Evolution of a Walk

I’m wallowing this weekend in an upper respiratory nightmare. I had high hopes of getting to the gym this morning, but I didn’t want to be found unconscious beneath a machine, nor did I think anyone wanted what I’ve got. So I invited my husband, who’s suffering the same malady, to join me for a gentle walk on a most beautiful day.

The weather was unseasonably warm for a February morning in Minnesota, so fitness plan B turned out to be the perfect choice. It’s amazing what fresh air can do to restore a person’s head, heart and health.

The thawing warmth, combined with the playful puddles and joyfully singing birds put me in a place of reflection. As we worked toward completing our leisurely 3.5 mile stroll, I considered the evolution of my perspective toward walking.

Here’s what I mean. As I thought back to the time before my weight loss, I remember feeling very differently…like back in 2011 when I didn’t consider shoveling a great workout, it was simply a chore. And if someone had asked me to take a walk after that, I would’ve been too exhausted.

About this same time in 2012…winter camp at my unhealthiest, should someone have invited me to walk, I would’ve recommended they dial 911 before we begin…not. even. kidding.

Friends, here’s where things get exciting because a few months after this picture, I set off on my healthy lifestyle journey and things began to change dramatically! About this same time in 2013, if you had asked me to walk, I would have suggested we do it in the hilly woods of Oxbow Park because I had some serious training to do with around 30 pounds strapped to my back in preparation for an upcoming backpack hiking adventure.

I had lost a significant amount of weight by this same time in 2014 and was in fantastic shape, but if you had asked me to walk then, I would have had to pass. I was very busy doing nothing, or rather healing from automobile accident injuries. Dang it, one step forward, two steps back…

I behaved my butt off during that time so I could return to an active lifestyle better than ever. It took lots of patience and pep talks, but I bounced back with a force to be reckoned with! And should someone ask me around that same time in 2015 if I’d like to take a walk, I may have recommended we do it above ground because I was pretty wildly into high adventure, like swinging through the trees in Flagstaff. Guess I had something to prove to myself, huh?

By this time the following year, I had replaced the adrenaline addiction for a longer sustained endorphin high. If you had invited me to walk with you in 2016 I may have suggested a half marathon!

A lot has changed between then and now. I ran myself silly that entire year and am now taking some much needed time to restore a reluctant knee. So if any of you are interested in a calm walk of any distance, now’s the time to ask…though you may want to wait until my germ circus leaves town. A walk with Eric this morning was exactly what I needed to get my compass pointing true north again, to put into perspective how thankful I am to be back embracing a walk.

Treasure Trove of Free Motivation!

Friends, when my boys were young, we lived at the public library. Their constant hunger for knowledge was regularly satisfied with a large tote filled with new books, computer games, music cds, audiobooks and movies each week. Their eyes lit up like it was Christmas when they’d spot something that sparked a new interest, and we were often mesmerized at the sheer volume that building held. I often wondered, if a person calculated the msrp of all the materials we’d borrowed, how many millions of dollars the library afforded my little learners!

We were often treated to some wonderful enrichment opportunities there as well. Storytellers, magicians, musicians, artists and scavenger hunts to name a few, all these priceless educational activities…FREE!

My boys are in high school and college now; although no longer frequent patrons, a homework assignment sometimes brings us back. And now that I’m no longer needed in their search for materials, a visit allows me to realize what an amazing adult playground exists there too!

I was recently impressed with a display…

Of course, it is ever changing because these resources are constantly borrowed. A walk around the corner reveals stack upon stack of engaging resources related to healthy lifestyle, mindfulness, nutrition, wellness, fitness and beyond…and these are just the items that aren’t checked out. I’ve spent hours on the library’s website browsing the limitless offerings and reserving materials that are constantly checked out.

My favorite feature is reserving them to our local bookmobile that stops every two weeks, just two blocks from my house. These items literally come to ME!!

Friends, many of you have asked me how to live healthy on a budget. Here’s an answer right here. The price is better than budget-friendly…it’s free. But priceless!

Those who’ve told me they can’t afford a gym membership or workout equipment…here’s my answer to that…

There are multiple stacks of shelves at my library with hundreds of workouts for any ability level. There is a class of your choice, available any time, day or night, just waiting for you to hit play! No membership dues, no intimidation of any gym-related nature, ready at your convenience. Some of these DVDs were instrumental in my weight-loss success early on when I was building my fitness confidence. Even now, I find a few new ones that spark my interest each time I visit.

Or maybe you find you need that community connection of working out with others? Or looking for a professional talk related to various wellness topics? Look no further…

Check out what your local library has to offer. I’m willing to bet it offers more than you think. And a wonderful bonus? If your library doesn’t have a resource you are looking for, many are able to borrow from neighboring community libraries or take requests for new purchases…how cool is that?

If you’re looking for some fresh motivation, give your local library a visit…a free source of encouragement and one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

 

December Challenge: Advent Calendar of Wellness

Happy December, fellow FIT BFFs! Not sure how it arrived so quickly, but here we are in the final month of 2016. I know how crazy December can be. Prior to the beginning of my journey toward wellness, the holiday hustle and bustle threatened to take me down…year after year. One December actually found me in the ER with what I thought were heart attack symptoms. Thankfully, it was an anxiety attack, but I should never have allowed that month to feel so out of control. I’m happy to say I’ve made diliberate changes to avoid recurrence. In reminding myself, I thought it also helpful to share this little idea with you.

Two years ago, I prepared an advent calendar. You’ve all seen these, it’s a December tradition with little doors that children open, one for each day leading to Christmas…some even include chocolate.

Advent Calendar

Having lost a significant amount of weight by that time, my calendar did NOT include treats, but instead, was chock-full of motivation. It was simply a blank calendar I posted on my fridge as a constant, visual reminder to move. Each day as I completed a workout, I recorded it. Here’s a glimpse…

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I found with each passing day, I was more and more motivated to fill those boxes. By the end of the month it had been completely filled which left me feeling accomplished. I’m ready for that sense of satisfaction again…I’ve got a fun calendar printed off, posted and ready to fill with my fit activities.

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I invite you to join me in this festive fitness challenge. Simply print off this free printable calendar made available by the fine folks at iMOM here, and get busy gifting yourself a little wellness every day this month.

Let’s give ourselves a gift of wellness every day this month…one festive way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Where There’s a Will…

I learned a tough lesson long ago about putting off my health during times of stress. This week found me seeing my husband Eric through surgery and a hospital stay. Knowing there would be plenty of sit-and-wait kind of downtime, I was determined to take good care of myself too throughout the process.

Yesterday, shortly after Eric was taken to surgery, I left my info with the nurses and took off. The old me would sit in the waiting room, worrying myself sick…but not this time. After realizing there were very few halls I could walk due to construction, I took it outside, running the perimeter of the hospital grounds. Since is was crazy-cold out, I then came in to walk the rounds again for warmth. Once thawed, I took another lap outside, then inside…yada, yada, yada.

After all was said and done, I logged a 2.5 mile creative-cardio interval workout. WIN! Once back in Eric’s room, I was calm, refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day. What’s more, I managed to fit a workout into my out-of-the-ordinary day.

If you’ve found yourself with a loved-one in the hospital, you can probably relate to how much time you sit and simply wait. Well this morning while hanging out with my husband, waiting for him to be discharged, I considered what the rest of the day might hold. I knew once we got home, there was zero chance of me going to the gym. So I took advantage of the extra time and space to fit in a little strength-training, literally crawling the walls…in a good way!

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What a perfect opportunity for some squats, tricep dips, wall sits and planks! Three sets of each left me feeling awesome. I had a great photographer that seemed well-entertained. And, before we knew it, we were on our way home. No matter where I am these days, I size up the setting and am able to put my downtime to good use…and so can you! Remember, fellow FIT BFFs, where there’s a will, there is ALWAYS a way!