Tag Archives: fitness

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Ttumblr_mr80mqGZC31st5lhmo1_1280oday is Day 14 of 31 Days of Chronic Illness.  You can start Day 1 here.

Besides nutritious eating and watching out for chemicals there is another facet to taking care of our bodies in this journey through chronic illness.  Exercise & fitness.

Just saying it sounds exhausting, right? When you're in the throws of illness the last thing you want to do is work out.  You're already dog-tired, maybe even in pain.  If you're anything like me, when I'm having a "bad spell" my symptoms actually worsen after within 2 hours after exercising.  It hardly seems productive.

And yet, all of the experts will tell you that one of the best things to produce health in your body is to exercise.  Exercise can have these positive effects on your body:

  • better sleep
  • improve blood flow to the brain
  • boost immune system
  • reduce risk of cancer
  • improve blood sugar
  • lowering blood pressure
  • increasing energy levels
  • and many more

The key, I think, is this: finding the right exercises and doing them only to the point that it is beneficial.  It is important to challenge yourself to incorporate fitness elements into your week but exercise should not become another stressor in your already stressed out life (James L. Wilson, Adrenal Fatigue).  Choose one or a combination of activities that you enjoy and do them slowly at first, only building up to the level of exertion your body can tolerate.

While I may not have enough energy to participate in a spin class right now, I can do a few arm exercises at home before I go to bed. If I were to walk a couple miles I would be in a lot of pain by the end of the evening, but I can work in a few light stretches to keep my muscles loose and less prone to injury.

So my challenge to you today is to start exploring some light fitness activities that could bring you joy as well as help get your body moving.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • swimming (a heated pool would be ideal)
  • yoga, pilates or other slow stretching exercises
  • physical therapy
  • walking (outdoors or treadmill)
  • elliptical trainer
  • cycling (indoor or outdoor)
  • isometric contractions
  • push ups, sit ups
  • water aerobics
  • dancing, Zumba
  • light weights
  • archery or other low impact sports
  • Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect
  • bowling
  • golf
  • hiking
  • gardening
  • kayaking or stand-up paddleboard
  • horseback riding
  • TRX

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list but I hope it will help you find some activities that bring you fitness as well well-being.  If you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments section!

 

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I repeat, this is not a recipe. It is simply the 5 minute meal I made for myself the last two nights 1) because it was so fast and 2) because it was so darn good and 3) because I was allowed to have it.

I probably forgot to tell you that somehow I got suckered into doing P90x exercise program for the next couple of months, diet and all. Yes, I am breaking one of my own rules and adhering to a high protein/low carb diet but only because it is perfectly calculated to fuel you through these intense workouts. To tell you the truth, the hardest part of the diet has been eating that much food. I have to fit 7 portions of protein into one day! It's not easy to fit in work, my daily workout and cooking all that protein.

But yesterday I "cooked" a great throw together meal! It's too simple to call it a recipe but here is what you need:

  • one box of quick couscous (Near East is my favorite)
  • precooked frozen fajita meat, beef or chicken (the one at my Sam's Club is not frozen so it's even quicker); I don't now the amount, just eyeball it
  • 1 bag of sugar snap peas from the produce aisle; again, I don't know the weight of the bag, I told you this wasn't a recipe!
  • a drizzle of olive oil (but you can add up to 2 teaspoons if you are not on a restrictive diet like me)

Follow the directions on the package to prepare the couscous, it usually is something like this: bring 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of oil and the contents of the spice pack to a boil. Stir in the couscous and remove from the heat. Put the lid on the pot and let sit for 5 minutes.

While your couscous is boiling or resting, you can heat your fajita meat up in the microwave. About 1-2 minutes depending on if it's frozen.

Also while your couscous is resting and your meat is reheating, cut your sugar snap peas in half on the diagonal, because it's prettier on the diagonal. And the smaller pieces just make more sense.

Once your couscous has rested, take the lid off the pot and give it a small stir with a fork to fluff it up. Stir in your sugar snap peas and dish up onto plates, about 1/2 cup on each plate. Top with your fajita meat and ta-da! A filling, healthy meal in just about 5 minutes!! Hoooray!!

Of course, you could add more veggies to your couscous, depending on what you have on hand. Some caramelized red onions or chopped green onion tops or halved grape tomatoes would be yummy, too.  Or you could leave out the meat and use a package of fajita veggies.  Throw in the kitchen sink for all I care but give this quick weeknight meal a shot, I think you'll make it again and again.  I know I will.

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Please don't hate me, but I actually like to workout.  I always have.  I am a firm believer that everyone can find a fitness activity that fits their needs and personality, you just have to keep trying new things, new classes, new sports until you find the one that you can get excited about.

I know I don't have to preach to you about the physical benefits of exercise, you've heard it all:  keeps our hearts healthy, fights cholesterol, balances our blood sugars, improves sleep, builds muscle, fights depression, increases endorphins and more.

I am an athlete.  I always will be.  My body is getting old and worn out and sometimes I don't have a choice but to give it a rest but darn it I will never give up working out.  I will be one of those quirky old ladies that do the Senior Olympics.  Mark my words.

But you don't have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of exercise:  take a walk around your neighborhood,  sign up for a dance class, start doing pushups during tv commercials,  get a hula hoop or a jump rope.   Just move!!  It's such a simple thing, but such an important one.