I love the natural high of exercise. To me, it serves as a kind of pseudo anti-depressant* that puts me in an instant good mood, and I like to alternate new workout plans to give me something to look forward to during dull or stressful stretches of time (like, say, the bulk of winter). For most of my life, largely because of Lululemon models that looked nothing like me and my overall hatred of gym class, I thought of myself as the opposite of a “fitness person.” I was on a sports team for a few years of high school, but I still felt like I’d never be someone who exercised of my own accord, and I dreaded “mile run day” in school like it was the plague. At that point, I figured I’d be doomed to choose between either a sedentary life or one full of countless miserable, wasted hours forcing myself to break a sweat when I’d rather be reading a book. I can’t pinpoint exactly when that changed, but sometime within the last few years, I started to kind of like going to the gym. I started to realize (and this is going to sound painfully obvious, so don’t laugh) that exercise is not just for those among us who are ultra-thin and have $200 Nike fitness gear, or something that only some people are “good” at. Instead, it’s an amazingly simple, egalitarian way to improve your life and practice keeping promises to yourself (for real, this was an actual surprise to me). These days, I get twitchy after a few days without a workout, which has me in a bind, because I just injured my foot and am totally out of commission. Keep reading »
An Indiegogo campaign has launched to finance SmartMat, a yoga mat that talks to you and corrects your posture. It looks like your average yoga mat, but it’s equipped with seven pounds’ worth of sensors and technology that connect with a SmartMat phone app via Bluetooth. The app adjusts its measurements based on things like your gender, height and weight. Then — and this is the cool part — the mat instructs you through a private yoga practice in your own home.
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Today in research not achieving very much: The American Council on Exercise sponsored a study to see what order of workouts is most effective when you’re doing both cardio and strength training in one go. I’m going to skip to the very very conclusion of their findings and then fill you in on the caveats: Basically, they found out that sometimes it’s better to do cardio first and sometimes it’s better to do resistance training first, and also all bodies and workout needs are different, and also do what you need to do for yourself, which is really, really vague. Keep reading »
Gladys Misiewicz of Grand Rapids, Michigan almost never goes a day without exercise. She and 16 other residents of Villa Maria Retirement Community, where she lives, are training for a 5K — her very first! At age 100, she credits her long life with years of focus on activity and nutrition, and growing up without a car during the Great Depression. A fast walker who’s light on her feet, Gladys gets up at 4:30 every morning and attends every fitness class offered at the retirement home. When asked about her tai chi classes by local news station WZZM 13, Gladys says, “Guess how many mornings a week I go? Always.” Keep reading »
In March, I signed up for a 5k called Bacon Chase that took place in June (the lure being that you got unlimited bacon at the end). I figured by the time it rolled around, I’d be ready for it. So, of course, I proceeded to not prepare at all and then run it anyway to get my money’s worth — and I did OK! I managed not to stop running the whole time, and I ran at my normal 12:00 pace.
What happened next is what’s kind of messed in the head: I thought, OK, now I’m gonna do a 10k. The next day I thought, Oh, fuck it all, I’m doing the marathon. Yes, I have poor impulse control and I self-aggrandize about my capabilities. But it’s turned out all right. I was able to get registered on the Advocate Hospitals charity team to raise money for one of their city-based behavioral health centers (they serve the underserved and they need it, please donate!), so far I’ve stuck pretty well to the plan, and to my complete and utter surprise it is no longer a big deal for me to run 10 miles in a day anymore.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned during my marathon training so far… Keep reading »
Krystal Cantu, a 25-year-old Texan and member of Ballistic CrossFit, was just a few days away from participating in a competition last summer when she and her boyfriend got into a car accident that forced her to amputate her right arm. Up until that day, CrossFit had been Krystal’s outlet for de-stressing and building confidence, and she wasn’t about to give up such a big lifeline. Only one month after the accident, Krystal was back to CrossFit and working with a coach. Three months later, she was competing in the Working Wounded Games. Now, she can lift heavier weights than she did before her accident and looks forward to competing as an Adaptive CrossFit Athlete. She’s also inspired countless fans to drop the excuses and work towards their goals.
She told Refinery 29, “I went back because I didn’t die … and my pride and competitive nature didn’t die, either. I’m a human, I’m scared of a lot of things — lightning storms, the world ending, and flying in planes — but, I’ve never been scared to go after something I love.”
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