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"We like to praise birds for flying. But how much of it is actually flying, and how much of it is just sort of coasting from the previous flap."
We look to our body and to our affiliation with bodies for a sense of contentment. We feel successful when our body meets our need to be the person we perceive within ourselves. We view our body as ceaseless. We can fly forever, flapping our wings, as if our body had no boundaries. When our body disappoints us, we lose hope. In the past, our jobs imposed heavy physical demands. We didn't have to worry about being physically fit. We walked, lifted, bent and stretched in our daily life. Our society has gravitated to more sedentary work styles. We work at desk jobs that offer little respite from the strain and inactivity imposed on our bodies. We no longer use scrub boards to wash clothes. We drive or ride in a variety of vehicles for transportation. Even people, in what were once considered hard labor jobs, use robots and other high tech machines. We ease into sedentary habits, as our energy decreases, due to illness, age related problems, and fragmentary disabilities. Ours has become a society of coasters. We cease to flap our wings. At some point our wings become useless. To live is to move. Once we stop moving we stop living.
"The wise person can pick a grain of sand and envision a whole universe. But the stupid person will just lie down on some seaweed and roll around until they're completely draped in it. Then they'll stand up and go, 'Hey, We're Vine People.'"
Strong evidence shows that physical activity protects and improves our health and well-being. People who exercise suffer less from headaches, chronic back pain, stiffness, irregularity, insomnia and depression. Physical apathy creates poor circulation, weak muscles, loss of bone mass and that overall tired feeling. When we exercise as strenuously as our bodies permit, we are doing ourselves a favor. Flexibility is regained. Our blood pressure lowers and our bone density improves. Our cardiovascular system becomes more adept. We digest food better. We increase our energy for day to day living. When we adopt patterns of physical activity, the feelings of alertness and energy justifies our desire to remain active. The body we now possess is the only body we have at the moment. Within the time span we spend in this universe, we must come to terms with our physical being. We want to make our physical being comfortable enough to live with. Reacting to old images of our body, hurts or health, energy, moods and appearance. Quit rolling around in seaweed!! Remember our bodily countenances have a history of influencing our well-being. We connect to our own body and simultaneously sense ourselves as part of a larger whole. We are in sink with the vitality of our universe.
"Whenever anyone says 'I can't,' it makes me wish they'd get stung to death by about ten thousand bees. When they say 'I'll try,'five thousand bees. ('I can,' one bee.)"
All this waxing eloquent, about the need for exercise amongst the usually laid back, neglects some of the obstacles that keep us from starting and staying physically active. Cost, time and family are considerations in most people's lives. Women often have to overcome the old sexist myths and prejudices about females and fitness. You can cut costs by exercising in the privacy of your home. Keep whatever equipment you like to use. Dumbbells are cheap and easily stored. I hang a pull-up bar over the door to my kitchen. Stretching, lifting exercises, yoga and/or Tai chi can be done in small areas of the house or apartment. Getting your family involved in physical activity will allow you to exercise and have some friendly company to do it with. If you have small children, find some parent/child classes you can take together. There are even clubs and gyms that offer child care. If your day is busy find daily opportunities to move. Seek them out! They are there. Tighten your abdominal muscles while waiting for the bus. Swing your arms when walking down the street or watching TV. Biking and cross country skiing, depending on the paths available can take the place of a car. Start your own exercise group with your neighbors and relatives. Organize and raise money for facilities and equipment. Women! Don't get sucked in by the sexist bullshit. You know what I mean. Sweating is unfeminine. Your fifty years old and you're weightlifting!? HO! HO! HO! Big shoulders are gross on a woman. If you want to lose weight quit shoving food into your mouth. When I used to shoot pool I ran into: Hey you can play on the pool table when we men are finished with it. Anyway if you keep shooting pool, someone will think your a dyke. I say "Suck my dick." Though I have been fortunate to be blessed with a supportive mate and family, I'm sure women going into weightlifting programs run the gamut of sexist setbacks. Stay home and take care of those kids! Isn't that exercise enough!? Let's put an end to these preju dices and start getting the exercise we want and need. Finding time for work out, regardless of jobs and energetic home life can be challenging and empowering.
"When I was a child, there were times when we had to entertain ourselves. And usually the best way to do that was to turn on the TV."
If you have been inactive and just getting started in any exercise program you should:
Be aware of the climate in which you are exercising. Avoid heatstroke in hot weather by exercising during early morning or late evening. During humid weather (over 80%) exercise cautiously or not at all. Moisture in the air slows down sweat evaporation and puts extra strain on the heart. During the winter, if exercising outside, be alert to frostbite. Dress properly. Cover your mouth. Cool down gradually. Try to exercise inside.
Tigers can't change their stripes. No. wait, they did! Good for them!"
An appropriate course of exercise will allow for improvement in the four areas that constitute total fitness: cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, muscular strength and body composition.
If there was a big gardening convention, and you got up and gave a speech in favor of fast-motion gardening, I bet you would get booed right of the stage. They're just not ready."
Our heart is a muscle. It is about the size of our fist. Pumping every minute of every day, the heart sends blood throughout our circulatory system. Like all the other muscles of our body our heart needs exercise or it will deteriorate. Aerobic (with oxygen) exercise are those where the demands of muscles for oxygen are met by the circulation of oxygen in the blood. Aerobic exercise uses the major muscle groups in a rhythmic manner. The benefits of this conditioning are lowered pulse rate at rest and during exercise, decreased blood pressure and more efficient carbon dioxide removal. Typical aerobic exercises are bicycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, dancing or walking at good clip. I have heard real good things about water aerobics. Many older people and people in rehabilitation have found this type of aerobics less impacting, while getting the cardiovascular exercise needed. When beginning aerobic exercise the key word is "gradual". Start with three to five minutes. Pay attention to how you feel. Eventually, the aerobic portion of your exercise program can last thirty minutes or longer, three times a week or more. Remember: stretch to warm up and slowly walk about to cool down. Anaerobic exercise is any activity done so dynamically that the heart and lungs cannot keep up with the body's demand for oxygen. Anaerobic cannot be done continuously. "All out" sports like sprinting, arm-wrestling, shot putting and weightlifting are typical anaerobic exercises. Doing a series of weightlifting exercises rapidly, with no rest between sets, is a good cardiovascular workout.
"Isn't it funny how we'll look out the window at the moon, and then we notice it's not the moon but a streetlight? Also what's funny is how we do this every night."
Everyone can stretch regardless of age or flexibility. You can stretch if you sit at a desk, work construction, do housework, stand at a job or drive a truck. You can stretch in the morning before you begin your work day. You can stretch at work to release tension. Stretch whenever you feel stiff. Stretch when watching TV or reading or doing computer columns for the Internet. You can even stretch when you sitting and talking. If you are not self-conscious you might entice other people into stretching along with you. Stretch before going to bed. You can go outside on nice evenings, sit on the grass, look at the moon and stars and stretch. Stretching relaxes your mind and tunes up your body. Everyone can benefit from a regular stretching policy. It is never too late to start stretching.
"If you were a pirate, you know what would be the only thing that would really make you mad? Treasure chests with no handles. How the hell are you supposed to carry it!?"
No longer can weightlifting be thought of as a man's domain. Women are discovering, from experience and with the aid of medical science, the benefits to pumping iron. Whether we buy weights and instruction books, choose to go to a health club or gym or organize our own groups, people have access to being strong and fit. Gaining muscular strength is not difficult. Strength makes our work load easier to handle. Think of the sheer challenge! The ecstasy of the achievement! Learning the proper methods of lifting will aid in the day to day bend and lift world we live in. When lifting, use your legs instead of back muscles and keep the weights close to your body. Remember you do not have to start lifting heavy. Learning good lifting techniques with light objects, will be properly prepare you for heavier lifting. Always take proper positioning when lifting. Keeping feet about shoulder width and knees softly bent, will maintain a balanced stable position. Work all major muscle groups. Do not hold your breath. Holding your breath can heighten blood pressure or make you pass out. Breathe in and out through your mouth and nose in order to get enough oxygen. Warm up before lifting. Running in place, stationary bicycling using a Stairmaster or a light warm up set or two will get the juices going before lifting all out And remember to stretch before, after and during.
"Just as bees will swarm about to protect their nest, so will I 'swarm about' to protect my nest of chocolate eggs."
I like brownies, fudge, chocolate peanuts, Snickers, Almond Joy, Baby Ruth, Hostess cupcakes Hershey bars and kisses, with or without almonds. I don't care if the chocolate comes from Belgium, Switzerland or California. I like chocolate any time of the day. I saw Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory six times. Well two of the times were with my kids. I felt the need to guide them through the more disturbing points of this movie. I mean I really, really, really like chocolate. My feel good senses say "eat chocolate" all day. My body however lets me know that all excessive feel good solutions has its price. Besides noting the lack of definition in my abs, when I have lost control of my senses, I also wind up having stomach cramps and making numerous trips to the latrine facilities at the gym. Besides as my granddaughter said to me one day, after she had been playing with her friends, "Grandma! I think I'm having "too much fun.". What was fun for a while can quickly become routine, as interesting as breathing in and out. The key lessons I've learned from discussions and studies about body composition ismoderation in what you eat and listening to what your body tells you. By moderation I don't mean deprivation. Nor do I mean, by listening, paying excessive attention to calories, diet tables weight tables. Every one of us has a unique size, shape and body chemistry Our body composition is heavily dominated by heredity Our commonplace ground lies in our needs for food and rest. I eat a large variety of foods. I search for new cultural styles and incorporate the ones I like into my family's daily diet. I found this not only a practical way to get the nutrition we need, but an exciting, fun adventure that takes us away from the day to day grind of "what's good for you" type eating. I also take vitamin supplements, which to be truthful, I use more or less to hedge my bets against what I might be neglecting in my daily diet. Listening to our body tell us of hunger and fullness, learning what is good nutrition rather than what's the latest pill or program and increasing our body's physical activity, will serve us best on the highway to health.
If you have been a desk jockey or just the run of the mill couch potato type, slowly and gradually begin new physical fitness programs. Walk a little! Climb a flight of stairs! Tomorrow two flights of stair!. Next time forget the elevator. Flex your fingers, wriggle your toes,stretch your arms and legs and rotate your ankles, wrists and shoulders. Patiently develop a sense of what is good for your body. Have belief and conviction in your mind's ability to read the body, care for it and keep it comfortable and happy.
"I aint what I wana be
I aint what I'm gona be
but Oh Lord
I aint what I used to be."
-An Unknown Slave-
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