Tag Archives: exercise

Pipeline

The weather is holding!! Yay!! While it lasts I’m continuing to hit the local Tolt Pipeline Trail to get my walk/run in. I wish I could do it daily, but it’s more like 4x a week. It used to take me close to an hour to walk two inclines, a mild and a steep one, great to get the heart rate up. Now it only takes about 40 minutes if I walk it and 25-30 minutes if I include 2-3 short intervals of running.

Here’s the view heading up the large hill. It’s about a 30% grade. Funny how it looks flat in the picture. And below is the view from the top of the large hill with a view of the smaller hill.

I have heard from multiple sources about how beneficial exercise is for mood. I can attest to this. I always feel more positive energy and optimism after a good trail walk. It’s pretty warm out this morning, upper 50s. It’s time to hit it.

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Surprising Progress

As you may know, I have been on a major lifestyle change push these last few months. This was prompted by a few things: reading a book by Daniel Amen called “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body”, being sick and tired of carrying around 30 lbs. of excess weight, mostly around my stomach, and the inspiring success of my nephew who was diagnosed pre-diabetic and then changed his lifestyle, dropping from 250 to 160 lbs.

A few days ago I had my blood checked. Compared to six months ago, my total cholesterol dropped from 235 to 194 (should be <200), triglycerides from 194 to 138 (should be <150), and a modest LDL drop: 168 to 136 (should be <100). I am ecstatic! Time for the happy dance.

What have I been doing? I have lost weight, about 15-20 lbs over the last three months, with another 10-15 to go. My nephew said he keeps it simple: calories in vs. calories out. Calories out? I have been walking the local trail 45-60 minutes 3-4 times per week, and have lately added short intervals of running. I have also been doing a lot of yard work, although I have to moderate due to my hand issues. Calories in? Watching what I eat and attempting to keep daily consumption below 1,800 calories. Diet soda, sugary drinks, processed foods, candy, starches, saturated fats, and fried foods are mostly cut out of my diet. I still struggle when around tortilla chips and fries, although I’m doing much better. I could go on about my diet changes, but maybe on another blog post.

So I am VERY encouraged. Progress. Still have pounds to drop. Yet, my HDL (the “good” cholesterol) is still too low. It is at 30, should be 40-60, virtually unchanged over the past two years. There is no history of heart disease in my family but one of stroke, so I need to figure out how to get this up to proper levels. But the trend is positive, indeed.

A potpourri of snackables for lunch: baby carrots, apple slices, cucumber, Wasa cracker, smoked salmon, cherries. Yummm…

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Mood and energy

I admit this will sound a bit like whining, especially in light of the extreme temperatures in the rest of the country, but the summer here in the Pacific Northwest has been downright dreadful. I have lived up here for most of the past 30 years and I don’t remember a year that has had such little sunshine. When August came around, we finally started getting some sun and it seemed that hope had returned. It was short lived. After a few days of awesome weather, things returned to the way they have been the rest of the summer: mostly cloudy or overcast with fleeting sun breaks late in the afternoon. Depressing.

I am someone who depends on sun for mood and the winters here are very difficult to get through, not only because of the bad weather but also because of the short days. So when late spring and summer rolls around, it is essential for the sun to make an appearance. This year is the worst on record and I have been Mr. Grouchy Pants and Sir Buzz Kill lately.

What seems to pull me out of the mood dungeon is walking. There is a trail nearby and I am finding that a 45 to 60 minute walk a day is the only thing that gets me out of my doldrums. I just had the Today show on (a morning ritual) and a lady from Prevention magazine shared some other things that help with mood and energy. You can read the full article from the magazine here, but here is a partial list:

  • People who have a hi-fiber breakfast will experience a 10% reduction in fatigue
  • Keep the caffeine drinks small. Better to have a few small caffeine drinks throughout the day rather than a huge one. Better to drink tea, although I still need my coffee first thing in the morning, (it is a another  one of my rituals).
  • Drink plenty of water – When I don’t get enough, I notice that I get a lethargic light-headed feeling that I mistake for hunger at first, but I now recognize as dehydration.
  • Listen to music while you work. It boosts energy and productivity.
  • Creativity is boosted by having flowers nearby. I also have read that lavender has a calming effect.
I am going to try the flowers thing today after I take my morning walk and cut a few flowers from the neighbor’s yard. (Just kidding.)

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