Thinking about changing my gym membership

Currently I have a membership where I can frequent the gym on an every other day basis but may very soon change that.  For example, I want to go out and I am slotted to go workout say like today….do I WANT to end up all hot and sweaty (okay get your mind out of the gutter)…before going out with friends or reserve the workout for another day? I don’t like to pin myself down when it comes to things like this. I want to be able to work out and also go out. 

The hardest part of starting up an exercise routine is starting up.  I don’t want to fall into the trap again where my evil mind will say:  “Now, you can always go tomorrow…” and then end up not going.  I am at a quandry.  But I also know how I am and I need to stick with a routine.  Ahhhh..decisions!  I will probably end up upgrading my membership…which I am sure the higher heads that be at my gym will love it….more money for them.  I just have to do what is best for me.  (I also need to buy more “hip” exercise clothes)….don’t want to look like a grandma out there. :^)

STRESS RELIEVER….EXERCISE

everystockphoto_262335_l.jpegOne thing I learned in basic training besides learning how to keep a straight face and show no emotion while a drill sergeant ranted and raved in my face (with spittle at times) was that exercise is an ideal torture trap venue for releasing your frustrations and stressors.

Mind you…basic was NOT easy. I went through in 1986.  I was 17 so had youth on my side.  I was able to kick some serious a$$ with my new found attitude and body.  Now, as the years rolled on by and once I was off of active duty I found myself wishing I had that hard body and extra stamina to deal with today’s stressors.

Now without sounding whiny….I realize that at my age I need to continue living a healthy lifestyle…which includes the food and drink I put in my mouth.  Nothing beats a bummer of a day than chocolate. I love it, could live for it.  I love my hot cup of delicious cocoa at night before bedtime—just part of this lady’s routine.

Slowly through the years…(I can be dense)…I realized the best thing (though cannot beat chocolate by a LONG shot)….is exercise. Exercise released a myriad of endorphins and gives you an extra zing….though I can be jack tired after spending all day dealing with cases I find after a good solid workout I do have some extra pep.

Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, is one of the best ways to reduce stress. This type of exercise can:

  • Strengthen your heart and lungs
  • Help you control your weight
  • Improve physical appearance
  • Enhance self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Elevate your mood and help ward off depression
  • Improve the quality of your sleep
  • Reduce stress reactivity
  • Improve your ability to concentrate

Aerobic exercise produces and sustains cardiovascular elevation for 15 to 30 minutes, three to four times a week. For optimal fitness and stress management, 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to five times per week is recommended. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, running, swimming, in-line skating, biking, and cross-country skiing.

Tips for Beginning an Exercise Program 

If you’re 35 or older, or have heart problems, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions, you should seek your healthcare provider’s approval before beginning an exercise program.

Starting and sticking to a regular exercise program can be a challenge. Here are some things you can do to avoid becoming a fitness program dropout:

  • Find out what works for you and make it fun. What would be the most enjoyable type of exercise for you? Do you enjoy competitive sports? Walking with a friend? In-line skating? Using exercise equipment? Do you have more fun exercising with a friend, a group, or by yourself? Do you like to listen to music while you exercise?
  • If you haven’t been exercising regularly, start slowly. Try 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a week and increase from there.
  • Plan for your workouts and make them a priority by scheduling them in your calendar.
  • Consider finding a workout partner or role model who can help keep you motivated.
  • If you miss a few days of exercise, don’t quit! Just go back to your routine and eventually it will become a habit.

The article, Reducing stress through exercise by Annie Cruzan states that: All stress doesn’t have to be bad or have a negative impact on the body. Certainly, our attitudes and perceptions of situations have a huge impact on how we deal with stress, and research has shown that individuals who exercise on a regular basis handle stress better.
 
The body’s normal response to a life-threatening or even challenging circumstance is to go into a stress- responding mode. Changes take place within the body that allow for an increase in heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and production of hormones that enable us to “fight or take flight.” However, many times we have stress develop in our lives simply because of changes that occur. How we respond to these changes will, in part, determine how much of an impact stress has on us.
 
Another important factor of how we handle stress is our physical health, particularly our level of physical conditioning. Studies have concluded that exercise is one positive way to cope with stress. Physically active or fit individuals tend to have fewer stress-related health problems and are likely to have fewer symptoms of depression.

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SO in inclusion, after much thought I feel I am on the right track towards leading a more productive and healthy lifestyle, living for me, my quality of life is improving and I’m starting not to look too bad in my new xmas present exercise outfits….. ;^)

Websites:

http://www.thirdage.com/news/articles/ALT02/04/04/22/ALT02040422-02.html

http://www.upmc.com/HealthManagement/ManagingYourHealth/HealthReference/HealthTopics/BehavioralHealth/?chunkiid=21277

http://www.spine-health.com/backtalk/res/btb_res_chronic03.html

http://www.musc.edu/catalyst/archive/2006/co4-21reduce.html

Exercise for the lower abs

parthanon_fitness_chisled_230774_l.jpegOne of my New Year resolutions is to continue going to the gym and toning up.  One thing I noticed is that I have to work harder to keep myself in shape….not like at 17 when I could walk across the room and still be toned…lol.

 Tonight I am going to try a new exercise….luckily they have this equipment and also one of the best exercises to perform when toning your lower abdomen.  A trouble spot for women as they grow older and ESPECIALLY if they had children.  Pregnancies will weaken the ab muscles and trust me is hard to get back.  But if you are diligent and motivated you can do it:

Hanging leg raises are becoming one of the most popular abdominal exercises, and with good reason.  This intense movement is a great way to target the entire abdominal region including the difficult to hit lower abs (MY PROBLEM SPOT).

 Basic Technique:

1.  Hang from the Lat Pull-Up Bar

2.  Grip shoulder width apart-arms should remain fully extended throughout this movement. You may want to bend your knees slightly and keep them bent through the whole exercise.

3. Using ab muscles ONLY, raise your legs to a point where you feet are about level with your belly button (I have a long torso so should be interesting)…do NOT swing your legs up with your hips FOCUS on using those stubborn ab muscles……….

4.  Hold the peak contraction (sounds like giving birth) for a count of 1 or 2, and squeeze hard (again sounds like giving birth)…Perform the negative portion of the movement slowly by lowering your legs resisting somewhat on the way down.  Repeat for a tight set of 12-20 reps (should prove to be interesting)………

Of course good diet coupled with exercise will help. If you are genetically predisposed to have that lower ab fat then you need to work out harder or opt for the lipo…. ;^)

Websites:

http://www.bodybuildingforyou.com/training-fitness/abs-exercise-leg-raises.htm

Exercise and the Winter Blues

One thing that I have found which is saving me this winter is being able to go to the gym.  I am not a Midwestern wintry type of gal.  Don’t get me wrong…I love looking at the snow and even gleefully playing in its cold recesses, however I hate the gray skies which usually comes with it in this part of the USofA.

When I begin to see the flowers starting to bloom and leaves gracing the trees now we’re talking.  Ready to sing a sappy Disney tune to go along with it………..

In the meantime I make myself workout at the gym though the animal in me wants to be a hermit and hibernate during these cold months.

But afterwards (I usually spend an hour) I feel a lot better…energized.  I did gain a few pounds from Holiday eating but lost two of them already just by going to the gym for one day.

The hardest part of any exercise routine is getting started. But like brushing your teeth….a necessary “evil” and should be incorporated into living a healthy lifestyle.

Meeting with trainer this Wednesday

Well, I was unable to meet with Scott this weekend since my parents stayed over until Sunday so will be meeting with him at 24 Hour Fitness after work.  I hope I have the energy.  I wouldn’t mind going early in the morning but the thing IS getting there early and I am NOT a morning kind of gal….but am psyched about going to this new gym.  I don’t want a personal trainer…just show me the ropes. If I want that kind of personal attention I will ask for it.  No pressure, nothing.  Let me do this at my OWN pace…..