Virtual walks… Italy – it’s FUN!

When COVID hit last year, we were finding new ways to exercise. Suddenly, virtual walks became really popular. I just did a virtual walk in Ireland with Fleet Feet. I liked it, it motivated me to log my miles every day, not fall behind.

When that walk ended, I took a break for a month. I noticed that without the challenge, I lacked the same motivation for walking. I walked, but not with the determination. It does HELP to have a challenge. Add friends for accountability – perfect!

My friend told me about The Conqueror website. Being Italian, I had to sign up for the St Francis Way challenge. I’m enjoying the walk and looking up new cities on the way from Florence to the Vatican in Rome. Some of the towns are really small, not many people.

In case you are wondering, I am not affiliated with The Conqueror website. Just sharing. The Ireland Fleet Feet challenge was nice, but not easy to log the miles. So, helpful to share with each other. If we are going to spend $$, good to find the BEST virtual site out there.

Now, putting gym shoes on, heading to CONSUMA, ITALY. Looked it up, many things to see/do: wineries, vineyards, castles, zip line, religious sites, art galleries and more.

Of course, a GELATO at the end of the walk!

Exercise – don’t forget the headphones…

I was heading out the door to exercise. I needed a pouch to put my headphones in. Look what I found. I knew one day I’d have a use for this crab pouch. My daughter gave me this pouch. I immediately liked it, but wondered when I would use it. TODAY was the day!

I’m on the hunt for good workout headphones. They are hard to find. The simple ear bud ones, don’t work for me. They keep falling out of my ear. So, I found these Powerbeats headphones. They stay in my ear, but they are a little too snug – like a suction cup once they are in. I worry about the volume with them being so snug.

For now, they do work, no question about that. Off to walk.

ENJOY the weekend!

Dreaming of Paddling — When I am not shoveling snow.

We had a record 18 inches of snow. After shoveling for 2 hours, all I could think about was being out on the water. Spring is coming, isn’t it? I found these two great magazines.

Paddle World had spectacular photography featuring trips around the world for paddle boarding, kayaking and/or fly fishing in a kayak. Personally, I think fly fishing would be more relaxing standing in the water. However, we’ve got to try new things, right.

Paddling Magazine had interesting articles too. Their focus was more on latest equipment, etc. So, you need both magazines. One for dreaming of that International destination and the other for the basics.

I kept seeing the abbreviation of SUP in different articles. I was annoyed, what did it stand for?

GUESS WHAT – so easy, SUP stands for Stand Up Paddling. I could hear my brother saying, “Use your head, you ding-a-ling.” I laugh when he acts superior, secretly knowing that he probably didn’t know what SUP stood for either. Brothers have to irritate their sisters in some way, so they can laugh when they know it worked.

I haven’t tried SUP yet, but I did canoe on a Dragon Boat Racing team in Seattle. That was fun. About 12 people to a canoe. Great exercise. So, why kayaking and paddle boarding now. I like going out on my own timetable.

In case you were curious, here was an article from the Paddle World magazine. This article talked about paddle boarding in Hamburg. They suggested bringing your own blow up SUP. I looked up the cost. Paddle boards are expensive, prices range from $900 to $2,000, so you need to be serious about this sport.

I still have a lot to learn, but I do have my life vest already. That’s a start! LOL – and it’s not the orange ones we had as a kid, so at least I won’t stick out as a real beginner — there is hope for me!

Spring is almost here. What outdoor fitness challenge are YOU thinking about?

Fitness Virtual Challenge – IRELAND

January 2021 – The start of a new year, it’s time for a fitness challenge.

My girlfriend was on Facebook and found this Run West Ireland – Cancer Fundraiser – Virtual Challenge. It was a no brainer to sign up. We love Ireland, happy to donate to cancer and need to exercise. A win/win all around.

Here’s how it works. Race Duration: January 18 – May 31. Miles: 502; however, you can sign up to do less. Doing the math, as I signed up for the 502 miles, it seems I need to walk about 5 miles a day. It’s hard to find 1.5 hours a day to devote to exercise, but that will be the challenge.

They have a Facebook group page, which is nice. So, there is some camaraderie and then other perks along the way. I clocked my 5.6 miles in today. Feeling good.

So the race begins!

Fitness: Resistance Bands

Staying at home, I have been learning new exercise techniques. I’ve never used resistance bands, but I heard how great they were. So, I bought some, see photo on the left. I gave them a try.

I was not impressed. I put the band on my legs. First off, the band was so tight, I thought it might cut my circulation off. Once in place, I found that the band would not stay in the wide format, instead it kept scrunching up and the elastic would pinch my legs. NOW, exercising is painful as it is, without being snapped by a rubber band every 10 seconds. You can see, they do look like large rubber bands.

My daughter was visiting. She said, “Hey Mama, I didn’t realize you were using resistance bands.”

I said, “Well, I am not anymore, those bands are way too painful.”

This is when she enlightened and told me I needed better resistance bands. I couldn’t imagine how they could get any better, but I put my trust in her.

WOW – was she right! She showed me her 4KOR resistance bands, pictured on the right and had me try them out. What a difference.

The 4KOR band is wider and made of a soft elastic type material. It’s still snug enough to offer resistance, but didn’t pinch the skin. Now, when I did a squat and walked to the left and to the right, I focused on the pain of the workout, not the pinching of my skin.

Hallelujah!

Having the “right” workout equipment is critical!

Walking -> Meditation -> Listen to Podcasts by “Meditative Story”

Walking_Meditative PodcastsThis weekend I was looking for some new podcasts to put on my Ipod for walking. I came across this great one called, “Meditative Story.” We go through phases in our walking career. Yes, times when it is nice to be out in nature and hear the birds chirping. Then other times, when we need to be entertained. Walking 3-5 miles gets a bit boring (my opinion) and why not enrich our lives.

So, I was thrilled to find these podcasts. Each week they have a person who shares “their story” with us. For example, I listened to Jule Hall share his story of being in prison and how it felt to be locked in his cell, the sounds he would hear, going outside, finding he felt safe in the chapel, he learned to meditate.

While he was telling his story there was meditative music playing in the background. The Host, Rohan (lives in Scotland), has an interesting voice and periodically interjects a comment here or there with the meditative music playing in the background. It’s very soothing to listen to.

Also, we just happen to be in quarantine, so this particular podcast I could relate to. I’m looking forward to walking now, so I can hear the next story…

Give it a try!

If you know of some good Podcasts, please share.

Fitness at HOME – Getting creative with a concrete block, mucking out stables…

Concrete BlockI admire people who are driven to exercise — NO MATTER WHAT! They find creative ways to reach their goals. My daughter was out walking with her friend and came across this concrete block. Any normal person (like me) would have walked past it. However, my daughter saw exercise potential in this block, so lugged it home.

Good deal – concrete block is $2.00 versus a purchased weight ranging $20-80.

Spring is here… gotta step up our exercise routines even in quarantine.

This made me think of walking. Years ago, when I lived in California, I called a horse stable and asked if they needed volunteers. I was getting BORED with walking. Sure enough, they needed help. I was excited. I would be outside, be around people/horses and exercise all at the same time!

Every weekend, I went to the barn and they gave me different chores to do. This gave me a full body work, while getting fresh air. Well, hold on, mucking out stinky horse stalls does not give fresh air, but it is an excellent work out.

For those of you, who have never mucked out a stable before. Here is a YouTube video from “This Esme” on how it is done. She’s super funny, she loses her GoPro camera in the truck where she is throwing out all the “poop.” THEN has to go into the poopy truck to retrieve the GoPro camera. This made me miss being at the barn for a couple of hours.

Being quarantined, has me thinking about outdoor activities.

Can you tell I have cabin fever!

Spin class… the Do’s and Don’ts

4055CEDC-3ACF-4128-B897-7C8B702568B3I’ve always wanted to take a spin class, but it is very intimidating. Take a look at the photo, that’s how spin class looks.

If you are a beginner like me, it looks like everyone is a major athlete.

I mean… I know how to ride a bike, but this is different. This is hard core, it’s not like Dorothy riding her bike with Toto in a flower basket.

This weekend though, I went to my daughter’s spin class. Since she is the instructor, she told me to come early. She’d set me up.

Set me up she did. She adjusted my seat for me, gave me some water, explained the gears and got me one of those wrist bands that tracks how you’re doing. YOU KNOW, the dreaded wrist band that shows your name up on the TV screen, so everyone can see how you/they are doing. I tried to resist putting it on, but my daughter held it out — she gave me a look of “just put the darn thing on.”

Actually, it wasn’t too bad. During our training session, I wasn’t always the slowest ranking biker. We did a lot of hills, my knees and thighs were burning.

After class, she told me that I wasn’t doing Position 2 properly. I guess I was supposed to be straighter with my legs, not have them bent. That explains why my knees were hurting. Perfect form is critical.

Overall it was good. Do I want to do that again?

Hum… I think I prefer dance class.

Fitness: Weight lifting routine

Exercise - weight liftingHow do you remember YOUR weight lifting routines? I’ve been working out with a personal trainer. When we’re going through a routine, I think I’ll remember everything he taught me.

Then I get to the gym on my own…

NOPE, NO MEMORY –  I think, “How did he do that, what size weight, did I bend up or down?” You get the idea.

So, I smartened up, after each session, I started doing quick stick drawings.

Guess what, I’m becoming a PRO.

AND I have a start of a new exercise book!

SPECIAL NOTE: Never tell your trainer you don’t like a certain exercise. WHY?? Because he will MAKE YOU DO the exercise you HATE every single time, i.e., planks!

Fitness challenge 2020. I’ve been thinking…

Thanksgiving Confused Man

This is a new year. Exercise is important. I’ve been wanting to join an athletic challenge of some sort. Welcome Walkingspree.com. It’s an App that a company uses to challenge employees to exercise. We have a challenge at work right now. It’s for a month. We are walking around the Island of Hawaii. The goal is to walk 8,000 steps a day. They have different prizes at the end of the one month challenge. I signed up a week late… so, I’m already behind for winning prizes, but I signed up in an effort to challenge myself.

FitBit

I bought a FitBit to track my step count. I decided on a bright purple watch band. It’s hard to miss and keeps reminding me to step up my game and WALK, walk, WALK! After a few days, I found that it is not so easy to get 8,000 steps a day in with a desk job. This is a good eye opener for me. While it is a “small exercise challenge,” it is a challenge, because at least for now, I have to get 8,000 steps a day in. I looked at the map of Hawaii. I’ve made it to 2 stops… ONLY 5 more stops to reach the FINISH LINE!

Already thinking, after February, WHAT will be my next athletic challenge?

Climb a mountain in Canada, Austria, Seattle? I am not a runner, but I like hiking. Hum?!