Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – March 30

3-Way Leg Swings (for balance, joint mobility, range of motion, core stability, single leg strength) Note: In the beginning, perform smaller swings to maintain balance. The whole point of this exercise flow is to improve your mind-body connection and enhance muscle activation to improve your balance.

3 way leg swings

Source: RedefiningStrength.com

3-Way Leg Swings (in bare or stocking feet); Perform 10 – 20 repetitions, 1-2 sets daily.
NOTE: In the beginning, do each swinging leg exercise (i.e. forward/back) on one leg, then the other. As your single leg strength increases, attempt to do all repetitions for the 3-way swings first on the right leg, then on the left.

How to perform: Begin by standing on one foot. Feel your foot gripping the ground and engage the glute of the standing leg to help you balance. Brace your abs and stand up nice and tall. Stand near a chair or wall for balance as needed.

Keeping both legs fairly straight, but not locked out, begin to swing the other leg forward and backward. Start with smaller swings, then increase range of motion. Swing from the hip, don’t just bend your knee and kick your lower leg. The bigger your swings are, the more your standing leg will have to work to balance.

To warm up the joint, perform smaller swings during the initial repetitions and/or tap your foot down as needed to reset and stabilize. When holding onto a chair or wall, you will have removed the balance component of this exercise, however, you may now focus on hip mobility by engaging in larger swings.

Complete all reps of the forward/backward swing then, switch to the lateral swings. For the lateral swings, swing the leg up to the right and then to the left in front of your standing leg. You may even feel the outside of that glute working to raise the leg up as you swing it. The bigger your swing, the more you will open up your hip and force your standing leg to work hard to balance.

Next, perform the rotational swings by bending the knee of the moving leg to 90 degrees.  then bring the bent knee in front of you and open it out to the side. Bring the knee back forward, keeping the leg bent the entire time. Really focus on opening from the hip with this move. You should really feel the glute of the standing leg working as you rotate. The more your rotate, the harder the move will be, but also the more you will open your hips and get your glutes activated.  You will know you are doing this move correctly, as you will feel your foot, calf and even your shin muscles working to balance. You will also feel your glute and core engaging as you swing your leg to open your hip.


Life in Particular

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

To live life sleeping is to live as feather, blown in the breeze.
To live life trusting is to live as eagle, peaceful above the fray.
To live life fearing is to live as coward, afraid of that which is not.
To live life embracing is to live as mother, alive to possibility.
To live life doubting is to live as beast, restless to roam.
To live life accepting is to live as child, carefree in bliss.
To live life striving is to live as competitor, stranger of idleness.
To live life dying is to live as divine, extravagant without end.
To live life loving is to live as fire, burning unconsumed.

Doesn’t everything die at last and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~Mary Oliver

Particular

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The Ripple Effect

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

The other day I came across a news item in Runner’s World had which told the story of one man’s determination to finish a 5K race every month in 2015. The story began with Derek Mitchell’s last place finish at the Kansas City Big 12 5K. Some folks might not be so keen to have this sort of story told about themselves. But for Derek Mitchell, he’s a man on the move…a man who currently weighs in around 570 pounds. He was tempted to quit before he completed the first mile, but he kept his mental focus on his goal…crossing the finish line.

Derek’s story reminded me of so many things that are important to keeping us on track when we set our sights on a future goal. But two things seemed most critical: practice (training) for the race event and having a support system (family, friends, peers). These two components…

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An Invitation to Revolution

A repost from February 2015

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

Definition: revolution (n.) a sudden, complete or marked change in something

Whether or not we like it, growth (physical, mental, social, spiritual) requires revolution; a change in direction or movement or thought. There can be no progress, no creative flow, no gains in health or fitness without change. It is notable too, that all of creation, both visible and invisible, is designed to thrive in the realm of change. The seasons and their regular permeations support the growth cycles of all living things in the seas and on the land. Our bodies are best nourished when we eat those foods that grow in season; a diet limited in variation is a diet destined to promote disease and ill health.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

In the realm of education, business, and…

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DECIDE…TO…MOVE

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

Living in a healthy, strong body does not happen by chance, but rather by choice. This is most honestly true if the body you are living in has celebrated at least 50 birthdays. If your current body is one of the 50+ year old models, do you regularly choose to move yourself in a way which might be construed as exercise? Do you walk, jog, lift weights, bike, dance, swim, go to a gym or fitness class at least once a day? If not, how about these activities: sweeping or vacuuming floors, washing dishes by hand; cleaning windows; gardening. Do not discount your household activities, they require bodily movement and as such, may be considered purposeful exercise for your body.

Whatever activities you do to move your body for well-being, the best fitness outcome will occur when you actively, mindfully move yourself every day. If not everyday, how about every other day? If you cannot or choose not to…

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An Honor Bestowed

The following is the body of an article posted in Runner’s World+ in October 2019.

I HOPE TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS WITH MY RUN JOURNEY

I became a serious ‘runner’ about 10 years ago, after I developed chronic, debilitating back and hip pain in my early 40s. Intuitively I knew I needed to move, but initially even walking much was painful. Eventually, I asked my husband to purchase a treadmill for my use at home, and thereafter I spent some quality time on it for many months. Slowly but surely, I was able to go from walking to jogging. Once I felt strong enough, I ventured outdoors to run in my neighborhood. Did I mention I live in the high desert? At 4500-feet elevation! Heavy breathing was a constant while running in my hill country. It used to demoralize me. But I stuck with my runs because my back and hips were no longer hurting. It would take years of running in my community before I felt like I was making any gains. But eventually, I did get stronger. I ran my first race (10K) six years ago because a friend asked me to help her train for a half marathon. Our training for that distance has led to running many races over the past five years. And because I do most of my running in my community, I have been able to encourage and train others in my town who want or need to become more active. This is especially fulfilling to me; running has not only enriched and improved my life, but it has become a vehicle by which I may encourage others to begin their run journeys too.

WHY I JOINED RW+

I joined RW+ to have access to every good thing RW offers. I simply could not imagine losing access to regular online articles and features; additionally, having the paper magazine means I can share RW with those whom I train; especially those new to running who have not yet enjoyed reading RW.

RUNNING HAS TAUGHT ME THAT MY BODY IS STRONG

Running makes me feel strong and younger than my years. And it makes me feel accomplished; especially when I have a race on my calendar and a training plan that beckons me to stay on course with the hard workouts. I am naturally lazy and afraid of over-committing myself (physically), so running has taught me that my body is strong…most of the time it is stronger than I believe it to be.

What motivates me to run? Keeping ahead of my own aging! That’s what motivates me. When I make gains in my running strength and stamina, I am loathe to go backward. Some reversals in fitness are out of our control (accidents, illness, etc), so the fact that fitness is a dynamic moving target keeps me moving, and running as much as I can. And I love feeling younger and stronger than I was in my 20s, 30s and 40s. Plus, running gives me an opportunity to have ‘me time’, and unlike other indulgences, running is not a guilty pleasure, but rather a place of happy sanctuary from daily stress. Of course, there are negative motivators too, like how I feel when I don’t run (lack of energy, weight gain, aches/pains). So on most days I am pretty motivated to move my feet happily outdoors or on the treadmill.

I NEED TO RUN IN THE MORNING

My work schedule is full of training appointments and group classes I teach. Most days if I don’t run first thing in the morning, I won’t have time or energy to run in the evening. Sometimes I will run twice a day (two easy, short runs) to fit around a full day of appointments. The weekends are used for easy and or long runs if I’m training for a race.

I RUN IN MY COMMUNITY

I run a variety of routes in my home town during the week, mostly on the streets leaving straight away from my home. I live in the high desert, so the terrain provides excellent hill and altitude (4500-feet elevation) training. Depending on my energy level and current training plan, I’ll pick a route to match my mood and available time. And because my community is rural desert, there is an endless array of trails to run on too. But mostly, during the week, I just like being in my community, running through the neighborhoods and enjoying the natural beauty and serenity running provides me. When I need an extra boost of running encouragement, I’ll drive into town (30 minutes south and 2000-feet lower in elevation) to run on the city’s urban multi-use trails. This really is an ego pump…running fast (relative to home) on the urban paths with so many other happy runners is quite energizing.

FAVORITE GEAR

The one item I almost always wear for all my 3+ mile runs is my running hydration pack by Nathan. This pack is designed gender specific and boasts a 2-liter bladder which accommodates my hydration needs when running in the dry southwest. My pack carries everything I need (phone, nutrition, first aid, keys, etc) without the uncomfortable bounce of a waist belt or fanny pack. Of course I ALWAYS wear my Garmin Fenix 5s GPS watch with my heart rate strap monitor to keep myself honest on easy run days and to feel like a hero when I run on the urban pathways.

I WANT TO BE A LIFE-LONG RUNNER

I would like to run another marathon in 2020 and finish within 4.5 to 5.0 hours. I ran my first marathon last year (Marine Corps Marathon) after contracting shingles two months before the race. The fact I finished the race at all was an amazing accomplishment given my health status on race day. I hope to run two more half marathons before attempting my second full marathon. But really my most important running goal is to be a life-long runner; and if I can run happy through the rest of my decades, then I will consider myself a fulfilled runner indeed!


Aging…It’s Not About Getting Older

It’s about getting better…about becoming more valuable…about becoming exquistely useful and sought after. Like a fine wine, aging well requires each of us to embrace the passing of days as our very own priceless gift.

Aging is an activity. It is something you do, not something that happens. When you age–active verb–you are proactive. If you really age, you become a better person. If you simply grow old, passively, you get worse. Chances are, you will be unhappy as you continue the fruitless fight against time.
Thomas Moore ~ Ageless Soul

Surely each new day given, whether we believe and receive it as such, is a gift. Rather than perceiving the days as pushing us towards old age, we may turn our perception inside out when we wake up to the alchemy of fine-life making. Every day provides possibility for growth and improvement.

And now I have to wonder…is a life well-aged meant to benefit myself alone? Or is a well-aged life more closely related to the fine wine analogy? After all, does a fine wine delight the one who drinks or abstains? Likewise, if we purpose to age well through our years, will we not only benefit ourselves but also pleasure those others with whom we share our days?

Active aging promotes the vision of all individuals—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or health—fully engaging in life within all seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual.
Source: International Council on Active Aging

So I say this to myself and my readers: do not be afraid of growing old…be afraid of going through the years and changing not for the better. The passing of days is opportunity to become a better version of me and you. Every new day is our gift, if only we receive it as such. Let’s engage the wonder and delight of youthfulness by unwrapping today with wide-eyed, expectant delight!


Let’s Run

It’s a blustery, winter weather kind of day today; and I’m glad for it. It’s December 2nd, and I’ve waited all summer long for this kind of day to give me an honest excuse for not going outside to run! So today I will honor the weather and this season. Today I will sit and stay…indoors…happily…with nowhere to run and nothing better to do than rest, read and rejuvenate. Funny thing is, while I sit, I am still thinking about running and of course…not running!

run clip art

So it seems appropriate that while I’ve been contemplating the benefits of my run life, and while resting my ever-ready-to-run legs, I should find refreshment for myself and my feet. What follows, is what has found me this morning…while I have been sitting. The quotes below, inspired by the run lives of others known and unknown to myself, will hopefully also inspire you, dear reader, to actively embrace your run life as a ‘moving-meditation’. May the thoughts which follow, give you reason, motivation, and inspiration to run the race of your life with heart and sole.

Now go forward in today and in today’s tomorrows. Go forward if you will and hold nothing of yourself in reserve! Live out loud, run out strong. Embrace your life in faithful answer to your calling…full of grace and strength and conviction!
Finish strong ~ Finish Well

run clip art

We were meant and designed to run long and hard. Training for that is not an imposition, not artificial, not unnatural. It is in the essence of our being.
Roger Robinson

Whatever you do, do it well; go at it hard; 100 percent. Tiger Holmes ~ 90 year old master’s swimming competitor

Running doesn’t get easier with age, but the payoffs grow greater.  Amby Burfoot – Run Forever

Growing old is one of the ways the soul nudges itself into attention to the spiritual aspect of life. The body’s changes teach us about fate, time, nature, mortality, and character. Aging forces us to decide what is important in life. Thomas Moore – Care of the Soul

In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say ‘I have finished.’ And there is a whole life’s worth of satisfaction in that. Author Unknown


There is only a shortage of awareness…

The root of suffering is the deprivation of love. Now in reality, there’s no such thing as the deprivation of love, but there is the deprivation of the capacity to experience the love that is never missing. James Finley

There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. Vincent Van Gogh

By its very design, the physical heart is made to give and to receive. It takes blood in from the body through one side and then pumps it out from the other, circulating it throughout the body. A healthy and open heart center does the same thing with love. It sends love out into the world and receives it in equal measure; it keeps love in circulation. Marci Shimoff

Your True Self is who you are, and always have been, created in the image and likeness of God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower.

Most of human history has called the True Self your “soul” or your participation in the eternal life of God. All you can do is nurture your True Self, which is saying quite a lot. It is love becoming love in this unique form called “me.”  Richard Rohr

Love is but the song we sing,
And fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why
C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass
C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command
C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Right now
Right now!

No Shortage of This…Love


The Refinery

In Going All Out, I describe my return to my running self and how energized I felt to be training for my first Marathon race. Since that post from May-2018, my race venue changed from NYC to Arlington, VA, but the change in venue did not reduce my delight in purposefully running again.  During the early summer months, it seemed surreal, the long runs, the speed workouts, challenging as they were, all of them gave me delight in knowing I was prepairing my body and mind for an epic event…running 26.2 miles on October 28, 2018!

If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.
Kathrine Switzer

Then, on August 10th, the wheels came off. Over a 24-hour period my body went from seemingly healthy and turned into a raging conflagration steeped in the melting pot of a full-blown shingles viral attack. I could not believe that this hideous malady had found me out. For all my good health and strength and well-being, I was laid out in such weakness, and racked with the firey pains so common to this hideous malady. How could this happen so suddenly, without warning? I was dumbstruck…awestruck really…with my unhappy fortune and especially for the disruption this had brought to my marathon training!

For three weeks I did little more than rest; and I use the word metaphorically. Sleep did not restore or invigorate; sleep could not be caught or latched onto; sleep only took me away from myself and cast me into strange, mysterious places of unknowing. Perhaps it was due to a lack of sleep together with a steady dose of unrelieved pain, but whatever the cause, I also realized a fermenting growth of anxiety sprouting like ugly weeds in my garden. Something like dispair seemed to ooze into my consciousness. I noticed these downward thoughts even while I accepted and acknowledged the fact that I am no different or exceptional from anyone else. None of us is immune from illness and disease. Even people who do everything right for their body can and will, from time to time, succomb to break-ins or break-downs in their well-being.

If we were to examine our diseases poetically, we might find a wealth of imagery that could speak to the way we live our lives. Following up on that imagery, we could attune our lives and allow ourselves to be corrected by the disease. That is what I mean when I say that without sickness we wouldn’t be cured, physically and psychologically. Care of the Soul ~ Thomas Moore

Thankfully, by the end of week three, I had an ephipany, a bolt out of the blue, rekindling the dark place of my pitiful thinking. Like an arrow finding its bulls-eye, the thought hit center and ran my runner’s soul clean through: You may actively recover your running (body) with the mindset of starting the marathon race! You may not be able to finish all 26.2 miles, but at least you may purpose to begin training…again. YES! YES, YES, INDEED! To toe the start line, come what may, would be my very own victory. Victory over illness; victory over dispair; victory over defeated thinking. The barb hit its mark!

A funny thing happened on my way to the Marathon…to be continued!

MCM