>> Lose 30 pounds…check
>> Stop keeping the breweries in business…check
>> Qualify for Kona…check
>> Come up with a Middle East peace plan…check
>> Well, come the latter part of January, reality sets in and the only resolution still in place is the old standby, “next year I’m gonna do better. I’ll use this year to get it all out of my system”.
>> So now what, how do we keep our sanity for these next couple of months.? After all, spending the next two months doing nothing but wishing them to be over is tantamount to wasting 1/6 of our lives! Well, here’s what I think.
>> Aside from those of us that are skiers, most people find the biggest challenge of cold weather is to maintain their fitness programs. It’s REALLY easy to postpone a run or walk when faced with wind chills in the single digits coupled with icy sidewalks and roads. Postponing things until tomorrow is one thing but postponing them till May has its drawbacks. With all the new clothing technology out there, it is a lot easier staying comfortable while running or walking but let’s call a spade a spade, it’s still cold out there. Biking loses its appeal when you have to put enough clothes on to look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I used to surf and paddle board in the winter but as I’ve gotten older (and wiser), just the thought of that cold water diminishes my enthusiasm.
>> The first thing I suggest is to accept the fact that with very few exceptions, most people’s activity levels in their chosen sports slows down. In some ways, I theorize this to be a good thing. It gives our bodies a chance to recover from any nagging injuries. After all, rest and recovery are known to be just as important as training and proper nourishment. For many serious athletes, ‘rest’ is the hardest of these 3 components. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we do nothing for 2 months, not at all. I’m simply saying that once you accept the fact that your training plans will be altered, it makes it easier to accept the next step.
>> These couple of months are the perfect time to add activities that are not only done indoors in the comfort of that thing called “room temperature” but in addition are great compliments to our chosen sports. There is not a runner or biker out there that won’t admit that they wouldn’t benefit from more stretching. As we get older, stretching ceases to be something we ‘should’ do and evolves into something we ‘must’ do. Runners and Bikers have significant imbalances in their lower bodies based on the primary muscles used for their sports. Our Quads provide the majority of power in running and biking while our glutes and hamstrings more or less go along for the ride. Over time, this imbalance will result in weak, tight hamstrings and glutes and that causes many of the chronic discomforts that comes with age. Right at the top of the list is the dreaded calf strain that so many older runners experience. Yoga provides a way to help offset these afflictions while adding strength and balance. There have never been more places to learn and practice Yoga than now. Pretty much every gym and health club has classes available to all levels. In addition, Yoga studios are popping up everywhere. I strongly suggest anyone interested in trying Yoga to do so initially in a class with a certified instructor. Sure, you can find an infinite amount of videos and you tube demonstrations but having an instructor means you’ll learn the basics while insuring proper form. Injuries can and do happen from poor form but an instructor will make sure you avoid many of the mistakes that cause problems. The beauty of Yoga is that with the proper instruction, you’ll learn poses that can be done pre and post workout that will help in avoiding injuries.
>> Those who have read my ramblings know of the importance I put on strength training. I will not bore you any further with one of my typical diatribes on strength training other than to say EVERYONE needs it, everyone. Find a gym and have someone walk you through the basics of lifting weights. Its warm in those gyms and your body will love you for it. In addition, it’s kind of cool when you put a bathing suit on for the first time and someone says “wow, you look great, what have you been doing”.
>> If you’re lucky enough to have access to a pool, swimming is an ideal cross-training activity. The benefits of swimming and water exercises are well known. You may not be too amped up swim laps in an indoor pool when the weather is nice but when it’s freezing outside, that warm water is inviting. Knocking out laps in the winter will allow you the fitness needed to swim jetties in the summer, a great mid-day workout when you’re at the beach.
>> I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the many indoor fitness classes being offered like “Boot Camp”, “Boxing”, “Cross Fit” and any number of other group activities. These class are based on multi-functional exercises as opposed to one dimensional movements. These classes are hard, make no mistake about it but they do give dramatic results. One word of caution: leave your ego in the locker room when you start one of these programs. No matter how fit you think you are, you’ll be doing movements you’re likely not used to and trying to push beyond your current capabilities will cause injuries, sometimes bad ones. When people of differing abilities are in the same class, it’s easy to get competitive. You want to push yourself to the max but understand, that can come with risks. Be patient, whatever the next guy is doing that you can’t, you’ll get there and beyond in time.
>> These next couple of months are tough on those of us who prefer outdoor activities but the days are getting longer and there’s light at the end of tunnel. In the meantime, adding something new to your fitness regime is a great way to keep active while getting you ready for the warm weather ahead.
Thurs 12/24 10-3 Christmas Fri 12/25 closed
Thurs 12/31 10-3 New Years Day Fri 1/1 closed Thank you all for another great year!
Columbus Day Weekend long sale starts tomorrow! All full priced apparel and shoes will be 15% off! Sale lasts from Saturday 10/10 to Monday 10/12. Have a great 3 day weekend!
DO YOUR RUN OR WALK AND SEE THE SUNRISE
No suggestion conjures up more fixed feelings than that of an early morning workout. Seeing the sunrise at the beach while walking or running always sounds good the night before, especially if you're considering it with an adult beverage in your hand and a few more under your belt. Come 5:00 AM when that alarm goes off, the idea of going for a run ranks right up there with your idea of getting rid of that Wasp nest by whacking it with a tennis racket.
Making a commitment to run or walk in the early AM is a recipe for abject failure. It ain't gonna happen! Rather than pre-planning a whole new routine, try simply committing to do it one time, period. Better yet, find some like minded soul willing to give it one shot and agree to meet at a prearranged time and place. It is only after experiencing the beauty of sun rise over the ocean and all the things that happen before most people wake that you can even BEGIN to think about doing it regularly. Chances might be that you never do it again but I'm betting that won't be the case.
By now, you'd have to be completely oblivious to what's going on in the world of fitness and health to not know how important strength training is. It is necessary for everyone who wants to lead a healthy, injury free life. It is ESPECIALLY important to those of us who've reached the dreaded "middle age" territory.
Someone contemplating the need to add weight or strength training to their routine immediately envisions a gym filled with men resembling an NFL linebacker making loud, otherworldly noises while raising a prodigious amount of iron plates. Visions of some insanely fit person putting you through a workout worthy of an Olympian followed by a week of being so sore, you look like a character from "Night of the Living Dead" trying to walk fills your mind. Even worse, just walking into a gym means you'll be accosted by a salesman that should be selling used cars.
Forget all that, all you have to do is knock out a pushup. Notice I said A pushup. Truth be told, a pushup is one of the most effective exercises known and if you haven't done any in a while, they're not as easy as you remember from 7th grade gym class. A pushup brings into play numerous muscle groups in your chest, shoulders and triceps. Further, by maintaining good form, you are giving your core muscles in your abs, back and legs a super workout. To do this little ditty, you need go nowhere other than your home. If you're worried about your teenage son laughing at you, do it on your bedroom floor...with the door locked. If you can't do them the "official" way, do them from your knees. Who cares, no one can see you! There are many other body-weight exercises that can be done at home with little or no equipment but start with the good old, all american pushup.
This one gets me. I have a tendency to eat anything that doesn't eat me first...in LARGE quantities. Sometimes I have this out-of-body experience where I witnessing myself stuffing my gob while thinking to myself, "good heavens, that food isn't even touching the sides as he swallows it". When I first started running, one of the appeals was the presumption that a runner could eat anything without having to worry. My favorite theory from those days said that anyone capable of running a marathon was pretty much immune to any form of heart disease. Modern science has since set us straight but correcting all these bad but enjoyable eating habits has become a real challenge. Every now and again, I commit to "eating healthy" which means eating NOTHING that I like while washing it down with all manners of fluid containing no alcohol or sugar which is EVERYTHING I like. Needless to say, it doesn't take long before I walk into a bar or restaurant minus my self control and soon utter words to the affect of "what's holding up that pizza and fries, I'm almost done with my Nachos" while experiencing a near panic when I hear the bar tender say "I think we're running out of beer".
Doing a 180 in the eating department and sticking with it is a challenge I'm not up to. What I do find that can work is simply picking one or two habits that can be reduced or eliminated and aiming for that. I've always felt that one day, modern science was going to announce that vitamins are bad for us and should be avoided at all costs. While I'm still holding out hope for that, I think I might benefit from sampling a vitamin or two. So as not to shock my system, I've introduced nutrition gradually and I've found that drinking smoothies containing copious amounts of fruit along with a protein supplement is an easy way of doing something right for myself. Even if I resort to eating like a 5 year old at a birthday party the rest of the day, I've accomplished something. The hope, of course, is that that one healthy habit convinces me that there is benefit is trying something else. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.
The list goes on and on but the point to all this is that the only commitment you need to make to yourself is that of being open to trying new things that complement your healthy life style and trying those things without any thought other than "hey, I want to try this". If you try it and hate it so what, you tried. On the other hand, you might find you like it. Kinda like my mother used to say about trying Brussel Sprouts.