Monday, October 5, 2009

In praise of exercise

I was going about my normal routine things yesterday when I noticed something wonderful. Some things that had been sort of difficult to do physically were no longer quite so difficult. Somehow, someway, I am beginning to develop a degree of upper body strength without any kind of upper body exercise ! It's not that I am suddenly able to do curls with 50 lb dumb bells or lift 150 pounds, but rather I am finding I can do certain mundane chores with no difficulty, and I have greater stability while doing them.It seems in my case focusing as much as I have on getting a balance of nutrition with a lower level of starch carbs has made the chemical make up of my body better. Combine that with exercise- moderate exercise- and my overall strength has greatly improved.

I don't think enough is spoken about the benefits of exercise and your overall vitality. Many speak of it in the terms of weight control or gaining athletic ability such as training for a race , but few talk about how it can reverse the aging process and improve your daily abilities. Exercise not only gets your lymphatic system moving and working at prime, but it increases your blood flow, which delivers a greater number of oxygen rich blood cells to all parts of your body. Oxygen is one substance everything that alive requires above any other substance. You can live weeks without food, days without water but only minutes without air. When tissues get a reduced supply of oxygen, they begin to die. Muscles in your body that do not receive adequate oxygen begin to atrophy, and one link on the chain of comma d of life becomes weakened. Eventually actions as basic as standing become difficult because the muscles have broken down.

How much does it take to gain these benefits to your body ? Not much. 30 minutes of simple movement will do a world of good to your overall health. Walking, yoga, dancing, swimming, bathing cats- you pick your favorite. If it requires your muscles to move for that time, you reap the benefit. What does not count would be activities that require your mind alone, such as wondering how you can get moving, feeling guilty for not moving, dreaming about getting up and moving tomorrow when you have the gerbils fed and the neighbors are watching TV - none of those count as movement. They may feel comfortable to engage in, but they are like junk food . Great filler, fun for the senses, but pretty detrimental in the long run.

And now, yesterday's food log

Breakfast was a crock pot breakfast casserole that sounded a lot better than it tasted. For 3 people take 1 potato and slice it, then slice an onion, a green pepper, cut up 9 slices of turkey bacon, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese shredded, 1 cup egg beaters and 1/2 cup of milk. Layer the potatoes, bacon, onions, pepper and cheese in a slow ooker, mix the egg beaters and milk with spices of your choice and pour over the veggies. Turn on low overnight. It smells WONDERFUL, and it kept waking me up with the yummy smell. The taste was not good though. Too bacon-y ? Too earthy ? Not sure. I served it with an apple, skim milk and coffee -467 calories

For lunch we had a weight watchers recipe for Chinese Pepper Steak over brown rice with fortune cookies and diet soda - 391 calories. I keep remebering that this whole meal is less calories than a McDonalds McGrilled sandwich- amazing !

In the afternoon I had my usual snack and for dinner we had Black forest ham ( incredibly lean and low in calories), broccoli with home made cheese sauce,pineapple chunks ,steamed cabbage and a dinner cibatta roll for 461 calories. As a kid we ate a lot of boiled cabbage or creamed cabbage, and I keep forgetting that cabbage cooked in this way is kind of like a long boring walk to a fun place. You just endure it because it gets you to where you want to go. Cabbage is cheap and healthy, but no one is going to write a play about it !

Snack in the evening was an apple, a Fiber Plus bar and a YoPlus lite. Calorie total for the day was 1879.

Today my son and I are going to start making sugar skulls for Halloween. It is safe to do , now that he has determined canned frosting is just icky sweet sugar- hooray !!


Diane, Fit to the finish said...

I love it when you said that any activity that really gets you moving, but just thinking about moving doesn't count! That is so true.

When I was overweight I thought about exercise, but never went farther than the thinking part!

Your observations about exercising increasing your overall strength are exactly right. Even if you aren't lifting weights, your strength improves substantially.

The food looks great too!

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

It all comes down to a law of physics I think. A body in motion stays in motion, and what is not utilized is lost. Our bodies were designed to move , and with good reason.Movement is all that is required- anything else added to that idea is kind of icing on the cake. Some cannot do conventional exercise for different valid reasons, but everyone can move in some way. Even a person bound to a wheelchair and paralized from the neck down can still roll their eyes, make faces and exercise their jaw muscles to get the benefit. Your muscles do not know the difference between pushing a broom sweeping or swinging a hockey stick. You can lift weights in a gym or lift stacks of dishes and loads of laundry- it is all movement. Simply being active brings the health benefits of movement, peace of mind for a sense of accomplishment at moving and more. I think too often we get it in our heads that we have to become athletes in order to be healthy, and it is simply not true. ( And worse still we beat ourselves up mentally if there are reasons why we cannot follow the conventional model and do more damage to our journey). We need to think in terms of just simply moving, and that gets the ball rolling towards so many better things

JC said...

Congrats on the discovery of strength. Just wonderful. Major non food victory.

Rebecca said...

There is one way I love cabbage.
Cabbage Stir Fry.

Betty said...

How inspirational! Thanks for sharing your's amazing. I especially liked your comment "We need to think in terms of just simply moving, and that gets the ball rolling towards so many better things". How very true as there are so many better things if we can just take a step forward. I have to share a book with you that I recently read called Family Fit (author Dr. John E. Mayer). It's an amazing book about how to get the WHOLE family involved in fitness and healthy eating. My family and I have learned alot. It really got us moving!