Exercise is a Good Thing – Taken in Moderation

Good morning! I hope you’re all having a fantastic day so far.

For the past several days, I’ve awakened to some pretty welcome news, courtesy of the bathroom scale. It seems I’m finally in the groove and what I’m doing is beginning to pay off. And yes, the batteries in the scale are fresh, thank you. All told, I’ve lost a total of 17 pounds since I started this downhill journey, and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m using a Body Key app on my phone that tracks my weight and chimes in with virtual pats on the back and helpful tips along the way. It’s designed to take you through three phases of the weight loss journey, with the ultimate goal of weaning you off the meal replacement products and sending you on your way lighter, healthier, and better equipped to continue toward your ultimate goal.

Yesterday morning, along with a message of praise for being a good boy, the app suggested now may be the time to start mixing in some exercise. Damn. It just had to go there! All this time we’ve been getting along so well, and now it wants me to intentionally put my body through stretching and pulling exercises that have the sole effect of making me smell bad. Just lovely.

I joke about that a lot, but I actually enjoy exercise. Well, I enjoy it while I’m doing it. Getting me to the gym is another matter entirely. There are just too many other things to do. Like watching TV, surfing the internet, or standing in the front door staring at absolutely nothing. I’d like to say I have a better excuse, but that’s about as good as it gets.

Part of my issue with exercise has been my lower back. The last several times I’ve started into a workout routine, it lasted about a week before I started walking around hunched over like an old man. Okay, an older man. Much older. Ten years at least. And as soon as that kicks in, my days of exercising are over for the time being. And it seems “time being” lasts a lot longer than it used to.

It’s the classic Catch-22. My back hurts because of all this extra weight I’ve been carrying around. If I want to lose an appreciable amount of weight, exercise is part of the formula. So, I nurse my back into reasonable shape and start exercising. And then I’m lucky to walk. Can I get an amen?

Well, with the loss so far, my back is beginning to feel better. Not great, but I can honestly say it’s more discomfort than pain, and as long as I can keep it at that level, exercise should be no problem. My problem is learning how to ease into something. As soon as I get back to the gym, I want to do it all. I get frustrated that my strength isn’t what it used to be, and I want that back. NOW.

It’s important to eat exercise. And it’s equally important to listen to your body along the way. A trick I’ve learned over the years is to go in one day, do a quick routine that includes one set of everything, but a little lighter on the weights, and then rest for a couple of days before I go back. That usually helps me avoid the typical first-workout muscle pain. You know, the kind that hits you two days later when you can’t do a thing about it.

From there, I can usually get back into a routine. And I guess I need to pay more attention to exercises I can do while seated, with full back support, instead of standing there swinging weights like Tarzan. Again, we have to listen to our body. What works for one person could destroy another. At this point, I’m even scared of the treadmill. So, I’ll do what I can do and hope for the best.

Weight loss is a problem, and if you’re suffering with it yourself, you’re not alone. Obesity is a national epidemic that’s spread to much of the world. Yet we are among the most mal-nourished people on the planet, thanks to processed food and junk. I’m learning that you can’t achieve sustained weight loss simply through diet or exercise – you have to give it the 1-2 punch.

And moderation is the key to success. Each day try to do just a little better than yesterday. Or maybe each week. Remember those Monday morning resolutions? Don’t try to do it all at once, because your body will revolt and then you’ll be worse off than you were. It’s not a race – it’s a marathon, long and slow. And the goal is simply to cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes. You can do this!

That’s all for now. Be healthy and have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Wanna Get Healthy? Take a Walk!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

For those who read my post yesterday, I’m happy to report that my coffee maker is working just fine today. So, I’m sitting here sipping a steaming cup of Southern Pecan flavored coffee as I put my morning thoughts into words. Let’s hope it’s a good combination.

That said, I did drop one of my hearing aids on the multi-colored carpet this morning and had to spend the next ten minutes with a flashlight trying to find it. Turns out all that dust under the bed is the perfect camouflage for something that small. I think I know what’s first on my to-do list for this weekend.

We talk a lot about exercise and getting healthy. It’s by far the number one New Year’s resolution each year, which means there are a whole lot of people talking about it but not doing a thing to accomplish that goal. But in any discussion of dreams, it only makes sense to think about our health. Because all the best life has to offer isn’t much fun if you’re not able to enjoy it.

Open the internet and you’ll find dozens of articles describing the “miracle” diet or the “perfect” exercise. And, to be fair, some of them offer a little bit of decent advice. But if you want to know the absolute best form of exercise, get up and take a walk. Think about that perfect exercise as you walk. Do it every day, a few times a day. The answer will come to you, I promise.

Walking is, without a doubt, the best thing we can do for our physical and emotional health. And that doesn’t mean just taking a stroll to the restroom whenever the urge hits. According to the American Heart Association, we should all strive for at least 10,000 steps per day. With an average stride, that’s roughly five miles. You can’t get that pacing around the living room. It takes effort.

But it’s not that hard if you make it a priority. Instead of sitting in the break room, eating vending machine food as you commiserate with friends about your job, or your boss, or who got the last promotion and who they had to brown-nose to get it, get outside and take a walk! First of all, it’ll clear your head. All the stresses of the day fade into the background. It’s even better than alcohol.

Beyond just clearing your mind, a brisk walk has lots of physical benefits as well. It improves your heart and lung health, and reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. It builds stronger bones and improves balance. It increases muscle strength and endurance and reduces body fat. And it’s a great way to manage high blood pressure, cholesterol, joint pain, and diabetes. And best of all, it’s free!

All of those benefits from something you learned to do as a toddler. And I know what you’re thinking. “Who has time for a walk every day? I usually have to work through lunch!” Well, make time. If you can’t take off for a half-hour at lunchtime, get out and take a stroll around the block once or twice a day. You’ll be back before anyone even realizes you were gone.

When you get home, take a walk around the neighborhood. You might even make some new friends. And if you live or work in an area where you just don’t feel completely safe taking a walk by yourself, get some friends to go along with you. Drive to a mall and take a few laps there. Go to your local park. Odds are they have at least one or two trails.

It’s all about priorities and alternatives. Sometimes we can’t do things the way we’d like, but if they’re important enough we find a way. And I’ll be honest, 10,000 steps a day isn’t that hard. My Fitbit registers half that amount simply walking around work (I have a desk job) and maybe going to the store after work. With just a little extra effort, I could be hitting 10,000 steps every day.

Walking, by itself, won’t necessarily get you that beach body you desire, or ward off every illness that comes your way. You may have to add in a couple of other things as well, like eating healthy and doing a little resistance training. But there is no other form of exercise that’s more natural and more beneficial than simply taking a walk.

We’ve been dreaming a lot these past several weeks, and I urge you to follow those dreams. But make sure that when you get there, you’re healthy enough to make the most of them.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Do Your Body Right

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the image of fitness. I see a lot of other people my age and younger who aren’t nearly as healthy as I am, but when it comes to body weight and the ability to move it around freely, I’ve got some work to do. I guess that can be said for a lot of us.

And something I’ve noticed over the years – every time I talk to my doctor about any of a variety of issues, the response always included “diet and exercise.” Blood sugar is getting a little high? Diet and exercise. Need to take off a few pounds? Diet and exercise. Blood pressure needs to come down? Diet and exercise. I’m starting to think there’s a conspiracy.

And if you read the label on any of the multitude of weight loss products, where they brag about how the pounds and inches will just melt away, there’s always an asterisk next to that comment. Scroll down to the bottom of the label, that line you can’t read without a magnifying glass. It says, “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!

I like working out in a gym, weightlifting and flexibility training. I even like yoga. My problem was always a matter of convenience. My gym has several locations in the area, but they’re all several miles from the house. And, you know, my horse doesn’t like traveling long distances, especially in the cold. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

But a few weeks ago, the YMCA opened a new location a half-mile from the house. Worse yet, it’s right on the way to work. And it’s open ALL DAY. I’m starting to think I’ve run out of viable excuses. So, a couple of days ago, I took the plunge and got us signed up. My wife and I both. As luck would have it, it’s right on the way to every store she visits. Now we both have to go.

I had my first workout the day we signed up. Whatever your goal, or your taste in exercise, they’ve got you covered. Well, everything you can do in public, anyway. And as I looked around at all the equipment and facilities, it occurred to me that there’s no way I’ll ever get it all done. So, you have to pick and choose. You have to find something that will help accomplish your goal.

And, I think that’s one of the most important parts of any exercise program. You have to start with a goal. What are you trying to accomplish? If it’s just weight loss, they’ve got a routine for that. If you want to strengthen and tone as you go, there are exercises for that. And if you just want to be able to grunt and throw around really heavy weights, well … there’s a gym down the street.

For most of us, knowing how to accomplish those goals is a challenge. If you just go into a gym and watch what everybody else is doing, you’re not working on your goals – you’re working on theirs. Exercise programs need to be tailored to your specific condition and your specific needs. Walking is good for everybody. But a treadmill is just a little too much impact for my lower back. At least now.

You could work with a trainer, even just long enough to figure out how to use certain machines correctly. But, be careful because trainers are like those leftovers in the back of your refrigerator … some are a lot better than others. There are lots of books you could read, or you can just surf the internet and get the information for free.

And, believe me, the internet is loaded with info. I was looking for specific exercises to help reduce the size of my … you know, mammaries. I think that’s the technical term. And you know how Google reads what you’ve typed so far and suggests some options? Well, when I typed in “Getting ride of mo …” the first thing that popped up was “Getting rid of moobs?” Seriously? Do they have a camera or something? Like nobody out there is trying to get rid of mosquitoes? Thanks!

The point is, do a little research. Talk to people, read, surf the internet, whatever it takes. Because the same machine one person uses to slim down will help another to bulk up. And it’s critical to do the exercises correctly. Form comes first, then you can work on being macho.

We all need to exercise. And, with very few exceptions, we all need to exercise a lot more than we do now. Start with a goal – know what you’re trying to accomplish, and why. Then take a little time to find out the best (and safest) ways to accomplish that goal. Start easy and build up. It’s not a race. And don’t try to keep up with the person next to you. Just keep up with yourself.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your ‘Wagon’ is Right Where You Parked It

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

When I saw my surgeon a couple of weeks ago, he told me I can start exercising again. By that, I think he meant something other than lifting food to my mouth. I’ve always done pretty well with that. He told me to ease back into it, which is no problem at all. I’ve learned over the years that exercise isn’t something you just jump right into. Unless you like pain.

I went a couple of times, and already my lower back is making me pay for it. I didn’t do anything intense, but apparently what I did do was a little too much. You see, extra weight and back problems never play nicely together. You have to lose the weight to make your back feel better, but exercise kills your back. It’s the proverbial Catch-22.

So, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that, at least initially, I have to do exercises where my back is fully supported. And I’m pretty sure my recliner isn’t part of the solution. That means I have to find a way to sit comfortably while I make myself sweat. Maybe a chaise lounge chair on a sunny beach? It could work!

As luck would have it, they just built a brand-new YMCA a half-mile from home, so I went in the other night for a tour. It’s pretty impressive. Two gymnasiums, two pools (one for warm-water therapy), an overhead walking track, and a huge workout room with every type of exercise apparatus known to man. Some of them are even motorized. Now, that’s my kind of exercise!

But what struck me the most was how many people were there. The place was packed. There wasn’t a treadmill to be found, and I know those basketball teams had a lot more than five players on the court. My tour guide told me it’s like that in the early evening. She also said it’s a new facility, so everyone wants to be there. For now.

Finally, I asked her if she thinks a lot of that is what we call the “resolution crowd.” You know, people who make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, and then hit the gym every day through January and the first week or two of February. After that, you never see most of them again. Kinda like the crowd in church on Easter Sunday. She replied, “Oh, yeah!”

Granted, nobody wants to go to the gym when it’s so packed you can’t move. But, on the other hand, I’d really like to think the majority of those people will stick with it. I used to go into the gym the first week of January, see all the new faces, and say a prayer that they’d keep coming. Maybe all that praying is why they stopped. Guess I should have kept it to myself.

And the important thing is, they made the effort. I have to believe people who start working toward a goal and fall off the wagon are at least able to remember why they started it in the first place, then dust themselves off and climb back on. I say that because I’m one of them. I’m great at starting projects. It’s just the follow-through that gives me trouble.

Still, with very few exceptions, we can always start again. We can get back to the gym or get back to that healthy diet. We can finish painting the basement or clean out the garage. We can write that book, build that business, or climb that mountain. Whatever it was we started and stopped (or never quite started in the first place), we can go back and finish it.

As long as we’re breathing, we’re never completely out of the game. Granted, there are things I can’t do at this age and physical condition that I wish I could do. But I can improve my physical condition to make some of them a little more possible. I may never run a marathon, but maybe someday I can walk one. Sometimes we have to tweak our goals, but we should never just let them die.

Exercise is like a lot of other things in life. When you haven’t been doing it for a long time, you need to ease back into it and find your sweet spot. Too much too fast can cause some serious problems. And, like exercise, you can ease your way back into anything else you’ve started and let slide. The goal is still there, and the path to success hasn’t really changed. You just need to get back on track.

You never truly fail until you stop trying. And, as I’ve always said, better late than never. If there’s something you want, no matter how many times you’ve tried before, keep on trying. You’ll get there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved