Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fitness and health

One of the parts of my current "mission" is to improve and maintain my fitness as well as staying healthy. In addition I want to pass on to my family any tips I can so that they may benefit as well.

On the fitness side, I have always been quite an active person and up for a challenge. As I age my body is not so keen on some things which I find a real source of frustration. Over the past few years I have been a regular gym goer and have got into cycling (road). I used to hate cycling but stuck with it until I reached my current state of loving it. Unfortunately I have a severe elbow injury and have been warned it may be 12 months before I can ride my bike again. I have also been a runner in the past but that has always ended in tears (and injury).

Anyway, my belief is that I should be doing something active 6 days of the week and I give myself one day for my body to relax (and recover). At the moment it's all at the gym until I can get back on my bike. I kick-started my year by signing up to a programme at the gym to "drop a dress size". The exercise was hard out and the programme also covered off nutritional guidelines. I dropped 5 kilos over 6 weeks which I was very happy with. Since the programme finished I have lost another kilo and am happy with the weight I am now at. My current exercise regime is 3 or 4 spin classes a week, 1 or 2 weights classes and 1 or 2 cardio / weights programme. I try to mix it up a bit each week so I don't get bored and so my body doesn't get too used to a particular regime. I'm investigating yoga currently as I would like to stretch more, gain strength and relax.

For me, in the past, when I have been less fit I wasn't happy. I would find I was lacking in energy and was unhappy about how I looked. To me that is my motivator. Feeling energised and comfortable in my own skin is incredibly important. My exercise regime may seem over the top to some but, for me, it is just right. I think any activity we do on a regular basis is good for the body and soul - from walking to swimming to running to dancing. Anything that gets the body moving. On the financial side of things it would be good to not be paying for a gym membership but while I am coping with this injury the gym gives me the ability to keep my level of fitness up.

On the health side of things, I believe that eating well-balanced meals and getting adequate rest are must-haves and key to being healthy and well.

The majority of our meals are cooked from scratch and I am focused on reducing our intake of processed foods as much as possible. I have been caffeine free for a few years now and this year have drastically cut my alcohol intake. I now go for weeks without any alcohol and feel so much better for it. I've cut down the amount of meat I consume but I don't think I will be going vegetarian any time soon - I like meat too much to do that. :)

I enjoy cooking which is lucky for my family and am always looking for interesting new recipes to give us some variety. I work hard to ensure we get a good amount of fruit and vegetables as much as possible and love it when our garden is producing a variety of vegetables. I'm looking forward to spring and getting back into the garden. With hard frosts it is difficult keeping the garden going through the winter. Sleep is important to me. I am an early riser (up at 5:10 during the week) so I am definitely an early to bed person each night. Funny thing is, the odd late night now doesn't impact me like they used to in the past - maybe being stronger and fitter has reduced my dependence on sleep a bit?

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