Footwear

I’ve never focused much on footwear for working out. All I figured I ever needed were runners that had soles without holes. I have since learned that the correct shoe for the activity can mean you’re less likely to be injured. Runners for weightlifting should allow you to distribute weight uniformly so you remain steady. If you wanted to compete, you can get specific shoes for that but I just use runners since I only want to be stronger. Have a look at this post to see what I mean. 

Image result for running shoes

I have specific runners for running as they have an internal bump that counteracts my feet’s pronation (bowing inwards). A physiotherapist or a well trained shoe sales person (not likely to be at big box stores) will be able to identify what specific pronation issues you may have and direct you to the correct type of shoe. I highly recommend taking this route if it’s possible because an injury will sideline any work out intentions you may have.

This page can help you navigate footwear and decide what to buy for what activity.

 

 

Stretching

Stretching is always one of those tick boxes that needs to be done for every workout. Or does it? This article from The Globe and Mail provides a good, up to date summary on stretching and whether or not it is beneficial. 

I stretch. I have certain biomechanical issues (knee caps that wander and feet that bow inwards) that mean I need to take extra care in order to be able to continue working out. If a placebo effect is at work, I’m okay with that as it means I have good recovery after every workout. When I choose not to stretch, I’m sore.

When I go to physiotherapy, they give me stretches that I need to hold for 30 seconds. Now, I do all of my stretches for 30 seconds, twice each time, and that keeps my muscles from tightening up.

These are a few of the stretches I do:

Legs

Forward bend 

Wide Legged Forward Bend 

Arms

Triceps stretch 

Eagle Pose above the waist 

Back

Child pose 

Seated forward bend 

Sitting at your desk too much? Try these stretches

As you probably notice, I use quite a few yoga stretches. I’ve made the routines so hopefully I will find a way to incorporate yoga into my daily activities.

 

Running

I’ve never enjoyed running, until now. I used to try and quickly found myself very bored and aware of just how much physical activity I was doing. That quickly de-motivated me and I would quit. Now, my brain must be going at a much slower pace and asking for less stimulation as I actually enjoy it. Lesson for me – Never give up on an exercise form as you might enjoy it at a later date.

IMG_20180723_0554014

It helps that it exercises my very active dog. If we don’t take her out, she lets us know what we should be doing when she sits by the door, sits in front of us and stares at us or picks up her toys and throws them at us. If I take her running in the morning, she actually relaxes , flopping out on the floor or in the yard and being happy with just being. With just a walk, she’s pacing the house within a couple of hours.

When I started running in the past twelve weeks, I had to battle with myself. I didn’t want to run. But my reward was a calmer dog so I kept at it. Now, I look forward to the run because I feel so much better mentally and physically and my dog looks at me with a happy, mouth-open, tongue hanging out, face.

I have to take it very slow. Knees that bow inwards mean I put too much weight on the inside of my knees which eventually turns into me not running. So, I run every second day, take the weekend off and take it very slow. It’s taken me twelve weeks to get up to running for four kilometres (approximately as I don’t have one of those tracker devices) non-stop. I will gradually add extra kilometres as the sun rises later and later each morning. My dog can’t chase her frisbee in the dark so we might as well run instead.

Don’t hesitate to explore those activities that you didn’t like in the past. You might find you really like them now.

Why physical activity?

I try to be fit because it makes me feel good. Losing weight isn’t one of my goals with physical activity, although I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds. The most current research (which could eventually be proven wrong) appears to indicate that we cannot lose weight through exercise and that we must cut calories .

IMG_5308

Since losing weight is not likely to happen, my exercise goals are mental health related. I want to feel positive and being fit allows me to do that through the endorphin hit at the end of a run or hike or gym session. I focus on that feeling and try to carry it with me, especially when I’m feeling down. Actually what I should write there is when I’m feeling depressed because activity keeps depression from winning.

I have battled depression most of my life. I knew when I was teenager I was experiencing depression but I didn’t want to go to counselling. Talking to people I loved and trusted was difficult. Counselling wasn’t going to happen.

When I read an article saying research had shown exercise to be helpful in dealing with depression, I latched onto it, and I have never let go. I found that my emotional states were less roller coaster-ish and that I could deal with negative emotions much better. I was hooked!

I know when I haven’t been exercising because the depression starts to creep back. As soon as I feel it, I start something, whether it’s weightlifting, walking, running, or cycling. It takes a week for me to get the small high that gives me a bright spot in the day. After a few weeks, that high (by which I mean, return to even keel normality) stays around for a few hours. Once exercise is a routine, I find my depression almost all gone.

This is of course only my experience as everyone experiences different levels of depression. This is only offered as an insight into why physical activity is important to me and me alone.

What is your reason for being physically active?

Be kind to yourself.

 

What Happened?

Okay, where have I been? This blog is sorely neglected! But an early baby for a first time parent will do that to a person. Time for a revamp, hence the introduction of The Active Writer! I aspire to write active characters and to write actively but I also love being active, whether it’s lifting weights, running or walking with my dog or hiking up the hill. I will include short monthly posts about my physical activities.

IMG_20180729_0653275

I will still write about the characters I love in this blog but those characters will expand to include fantasy fiction and whatever else I might read or have read along the way.

Burnt is ready for an editor!  Being on maternity leave, my pocketbook is not going to allow me to welcome one. Once I return to work, I will begin saving again for editing. Until then, it’s look for an editor and start a new story!  This one will be fantasy and that’s all I have for you now.

So I had hinted in my tweets last year that I was going to write about a character from Terry Brooks’ fertile mind. I am not going to write about Terry Brooks’ characters because it has been too long since I read those books and I won’t be able to give them the justice they are due. Once I’ve had a chance to re-read those books, I will return to this post.

My next post concerning writing and reading will be about When Words Collide, 2018 which takes place from August 10-12, 2018 in Calgary. #WWCYYC18

After that, I will write about Victor Stromboli from Transient, written by Al Onia and published by Bundoran Press.

In the meantime, stay tuned for a post about physical activity.