Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

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Making the little changes (and quick reviews of Food, Inc. and Nighty Night Tea)

November 13, 2009

Women’s Health features an article this month which shows how lifestyle activity has drastically changed over the years. It’s the little things that add up: standing at your desk, for example, burns about 30 calories more than sitting in front of your desk. How often are you stuck in front of the computer for? Even if it’s just a few hours each day, over time, all of that accumulates into something a whole lot bigger.

I’m squeamish about escalators and elevators. When I was travelling through Italy, I’d be huffing it up the staircases with an enormous backpack as tall as me resting on my shoulders, much to the amusement of my travelling companions. Stairs vs. elevator: about 380 calories worth of a difference.

But it’s not, as I mentioned in our recent poll, about “burning calories”. It’s about incorporating enough activity throughout the day so that we achieve a good balance. If I am in front of my computer (standing, naturally, rather than sitting ;)), and it occurs to me that I haven’t seen the sunlight all day, I know that something is wrong.

In my Oral Communication class, our most recent presentation was a persuasive speech. A number of people were talking about food and health-related issues, which I loved. One of my classmates spoke about the importance of Vitamin D, and how everyone in our city should take a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. I partially agree with this statement, but I also feel uncomfortable with it.

Any time that we need to supplement our diet, or go to the gym for a workout, or even things like taking a nap in the middle of the day, it’s worth asking ourselves why exactly we need to do that. What’s missing from our lives that we need to compensate in these other ways? If we’re supplementing our diets, if we’re relying on the gym for exercise, if we can’t make it throughout the day without a power nap, what does that say about our lifestyle?

Since I began eating mostly-vegan, I do own protein powder, and I’ll add a half tablespoon to my oatmeal or when I’m making granola bars or other sweet dishes. I don’t take naps throughout the day, because I can’t shut down my brain partway through the day like that, but I have begun drinking Nighty Night tea* before bed to help me sleep better so that I don’t wake up in a state of exhaustion the next day. And yes, I also go to the gym a couple times a week: it’s the perfect study session.

I recently had the opportunity to see the film Food, Inc. and it blew my mind. Sure, I knew pretty much all of the information presented in the documentary, about all of the rotten stuff in the food that we eat and the way that the workers are treated, but I didn’t really *know* it. Seeing that documentary was such a relief- a relief to know that important people out there who can spread awareness to a wide range of people and who can probably make something of a difference are out there making movies like this. What does disappoint me about it is that it didn’t hit the major theatres (not around Winnipeg, anyway). It was only at the “obscure” movie theatre here, for a short period in September, and then just one more week during November. So much garbage hits the major theatres that surely a really good quality documentary like this should get huge amounts of publicity.

Part of me is a little sad about it all. It would be nice if we didn’t need to supplement our diets- if we really could get all of our nutrients from whole foods, and didn’t have to worry about all the crap that is put into even our fruits and vegetables. It would be nice if we didn’t need to take naps or drink special tea to ensure that we get proper rest. It would be nice if we got all the exercise we needed just from our lifestyle activity and didn’t have to go to the gym or use these ergonomic, posture-improving Herman Miller chairs (cool/eco-friendly as they are!) to get our muscles moving.

I suppose that as long as we don’t overdo it with the “fake” alternatives to real food/exercise and the like, we’re doing all right.

What do you think? Where do you “stand” on all of this?

*this tea is brilliant. It works even better than adding calcium powder to a glass of water at night. I have never found anything which helps me sleep as much as this tea does. Hunt it down and drink a mug in the evening if you have any kind of sleeping problems!

Edited to add: Rodale Books have kindly offered TWO copies of the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook to give away- Bag Lady, send me your mailing address!

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Guest Post: Brad Schoenfeld of “Women’s Home Workout Bible”

November 11, 2009

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook is… Mimi! She of the comment:

My favorite MUFAs, by far, are NUTS! Almonds, cashews, peanuts–any nut! They are so versatile–eat ‘em raw, roasted, plain, mixed into stuff, sweet, savory…wow, drool time! They also do wonders for adding texture to food, which is an incredibly important part of the eating experience. And best of all, they make NUT BUTTER! A nut butter can save anything–burnt toast, dry noodles…the list goes on!

Nuts will inherit the earth!

Bag Lady (“I need this book. Or an intervention.”) and Maggie (“MUFAs = Maggie’s Ultimate Favorite Aliments.”) were close runner-ups 😉

Guest Appearance by Brad Schoenfeld

Hi everyone. It’s a pleasure to be a guest here at Living Healthy in the Real World and have a dialogue about my newest book, WOMEN’S HOME WORKOUT BIBLE: A BETTER BODY FOR EVERY BUDGET. I want to thank Sagan for allowing me the opportunity to interact with all of you.

One of the main themes of the book is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a terrific workout and I want to reiterate that here. In fact, for less than $100 you can purchase all the equipment you need to perform dozens upon dozens of exercises for every major muscle group. Key pieces of equipment include a set of resistance bands, a stability ball and a pair of ankle weights. That’s it! Of course, increasing your budget allows you to expand on these items and potentially derive even greater benefits. For a little more money you can buy some dumbbells, which really adds to your exercise variety. Barbells, machines and other equipment can be obtained at an additional cost. As I like to say, variety is the spice of fitness so going the extra mile can pay dividends if you have the means. That said, more equipment is a luxury, not a necessity.

Once you set up your home gym, something that all too often goes overlooked is the need to consider your goals when deciding on a routine. Realize that fitness follows the principle of specificity. Simply stated, this means that the way you train (i.e. the exact mix of exercises, sets, repetitions, training modalities, etc) will directly impact the way your body responds. One of the biggest workout mistakes I see is that people don’t adhere to this central tenet, and end up training in a manner that isn’t consistent with their objectives. In my book, I segment routines by goals — general body conditioning, body sculpting, fat loss, and core conditioning. You simply match your goal to the respective routine. Thus, if you want to tone up your best bet would be the body sculpting routine while if you want to help reduce back pain your better off with the core conditioning routine. Always keep specificity in mind when deciding on a routine.

There’s so much to discuss on the topic of home workouts. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about the book and/or any questions you may have.

Stay Fit!

Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS

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Book Review: “Women’s Home Workout Bible” by Brad Schoenfeld

November 9, 2009

Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, CPT, sent me this book to review. He has also offered to come and speak to us about his book and his thoughts about working out at home, so be sure to stop by for his guest post on Wednesday with your comments and queries for Brad!

This book is BIG. It has colour. It has photographs to demonstrate exercises. Each division for the exercises is colour-coded to make it easy to flip to your desired section of the book: Shoulders and Arms, Torso, Core, and Lower Body. There are exercises for each of these parts of the body to do with body weight/stability balls/resistance bands, and then also options further on in the book for using dumbbells, barbells, and other kinds of weighted equipment.

There are also different options depending on your budget. Living as a student, my budget for a home gym is limited to a couple of yoga mats, a couple sets of dumbbells, a resistance band, hula hoop, jump rope, and stability ball. But most of the time I find that I only use the yoga mats and stability ball (personal preference: I like using my own body weight). The budget part of the book discussing the best equipment to buy really didn’t apply to me at all, especially because the budgets suggested here range from $100-$2,500. I don’t expect very many of us are willing to shell out that much money for a home gym (the kind using multifunction machines and chinning bars), especially when it’s easy to get in a workout without buying anything. I am strongly supportive of the soup-cans-as-dumbbells method and doing cardio outdoors. Yoga mats are a luxury, as well; not a necessity. In a pinch, rugs or the grass work just as well.

So, while I appreciate the concept of the budget for every body, I didn’t find it to be useful for my personal workout. The exercises included in this book, however, cover a wide range. I very much liked the number of exercises included here, many of which can be done with little to no equipment. Each one is accompanied by a photograph and information regarding the muscles targeted, equipment needed, tips/variations, and a detailed description for how to perform the movement. There were actually a number of exercises I hadn’t heard of before, so it was fun to learn some new ones! I liked so many of the ideas for how to use the stability ball in core exercises.

I wasn’t particularly keen on the slightly patronizing tone of the book in the introduction. The implication that women have difficulty getting in a solid workout because they are too tired at the end of the day from transporting kids and hearing their husband grumbling for dinner made me squirm. I think it’s difficult for a male author to write a health and fitness book designed for women, however. When I reviewed Lou Schuler’s The New Rules of Lifting for Women, I felt an equal unease with the way that the author seems to view his female audience.

That being said, I was impressed with the sheer vastness of topics covered in this book. Over-exercising is touched on (bonus points! I think that this important issue doesn’t always get enough awareness), and there is also some focus on the myths of the notion of “bulking up”, as well as a few notes on the importance of varying up the workout, fueling your exercise with good nutrition, and building a solid mind-body connection. Training routines are included at the back of the book along with some extra information regarding the particular muscles being targeted.

Come back on Wednesday with your thoughts and ideas about building a nice little home workout system and about training for particular goals. Brad will be answering your questions as long as they keep coming!

By the way, the photos of the women in this book: they’re real women. They have toned muscles but they look like regular women who exercise and are in good shape; not fitness models or anything like that. Always nice to see. I’m curious: what kinds of workouts do you do? Do you like using your body weight or using equipment? Home or gym (or outdoors)? And what kind of budget do you allow yourself when it comes to getting fit?

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook, and don’t forget to answer this month’s poll!

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Walk and Get Fit

October 14, 2009

For months, I have faithfully worn my pedometer every day, no matter where I’m going. When I went to Texas in August, however, I didn’t bother bringing along my pedometer. Upon my return home, I didn’t feel any great urge to put it back on. For the past month or two, it has been sitting quietly in a drawer in my desk. We’re both okay with that. We just needed some space. These things happen in the best of relationships.

But now I think I’ll be bringing it out once again, and that is to celebrate a new Walk Around the World in 31 Days challenge conducted by Fitness Magazine! Although it is an American challenge and thus one needs to have an American zip code to enter, I still enjoy wearing a pedometer on a daily basis to track my steps, and I think my pedometer and I are ready to be reacquainted. I really love the notion of the Walk Around the World challenge, especially because one of my ultimate life goals is to literally walk around the world (anyone want to sponsor me to do that? That would be the best experience ever).

Health experts advise us to accumulate about 10,000 steps over the course of the day, but I choose to think of that as the absolute minimum. I prefer thinking of 12,000 steps as my usual base, with about 15,000 as my goal. This is actually pretty easy to do. If I walk to and from work in the morning, and to and from class in the afternoon, that’s about 21,000 steps right there, not including other “lifestyle” steps. If you use your legs for transportation instead of a car, you will have no problem at all with achieving the 10,000 (or 12,000, or 15,000…)-step goal.

I have found that if I go for just a 45 minute walk during the day, I can easily manage 12,000 steps in total (once the steps of walking around the house etc are all included). Depending on how active your everyday lifestyle is- going up and down stairs, moving around at work, or if you live in a house rather than an apartment- you might need to only go for a 30 minute walk or perhaps need to walk for closer to an hour to meet the 12,000 step daily goal. Remember, that 30 minutes can be broken down into 10 minute increments. It’s easy to squeeze in a couple of ten-minute walks throughout the day!

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One of the main reasons I stopped wearing a pedometer is because I’ve been riding my bike so much more frequently than going out for walks. The equivalent of about 7,000 steps of walking only matches up to a couple thousand “steps” if you’re on the bike. It’s the same distance, but you’re going so fast that the pedometer doesn’t realize you’re on a bike instead of on your two feet (much as I love the little gadget, it’s not always the brightest tool). Personally I get a little disheartened when I expect the number to be about 5,000 steps more than it shows.

Walking is one of the best exercises you can possibly do. Among other things, walking lowers blood pressure, reduces body fat, improves mood, helps to prevent osteoporosis, and increases flexibility. Walking is also perfect for strengthening and toning up the whole body. If you have difficulty with performing squats, lunges, or any kind of core exercise, start a good walking program and in a couple weeks try out those body weight exercises once more. You’ll be amazed at the difference that walking can do to improve your technique and endurance.

Walking is an enjoyable activity that anyone and everyone can do! How will you incorporate walking into your day today?

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Winter Cycling

October 12, 2009

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of Mimi Spencer’s 101 Things to Do Before You Diet is… Maggie! Her tip: take some “me time”! Always needed. It’s great to just get away for a little bit each day, even if it’s only 5 minutes. We can all benefit from a little extra time to ourselves to recollect our thoughts.

Winter Cycling

We got our first snowfall of the year on Friday afternoon. It looks as though it’s here to stay- yesterday morning the snow melted quite a bit, but then it began snowing again in the late afternoon. So much for autumn! In the spirit of exercising no matter the weather, on Saturday morning I set out for my first ever experience with winter cycling.

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Just imagine this… with a coat down to my knees, boots reaching up my calves, a scarf covering the lower half of my face, and ski gloves to keep my hands warm. Envision piles of snow around and that’s what Harriette and I looked like over the weekend.

My beautiful bicycle Harriette is useful for winter cycling because of her large cruiser-style tires. I learned this when I hit a couple bumpy ice patches on the road. Ever faithful, she managed to keep me balanced and we only slid once! There was something very invigorating about cycling on the slippery snow. I always assumed that bicycling in the winter would be colder than walking, but if you’re bundled up properly, it’s actually quite warm.

When I first started boot camp, I fell completely in love with it. With the Run a Race this Summer Challenge, I began to really enjoy running immensely. I think that there are a couple of key factors here, and that is the novelty of starting something new, and overcoming the difficulties that are associated with them. When I got on my bike on Saturday, I felt the same way that I did when I started those other challenging exercise regimes. The wind was nasty, the roads were brutal, and winter has altogether arrived far too early for my liking- but something about the extremeness of the sport is very attractive.

(Give me a week and no doubt I’ll be changing my tune).

I have a lot of friends who are seasoned winter cyclists. Seeing them out there in all kinds of conditions is intriguing. The reason why I’m particularly interested in it now is because my work/university schedules are not very accommodating if I walk to and from each of them. If I work in the morning (50 minute walk or 15 minute bike ride), I have to take the bus back to my place so I can make it to school on time for my afternoon classes (the university is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment). I’d rather spend my time exercising for transportation than sitting on a bus, so it makes sense to ride my bike- especially because it takes the same amount of time to bike or to go by bus to my work! Therefore, winter cycling really does seem like the most appealing option.

I know virtually nothing about winter cycling or if there’s any special way to treat your bike. I’m a little concerned because Harriette’s seat and handlebars are leather; will they crack in the cold?

There are a couple websites with useful winter riding tips, but I’d love to hear from any of you! Has anyone tried winter cycling? Is it something you’d ever be interested in? Do you have any pointers to help out a beginner?

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Westwood took this photo when she and I went on an epic snow frolicking adventure on Friday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Guest Post: Maximize Fitness with these Maxims

August 26, 2009

I love the fact that I’m fit and healthy – I jog regularly and play racquetball every other day. But if I’m honest with myself and the world, I will admit it took me quite a while to get started down this route, the one that helped me lose weight and look and feel younger. If you’re trying to exercise and diet in order to shed those excess pounds and get fit, here are a few adages that will help you along the way:

  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy: If you think you have no time for exercise and have to dedicate all your efforts towards your work, you’re making a huge mistake, because when you lose your health, you lose everything. So make working out regularly a priority, no matter how much work you have or how limited your time is. Wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later; just do what it takes to make time for your daily workout.
  • A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step: The first step is always the hardest, but as the proverb rightly says, it is the one that is most important. If you want to take the fitness route, you must get started sooner than later. Don’t put off your first day of diet and exercise – the sooner you start, the faster you’re going to reach your destination.
  • An early bird catches the worm: The best time to exercise is early in the morning before the sun is up. Besides the fact that it invigorates you and fills your day with energy, it leaves you with no chance to come up with work-related excuses to avoid your daily routine. You also tend to feel lazier as the day goes by and are too tired at the end of the day to hit the gym. However, there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to exercise in the morning – just do it when time permits.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away: Yes, it’s true – eating the right foods can keep the doctor and diseases away. Besides exercising regularly, you must eat sensibly if you want to expedite your fitness journey. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and a sensible mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and fats make you healthy without making you gain weight. Eat right and watch your fitness levels grow.
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss: And finally, stick to a routine that you love and will adhere to instead of moving from one machine to another at the gym or one activity to another without really giving your all to any specific one. While it’s true that you must vary your exercise routine from time to time so that your body does not get accustomed to it, it’s ok to stick to what works when you’re starting your fitness journey.

So say fitness with these sayings, and watch your weight melt away!

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of nurse practitioner schools . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com

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9k Race Results

August 10, 2009

It started on Thursday. A sore throat. Then a headache. Then an achy body. On Friday night, somehow inexplicably a party broke out at my apartment. I went to bed at 9pm but got next to no sleep, constantly waking up in coughing fits if the noise didn’t keep me awake.

On Saturday morning I woke up feeling, to be honest, like crap. I was supposed to run the race with my friends Richard (my race buddy from the 6k) and Andrew. Richard was ill, too; he was more sick than I was and so that morning he decided not to run the 9k. I almost said to hell with it, I’m sick too and in no condition to run a race, and sleep is just much more inviting.

Then I saw this message on the whiteboard outside my room, left by some of my friends who had been hanging out at my place with my sister/roommate the night before, and I decided to go ahead and run the darn thing:

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It was a tough race- particularly at the 6k mark- and the trail was incredibly muddy!

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Somehow, my pace was actually faster for the 9k than the 6k. That just has me over the moon! My goal was to run the 9k in under an hour. I had hopes to run it in under 55 minutes. Running it in under 50 minutes was my ideal, but not something I expected I’d really be able to achieve…

Time: 48: 25.

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Andrew and I after the 9k race

I’ve been paying for it, though. All day yesterday I was too sick to do much more than whine about it on Twitter and read novels (Richard, on the other hand, is apparently on the mend). I’m very happy, however, that I ran the race. I know that mentally it would have bothered me a lot if I hadn’t ran it. Physically, though, it wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. I’ve been resting plenty to be kind to my body- health, after all, is about appeasing all parts of ourselves.

What do you do when you’re not feeling well? Exercise your way through it? Rest to recover faster? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Race Training and Farmer’s Markets

August 5, 2009

Race Training

My second race of the summer is coming up fast- the 9k run is on Saturday August 8th! I’ve had a few questions regarding my training, and here I must confess that I haven’t been following any kind of training program at all. I’ve been running when I feel like it, about two to three times a week. There’s been a few times when I’ve gone running with other people so my pace and the distance that I run have been changing with each running partner. I really like having a few different running partners to choose from- or opting to run by myself- because the different levels of skill that everyone has means that I have to adapt my running style every time. It keeps things fresh and also pushes me to go faster when I’m with someone with a longer stride (um… yeah, that would be just about everyone I know…)

Most of my runs seem to hover at about 35 to 45 minutes. On Monday I ran for 50 minutes, which upon calculation was a distance of 8.83 km! I’m all set and ready for this race.

Although there are a lot of training programs which look as though they would be perfect for preparing for a race, I’m glad that I’ve just been doing it my way of listening to when my body feels like going for a run. Following my own intuition means that I have been able to truly enjoy the running… maybe a program would have been a better help for getting me into shape, but there’s also the possibility that I would have started resenting it. I’ve only just discovered how much I enjoy running so I don’t want to jinx it!

Farmer’s Market

The weather has been terrible for the crops this summer but there have still been some good finds at the famer’s market! So far this year I’ve only been twice, but I’ve bought a beautiful bunch of kale, a dozen bison burgers (for $20!), peas, and buckwheat flour.

I’m not a fan of raw kale. I tried it in a salad and both the texture and the taste were too sharp for my liking. I also tried make the famed kale chips and didn’t like them either, to be honest. Cooked kale, on the other hand, is delicious! I included some in a frittata and also in pasta sauce. It tastes great both ways. I’ll be getting more the next time I’m at the farmer’s market so that I can use it to make a Green Monster smoothie that all you foodie bloggers love and adore!

The bison burgers are fantastic. We cooked them on the barbecue and ate them on whole wheat buns with my homemade ketchup, lettuce and tomatoes. Delicious. The peas are nearly all gone by this point, mostly just from eating them like candy, but some of them have gone in salads. I haven’t used the buckwheat flour at all yet. I’m looking forward to using it. I’m enjoying experimenting with different kinds of flour right now and am amassing a large collection 🙂

Do you have any recipes to share that call for buckwheat flour? When you run, do you prefer to follow a training program or do you do whatever you’re in the mood for?

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Exercise vs. Sleep

July 8, 2009

Two days ago I finally did it. I signed up for a race. A week from this coming Saturday, I will have accomplished my goal of running a race this summer. I am incredibly excited about it. I chose a 6km trail run so that I’ll have some nice scenery to look at as I’m on the move. I’m also getting a free pancake breakfast out of it, and how can you go wrong with pancakes, right? Right.

I haven’t been following any kind of training schedule at all. I’ve just been running about twice a week, for around 30 to 40 minutes at a time. Running by myself, weaving in and out of the streets and through parks. On Monday I went for a run with Caroline, so it was a really nice change to have someone to run with. Playing soccer twice a week has also been helpful for increasing my speed.

There’s just been one problem that has come up: the issue of sleep.

In some ways, sleeping is a real nuisance. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to crawl into bed at the end of the day, but sometimes the day just doens’t seem long enough to do everything that I would have liked. And that’s when I’ve had the conflict of trying to decide what is most important to me; sleep or exercise.

I’m well aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep. Resting is just as critical to our health as physical activity is. But what about when they cut into each other? I really like to exercise early in the morning. I don’t mind waking up at 6am to fit in a run before going to work. If I’m waking up at 6am, though, then it’s probably a good idea to go to bed at a reasonable hour. The summer is a sociable time and it disagrees with the notion of “reasonable hour”! Going out with friends or playing soccer later on in the evening keeps me up past the time I should be in bed. And then I have to make the decision, do I sleep an extra hour to get a decent amount of rest, or do I wake up early to go for a run, thus cutting into my rest time?

I usually choose the latter. I don’t mind foregoing sleep in the name of exercise because it makes me feel great. As long as I don’t do it all the time, my body is quite happy with waking up early. Sometimes the early morning exercise is actually what I need to keep my energized throughout the day. That, after all, is what I was doing with boot camp. I dragged myself out of bed early each morning no matter what I’d been doing the night before because it was something that I loved and made me happy. I think I’d rather be a little bit tired but have enjoyed a good and healthy burst of exercise than to get a longer sleep and miss out on the therapeutic run/walk/<insert other activity here> which does my body so much good. It can sure be a hard decision, even so.

What do you like to do? Rest or exercise? The biggest thing that concerns me when I don’t get adequate rest is that then I might not be performing as well on my runs as I could have if I’d skipped the run that day for the sleep-in, and gone for a run a couple days later. But on the other hand, I don’t want to keep putting it off. It would be too easy to say to myself that sleep is important, and I can always go for a run “some other time”- I wouldn’t want that to become a regular frame of thought.

It certainly is a conundrum! Have you had this issue before? What do you do to deal with it?

Anyone else running a race within the next couple weeks? If you happen to be in the area, you should join the Try a Trail race that I’ll be running on July 18th! It’s going to be a fun time. And pancakes. We all love pancakes.

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Is it healthier to sit on the couch or to ride a bike?

July 3, 2009

I came across this article in the New York Times and felt an immense amount of frustration which I felt the need to vent out here. If you can’t be bothered to click on the link and read the article, in a nutshell it discusses whether bicycling is bad for your bones. This debate has risen as a result of a number of studies which suggest that competitive bikers have a lower bone density than the average person.

To me this has the same sort of ring to it as the old “bananas are really high in sugar so you should limit your intake of them”. Yes, if you eat five bananas a day, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but really you’re better off eating a couple extra bananas than you are eating junk food. I know of people who will choose sugar-free packaged foods over a banana and think that they are doing their health a favor by choosing an item with less or no sugar in it. I’m doubtful it’s a healthy choice to make.

Considering how much bad food we eat, and how little we exercise, why are we concerning ourselves and wasting time and money with conducting studies saying we shouldn’t eat as much healthy food or shouldn’t compete in certain sports?

Okay, so that’s not really what the article is trying to imply, I’m sure. But it still bothers me. Because I know that there are many people out there who will jump on something like this and use it as an excuse why they shouldn’t exercise or eat healthy.

I think that once you’re eating quite healthy and exercising regularly, then these studies are things that you should maybe think about. I didn’t start to cut back on my excessive carrot intake until my skin started turning orange. Why is that? Because eating a few too many carrots is better than eating a bag of chips or drinking a can of Coke. I don’t eat quite so many carrots these days and I instead am eating more vegetables with a variety of nutrients so that I’m not having an overabundance of vitamin A. My skin has turned a normal, non-orange color as a result, too.

Something that I did find interesting in this article which I was not previously aware of is that a possible reason for the skeletal damage in competitive cyclists is because they sweat so much, and we lose calcium through sweat (although that makes perfect sense, come to think of it, that we’d be losing nutrients other than electrolytes from sweating). But part of this doesn’t really make sense: don’t competitive runners sweat just as much as competitive cyclists? Yet it is bicycling, rather than other endurance sports, which appears to be correlated to a loss in bone density. We also have to remember that there could be many, many factors involved which could all be possible reasons for bone damage.

What do you think? Is there a point to these kinds of studies? Does it just encourage people to fall back on junk food because they already know full well that it’s bad for them? These sorts of research are a good reminder that moderation is key… but I still believe that the majority of us should be more concerned with cutting back on the junk and increasing the exercise than worrying about not eating certain fruits or not engaging in certain activities.

Don’t forget to answer this month’s poll!