t resist the temptation. But I only read the first couple of pages, because I’m just not ready yet to be caught up in a whirl of down-the-rabbit-hole book addiction the series promises to be. I’m witnessing that firsthand anyway: my older son is still working through the series; he started book 4 yesterday.

Listening: I’m almost finished Ready Player One and am wondering WHY it took me so long to get to this book. It’s so good, and Wil Wheaton is perfect narrating as Wade Watts.

ready player one

And some slightly related fun: Dylan downloaded the Akinator app on the weekend, and yesterday we had a such a fun time with it. Akinator is a genie who’s able to guess the character you’re thinking of, simply by asking you a bunch of questions. I was slightly awed by how he managed to guess Wade Watts. I did manage to stump him several times, though, with characters from and authors of some of my favourite, but older, reads. If you want to give it a whirl, here’s the web version. Warning, though: it can be slightly addictive!

Writing: Yes, I’ve been writing! Yay! So okay, it’s only been a few paragraphs to start off a couple of short stories, but I also pulled out my half-completed manuscript for the dark fantasy I’ll be workshopping this summer in Kelley Armstrong’s writing class. I have the next scene in mind, and in the meantime I’m rereading it to get reacquainted with all my characters. It’s progress!

Working: The indexing load has been nice and even, which helps a lot when it comes to my stress levels. I just finished an indexing deadline, and have another one next week, plus an article. In other news, I’ve signed on as the marketing manager for my first author at Booktrope, and it’s been such fun working with her.

Creating: Nothing yet. *sob* So much for being creative every day, right?

Exercising: I’ve been trying my best to keep moving throughout my day, and I’ve also been using my standing desk, too. Tomorrow is my first walking date with my friend; we’re meeting at 8:00 a.m., a time at which I’m usually still sleeping, so wish me luck!

So that’s the Snapshot of this past week. All my focusing on stress reduction seems to be working so far – yay! How has your week been?

Walking plans

walking.jpg

Going out for dinner with a healthy friend can be a little dangerous. You end up getting excited about things and then suddenly you find you’ve just committed to something that will require you to get up much earlier than you normally do.

That’s what happened to me tonight. I was having dinner with my friend Christy and she started telling me about this Harvard article she’d read which listed a bunch of studies about how good walking is for you. One study found that walking a mile a day reduced risks of cardiovascular events by 81%.

I’ve been wanting to start getting fit again, and I really enjoy walking. So I asked her how much walking she’s been doing. It turns out, lately it’s been quite a lot—8 kilometres, which translates to approximately five miles.

Since I’ve been thinking a lot about adding more exercise to my life, and since Christy is the kind of person who always makes me feel motivated or inspired about something whenever I see her, I blurted out, “We should go walking together!”

And that’s how it all started. At first we thought we’d pick a midway point between us, and walk there so we could do more walking together before we walked back. But Christy lives across the city from me, which would make for a lot of walking for a getting-back-into-fitness walker like me.

She also bikes everywhere, too, though. So we’ve decided we’ll start by having her bike to where I am, and I’d meet her for a nice long walk, and then she’d bike back home.

It sounded good to me. I like planning things. It’s just when you start putting, well, you know, dates on plans that things get a little scary.

I was just about to get on the streetcar to head back home after dinner when she said, “We should pick a day to start. How about this Friday?”

I looked back at her, panic in my eyes. She laughed. “Okay, how about next Friday?”

So I now have two weeks to get used to waking up early, since Christy needs to be finished her morning exercise by 8:30 in the morning so she can start in on her work. I know I can handle the walking, it’s the waking up early bit that scares me. I’ve written before about my quest to become a morning person, but I haven’t made such great strides in that direction yet.  This walking commitment is definitely motivation to get there!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Snapshot: May 5, 2015

Time: 9:38 pm

Feeling: Tired, but in a good way—I actually worked out today! Yay! While I’ve been talking about doing ten minute workouts, I decided to go with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. Figured I might as well go with the tried and true. We’ll see how it goes.

When I’m exercising, I have this tendency to visualize my body getting into shape (by this I mean I actually see in my mind’s eye, for example, my upper arms getting toned, as if I’m watching a time-lapse video)—I don’t do this intentionally, it just kind of happens. It’s good in that it keeps me motivated, but not so good because I end up with very high expectations! I actually expected my pants to be a bit loose today when I put them on. Which they weren’t, of course.

Eating: I was so good all day! Had a banana for breakfast, spinach and green peppers with a chicken burger (no bun) for lunch. Then souvlaki made with chicken, a big Greek salad and a small portion of Greek rice for dinner. But (you knew this was coming, right?) I was still hungry when I finished (it was only one stick of souvlaki—that’s my excuse, anyway) so now I’m noshing on a slice of cheese pizza. Sigh.

Drinking: A glass of wine. Ahhhh. Yes, it does go well with pizza!

Reading: I finished Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer on the weekend (review coming this Thursday). It was a good read, and as usually happens after a good read, I dived into a number of books to find the right one for my next read.

Here’s what I decided to read next:

fifthgospel.jpg

I’m just in the first chapter but it’s looking pretty good so far.

Listening: I just finished a reread of John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief; it was published back in 1992 but doesn’t feel too outdated. I must admit, though, I didn’t quite get why Darby was still being targeted by the bad guys once it was clear that her brief (the pelican brief) had been circulated among several FBI agents plus the White House. I don’t remember pondering such a question way back when I originally read it in print, so perhaps I missed something in my listening of it this time around (it happens sometimes—I find when you’re listening to an audiobook, you can get distracted for 30 seconds and miss something quite important). The version I listened to is narrated by the lovely Lorelei King, one of my favourite narrators.

Writing: Nope. Nothing. But I’m hopeful, as always.

Working: I had a big index due last week, and some articles due this week. But things are looking pretty clear for the next week or so, which is good since my mom’s being discharged from the rehab facility on Thursday and she’s decided to go back to her place rather than stay with me. So I’m not too sure what my days will be like for the next little while, and not having too many deadlines will let me figure out my time without too much stress.

Excited about: A while back I signed up for the SmithsonianX course “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture” on edX, and it started today! Stan Lee is one of the instructors. Yes.

Now I just have to figure out how to make time for it …

Saturday Random: RUFF and ten minute workouts

Barely squeezing this post in to make it on time for a Saturday Random post—I’d better type fast!

RUFF 2015

The Ryerson University Film Festival 2015 was held last night and tonight. I attended both nights and wow, such a lot of young talent! Hayley had two films playing, one on each night. They were both amazing, and I’m hoping they’ll be online somewhere soon so I can post the links or the videos themselves here.

Hayley didn’t win for best cinematography, unfortunately, but the film she produced and DoP’d won for best screenplay, so that was nice.

Ten minute workout

Day two of my ten minutes to big changes plan, and so far I’ve managed both the meditation and the Morning Pages. Haven’t had any luck with the workout, though, and I think it’s because I don’t actually have a short ten minute workout handy for first thing in the morning.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I received an issue of the Further newsletter headlined The Ancient Fitness Routine That Transforms You in Ten Minutes a Day. I hadn’t yet decided on my ten minutes a day thing, but I did save the newsletter and I think this might be the thing for me to try. Except I’m not sure about that first part—I get dizzy pretty easily so it will be interesting to see if I can spin around.

Author Hugh Howey also had some good things to say about this workout, which he calls the Five Tibetan Rites.

What is beyond doubt is their efficacy. If you do these every day, you will see results in a week. You will see profound differences in a month. Practitioners claim that these exercises will keep you young, and I’m a believer. They fixed a nagging shoulder injury, and my back has never been stronger.

Sounds pretty good to me. He even made some videos which should be helpful.

Do you know of a ten minute workout I can try? I’d love to add more to my list!

Ten minutes

ten minutes

I am stressed.

But the funny thing is, I don’t feel stressed. Not in my mind, I mean. And that, apparently, isn’t such a good thing. Because my body, unable to signal to me that maybe it’s time to slow down, let go, and indulge in self-care, has to find other ways to tell me I’m stressed.

Last month, I went to see my doctor because I’d started feeling tingling and numbness in my hands, arms, legs, and feet. (Checking these symptoms online wasn’t such a great idea, as you all probably already know.)

My doctor listened patiently as I described my symptoms. Then she told me I didn’t have to worry about the worse-case scenarios. And then she asked me, “Have you been stressed lately?”

I thought about it. “No,” I said, shaking my head.

But even though I didn’t feel like I was experiencing stress, she said my symptoms were most likely the product of stress.

My body, she explained, reacts physiologically to stress.

It’s true, and it’s something I’m just now getting around to accepting. And my main problem? I don’t actually know I’m experiencing stress, not in my mind anyway. An example? When my doctor asked me if I had been feeling stressed lately, I told her no.

And yet … both my cats were ill and my mother had just broken her hip.

I felt exhausted, yes, but other than that, I didn’t think I was stressed. So obviously my body has become adept at signalling my stress in other ways.

This causes some problems. How can I let go of my stress when I don’t actually feel like I’m stressed? I don’t have problems sleeping and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the stressors in my life right now.

I could go the medication route. But I’d rather find alternate, natural ways to relieve this stress that my mind doesn’t feel but my body does. After doing some research into this, I’ve decided to try the following things:

Exercise. Exercise seems to be on every list of ways to destress. I haven’t exercised since last fall, and I’m obviously feeling it. Feeling it so much, when I walk anywhere these days I get all these “glad sensations”. My feet want to take off, go faster. My body says, yay, motion!

Ti of Book Chatter and I have been talking about making small, healthy changes, starting today, May 1. I’m always biting off more than I can chew, so small changes are a good fit for me. Ten minutes. That’s what I’m starting with. Ten minutes of exercise a day.

Meditation. It’s quite telling, but I’ve not been meditating for a couple of months now. And when I try to meditate, my mind goes crazy. An avalanche of thoughts. Nothing earth shattering though. Mostly mundane things, like what I’m going to eat for lunch. When will they turn on the air conditioning? My goodness, it’s hot in here this morning. But I do like the sunshine. On and on it goes.

So I’m going to go back to a tried and true method that’s helped me with my meditation in the past. I have several Brain Sync meditations. They’re supposed to be a scientific way to help you get into the meditative state. I don’t know about that, but I do know they’ve always worked for me. So, ten minutes. My month of small changes—ten minutes of meditating with Brain Sync every day.

Morning Pages. The book-reading demon has this theory about my stress. He thinks I’m not allowing myself to feel my real feelings because they’re not what I’m supposed to be feeling. I think he has a point there. I used to do morning pages—three pages of stream of conscious writing, quite literally a brain dump. They were my daily ritual, and I’d gotten to the point where writing those pages became my happy place. For eight years, I literally would not do anything until I’d done my pages. And then I stopped doing them because they’d gotten me to a place where I felt quite good most of the time and I didn’t need them any more.

But happiness and feeling good are ways of living that need to be maintained. I obviously need some sort of practice that will get me there and keep me there. And a daily brain dump will perhaps let those feelings I’m not aware I’m feeling flow out of me, onto the pages of my notebook.

Again, ten minutes. (Although I’ll probably revert to habit and do three pages.) Ten minutes isn’t a lot of time. These changes won’t work for me if I feel like they’re a burden, or I don’t have enough time to do them. I can’t resist “ten minutes” because it’s only ten minutes, after all.

So that’s my list. Do you have any tips on destressing? I’ll gladly add to this list because this whole body reacting to stress thing has got to change!

Walking Around While Reading

During the Readathon, someone tweeted about doing some reading while walking around, to gain some energy and beat back sleepiness (I’m not sure who it was—I tweeted so much during the Readathon there are too many tweets to check!).

Since I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting into healthier habits, I found this idea of walking around when you’re reading sticking with me. It makes a lot of sense, because I’m the kind of person who likes to walk around the place when I’m talking on the phone.

Of course it’s not something you can really do all that well when you’re outside, but inside is a whole different story, right?

So tonight I put the idea to the test—and it works! The first Dune readalong Twitter chat is happening tonight and I wanted to get a few more pages read so I can hopefully participate (but I’m not sure if I’ve read enough yet).

Dune_Herbert

I was able to read about twenty pages while walking back and forth from my office through the ilving room to the kitchen (this is an open concept place, which made it even easier).

The best thing? Before I gave it a try, I was sitting on the sofa reading, and feeling quite tired. But now? I actually feel refreshed!

I should probably get a Fitbit and track how much time I spend walking around while reading …

Do you walk or do other exercise when you’re reading a book? Have any tips for me?