Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Five % ruminations

Wow! You all really surprised me with all of your comments on my last post. Thanks! Many of your comments were about my challenge goal of 8 or more hours of exercise a week, something that seems out of reach for many of you for a variety of reasons. Well, here is the deal: I did not get to that level overnight.


When I started this journey (June 26, 2010), I hoped I would move more. It is actually part of the mantra from Marion Nestle that I follow (you know the eat less, move more thing at the top of this blog). I had not exercised regularly for years. Years. Not regularly. Not really. Sure I took a walk now and then, even hoped on my bike. But because I was so out of shape when I did those small physical activities, I was slow, winded and sluggish. Not to mention embarrassed. I can remember going on a bike ride a couple or three years ago with my hubby. I did not know the trails around Minneapolis like I do now. Not only did we drive to the trail (which is less than a mile from my house!!), but I could NOT make it up a small incline along a grove of trees that I now regularly fly up. I had to literally stop in the middle and could go no further. That is how out of shape I was. I started really cycling shortly after I started this journey. I worked at it slowly; adding in longer rides over greater distances over a long time. I still do not think of myself as a fast rider, but I am way better than I was.I found my groove.


I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to be in the biking groove. It is like a little piece of heaven to me. To be humming along on my bike on a well-maintained biking trail, with our magnificent natural world wizzing by (trees, birds, insects and yes, weather elements) is fantastic! I can feel my bike purring when I am in that groove and I am purring too (if that were possible). You see, I love being outdoors. Getting on that bike and feeling the elements of the natural world around me while I am exercising is pure pleasure. Love it. Love it.


As much as I enjoy cycling, our season is too short in Minnesota. I doubt I will be riding much past November 1. Last year, I turned to walking when the weather went south. This year I hope to include (for the first time) cross-country skiing. To me the key to moving more is finding something that I really enjoyed. I did. But, I need to do more, just like Ewa suggested. I need to include strength training in my work out regime. I plan to, although I do not know what or how right now.


But there is more that I have been ruminating about regarding those eight hours. Eight hours is less than 5% of all the hours that I am given each week (168 BTW). To me spending 5 % of my week on exercise is reasonable, sensible and a habit I hope I to continue to cultivate when I head back to my normal academic life once my sabbatical is over. Five percent is not really much when I consider the investment return I get in increased stamina, vigor and sense of accomplishment. Not much at all.


Finally, what I really want to say is that you can do it too. Maybe not cycling but something else that suits you and who you are. You can do it. You can move more. You can. So, what about you: what percentage of your weekly hours can you invest for exercise? Can you shoot for 5 percent? If not now, maybe soon???


Thanks for reading. Thanks for your support. Stay strong. Eat less and move more. TTFN, Michele

10 comments:

  1. I love your cycling stories, Michele. And I can definitely see how you're built it up over time.

    Cross country skiing? Great idea! I've always wanted to do that, too, although it's not easy to access here. Maybe someday. I did do it once at Lake Placid, of all places, when I lived in NY. Was beautiful, but I'd need practice to be good at it.

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  2. I have read that cross country skiing is a great total body workout because you are working the upper and the lower body at the same time. Good choice!

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  3. Sounds like a plan! I spend much less time as i should.... And way too much time on FaceBook!

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  4. I've never been skiing but have always wanted to try it.

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  5. Cross country skiing would be amazing! I did it once, when I was really out of shape and did OK, just could not go far. It would be fun to try now!Keep up the great work - you are doing awesome!

    Stay focused!

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  6. I don't think 8 hours is an overly aggressive exercise goal at all and I have no doubt you will soon meet and exceed that as a matter of habit. Granted, your seasons aren't as forgiving as mine, but even in all my weigh loss woes, the exercise goals, once they became a habit, have not wavered. I walk 45 minutes to an hour every day (yes, all seven) and either hike or bike every week. My total exercise hours are usually around 15.

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  7. I love that you love biking! I enjoy it, but still view it as a form of exercise, something I have to do. I'm not sure there is any exercise that I love. Sigh. I don't work so some time back I told myself that I needed to workout longer; I had no excuses not to. I now work out a second shorter time most afternoons. I can't always schedule it in, but I try. And the bonus is that I am not snacking if I'm exercising:) But for many people time is a big factor.

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  8. Skiing is wonderful exercise, though I've only done downhill. I got the most exercise just picking myself up off the ground! You've made so many wonderful lifestyle changes, I'm sure they'll continue even after your sabbatical ends. 8 hours being only 5% of a total week's hours is something for me to consider, too...

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  9. Michele, thank YOU for sharing your life with us. I love your posts!!!! Yay for biking. HAve a wonderful Wed.

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  10. Michele - I haven't been able to read many posts lately and find that yours are one of the ones that I miss the most. Just got a chance to look at your wonderful Fall Colors pics, read your most recent challenges and I am loving this post - thanks so much for sharing. Wishing you the best of weeks!!!! And I hope you do find something that will keep the "fun" going with the exercise as the weather starts to turn.

    Staying MOtivated MO

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