When I set my alarm to get up early before work to go for a run, or to go to the gym, there are many times that I don’t feel like going. As I make the preparations the night before, laying out my outfit, packing my workout bag, I often think how much nicer it would be to sleep a little longer instead. When the alarm goes off, sometimes it’s a tough battle to get out from under the covers rather than rolling over. On one of these mornings, I walked into the gym feeling all sorts of cranky, and wishing I had decided not to come. I was tired and unmotivated, but I got on the elliptical anyhow because I was there. Then I looked to my left, and I saw an old woman, so white-haired and frail that she had parked her walker next the elliptical three down from me. She was going slow, but she was going. If that’s not inspiration to work out as an able bodied young woman, I don’t know what is. She needed assistance walking, but still put in the effort to get in her daily exercise. I can walk just fine, and I was grumbling about being there. It reminded me of a blog post I read a long time ago about being thankful for being tired and sore muscles because it meant you had an active body that had carried you around all day, and keep you mobile- something you might realize you had taken for granted if it’s capabilities are ever taken away from you.
Then I saw The Huffington Post’s article on Olga Kotelko, the 90 year old track star. After she retired from her teaching job, she started competing in track and field in her 70s, and now she has 26 world record in her 90-94 age group as of today- an impressive record at any age, and especially so at hers. Olga doled out a few tips on staying healthy and active that included eating fresh, natural, unprocessed, and unrefined foods, while getting lots of sleep. She also sites keeping a balanced fitness routine that challenges cardio, flexibility, and muscles while training your brain by learning new things. Then finally she plans for the future, is looking forward to joining the 95-99 age bracket next, and keeps an optimistic outlook, saying, “You’re never too old to chase your dream!” Take a page from her book next time you are dreading a workout, and remember – if Olga can do it, you probably can too.
If the answer is no, (or I don’t know), then you might be less likely to receive get-active advice at your next visit. Research presented at a recent American Heart Association conference (and reported by The Scoop) found that physicians who work out are more likely to recommend it to their patients. And, when your doctor is getting on your case to exercise more, you might be a little less likely to come up with excuses not to hit the gym. Being active is a lifestyle choice that can help prevent or lessen the effect of a whole host of diseases, and having a health care practitioner who fits exercise into their busy schedule can make them more likely to recommend it as a treatment or addition to patients’ routines. Next time you’re picking out a new a primary care doctor, keep your fitness goals in mind, and look for one who enjoys being active too.
By now, most people have heard of Birchbox, the beauty website that lets you subscribe for a monthly rate, and then receive a mixed package of hand selected samples to try. Some may have heard of Jewelmint, an accessories company founded by Kate Bosworth on a similar concept. Pay a flat rate each month, and select any piece in the collection. Now there is a website in the same lines, but for exercise fashionistas. With Ellie, you first take a style quiz to evaluate your tastes in workout gear, and how you like to exercise.
Then you have the option to become a member or shop on your own from the pieces they select for you. With a $50/month membership fee, you can pick any two clothing items each month to arrive at your door, shipping included. Members also gain preferred access to that month’s picks, and the inventory is constantly changing, so it will always infuse a fresh look into your gym-going attire.
“I feel a lot worse about my life, and the world after working out,” said….nobody ever. No matter what kind of bad mood I’m in- grumpy, tired, sad, angry- if I can manage to haul myself onto an elliptical/stationary bike/treadmill usually after about 20 minutes or so, I start to feel better. My mind starts to wander from whatever was bothering me. I find myself thinking about totally unrelated things, or sometimes out of no where stumbling on a resolution. At the very least, the endorphins kick in and I feel a little better than when I started.
One day I got to thinking after a run, where out of no where the fix to something I had been thinking over popped magically into my head as I jogged. They don’t call it working out for nothing I thought, working out your problems, working your body to get out of your head. I mean, where did the word really come from anyhow?
It’s a fairly new word in the English language, around for only about a hundred years. People speculate that it came after hard labor or things like construction work that use similar motions and body challenging movement. Others speculate that it comes from using the word “out” as totally expended, used until it’s finished. The word implies working your muscles until they’re spent, used up, out of energy. The resolutions to annoying situations that seem to pop out of no where, well they’re just a bonus of giving your mind a chance to do its own thing while you focus on not falling off the treadmill while you change the song on your iPhone, or running that extra half mile along the river without stopping to walk.