Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Fitness as a Way of Life

Living on a farm is a great way to keep fit but it is not for everyone.  I do at least one hour of barn work every single day and often it's up to two hours (if the horses stay inside) and this does not include riding.  This includes walking (I do 10,000 steps on a slow day), lifting often 40-50 pound bales of hay or bags of feed, and the shoulder movement with the pitchfork is better than any class I know.  

I also run.  We have a home gym and I use the treadmill for an extra workout. Running is not for everyone but I love to run and always use my iPod when I am on the treadmill.  Marathons and road racing were part of my routine many years ago.  I also walk everywhere.  Park the car at the far end of the parking lot and walk.  You'll never find me using the elevator if there are stairs available unless I have to walk up 40 floors.  And I will always walk instead of using a moving walkway. The idea is to move every opportunity you can.

I only wear Nike shoes and have worn them since high school.  Shoes are a personal preference but if you run or do a lot of walking, invest in a good pair and throw them out sooner than you think you need to.  Keeping those feet happy is a good investment.  Invest in orthotics if you have foot issues (ask me how I know).

Swimming is another sport I do but I don't enjoy.  We have a community pool and you can swim there in the evenings and be coached.  It's the best workout I know and nothing hurts when you swim.  I highly recommend swimming as a way to get in shape and lose weight but I swim for a solid hour when I make the trek to the pool to make it worth my while. You can swim into your 90's if you stay fit.

Fitness is way of life for me and I've always been an athlete.  When I was in school I played team sports - tennis, volleyball, track, and even softball one season. Riding is something I always did in addition to everything else.  And I don't personally think riding is that aerobic and it won't make you lose weight.  The horse is doing all the work!  It does not "count" for me as a workout. Most serious riders I know go to the gym every day.

You have to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.  When I worked in downtown Washington I ran on the Mall in winter, leaving the office at 3 or 4 pm to do my run, then coming back to the office and working until 7 or 8 pm.  Or I would run in my neighborhood after dark as it was well lit and safe.  You have to make the time and you have to make the commitment to do it at least a few days a week.  We tend to find the time for the things we want to do.

Buy nice workout clothes so you feel good when you workout.  It's a better investment than a new coat or shoes.

I love the London-based Sweaty Betty clothing line (came across a store in NYC a few years ago).  If you want some fun clothing to workout in, this is the place.  When running outside I wear tights in winter.

(Running Tights)

This vest is also a must have for outdoor running:


You can't go wrong with Nike clothing and most of my running clothes are Nike and the stuff lasts forever.

Americans are too sedendary and don't exercise nearly enough.  And don't adopt the mantra that if you exercise you can eat what you want.  Maybe if you run marathons that will work, but otherwise no.  We all need to be fit, healthy, and to move around every day.  It costs nothing to take an hour's walk, you'll sleep better, feel better, get sick less often and you'll possibly shed some pounds along the way.

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