Tag Archives: running

The joys of running

I’ve been running lately, thanks to that group of dear friends you know who you are, who are challenging me to Fitbit challenges. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with running, I hate it in every which way but loves the happiness it gives me, how it makes me feel about myself and I love how my body responds to the work.


Here are 5 joys running has given me this month:

  1. It makes my sleep AMAZZZINGGG… I dream well, I sleep soundly and I fall asleep fast! Sometimes, as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out. A massage therapist once told me once about the pineal gland, and how if you clean it out with a short juice fast you begin to dream better.. which leads me to my next point …
  2. My dreams are as interesting and vivid as good movies. Perhaps the fact that I’m running and pushing my body to metabolize quickly; push blood through my body faster, process oxygen quicker, make my heart step out of its box, etc. is in a way cleansing my body, battling against dull/slow/groggy movement of blood? Maybe my pineal gland, some say responsible for vivid dreams, is getting cleaned out in the process? I don’t know, but I like it.
  3. It reminds me I’m strong. The strength the body feels when it’s pushing to the limits reminds me of my inner strength. It reminds me I can do anything I put my mind to.
  4. It makes me very sharp. My brain, my eyesight, my speed .. all is quicker, it’s “revving” like an engine of a sports car or something. I feel as though I can do something quickly, with a good quality, I’m “all there” .. as opposed to groggy or slow … which brings me to my last point …
  5. It keeps me in the moment. Running forces me to stay in the present moment. I’m focused on the step of that very second, so even though thoughts can come into my mind during my run, I practice, successfully, how to stay in the moment, and enjoy the health I have today.


Do you run? What’s been your experiences with running?

 

xxSerena

How to make your own ice pack for ankle injuries

I know an ankle injury can be tough, I’ve gone through it. One excellent piece of advice was to stop limping as quickly as possible. Never to overwork the injury, but not too baby it too much either.

As with muscle sprain, it is best to keep moving. Too much bedrest is actually one of the worst things one can do, the doctor told me. So for an ankle injury, or muscle strain, keep moving. Gentle, kind soft movements will help get you back on track. 

Remembering the RICE method is helpful: 

  
Elevation and keeping ice on your injury is key in my opinion. Those two things helped me the most. If you don’t have an ice pack you can make one at home very easily. I like this DIY recipe for an ice pack since the bag is easily manipulated over the shape of your ankle:

  
What has your experience been with ankle injuries?

xxSerena 

How to run correctly: tips on good form, posture and breath

Running is good cardiovascular exercise, especially when you’re running outdoors. In moderation, with other exercise, it’s and activity healthy for all ages. 

Besides the training and physical aspects however, running also gives a person self-confidence. It gives a person to believe that they can do, that they can achieve.

Good posture while running is important. When I run, I like to forget about daily stressors. Forget about mistakes of your past or potential problems in the future. Focus on the moment. Roll your shoulders into the back of your body, feel equal on left and right foot. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slow controlled and deeply through the mouth. Focus on your breath.

 
I think running, like cycling or like any other work out you may choose to do, whether it be yoga, mountain climbing or fencing… leads to a peaceful inner meditation. 

A routine of exercise, one that you love, can bring about an inner peace and happiness. This leads to a mind-body connection. This is healthy, in my opinion, since when you have a greater awareness of your body you are more likely to avoid injury, relax and enjoy life. 
xxSerena 

5 ways to get more out of the workout that already works for you

We all have that workout that works really well for us, that we love, that we’re used to, that we just don’t want to let go of! But according to trainers, bodybuilders and health enthusiasts, we all agree that changing up your routine is key to advancing. Why? Because you want your body to change, according to Shape Magazine‘s Jay Cardiello. “The human body adapts quickly to exercise stimuli, and once it adapts it needs change.”

Amanda-Bisk-8

But what happens if you love it and your routine works for you? I see examples of this all the time, in the gym and at home or self work outs. You love that instructor at the gym, but the exercises target the same area and even though exercises may change, your body adapts and you stop seeing the results you did when you first began. Or it can happen outside of the gym.

At home, you have a limited space. You probably have a designated area and weights, perhaps you have only a certain amount of time you can workout per day.

If you workout outside, let’s say, running your route through the park, with your stretching routine, or strength training routine that works – you don’t necessarily want to stop. But your body may have hit a plateau.

How do you keep your trusted workout, keep the consistency, but challenge yourself so that you keep seeing results?

Here are some tips:

  1. Dig deeper: Even if you’re in a class, you can “dig deeper” by sitting down into your squats more, think about putting more power into your moves. If you are lunging back, feel the difference if you push off from your heels or off your toes? What gives your body more balance, more power?  are lifting up using your core as well as sinking into your legs. dig deeper
  2. Think about what you’re working: If you’re running, think about the power in your legs, in your arms. Be conscious of that. Feel that you’re equal on left and right. Feeling the power and thinking about the body part you’re working can help you focus as well as strengthen and target the areas you are working, so that you are working consciously, with purpose and power. If you are working abs, think about your abs. Feel your abs. Put your mind’s focus on that area. focus workout
  3. Find that balance between challenge and safety: Learn how to feel your body working more, but still maintain your safety. Push yourself a little more than you did in an exercise that you’re used to but keep vigilent. Digging deeper can give you a more valuable workout when it comes to caloric expenditure and muscle gain, but remember, safety first. Check your form, see that you are protecting knee joints and that you don’t feel any pain. d5e265ad1b22dd3d_squat_-lunges-FP.xxxlarge
  4. Add something: If you’re going to a class at the gym that works for you, then maybe get on the treadmill or do a weight training circuit before or after class. This will add more time and resistance; surprising your muscles with something they aren’t used to. If you don’t have time for that, maybe change the spot where you usually workout and go somewhere else. This may give you a different perspective. change your workout
  5. Add a partner: Taking a partner along with you can boost your workout. Often having someone there beside you working out can increase the power or focus of your exercise. It may help you to push harder, whereas if you were alone you may be easier on yourself. Your partner may introduce different ways of approaching your workout and make it more fun!workout_partner

Whatever you do, whether you change up your workout or keep it the same and decide to make smaller changes, the most important thing is consistency. And be proud of yourself. You are working out. You are taking time for yourself, investing in making yourself stronger, more healthy and giving back to your family and everyone around you as a result.

Keep up the good work!

xxSerena

The ultimate guide to interval training

No matter if it is strength training, walking, cycling or running, working out in intervals burns maximum fat in less time.

Use this ultimate guide to not only understand the benefits of interval training but how to begin.

 

xxSerena 

The exercise that started it all

In August 2 years ago everything changed. Before that, in June, I knew I wanted to get back into shape. I knew in January. I was disappointed and frustrated every time I would go into a change room and try on a pair of jeans. They didn’t fit me right but it wasn’t a problem with the jeans. It was a problem with my body. I was gaining weight. My clothes weren’t fitting me the way I wanted them to, not the way they used to fit.

On August 12, 2013, 80 weeks ago, I started run walk. My life improved in so many areas after I began this exercise:

That June/July 2 years ago I began working out at the gym. I would go every single day. For 30 days. I worked out anywhere from half an hour to an hour each time.

And I don’t know if it was the metabolism that had changed, or my defeatist attitude, but it just wasn’t working. Nothing was changing. The weight/fat wasn’t going away. My clothes were still not fitting. It was devastating. It was horrible. Frustrating.

And then my friend invited me on her morning run. I told her I wasn’t a runner. I couldn’t run. I didn’t like running. She said we can run/walk. So that’s what we did. We walked and then we ran. She would point to a sign and say we’re only running to that sign. She would say we’re going to run to the end of that bridge. Then she would say, now I stop here and do 20 jumping jacks. Lol! It was fun though, I worked up a sweat and my heart was pumping. I would realize later that this was the beginning of a real transformation.

Then, my cousin sent me a great podcast that explained the benefits of getting back to nature and this sealed the deal. I understood why I had to change my routine and bring it Back to Nature.

And this was how run walk started.

A few weeks after that run walk with my friend, I started running outdoors near where I live. I found the perfect spot.

My single most important weight-loss activity finally had a name: run walk. That’s when my body started changing. My metabolism geared up. My heart started really pumping and these 10 factors are what made it effective in my opinion:

  1. Outdoors: Run walk has to be done outside. There should be trees and grass. There are pheromones in those plants that plug into your brain centers to trigger endorphins. These are happy hormones and I think he’s happy hormones help make this exercise more efficient and healthy somehow. Also natural terrain outside is different from a treadmill. There is wind, a variable terrain and other factors that keep you on your toes when you were outside rather than inside a gym.
  2. Shoes and socks: Get a good pair of running shoes. For my first consecutive 10 days of run walk I had a really crappy shoes. They had no support. Looking back, they served me well. I didn’t get any problems with my feet. It was fine. But then I went to Footlocker and bought a pair of Nike Rosherun shoes. It was like I was running on a cloud. Super comfortable. I also bought a pair of running shoe socks. Socks are very important. By the best running socks you can afford.
  3. Consistency: Just do it one time at first . Then try and build up a consistent routine. Consistency is key. Your body will benefit from the change and soon learn to do the exercises independently. But you have to push yourself to be consistent for that to happen first.
  4. Measure: Use a running app to time your 1st mile. Counting either your time or your distance will motivate you to beat your old record.
  5. Buddy system: running with other people will help in your consistency, happiness factor and support. Find friends who you can get addicted with.
  6. Challenge: start with one minute walk 30 seconds run. Then do one minute walk one minute run. Then alternate between running and walking, running more than you walk.
  7. Form: Roll your shoulders into the back of your body, open your chest. Mind your posture. Keep your neck along and in line with your spine in the back body. Feel you’re equal on left and right feet.
  8. Water: drink water before, during if possible, and after your run walk.
  9. Sunscreen: don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you go out in the sun! When I first started run walk I got burnt badly. Use a waterproof sunscreen and be generous.
  10. Food: listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Don’t force yourself to eat because that is what you were trained to believe. You won’t drop dead if you don’t have massive amounts of food in your body. You would think that run walk would make you more hungry. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes your body wants to build muscle and sleep more instead of eat more. Sometimes you will want to eat more. Again, listen to your body. Eat more if you are hungry.

And there you have it. Run walk! It’s how I started my fitness journey. It made me happier, stronger, leaner and gave me more energy.

Get outside wherever you live:

xxSerena