My weight was up at my last physical and I was struggling physically with the side effects from chemotherapy and multiple surgeries. My joints ached from the medication prescribed to reduce the chances of the cancer returning. My energy level was not where I wanted it to be. I had interminent pain from scar tissue and muscle damage. I noticed climbing out of the bath tub and kneeling down to weed in the garden were tasks that were difficult, even painful, for me to do. These same simple tasks I once did without thinking.
In my adult life, my exercise routine has been 40 minutes of daily walking and occasional trips to the gym to walk on the treadmill. This obviously wasn’t enough at this stage in my life and after surviving cancer. I will be celebrating my double nickel birthday in April.
In Fort Worth, we are focusing on healthy living through the help of several local initiatives including the Blue Zone Project and FitWorth. I signed the Blue Zones Personal Pledge and as part of my commitment, I hired a personal trainer, for the first time in my life, to help me meet my goals. I had never considered doing this due to the expense and the time commitment but it was time to invest back in me and my health. My main goals were to get stronger and lose inches and not to be so focused on weight loss alone as I have in my previous fitness resolutions.
I started working out at a small, female owned fitness studio, Mindful Mule with my coach, Jenny Jones, three times a week for 45 minutes. Investing in my health and investing in her small business made sense and helped to justify in my mind the expense even more. I work out at noon, two days a week, and then again on Saturday mornings. We’ve been together since the beginning of August and I think I have a big girl crush on her.
At the workout, Jenny, encourages me, under her careful oversight and coaching, to complete several repetitions of a wide variety of exercises using weights, balls, steps, TRX suspensions and straps, and other torturous devices (some are crueler than others). But she mixes it up so much that just when I think I can’t do it one more time, she moves me on to another exercise. She gears the exercises for the areas on me that need the most work (core and arms). We rarely repeat any exercise more than the three repetitions. I have to say, that I hate burpees (what we called ‘up and downs’ in my youth) but she doesn’t make me do them very often. She includes cardio too to get me sweating.
In addition to the three workouts, I am eating more fruits and veggies and less carbs and fats. The Blue Zone pledge reminds us that you can do some really simple things to help our families live a healthier lifestyle. For example:
- Remove all computers and electronics from your bedroom
- Keep a comfortable pair of walking shoes in plain sight
- Own a bathroom scale and weigh yourself regularly
- Attend a Blue Zones Project Purpose Workshop
In addition to working out with Jenny, I have amped up my walking schedule to include an hour of walking and jogging in the morning at my neighborhood middle school track. I wake up before the chickens to get this hour in before work but it has been so worth it. This morning was amazing moment to experience with the rolling fog that draped our little neighborhood.
I am up to four miles a morning and have lowered my mile time from 15 minutes to 12 in less than two months. On the week-ends, I go for an extended hike at least once trying to increase my stamina. Last time out (before the torrents of rain), I reached eight miles along the Trinity Trail. I feel fantastic and so much stronger. I am losing inches and some pounds as well but the real satisfaction is feeling stronger and able to complete simple tasks so much easier. My flexibility and balance are also getting better. I didn’t realize how weak I had become, and unsteady on my feet, but how quickly it can be regained with the help of a trainer, a bit of commitment, focus, great friends (who listen to me chatter about my workout sessions – sorry, I am so HAPPY) and a family support system who puts up with the “me time” required of such a commitment.
So consider taking the pledge, before the holidays, with the hope to live a longer and better life in the Fort in 2016. Below is the link to more information about the Blue Zones Project in Fort Worth.