Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Healthy Living

Have you ever visited a very large city and then discovered that it painted the inside of your nostrils black?! As much as I love London, I'm far less enamored with the dirt and grime that invisibly coats the city. I never notice it until the end of the day when I blow my nose. Where did all that grime come from?! You can't find a simple patch of earth for miles on end, but it appears to find my nose without issue. What I'd like to know is what my lungs look like after a day-- or what a permanent resident's lungs look like. Breathing a city's collectively exhaled exhaust can't be good for the body.

What is good for my body is exercise. I haven't worked out regularly since I moved from The United States in 2003. I loved it then and have missed it. A whole bunch of stuff prevented me from working out: lack of transportation, heat, pregnancies and morning sickness, geographical location. It's no wonder I gained 20 pounds.

All it should take to motivate me to exercise is the long list of benefits. Here is a sampling:

  • Reduce the risk of premature death
  • Reduce the risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease
  • Reduce high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Reduce high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol
  • Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Reduce the risk of developing diabetes
  • Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat
  • Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints
  • Reduce depression and anxiety
  • Improve psychological well-being
  • Enhanced work, recreation, and sport performance
A more vain reason to get in shape fitting back into my thin jeans. That would be nice.

So Monday I went to the gym with a friend. J going with me was great because she kept me motivated. We chatted while we used the stair stepper, which makes time fly. We took it rather easy since it was the first time; 15 or 20 minutes on the stair stepper, about a half hour using the strength machines (I concentrated on my thighs and arms), then 25 minutes on bikes.

Also on Monday I started walking Zach to school. It's about a 15 minute walk, some of it uphill, and I think it's about a mile. There and back twice is about 4 miles in a day- not bad for starting back into a fitness routine. The downside: English schools let out yesterday for their 6 week summer holiday. I'm already looking forward to starting back in September, if nothing else than for the exercise!

If you're looking for a way to keep track of calories and your daily workouts, I'm going to pass along a site that one of our readers- and Heather's good friend Amy- let us know about. SparkPeople is a very thorough tool for getting back on track. I find it to be a great tool, but if I'm not careful I spend more time skimming through the site than actually moving my backside!


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  1. I used Spark People back when I thought I was serious about weight loss and I even tried eating off their menu. Its a drastic change from my regular lifestyle, which really shouldn't have been a bad thing. Maybe I will get started again...

    I'll revamp my home page

  2. I have been wanting to get back on Spark People, but I forgot my password/user id. I'll have to try and get back on it.

    I'm glad you had fun at the gym. I miss the days when we would go do the stair steppers, it's always more fun with a friend!


  3. I'll have to check this out--you've recently heard how I need some serious help in this area! Thanks for the tip!
    And, yes, I know what you mean about the nasty nose thing in the city. I remember being shocked the first time I went to NY and that happened! Its so gross.

    P.S. I'm cracking up at how you actually wanted the chicken pox in order to get out of PE--you must've really hated it!:)