Scheduled ‘me’ time

Lately, mostly due to various problems with arthritis, I find myself managing my pain with ‘avoidance.’ I still do my stretches and biking each morning, but the rest of my day is about minimizing movement. Short term gain (no pain) for long term pain (loss of flexibility and muscle tone). Not a good approach.

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So, I am trying to build some activity into the later parts of my day. At 4:00 every day, I am giving an hour to my health. One of the actives will be to get outside and walk. I have a deck system with four sets of stairs, so a circuit involves exercising muscles to keep my knees strong, a key piece of arthritis management.

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You can see by the pile of leaves at the bottom, this set of stairs hasn’t been used enough!

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Other things I can do during my ‘me hour’ (some exercise, some wellness time):

1. Research a health topic I am interested in and do an information page in my scrapbook. Perhaps do a blog post!

2. Do 20 minutes of yoga. I have a program to follow or, for variety, I can tape a program from TV.

3. Get weighed. We have a very good quality doctor’s scale but it is in the basement so I don’t weigh myself too often.

4. Do a set of weights for my arms, to keep them strong and help accelerate my metabolism.

5. Foot and nail care.

6. Read or do any sedentary activity on my exercise ball.

7. Take a walk outside, including my deck-stair circuit.

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Another deck stairway ready for my circuits.

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All my best,

Alexandra.

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setting some goals – results

On November 23, 2013, I set some goals for myself.  These included three medium-term goals about exercise:

Medium Term Goal (one month)

Goal #2: My medium term, four-week goal is to bike every second day for one month (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Goal #3: My second medium term, four-week goal is to begin 2.5 pound arm weight sessions on days when I am not cycling (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to begin to go for a short 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Well, I have reached my December 23 goal date.  You can see my daily results in the table near the end of this post.  In summary, during the month:

♣  I biked on my stationary cycle 13 times.  This was fewer than the 16 times intended, but I am on my way to my goal of biking every second day!

♣  I did my weights 6 times during the month, falling short of my goal.  However, these are the first weights I have done this year and I am considering this a start in the right direction.  I have discovered that I can do weights while I am watching TV, turning an inactive time into an active one!

♣  I walked outside 11 times during the month.  I started very well, but the weather was very uncooperative and I did not achieve my goal of walking every day.  However, focussing on the positive, I am determined to continue with this goal because walking outside is so good for me, for so many reasons!

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Alexandra in the snow (an exaggeration, but almost this much, as of this morning)

Date Cycle Weights Walk Date Cycle Weights Walk
Nov. 23  #  # Dec. 9  #
Nov. 24  #  # Dec. 10
Nov. 25  #  # Dec. 11
Nov. 26  # Dec. 12  #
Nov. 27  #  # Dec. 13
Nov. 28 #  # Dec. 14
Nov. 29  # Dec. 15  #
Nov. 30  # Dec. 16  #  #
Dec. 1  # Dec. 17  #
Dec. 2  # Dec. 18
Dec. 3 Dec. 19  #
Dec. 4  # Dec. 20  #
Dec. 5  # Dec. 21  #
Dec. 6  # Dec. 22
Dec. 7  #  # Dec. 23  #
Dec. 8

So, I am going to set some new medium-term goals for myself.

Goal #2: My medium term, four-week goal is to bike every second day (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014)

Goal #3: My second medium term, four-week goal is to do 2.5 pound arm weight sessions on days when I am not cycling (January 1, 2014 to February 1, 2014)

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to go for a 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

I will continue to record my progress on the ‘exercise program’ tab.

Best always, Alexandra

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walking in the woods

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to begin to go for a short 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

I am lucky to have lots of safe interesting places to walk.  I usually walk in the woods around our property since the ground is springy and is easier on my knees than the asphalt of the main road.

I think my ‘walk’ should be described more as a ‘meander’ or a ‘ramble’.  Since I am walking in the woods, there are lots of trippers and I have to watch where I go so I won’t fall.  There are also many things to divert my attention.  When the ground is bare, there are various plants to find.  Even in the cold weather, some, like the Wintergreen in the photo, are still green.  In the snow, there are tracks to follow.

Wintergreen
Today on my walk I found some Wintergreen, still green in the woods although snow was falling

I have several trails to follow since we have a big property.  The map below will give you an idea of some of these paths.walking trails

Where do you go for your walks?

Best always, Alexandra

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walking in the rain

My goal is to walk every day outside for the next month. No matter what the weather.

Two days into this program, the weather outside was so miserable, I decided to walk inside to meet my goal.

Walking inside is possible but not fun.  It is boring.  There are twists and turns to negotiate.  The pile of laundry gets bigger every time I step over it.  The cat decides to follow me and becomes a tripper as I turn to complete the route. True, we have two flights of stairs which make the walk more of a workout.  But stairs are hard on my arthritic knees.  After five minutes of walking back and forth, I decide.  After this, I will be going outside for my walk, no matter the conditions!

Some days, walking outside is wonderful.  The air is fresh.  The sunshine feels good on my face.  There is always something new to see.  What will I find today to add to my bowl of treasures???

But some days it is very hard to venture outside. Where I live sometimes walking every day means going out in the most miserable weather.

Each day needs a different approach:

  • hunting season – no matter how cold, I have to wear hunter orange – my big orange coat keeps me from being mistaken for a deer!
  • cold – I wear layers – a woolen vest, two sweaters, my wind breaker and something for my head (a hat or scarf)
  • rainy – an umbrella
  • snow – I’ll have to find my winter coat
  • windy – same as for a cold day but with a long scarf to let the wind help drag me along!

Alexandra in rain
Alexandra in rain

Best walking always!!!!   Alexandra

going for a walk

At the end of January, I began a program of biking on my stationary cycle and nine months later I can report that I have biked for 30 minutes every two or three days.  This has helped my health in so many ways.  For example, my blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol readings are all close to normal and vastly improved over what they were a year ago.

However, I recently had the experience of navigating the Toronto International Airport.  After two hours of trying to get to the next gate in time, I was a red-faced ball of sweat.  In spite of all my cycling, my exercise had not prepared me for strenuous walking carrying luggage over a long distance.  I think this is because my stationary cycling has not been weight-bearing exercise.

Osteoarthritis in my knees prevents me from doing as much walking as I used to do.  Most days, I walk to do errands or to work around the house, but I have not been walking for exercise for a long time.  In spite of my knee pain, I know that it is good to keep moving.  Walking within my abilities would be good for me.

Ten minutes of walking is about all I can do at the present time, but I think a regular walk outside would make some improvement in my stamina and cardiac health.  Weight-bearing exercise is also good for preventing bone loss as I get older.

Goal #4:   My third medium term, four-week goal is to begin to go for a short 10 minute walk outside every day (November 23 to December 23, 2013)

Tonight, I went walking after supper.  It was dark, cold and windy, but I bundled up in layers and out I went.  The wind was wild in the trees and there was a dusting of new snow on the ground.  It was good to see our neighborhood lights and know that everyone is settling in for the night.  We live in a rural area and some of those lights are at a distance, through the trees. A few cars went by on the road, but no birds or animals were about, so I felt alone on my walking quest for wellness!!!

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Usually I try to bring back something interesting from my walks.  I put a big bowl by the entryway and I intend to fill this with the things I find.   This will be a visible reminder of the walks I have taken.

From my walk yesterday, I brought in a bit of Old Man’s Beard, a lichen that grows in dead trees in our area.

Old Man's Beard on a twig
Old Man’s Beard on a twig (the paperclip is for scale)

Do you walk outside every day and where do you walk?

Best always, Alexandra

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