Thursday, April 14, 2011

Start Small, Switch it Up and Remember to STRETCH

If any of you are not familiar with BitchCakes' blog I really encourage you to check it out here.   The woman who writes this blog is truly inspirational.   She completely turned her life around, and went from being, essentially, overweight and non-active to this total athletic diva--completely transforming her life and her body in the process.

Well, I was checking out her blog today and found this little video short of her interviewing fitness expert Jennifer Cohen about the Weight Watcher's Walk-It Challenge.  

I thought Jennifer offered some excellent advice.  First, she advised people to start slow when they begin to exercise.   This is important because, as I frequently stated, the goal is to make lifetime changes.  Because we're so obsessed with losing weight FAST, I think we too often dive into strenuous work-out programs which overtax us.  This is plain old not fun, and what winds up happening is that exercising becomes a chore.   Chores are something that we tend to want to avoid.

If you start slowly, however, and build up the intensity as we gain strength and endurance, there's a good chance that exercise will become more of a fulfilling part of our day--something we look forward to.

Jennifer's second piece of advice is also important--change up your exercise routine.   If we keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, are muscles get used to the routine, you burn fewer calories, and we're likely to get bored.

Jennifer then advised that we should STRETCH!!!   As a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200), I can not tell you how important it is that stretching is incorporated into your exercise regime.    I'm in the process of reading Power Yoga by Beryl Bender Birch who ran the yoga program for the New York Road Runners club and she writes extensively in the book on just how various activities cause imbalances which lead to injuries and how stretching can prevent the injuries from happening (I'll try to blog more about the book when I finish).  

I have a friend who is a personal fitness trainer.   She injured her hip running, and I recently worked with her in a private yoga session.   My friend is very fit, but once I started working with her, I immediately saw why her injury occurred.   Her flexibility in the hip region was pretty limited.  

I didn't charge my friend for the session, and in exchange, she gave me a personal fitness training session.    Now as someone who both runs and does yoga just about everyday and hikes, skis etc., I immediately was able to grasp where my weaknesses were fitness-wise.   Yoga is a fantastic stretch and toning workout, but there were obviously some areas that my yoga practice was not challenging.  

Both my girlfriend and I appreciated what each of us had to offer, and we've agreed to have more fitness/yoga exchanges.    I think my thighs will be very happy with the change in routine.  

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