Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Get Up and Move

Dmitriy (my trainer) and I had an interesting conversation about leading an active lifestyle, which inspired this blog.  

How many hours a day do you work? Do you have a physically active job? Do you spend most of your time sitting at a desk? The average person works an 8-9 hour day, add travel to/from work at an average of 1 hour +/- commute (round trip).  That's 9-10 hours/day, 5 days/week sitting, either at a desk or in your car.  Parents? Add another 2-3 hours/day "running around" (driving/sitting) your kids to/from their activities. Try fitting dinner in? Looks like McDonald's again!

Are you satisfied with this lifestyle? Do you feel like you are in control of your life or your "life" is in control of you? When my kids were younger, I drove them to two different age groups of activities: baseball, swimming, Tae Kwon Do, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts (I was the Den Leader, of course), football, then work. These were all great activities to keep the boys busy and out of trouble. But it took a major toll on me. Looking back, I believed I was doing what was best for my kids.  I wonder if they needed so many different activities, or if they could have benefited just as much from family trips hiking, biking and to the park. I do not regret my past decisions, it's just one of those things that makes you wonder.  Looking forward, I am so glad the driving around is finally over.  

Joey's Blue & Gold Banquet at his crossing over from WEBELOS to Boy Scouts.

So, what's the point? Americans' busy lives are spent physically inactive. While we are very busy, we are not moving our bodies. Add to that, we don't have time to just be - to breathe. This puts our health at risk. High blood pressure, diabetes, stress, anxiety, depression, heart disease, the list goes on.  If this describes you, even a little, you must make some changes to regain control of your life.

Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life opens with two amazingly perfect scriptures:

A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
Proverbs 11:28

Blessed are those who trust in The Lord... They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and the go right on producing delicious fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Which tree are you?

Change is difficult. To regain control of your life, I recommend two things:

Find time to breathe. Having just finished up a six week whirlwind of homework (MA-PAL), birthday get togethers, scholarship dinners, multiple graduation related activities (prom, Class Day, graduation etc.), and other similar things, the stress was affecting me.  Sleepless nights, short fuses. Now that I'm off the roller coaster, I feel like I have to learn how to "BE" all over again.  

This past weekend was amazing. Sunday was almost a "perfect day." I did what I wanted to do all day. A morning bike ride with other SPD Ride to Remember riders, lunch, a long workout at the gym, dinner, an evening hike to see the sunset.  This was a lot in one day, but it was what I wanted to do. It gave me time to be with and enjoy my creator. 

Taken on our hike Sunday night.

All of the busy-ness is a distraction from what God designed us to be. We must create time to be with Him, to reflect on His goodness. When I do this, I am able to find peace, and in the stillness I can hear his voice. But I have to listen, to spend time with Him. For me, there is no better place to do this than in nature - whether it is when I take Koby for a walk or out on a hike.  Take time to be, to breathe. 

Get up and MOVE!  One hour at the gym is only 4% of your day. Make this a priority. Don't allow your day to get ahead of you without a trip to the gym. One or two days per week is not enough. Make your goal to workout every day. I start my day thinking, "When will I get to the gym today?" And I only miss it if I absolutely can't get there.  On a typical week, that means I am there six out of seven days per week. 

Let's be honest, if you want to see results, sitting in the car or in front of the TV will not bring them. 

Do you hate working out? Change it up. To be honest, I absolutely loathe walking on a treadmill, sitting on a stationary bike and even worse - the elliptical machine. It definitely has it's benefits...don't misunderstand. But I don't go to the gym every day to get on an elliptical machine and be bored. I am too busy and that kind of monotony does NOTHING to make me want to workout. I have a different workout for each day at the gym. One day each for legs, abs, back, and upper body. One day with my trainer, one day to mix things up.  I love working out. For me, it's the one hour each day that I get to take care of ME. The best way to care for every one else is to start with me.  Since I started riding my bike, I don't even care if I get in any cardio at the gym because I get enough riding. 

My challenge to you is this
If you are spending too much time sitting at a desk or driving in your car.  If you feel like your life is out of control, or if you are trying to lose weight and can't seem to see progress, stop and examine the changes you can you make to your routine.  Can you carve out an hour each day to workout?  Remember, that's only 4% of your day!  

It doesn't have to be at the gym, but I have found doing it on your own does not have a high enough level of accountability.  It's too easy to become passive, to sit on the couch, to play a game on the computer.  It helps many people to have a workout partner, someone to keep you accountable. I'm sure you can find someone in your circle. For me, I had to do it on my own because if my partner couldn't make it to the gym, I didn't go alone. It was one more excuse for me.  I love the gym and find the staff there to be tremendously supportive. Not just my trainer, but the fitness director, the other trainers, the membership team, and the people at the front desk. I love the team at Best Fitness. Not only are they friendly, but they provide a positive environment and encouragement on the journey.  My gym has LONG hours, so there really is no reason for me to not make it there before closing.
Remember, change takes time. It is a journey. If you are so busy that your life is revolving around things, I would predict you may feel more like the dead tree mentioned above in Proverbs.  Seek The Lord to help you find purpose, to BE who He wants you to be. Your life will never be the same.

This is me at Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda, Florida.  We watched the sunset from there.  Making time to just BE.

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