Curb Walk

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Lately I’ve been walking at lunch.  No biggie, right?  Yea sure, lots of people have taken to a walk during lunch.  It’s a good chance to digest a little, get some fresh air, and refresh you mind for the afternoon’s work.

I’ve tried to incorporate a little twist into my lunch walks, when I’m feeling particularly…creative, I guess.  I started walking on the curb.  The inspiration for this peculiar practice?  It comes from a couple of places.

First, in the little business park where I work  there are only sidewalks on some of the streets.  For some reason the developers who designed the business parks in the area figured people would only walk on some of the streets, apparently.  So it’s walk the curbs, or you’re in the street.  Then again, this is only part of my reasoning. Lots of people walk on the side of the road, the gutter, etc.

The main reason is that I feel like the practice gives me just a bit of a balance challenge and thus gives my 10 minute walk a little more value.  At least I like to think so.  Today I walked around the whole business park where my office is.  On the curb.  This is the first time I did it the whole way (mostly I’ve just been walking the curb on a portion of the walk).  It felt good.

The reasoning behind attaching value to “balancing” comes from something an old physical therapy friend, Roberta, said to me.  I remember her telling me one time that mixing up your exercise activities, including some balance tests/practice, was a good idea.  It encourages micro-movements that strengthen muscles that wouldn’t otherwise get worked.

So I’ll keep on with this new practice and see if I notice any micro changes from the micro-movements.  Regardless, I’m enjoying the variety.  The main thing is to get up and get moving.  It’ll improve your fitness, and your attitude.  Find something that inspires you to do so.  The curb’s working for me.

#GetUpTogether

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Off Your Butt. UP. Go!

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In May I’ll hit the one-year mark since I started tracking my sleep and day-time movement/activity in a formal manner.  How?  I’ll tell you.

Don’t remember how I found Jawbone UP, but one of their devices (the UP Move) is the one I have.  I bought one last spring, and have been tracking myself since then.  In keeping with the project, I’ve thought increasingly about how to integrate being “active” into my every day.

At it’s most basic level, it’s clear to me that if I’m going to be as healthy as I can be, I’ve got to remember the fundamental importance of MOVEMENT — in increasing amounts, and frequently. Not just daily but many times EACH day.  It’s about getting UP, staying active throughout the day.

Part of the motivation was from my not being very active since my wife and I started having kids five years back.  We had run a handful of half-marathons, my running had progressed nicely, and then BOOM:  kid #1 arrived.  A MASSIVE blessing for sure (as is #2 and #3 we added over the next three years).  But my running all but stopped.  I got hurt. Then it stopped completely.

So MOVEMENT.  MOTION.  MOBILITY.  For me, it’s about feeling better physically.  And mentally.  About the body.  How it feels, how it works for you.  One of the keys?  No surprise really:  Work to get to and stay around your ideal body weight.  Make your body (and mind) stronger.  Two main factors are at play here:  Good Diet, and Good Activity Level. Regularly.  Every day.

What does that effect?  For one thing, “metabolism”. Your own.  Revving it up. Get it going.  Using the energy you’re consuming.  Get the body doing more of what is suppose to be doing.  Performing well, propelling you forward. Want a little science?  Here.

What else?  Being active gets the blood flowing, gets that heart rate up a bit. Get’s the body warm, and loose, and operating more efficiently and effectly.  A bi-product? You burn more calories.  What’s the result?   At least for me (but I think research backs this up), I feel more ENERGIZED.  And my body physically feels better.  My joints, my back, my whole physical self feels healthier.

There are a few catchy phrases that come to mind to spur motivation.

Here’s one:  “Motion is Lotion.”  I heard a therapist say that once.  Love it.  So true.

Here’s another:  “Move It or Lose It.” Lose your mobility, lose your skill, lose your independence, lose your…mind.  After all, we’re built for MOVEMENT.

USE your body as it was intended. Reference back to our evolutionary ancestors.  200,000 years of motion, activity, chasing, finding our food.  We’ve come a long way since then.  And NOT to our advantage.  Want the Cliff Notes?  Here.

All this is even more important as we get older.  We’ve got to keep trying, keep after it, keep being open to new stuff to stay active as long as possible.

Here’s one more phrase, maybe not so catchy, but direct and to the point:

“Off Your Butt.” GO.  Being more active will result in more happiness.  That’s the best reason to get UP and move. NOW.  You’ll be glad you did.

Onward

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Lots of thought this week about motivation, energy, enthusiasm, resolve, fortitude, and also the opposite: lethargy, obstacles, sudden difficulties, unexpected delays, crushing defeats.

I’ve thought about how to maintain the former and minimize the effect of the latter.  I’ve considered various voices and strategies that can be employed to accomplish just this objective, to stay on a positive path and make progress towards goals in the face of inevitable challenges.

Boiling down all the good ideas that I’ve come across, one particular theme crystallized for me today.  MOTION.  MOVEMENT.  FORWARD PROGRESS.  The thread amounts to one thing:  Taking action, doing SOMETHING, rather than freezing up, unable to respond to whatever life brings your way.

If we get into the habit of motion we create our own momentum.  Making progress forward of any kind, no matter how small, is the key.  That very action is one of the main sources of positive force that will generate all those favorable traits listed at the beginning of this piece.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times for rest, relaxation, reflection, etc.  That’s really the dichotomy.  We human beings all need those breaks, those periods of recharge for our bodies, minds, for our souls.  But when that rest is complete — by circumstance or by choice — the way to kick-start yourself is simple:

Get UP, and GO. Move. Take action.

It’s the very action itself that is important.  That’s why exercise or physical activity otherwise is so critical to our overall well-being.  It’s therapeutic and healthy and necessary to MOVE.  Everyday.  Or most days, anyway.

Taking action is also how we work through difficulties.  It’s the ONLY way.  If you fret and stew and worry and lament you only extend the time you’re in the difficulty.  Moving forward is the only way to get through it.  If you’re in a slump, in a rut, the response is simple — not easy, but simple — don’t allow yourself to wallow, force yourself to move forward.

As Winston Churchill once put it, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

So, get UP, and GO.  It’s the only way to live.

ONWARD.