Monday, January 14, 2013

Out With the Old, In With the New



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       I want to extend a warm welcome to a guest blogger today who is an exceptional human being. She loves fitness and health and all that that entails. She strives to be a healthier person every day and is an inspiration. I have had the privilege to get to know her through my day job as well as going through an apprenticeship as a Barre Amped instructor. We are both teaching at Serenite Fitness and have gotten to know one another quickly. I'm so glad she's there to support and cultivate healthy decisions. She is a long distance runner and offers us some insight on how to start running as well as simply making healthy life decisions starting now. 
May I present to you the lovely Beth Hayes


       As children we are taught to brush our teeth. It is not a habit that we innately arrive with. Throughout childhood and adolescence we may have resisted this practice because it didn’t seem fun, or provide any instant gratification. Yet, over time and through the years we all kept the brush moving over our teeth, every morning and every night (except maybe those late nights where night became morning :-)). Because of the time and consistency invested in brushing our teeth it became a habit, almost second nature. Since the strategy behind developing a tooth brushing habit was successful for most, why not take that same approach to health and fitness? So many messages are conveyed about seeing very fast results through crazy dieting and extreme exercise, yet what enduring habits are being formed through those methods? Likely, none.  Unhealthy eating, emotionally driven eating and habitual lethargy are behaviors that take years to develop. They won’t be sweated away in 90 days or sometimes even a year.  Daily decisions have to be consistently made to choose healthy habits and eventually the food and exercise battle will subside and healthy living will become second nature, just like brushing your teeth. The investment you have to make is a little time, A LOT of patience, and consistent actions taken to make a permanent positive change in your life, no matter how long it takes.
      Exercise, for most, is a cumulative engagement. It is an activity that begins in a small way and eventually evolves into something bigger.  It requires the time, patience and consistency mentioned above.  A perfect example of cumulative exercise is running. There are 500,000 marathon runners in the US each year. Many of us look at the idea of completing a marathon as an impossible aspiration. But, every single marathon finisher was only able to finish their race because of the first steps they took to get to the starting line, and thousands of those first steps involved walking. Again, if we take the concept of repetition and do small actions consistently, those actions will compound into something much greater than we thought ourselves capable of.
     Maybe make your first goal to do a mile. Walk the first quarter, speedwalk the second quarter, jog the 3rd quarter and try to run hard for the last quarter. Perhaps try doing this 4-5 times a week. You will start getting stronger after your first week so when the second week rolls around you may be able to turn your speedwalk segment into a jog. After 3 weeks you should easily be able to run jog/run a mile without stopping and that’s when you add more distance. You have to master a short distance and make it habitual before you attempt longer distances. You will be amazed at the stamina you’ll gain if you stay consistent and you will come to a point where you will want to push yourself a little more than the last run. As always, in everything in life, it’s not about how fast but how far you can go. How long can you maintain your healthy habits? Hopefully if you haven’t started yet, today you are on the starting line of a lifelong course of consciously choosing to be healthy. It’s an ongoing course leading you to the healthiest version of yourself that you can be.



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