I am currently blogging about everything. Jump in where you are and thanks for coming by!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stairway to Heaven

Started school this week. The campus is HUUUUUUUUUGE. Parking is sort of a nightmare too, but I have to drive to school, so I do what most people do, which is park in the first available space and then hoof it to the building where you need to be. Also, the campus has some old buildings that contain some rickety and unreliable elevators; that means I have been going up and down the stairs a lot.

Do you ever feel embarrassed that you huff and puff at the top of the stairs? Well, in orientation I was grouped with a bunch of fit-looking 20 year olds and let me tell you, when we got to the top of the stairs they were sucking air too! So, I did a little research, according to Dr. Harvey Simon associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School,
What’s so special about climbing stairs? Researchers in Canada answered the question by monitoring 17 healthy male volunteers with an average age of 64 while they walked on the level, lifted weights or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. It was twice as taxing as brisk walking on the level and 50 percent harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights. And peak exertion was attained much faster climbing stairs than walking, which is why nearly everyone huffs and puffs going upstairs, at least until their “second wind” kicks in after a few flights.

So there ya go, stair climbing is a wonderful, but strenuous cardiovascular exercise. Take a flight or two until you build your strength up and keep a slow, but steady pace. And most of all, don't be upset if you huff and puff, literally everyone does unless they have been doing regular stair climbing training.

Um, also? Maybe wear sensible shoes too.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Taking the First Step

So I, um, applied to college. And I got in. It was all sort of random and last minute; as is everything I ever do. I have been thinking about college for a long time, but it was not something I had taken any concrete steps towards. We lacked money, time and for five years we lived too far from any accredited 4 year universities. So for a long while college was just an idea and then it seemed like this week it suddenly became a reality. I spent the last five days attending orientations, meeting advisers, finding buildings, parking garages, the Student ID center, the Student Union and finally a temporary ice skating rink where my children and husband were waiting for me. Today I had to hit 3 book stores to find all of my books and supplies for school, so a lot more walking there. Judging by my handy-dandy college map I actually walked several miles this week. I also got in a pretty nice walk while my daughter was at math tutoring.

Needless to say the cool but comfortable weather made all of that pretty lovely exercise, actually.

If you are in a climate where the weather is not conducive to being outside, how can you get in your daily walk? There are some neat alternatives! Of course if you have a treadmill, you are set already, just jump on and go. Do you have a stair case in your home? Great! You get to walk and climb, increasing your aerobic fitness at the same time. No stairs? How about a single step, perhaps leading to a porch or garage? Then you have a place to do some step aerobics to any fabulous songs on your iPod. No steps at all? How about setting a timer and simply walking around your living room for 15 minutes several times a day? If you work at home simply set a reminder alert to take a walk around the house. Return phone calls while you pace in the kitchen. Wear a pedometer and you will AMAZE yourself with the number of steps you are able to take in a day. There are even some free pedometer apps you can use on your smartphone! Park a little further back in the parking lot, go up and down every aisle of the grocery store, take the stairs instead of the elevator at the office, set aside 15 minutes of every lunch break to walk the hallways, you can get a surprising amount of movement in each day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm Back (from outer space)

Or really I am back from the mountains of North Carolina, which for a Florida girl like me might as well be the ice planet of Hoth. I swear I saw a Tauntaun on the road to Boone... anyhow. I am back.

I took a break from writing and WORSE a break from working out because of illness, holiday stress, ILLNESS, travel and did I say *illness*? It was sort of a vicious cycle thing, the kids would get sick, I'd get them better, then I'd get sick. In fact I celebrated the closing weeks of 2012 by getting a migraine. For the first time in 20 years I might add. I was vomiting from the pain it was so intense. The "hangover" from the pain was so bad I felt the next day like I had recovered from a severe stomach bug.

I am back to exercising though. Today was a weird day for working out; running, screaming and hiding like a fool in an empty storage facility. A classic work out? No, but super-duper fun one that my kids enjoyed. My poor husband had to be the grown up and put away the items we needed to put away while the kids and I raced around the empty hallways. I even put my 10 year old on a handcart and pushed her around. I will be capping the night by making my bed. Oh... that's not a workout you say? What if I tell you I have already stripped the bed down to the mattress pad, washed the sheets, fluffed the pillows in the dryer and I am flipping the king-sized mattress? Have YOU ever flipped a mattress? Well, you should, at least twice a year! Preferably, you do it in the following manner...

*Step One: Strip the bed. Remove all sheets, pillows, blankets, pillow shams, dust ruffles, pillow cases, stuffed animals, random pajama pieces, socks that come off in the night, remote controls, spare iPhone chargers, and other assorted detritus.

*Step Two: Put the stripped pillows in the dryer on high for 30 minutes. The pillows will re-fluff, refresh and be free of dust mites when you get them back. Have you ever seen a dust mite? Crank the dryer to 40 minutes just to be sure they are all dead. Consider to sleeping on a book, brick or other dust mite unfriendly surface.

*Step Three: Wash the mattress pad in hot water (unless otherwise directed by the care label). Whilst the pad is washing vacuum the mattress, top and sides. If you have the strength or a helper or two flip the mattress at this point, looking out for furniture, ceiling fans, children, small pets, breakables, large pets, and especially glasses of water you have left abandoned on the night stand. And for goodness sake replace the dust ruffle at this point, otherwise you will cry later. Or you could just invest in a bed spread that reaches to the ground. Ponder that.

Step Four: Take the steaming hot pillows from the dryer and put the mattress pad in. Was the sheets and pillow cases in hot water (unless otherwise directed by the care label). Dry on hot too if you can. I usually wash in cold water, but all sheets and stuff can benefit from a once in a while steaming. :)

Step Five: Make the bed up with sheets and pillows, while you was the blanket or spread if necessary. Since my husband has dust allergies I always purchase a washable spread and shams, but your may need dry cleaning. Plan accordingly.

Step Six: Finish making the bed. Lay down for a minute on your nice, neat, immaculately clean bed because a good workout always includes a cool down.

Today I also stopped by a friend's house to see her and hang out for a few minutes. As I left I asked if I could borrow her precious, precious T-Tapp DVDs. I have been doing T-Tapp off and on, well, mostly OFF since the last century. Seriously. And when I do T-tapp faithfully I do increase my flexibility, strength, and cardio endurance. I can FEEL myself getting stronger. The downside is that I usually experience a significant amount of inch and weight loss.

That's a downside? Well, yeah. (Content Note: discussion of disordered eating and exercise habits) I have discussed here before how weight and inch loss usually triggers unhealthy behaviors in me, either I begin obsessively dieting and exercising or I will eat a terrifying amount of food. I literally find myself thinking compulsively about either when my next exercise is going to happen or when my next meal is or both.

Anyhow, I am dusting off the old DVDs and giving them a spin. I really do like the wonderful muscle-y way my body reacts to Teresa Tapp's blend of cardio, flexibility and strength training moves. I mean, 2 weeks in and usually I can see "cuts" in my arms from newly found muscle definition. I mean, usually muscle definition for me is, "muscle: n. A band or bundle of fibrous tissue in a human or animal body that has the ability to contract, producing movement in or maintaining the position of parts of the body." :)

In other news hubby and I made a terrific New Year's Day dinner. We used a pork cut called a pork sirloin roast, rubbed all over with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary from the garden. We made vegetarian collard greens, from The Food Network, we usually omit the red pepper flakes and the tomatoes are optional. We also made the lucky black eyed peas, remember not to add salt until the beans are cooked through so they do not become tough. I also add in onions, garlic, celery, and chopped carrots so that the bean broth is rich and flavorful. I also invented a new cornbread recipe. I used 2 C of self rising corn meal mix to which I added 1/3 C of greek yogurt, 1 C of milk, 2 TB of mayonnaise, 1 large egg and 1/4 C of oil. Beat all together until you have a pourable but thick batter and then pour into a pre-heated, pre-greased iron skillet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. It was delicious!