After Sunset

You are in your daily routine and all has been going well from week to week and month after month. Then a bump in the road appears and knocks your entire routine off what you thought was a well paved path. Your story may sound like this: you get home from work and gear up for your daily run. You are a couple of miles into your chosen path and well into your zone when you realize the sun has set and darkness is approaching faster than it did at this same time last week. Instead of your hour long run you have to turn back with barely 25 minutes in or you won’t be able to see a thing. 

This may describe you if you are not used to running and walking outdoors in the evening or if you misjudge the amount of time you have when the days begin to shorten in this season. The rest of you who are constantly outdoors for various activities are back home right when the darkness sets in with a full workout done and having your last meal of the day. You are accustomed to adjusting for the seasons and you have been waiting to implement your plan.

The other answer could be that your gym is open again and you were able to fill one of the available time slots, no worries about the daylight disappearing. Whatever the answer you had a plan and put it to work. If you are not the one to plan and you go with the flow that is your plan. You may spend this season speed walking around your house or office and doing sit-ups, pushups and other exercises right where you are, and you will have made it through the days without wondering what to do.

If you are wondering what to do and you know you are not the type join groups in the park or a parking lot for a cardio workout every day or you don’t have the time to and you don’t have the room or funds to set up an assorted home gym. The only way for you to get active right now may be the running shoes and a trail or a few dumbbells. If this is your situation, you will need to take a look at everything going on in your life each day and decide what to cut out or change.

Consider swapping out your even walk or run with something on your morning schedule or make bigger moves on your days off. If you absolutely have to stick to the schedule you have you might find virtual exercise classes a few times a week to be just what you need. What you don’t want to do is wait for your gym to open up for you to switch up your routine. Find yourself prepared when it opens back up and be ready to go to another level or maintain what you have gained. 

I have not let the setting of the sun or the need for a jacket slow me down. I am owning my health and my journey. As I look ahead at the last week of October, I know I will need an exercise plan for at least the next two months to keep moving forward with my wellness plan. Some of my routine will carryover and there are some new things to implement and now is a good time to be ready. Even if I do not know what the plan will be for the entire two months there must be some type of direction to keep the momentum going. One thing I am sure of is that time does not pause for us even if the clock is broken. 

Is The Fit Right

Are you doing it alone or do you have a team or maybe one partner? I have been running and doing other exercise routines solo for the last two and a half months. Running is something I have done alone so often that I do not think much about having a partner for it and I enjoy the time with myself. If I did run with someone regularly or a few times out of a month I would choose someone I could keep a good pace with and someone with a similar endurance level for running. If there is a large gap in the endurance level of the partners or group of runners there will be a mile or two in between each person. I imagine the same would happen in other workout settings too.

I recall a time when I moved to a new state and one of my neighbors invited me to walk in the mornings with her and another neighbor. I thought it would be great to have some company while getting some exercise and I excitedly got ready one morning and met them at the cul-de-sac near the street they lived on. We started off walking and talking sharing names and a little bit of history, so I didn’t notice the slow pace in the beginning. 

After a few blocks I realized the pace was very slow for me. I felt like I was stumbling over my own legs or feet by trying to walk at pace that was awkward for me. My new neighbors usually did three laps around the neighborhood to get the amount of exercise they desired for the day, but I couldn’t see myself doing this much longer at the slow pace. I walked one lap around the neighborhood with them which was about a mile and then I politely let them know I was going to head out of the neighborhood to run a few more miles. 

It is good to have company during a workout. A team of people working for similar results or just one other person to celebrate getting through a long run, or a hit class with is great to have. Teaming up with the right people and having the option of modifying the workout for your level is the key staying motivated and being successful in group exercise. If there isn’t enough of a challenge for you or if you are being left behind, you will likely move on or feel like you failed if you are just starting out and may even quit.

Being in a class is great for different levels of exercise and being able to slow down your pace if needed or to modify the amount of weight and still be in an atmosphere of motivation and be pushed if needed. Of course, when you are running you will adjust as the path you are on changes from flat to hills and whether the wind is going against you or with. If you find yourself running with a group and you are in the rear, you can always use it as a time to challenge your normal pace and work to gain a new speed. 

It is important to take some time to think about your skill level and how active you like to be so that you don’t give up if one choice isn’t a great fit. If one class or course isn’t for you try something else and keep trying until you find the right exercise and the right group or person to partner with. Know what is for you and what isn’t and don’t feel bad about moving on from a partnership or group. Friends and neighbors and even trainers will understand or get over it in time. 

Your health is up to you and reaching your goals or new levels will not happen by going along for the peace of it or to please others. There are other activities you may have in common with your friends and neighbors that you can do together and still have them in your life. 

Your Chosen Path

On Sunday afternoon I was able to walk on one of the trails from my list of places I haven’t been. I did the 6 mile run on Friday and wanted to take it easy for a couple of days to give my knees and legs a break so I thought it would be a great time to visit a new to me trail and take in the sights around it. The drive to the trail was about 15 minutes and surprisingly finding a place to park was not an issue. There are several entrances onto the trail I picked one, merged right and was on my way to a new experience.

I found that the entrance I chose was nearly in the middle of the trail. I walked about a mile absorbing the sounds of the water and creatures and the site of various rocks and trees before the path ended at another parking area. I took note of the landmarks near this parking lot so that I could maybe start at this end for future visits. I then headed back North to see what was to the left side of my entry point. After going about another mile to the north and passing plenty of other pedestrians I came upon another merge in the path. I explored these parts of trail and pictured myself being there early in the morning on a warm day running down the path, getting around the obstacles and enjoying the scenery.  

I chose to visit this trail on a walk day so that I could get to know the path. I wanted to get a good look at the everything around me and learn the nature of the trial and the surroundings. The first time I run a new course I am open to distractions due to my visual nature of wanting to take in all of what I see at once and process it immediately. The distractions can cause me to slow down and unnecessarily change my stride. I also get thrown a little on a new path by thinking about which way to turn and whether or not I will get in the number of miles I desire with my choice. 

When I am running, I go into zone I am not focused on the turns and landmarks or how far down a path I should go if I am familiar with the path. Being able to walk a trail or drive through the streets I plan to run on and become familiar with the area and the amount of people that frequent the area can help me with getting into a zone and staying there during my runs. While I am in the zone, I am more aware of being safe and my mind is on my breathing and stride until the moment even those thoughts fade into the background and I begin to take in and enjoy my surroundings without feeling a need to search the area.

Becoming familiar with the place or area you are planning to exercise at is an important part of the preparation. If you cannot visit or drive through the area a few times prior to going there you should at least find some information about the area from city websites or the people who have visited the place or area. Map the area out especially if you are outdoors. If not for safety and a better experience do it to know where to park, where to use facilities, and how to get back to civilization it you happen to journey far away. 

There is fun in spontaneity and being able to go by instinct is a gift, but don’t be afraid of a preparation. Being prepared may actually allow you to have more freedom in your choices and on your journey.

The City Run

The weekend, it comes quickly for some and is a real timely count down for others. I guess it depends on when you work and what you have planned on the days you are off. Some use the weekend for complete rest and others use it as the time to get the most miles in and to go on adventures. I did some of both this past weekend. On Friday I went on for a 6-mile run through the city streets and on Sunday I was able to explore a trail that’s on my list of new places to go.

Running into the downtown area is energizing for me at just about any time of the day with all the different buildings, sounds, parks, and people passing through. It can feel like a course straight from a television series. There are hills that slant and curve, sidewalks that have become extended eating areas. Some of those walkways end suddenly or are distorted from tree roots pushing through.

There are also people on a quest to be on time and some with plenty of time to pause and stare at the sights. I cannot leave out the walk signals that take too many minutes to show up and seconds to leave and of course animals leashed and unleash. As I spot those animals, I think will they chase me, lunge at my legs or lie down and count how many others like me pass by. Yes, these things give me a spark.

On Friday’s run through the city I went during the morning and it was just about the time for the breakfast places to start the gathering of people for coffee and daily specials. There were plenty of vehicles traveling the streets and other pedestrians getting their daily dose of exercise also. I stayed alert and did my share of maneuvering to keep a good pace.

I started my run with a mind to take the longest and most direct path into the core of the downtown area and once I reached three miles I would turn and head back home. For most of the run I stuck to the plan, but a few hills were calling for me to come on up and see what they had to offer, and I did.

Halfway up one of the hills I felt like I had completely left the path headed to the bustle. It was isolated and filled with sounds of nature and several blocks of greenery to go along with it. I hadn’t taken this detour before and for a few seconds I thought I must have gone too far up and the hill may be turning more toward the west than I desired to go. Once I reached the peak of the hill, I could see the city landmarks and my comfort level returned. I went over another block and then turned to head back down the hill to connect with the main street again and I was quickly back on the planned-out path.

The detour up the hill was a great bonus for my run and heartrate. Sometimes I get into the habit of going the same way over and over again that a left or right turn seems odd, but I take it anyway to see what is there. From my experience the city run is never without a view or obstacle to maneuver and that is why it will always be on my list as a paved place to take in.

Make this week a better week for you. Will you take a right, a left or is straight ahead the change you need?

Getting Beyond Your Limits

I am going for another round of daily leg workouts to fire up my muscles again. I really like doing a vigorous routine of side shuffles, jumping squats, forward lunge, and jumping jacks in combination for about twenty minutes and then finish with a brisk walk for 10 to 20 minutes. I go for a high number of reps during each set when I am not using weights to keep the workout in resemblance of a HIIT routine. It is difficult and I definitely take a ten second break to breathe during the moments I feel like I am not going to make it through another set, maybe even 15 seconds. The walk keeps me from getting stiff afterwards and gets me to my 30-minute minimum of daily exercise.

Doing these kinds of vigorous routines and switching up the type of exercise I choose to include throughout each month has been beneficial for the building of muscles and keeping the motivation when I think about passing on the strength training. My flexibility and balance are increasing as I perform the various movements required for the different types of cardio and weightlifting, I am doing. I feel my body being healed and I am doing the things I once felt were beyond my limits.

It is amazing what the body is capable of doing and becoming. We may sit around suffering from one complication to the next and not be aware that exercise can change those complications we wake up to everyday. Becoming stronger can change or eliminate the pain we have in different parts of our body. Sometimes we see exercise or diet being pushed on us as a way to look good or to get back into a piece of clothing from five years ago and ignore the real reason to get moving. 

The more important part of exercise is the healing of the body and mind that can take place with each day that we give our bodies a chance. Whether it is by way of a short hike, a long run, or weight machines however you choose must be right for you and where you are in your relationship with exercise and better health.

I encourage you today to get to know your body and understand why you feel certain pains or limits. How do you feel about your body and health? Ask yourself why you feel the way you do about your body, about exercise and your total health. I hope the clarity you find will bring the change and motivation you desire into your journey. 

Expectations

How is your journey going? You may have planned out a new path or life’s events pushed you into change without warning it still adds up to your journey. It’s your way of doing what you do and embracing what cannot be erased to get to the next phase or even the next day. I hope you are enjoying your wins large or small and not marinating in your losses or setbacks in a way that freezes you up. 

I do not want to get caught in the freeze up. I started on the path to a better lifestyle as a whole for results. Keeping a momentum that I can work at each day is how those results will come. I tell myself this to refrain from moving so quickly that I cannot keep up each day or to keep me from slowing into a full stop. Once the routine of getting up and doing becomes a natural flow I still have to decide how much I want to give to each activity I do. 

How much effort can you put into whatever you are working toward and not be exhausted to a point that you do not want to continue without seeing the results you are expecting. Even though you know there is a process for just about everything you want those timed results that have been set in your mind by expectations. It may sound like this: I want this in a week, that in three weeks and in 90 days I got to have these results. If those expectations have been out of an attainable reach or lower than your actual results your momentum can be unwillingly shifted. Figuring out your personal momentum and being able to stay on target or adjust your expectations during the successes and failures is a way to keep your natural flow of getting up and doing in motion. 

As I put time and effort into my health I expect to benefit from my actions. I am looking for physical results. I think about what I expect and what I am doing to get the results. I need the correct actions for the expectations. If weeks go by and the body is not responding I have to consider if what I think I am doing right is the problem and research until I get the answer.  I know if one part of the being is improving the entire wellness areas can benefit from the change. This is my desire a totally improved package. 

If the body is strong and healthy it can lead to feeling better mentally and emotionally. You can take on a range of new experiences with a better health. It may be exploring nature through hikes, cycling or doing the thing you wanted to try but didn’t have the energy to do it. The new experience could also come by way of meeting new people due to a rise in esteem and confidence. You are less worried and anxious about health issues and open to enjoy life again.

Every part of the being fits together and works together in some way. Being mentally stressed or emotionally drained can cause physical complications and the physical illnesses can strain the psyche. Work on being fit and strong in your way for your best results each day to keep your total wellness in the best shape. Have the best week.

Rhythm and Sunshine

Ahhh October. That is an expression of happiness. I am feeling good about entering into the next phase of building a healthier lifestyle, a stronger body and new heights of writing. The last 9 days have been a time of releasing. Releasing all the energy I had gather each day for exercise and not saving a portion for the following day. I wanted to make the most of my daily walks and runs and not be caught up in what I would do “tomorrow” even though I had a schedule of daily exercises to work through. I didn’t feel like I had to remind myself to run, walk, or to do some other type of activity each day, I awakened each morning with a mindset to do it.

I felt the habit I have been working toward kick in. It was similar to getting up and making a cup of coffee or eating breakfast every morning without really thinking about it I felt the need to do it. I had a mind to get the most out of the month as it came to a close and in doing so I strolled into a rhythm and found my natural flow for staying active. Oh, and the weather has been favorable which allowed me to be outdoors more and jump back into my running plan.  

I took my strength training routine out to the deck in my back yard. I love being outdoors to experience the elements while exercising. There is something about the sun shining down bringing warmth and energy to the body and mind, it sets the mood. For training I am working all the normal areas triceps, biceps, chest, legs, abs and glutes on rotating days. I started with lighter weights and have been increasing by 2 to 5 lbs. depending on the chosen exercise and muscle group. Sometimes I have an audience due to being in view of neighbors, but it doesn’t bother me. I am focused on my reps, sets and heartrate. I tune out the humans and tune the sounds of nature in.

 I remember the few times that I had to adjust to the public eye when I joined a gym several years ago. I would get to the gym and hop on the treadmill or use the elliptical without hesitation. Using the weight machines and free weights are what caused me to feel the eyes of the public whether real or not. I hadn’t entered into a gym for years and joining again sent my confidence in using the machines free falling without anything to catch it. I was being watched, at least by the employees and it was an uncomfortable feeling filled with doubt.

After about a week of watching me go for it I was approached by the staff and receive assistance with learning proper techniques and what would be great for my immediate needs. Soon after I was tuning everyone out just as I did while using the cardio machines. I had gotten passed the eyes and centered on the self-improvement. Now I am comfortable anywhere. I am comfortable enough to sweat, get exhausted, and take on the next level. 

I am glad to have a rhythm now. Whichever ways I choose to change my body and health I feel confident in knowing that I am set into living a new way. I created a natural flow by breaking old habits and taking new actions. I view the month of October as an open opportunity to continue in the rhythm I have entered and allow it to carry me to the next level.

Have you entered into your rhythm for the things you are working to change? Keep pushing and making the choices that will bring the change you desire until your natural flow appears. I encourage you to move with the confidence you have and get what you need for it to grow. The journey continues.

Taking a Different Path

Day after day the air in my area was either filled with smoke from the wildfires, very unhealthy or simply not good for a person with any type of breathing or lung issues to run indoors or outdoors. It hasn’t been great for anything that requires deep breathing or being out for a few hours.

I was not able to accomplish all the running goals I planned for September. Even with a mask on I could not run indoors or outdoors for 6 to 8 miles three or four times a week and not feel the discomfort of the poor air quality. Disappointment set in quickly, but I still had to find a way around my disappointment each day and get active. That is exactly what I did. 

Every morning I would open the weather app to check the air quality and determine whether or not I would run for the day or try doing something that did not require deep breathing. I felt deprived once again not being able to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement whenever I wanted to. The days that the air was good were my run days or vigorous activity days. I did not take any of those days for granted, I didn’t have any to waste or to spend sitting around the house wishing things were different.

The first couple of weeks of the month I had to choose an alternative to running. Although I really wanted to work on increasing my running mileage and time, I did not mind a switch up in my workout routine. I was able to use my weights more and focus on different ways to strength train each week. 

The last couple of weeks have been better for running and being outdoors and I have made them count. I have been getting in enough miles and hours of running each day and staying as active as I possibly can. I didn’t get the mileage each day that I set out to accomplish for this month and that leads me to revisit my 6 to 8 miles three times a week plan. I cannot skip this step in my running goals and try to jump into 8 to 10 miles in October. I believe in pushing pass limits to grow and become stronger, but there must be levels or steps to get to the finale. I am willing to be patient and work through whatever nature hands out.

I’ll be working on increasing my mileage once again in October and exploring what has worked well and what has not. Living well doesn’t come to an end it is a lifelong choice that is adjusted as needed. Adjustments may need to be done weekly, monthly or even yearly and you make those adjustments so that you do not quit on yourself. Keep moving forward, I am.

Time

In Seven days, the month of September will be over our shoulders and we will enter into the last quarter of this year. Some look at November as the last month of the year to get any real work done that will bring results. December is seen by many as a time to slow the work and look at what the year has been. It is also used as a time to reset and prepare for the upcoming year. Looking through the eyes of wellness, slowing the approach or coming to a stand-still if only for a couple of weeks can have an undesirable outcome especially if a new routine is not yet a habit. 

Think about the times that you decided to change your diet, your daily activity, your thoughts or reactions to experiences. You had to actively work at making these kinds of changes until they became unconsciously made choices. Until the automatic decision making for the new life you are pursuing kicks in slowing the approach or skipping important habit building days can lead you back to the path you struggled to get off from. 

You definitely need a time to recover and pan over what you have achieved you just have to pick the right time to do this. That time will not always be aligned with the norms of the world, it will align with when you started, your goals and your plans. Evaluate, plan, and adjust as you need to. Consider the day to day choices you make, those choices will connect and add up to some type of result. The actions you take or do not take today will show up in the weeks to come. 

I have the opportunity to close this month out the way I desire to and you do too. Nothing is holding me back and there are not any obstacles that cannot be overcome. Have you thought about your obstacles and how you will get through them? I will not wait until the 30th and try to eat seven healthy meals in a day, write for seven hours straight, or run until I cannot take another step. I will work on each area of my life I desire to change for a reasonable amount of time each day and adjust according to what is or isn’t working. When the second week of October arrives, I’ll put into action the gain I would have achieved by then from the next seven days of September. That gain will sure up my confidence and take me to the next level.

Becoming faster, stronger, healthier, more knowledgeable, more understanding, more of anything will depend on what is done now. Closing out this month with actions or acquired information toward your personal achievements will show up in the next weeks or months to come. If you have not executed your plan or adjusted your thoughts and actions to align with the change you are awaiting do not expect the desired results to land in your hands ready to be unboxed. 

Take it all in. The past, the present and your vision for the future. Give yourself some time to know what you want and how it should be acquired. Your plan, executed according to your ability and your daily choices. Rest when you need to, gain some insight and never give up.

Autumn is Here, Are You Equipped?

As I work toward achieving my daily goals there is one challenge aside of the activity I choose, it’s the climate. I find myself dealing with what to do on the days that I cannot get outdoors and run. If I do not have a layout in my mind of what to do for 35-45 minutes, I can get stuck and miss the opportunity to jump right into my morning exercise. 

The weather can play a huge part in what you are able to do each day especially for a person who prefers being outdoors. Running in the hotter temperatures is something that I will do without hesitation as long as I am well hydrated the day before and if I don’t run beyond the point of needing to be replenished.

In the past I have ran in temperatures below freezing and managed to complete my runs without much difficulty. What I have not gotten accustomed to and will not take a chance with is the quality of air in the atmosphere and the UV index. When these factors are in the balance, I’ll go for something less vigorous or an indoors activity.

Each day nature is going to arrive and bring a few elements with it. As the cooler and wetter seasons get closer, I want to be prepared for whatever shows up. I have taken some time to plan out the next few weeks so that I will be able to continue to progress at the rate I desire whether there be rain, sunshine, or bad air. 

In the process of planning I pulled up some stored away memories and landed on a time when I could go to a public gym and utilize various weight machines and other equipment to get a total body workout. Now I am finding ways to work with what I have in the home and apply the techniques I picked up from the trainers in the gym. 

I have the different sets of weights, which are a classic go to for me and I also implement some resistance bands. Several years ago, I received a quick lesson at the gym on using resistance bands and I learned what areas of my body would benefit from the use the bands at the time. Now I have two different types of resistance bands ranging from 10lbs to 50lbs that I use for my entire body. I had forgotten exactly how powerful a flimsy band is until I secured one around my thighs and shuffled across the floor, I quickly remembered. 

Going into a new weight loss plan or strength training program on your own is good, but if you have the opportunity to get a few sessions with a professional in targeted areas go for it. The experience can be worth more than the money or the time you spent on it and you can always take that information with you and apply it to get the results you desire.

I need those tips and lessons I was able to learn back then for the present. I cannot get to the gym, but I have the equipment and knowledge I need to get the results. If you can learn enough about a topic or technique, you can benefit in some way. You do not have to be an expert at everything. You should be able to tap into the expert of the subject and receive the answers you need to reach your goals and passions and become an expert at your own gift.

Maneuvering around the elements of nature isn’t all cons. It awakens my interest in finding new ways to stay active. Being reintroduced to different exercises and equipment is a freshness that I am enjoying. If you are stuck or bored of your routine step off your broken in machine and activate some other areas of your body with a guided change. My muscles and my mind are ignited and ready to grow.