Monday, September 15, 2008

The Daily Disciplines: Exercise

We all know that getting our bodies moving is a good thing. After all, exercise burns calories, builds, muscle, and helps strengthen our bodies and make them healthy. As I've learned about the human body in Biomechanics, our teacher has stressed how we must use our muscles and exercise them to keep them in shape. When you don't use things in the body, they often deteriorate.

Having a daily routine can be very helpful to maintain consistent exercise. I must admit, however, that I've never really had one. At home, I tried on-and-off to walk first thing in the morning, but when it got too cold or too hot, or I ran into too many spiderwebs, getting them all over my face, I often just let it slack. Plus, although I felt great as soon as I got out and walked in the crisp morning air, motivating myself to leave my nice warm room was really hard. I also tried running after going to a camp where we had to run every morning, but that quickly fizzled.

Most of my exercise comes in different forms throughout the day, and for now, that has worked pretty well for me. Dance has always been a big part of my exercise, for you develop flexibility, muscle, and burn energy all while learning to be graceful and do different moves. I assure you, dancing does make you sweat and wear you out sometimes! I would also go on walks during different parts of the day (going to get the mail, 10 minutes away down our dirt road, was always fun), do a dance or conditioning DVD at home, or try to dance in my room (though this was always hard - not enough space!), or just do daily active chores, which give you some exercise, but not enough. Impromptu bike rides, hikes, or games outside with siblings also helped keep me active, though there were often too many days when I would just stay inside most of the day.

This semester, I get a workout every weekday morning, which has been really nice. It helps me wake up and face the day with energy! Yes, the weird and nice thing about exercise is that it often leaves you more energized than you were before! On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have Biomechanics at 8 a.m., and as part of learning about the human body, we really work it, stretching, doing cardio, pilates, or a combination of a bunch of different things. It's been fun (while hard) to do all the different exercises and stretches, and the motivation to keep going helps by having a lot of others in the class. Typically, the workout lasts 20-30 minutes, with continuous movement. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 to 9:15 a.m. I have ballet class. We don't move as continuously as the workouts in Biomechanics, but we certainly work our bodies!

The nice thing about having classes in a lot of different buildings throughout the day and having to walk to wherever I want to go (to eat, see friends, mail something, and so on) is that I get a lot of walking done throught the day! It feels wonderful to walk and be out among God's creation, even if just for a few minutes at a time. And although I know that continuous exercise is usually best, the 5-10 minutes of walking at a time many times during the day is really nice. I usually set a pretty brisk pace, unless I'm walking and talking with someone else - which is fun too. =)

It's been hard to motivate myself to exercise on my own - it's always easier with other people. I would like to get into a habit of doing stretches and other things in my room on a daily basis, but so far haven't disciplined myself to do it. I would be curious to hear about all of your exercise disciplines, however! Maybe they will give me some ideas. =)

If you would, please answer all, any, or none of the following questions:
  • Do you have a consistent exercise schedule? If so, what is it?
  • What motivates you to exercise?
  • How do you set aside time in the day to exercies (e.g. early morning, afternoon, evening)?

10 comments:

Lily said...

I swim on a homeschool swim team three days a week for an hour and forty five minutes. I love it! We also do dryland before we swim. I started it last year and it has kept me fit and healthy. Exercising makes me feel good and I am in a better mood since I feel good. I also try to run/walk every now and then. Loving it and feeling good motivate me.

Lily :o)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

I am working a new job that requires me to get up very early so I can only exercise in the evening when I get home. I should do it more regularly, but I don't. I love to walk, but I live in Maine, where it gets quite cold in another 2 months or so, so then I usually do aerobics tapes at home. Those are hard for me to get the motivation to do sometimes though.

For motivation, how's this: I just found out that a couple in my church (they are both about 75) walk 8-12 miles a day year round and rarely miss a day! Well, that just puts me to shame.

Gotta go - I need to go walk!

Julie from Maine

Mamselle Clare Duroc said...

How funny that you should post this today... I got back a couple of hours ago from a long, hard mountain hike... which was beautiful nevertheless. I got to see the trees and hills and valleys spread out beneath me, which was truly wonderful. But, ouch! My legs feel like they aren't quite there, except where they're aching and sore.

I try to follow a regular routine, and usually manage to stick to schedule. I have two different aspects to my exercise routine: the weight training and the cardio.

The weight training I do first thing in the morning before breakfast: Mondays and Thursdays are for upper body, while Tuesdays and Fridays are for the lower. After that I have a good solid breakfast high in protein.

I do the cardio portion before lunch. What I do kind of depends on what seems attractive that day. Sometimes I dance, sometimes I bike... recently I've been in a hiking and jogging mood. I've been going hiking nearly every day of the week, and jogging on the non-hiking days. I love the views and scenery of hiking, and I love that famous "runner's high" I get after I jog.

My main motivation is usually that I just enjoy it, and it makes me feel so much better. It's a nice break from books during the day, and it restores and refreshes my mind.

On the days I don't have any motivation, I just try to do without. I can generally find some fifteen minutes into whatever activity I'm doing.

Jody said...

I don't have a regular exercise program. I do try to walk a lot whenever I can. For instance, instead of calling with a question to my mum's house - I walk over. I walk to the mailbox (not as far as you do Anna, but a ways!) I work in the garden lots in the spring and summer. Winter is the hard time to get exercise for me. It's cold and I don't like getting outside! I will have to work something out this year!

Sam said...

I jog on a treadmill for an hour every day. I started this about a year and a half ago, just for fun, and was surprised when I dropped fifteen pounds in six months. Exercising releases endorphins (the chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy). I usually try to stick to a scrict schedule and jog at seven o'clock every evening (Sunday-Thursday). Exercising has helped me feel better about myself and I also have a lot more energy.

Gabriela said...

Anna,

If there is no access to gyms, there are excersizes one could do at home. Even in your room. I read a article on a fitness magazine about exercises one could do even without all the workout equipment, just the weight of body movements.

The way to move my body in a room is just basic squads exercises, when you sit in a invisible chair touch the ground with your palm, and get back up, could be done with dumb bells. Also push ups. Everyones favorite. jk

Elisa said...

I started a little over two years ago doing 15 pushups every night. I have now worked my way up to 50.
My motivation, I know that if I stop it will be hard to make myself start doing them again.
I also love to take long walks but I don't walk as often as I would like.

beautifulgraceblog said...

I have sort of taken up a running program and hope to continue that. It is hard to find the time, but right now I have a long-distance college course that I have to submit exercise logs for...

Maria Pauline

Mirka said...

# Do you have a consistent exercise schedule? If so, what is it?

I go to swimming hall three times a week. I usually swim 2-3 kilometers and then stretch some fifteen minutes before going to sauna and cool water pool (10 degrees of celsius :). I have two dogs and I take them out for a long walk daily. We walk usually 1-2 hours in woods, by the lake and in winter time on ice with them. I used to play badminton but I don't have time for that now.

# What motivates you to exercise?

Simply because it feels good and it's healty :) I'd also like to run a marathon someday.

# How do you set aside time in the day to exercies (e.g. early morning, afternoon, evening)?

I have irregular schelude. I usually go to swimming hall after lectures and/or before work shift in the evenings. Dogs get their walk in the mornings or late at nights.

- mirka

Blademonkey said...

This is what I'm using as my basic routine for exercise "http://fittennessee.com/blog/blog/the-52-card-workout-deck-of-cards-pt/2008/07/14/". The only requirements are space, a deck of cards, and a little time. The time that you can devote to it can be as little as 20 min. or up to 30 min. as needed. Assuming that you have a good stretching program to go with it, the routine can be great for people who wants to start an exercise program or not having much in the ways of budget or time to devote to it. Hey, we all have lives to lead. All of the exercise that I put into my custom program came from "http://www.frixo.com/sites/fitness/exercises.html". Pick some good ones, mix and match for your particular set of needs.

I carry around a deck of cards with an index card cut down to fit in the box listing the exercise that I use. When the topic of conversation turns to exercise, I can pull it out and show people my "portable gym". The cards cost less than two bottles of Gatorade, the research took me about an hour to do.

I'm trying to compare the results with my friends who's got gym membership.