Thursday, June 16, 2011

Early Success with Couch to 5K

Truth be told I've never been much of a runner. Sure, I was on the junior high cross country team in the 7th and 8th grades, but I didn't really contribute much to the team. I don't think I ever placed high enough in a race to help out my team. In fact, the only specific thing I can recall from my cross-country days is the fact that I suffered from several stone bruises--not a happy memory.

Over the years, I have enjoyed participating in sports. I played tennis and soccer with some success in high school. I even received a small scholarship to play tennis in college. I continued playing soccer, too, even as a young professional. I could play both sports for hours even if they involved a ton of running, but I couldn't muster the motivation to jog around the block if a ball wasn't involved. For some reason, chasing a ball for 90 minutes wasn't nearly as painful as running through my neighborhood for 30 minutes seemed. I've never known why. Of course, that was 6 years and 25-30 pounds ago--before I stopped coaching, started finishing all the un-eaten Happy Meals "I paid good money for."

Tomorrow I will complete week 2 day 3 of Couch to 5K. I'm somewhat surprised that I'm actually looking forward to the workout. Maybe it's because the workouts so far have been intervals of running and walking. Maybe it's because I've already lost 3 pounds. Maybe it's because I invested in some decent running shoes. Or maybe it's because I'm tracking my success in as many geeky (and social) ways that I can find. I'm not sure. I still not much of a runner, and I have a long way to go before I run a 5K, but I'm feeling like I can actually reach my goals of running a relatively painless 5K and dropping 15 pounds of weight.

For anyone interested, I'm using a few apps on my iPhone to help me as I try to slow down the aging process and find a way to stick around to play with my grandkids. I'm using the Couch to 5K app as well as the RunKeeper app. (They seem to record different levels of calories burned.) I'm also using the Lose It! app to track my calorie consumption and help me watch how much I consume. I'm sharing my exercise success on Twitter, Facebook, & with my RunKeeper Street Team. I'd love to connect with you through one of these networks. I appreciate the encouragement I've received from #temt so far, and I look forward to encouraging others as they strive to reach their goals.

The technophile in me is curious about what tools the members of my team are using to track their exercise regimens. How about you? What apps, widgets, or programs do you use to track your health and fitness?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Make it Playful: 10 Ways to Have Fun Exercising This Summer!

School's out for summer and it's a chance for many of us to recommit ourselves to getting healthier and happier through balanced exercise and eating. The school year has been consuming for me, leading to a partial neglect of myself that I now plan on making up for with lots of sleep, play, nutritious food, and exercise.
Coincidentally, I am reading a book called, Play by Stuart Brown, a book which has been selected for all of the staff at my school to read. I am reinspired to create a list of ways that I will exercise in a joyful playful way this summer. Here goes:
  1. Wii Fit:  I especially love my Wii Fit Active 2 disc with activities like Mountainboarding, cycling, step aerobics, and more.  I also love the therapeutic aspect of the boxing station and the childlike fun of skipping.  Zumba always puts me in a great mood as well, as the music gets my heart going and I forget about watching the clock. I am thinking of getting Just Dance 2. Anyone out there a fan?
  2. Kayaking: I am fortunate enough to live near the ocean and last summer spent a few of my most favorite days renting a kayak and exploring the bay near the Capitola pier. 
  3. Hiking: I live within 20 minutes of several beautiful parks where I can hike and feel the wonder of my feet hitting the earth.  There is always something so therapeutic about hiking up hills, feeling the ground, and listening to the creatures of the forest. 
  4. Walking: Ok, so I don't always think of walking as exercise, but it is! I will be in Philadelphia for ISTE11 in a couple weeks and I plan on enjoying exploring the city by walking and talking with friends!
  5. Running: ( Granted,  maybe I should call this one, jogging) : I go in and out of phases where I enjoy running, as I don't consider myself a "natural runner" with legs that are short and squat, attached to a frame made for childbearing than for athletics, but I do enjoy running, especially on the beach! I carry my phone along to take pics to make it more fun.
  6. Gardening: Oh yes, there is definitely some work to be done out front with weeds taking over my patio area. I am going to enjoy some tunes and gardening, and yes.. I do consider it exercise!
  7. Insanity: I am thinking of getting the Insanity Dvd's that I keep hearing about. I am afraid the pain of it all may not fit in the "play" category, but it looks like a great challenge!
  8. Cleaning/Dancing Around the House: Yep! When it's just me and my music, I can work up quite a sweat and a smile on my face, cleaning, organizing, and dancing my way to satisfaction. 
  9. Bicycling: So, currently I don't own a bike, but I think it's about time to add cycling to my repertoire of fun fitness activities. Biking to the beach: how can I say no to that?
  10. Rollerblading: Time to dust off those blades and hit some flat, safe, paths to renew my skills. Don't worry, wrist guards will definitely be part of my practice!
How will you find playful ways to rejuvenate either by yourself or with friends/family this summer? Please share!