The hard part about exercise is figuring out how to track it. Shall we be old fashioned and keep a journal? Or get a snazzy new gadget? I suppose we all have our favorites. Some of us put in our blog, keeping ourselves honest!

I still need to track it so I know what I did, when, and for how long; so I can write about it.  I definitely don’t remember for more than a day. I have two methods: I have an app on my phone that tracks each session, and I do keep an old-fashioned  journal too.

But how does one decide? My journal is great because not only does it show in a weekly format what I did, but gives me a place to write down how I felt about it and whether I tried anything new in the session. My app is wonderful because I get a digital readout of how long and what I did.  It also sends me a monthly reckoning of calories burned, minutes exercised and miles run–if its not what I wanted to achieve, I can always strive harder the next month.

That works for me. What will work for you? There are literally thousands of apps, and many gadgets that hook up to a computer program to track your health; not only your exercise but sleep and eating patterns.

I admit, I lucked out with my app. I use Endomondo, which I love because  A) it’s simplicity and B) the amount of exercises it lists. It actually has riding  (a horse) in it. It has all my exercises, plus many more. All I could find that it is missing is that it has no gardening activity (yes, trust me, cleaning out leaves is a workout).  It has a lot of training programs and challenges too, and makes a great way to connect with others.

And the Bands! I do have a simple pedometer/watch that the hospital gives all its employees, and it connects to a website where I can track o’ so much, and connect with other hospital employees. I have become addicted to counting my steps and seeing how many I can get in a day. But does not even compare to a Fitbit, or Apple Watch or Jawbone, or one of the many more. For a great comparison of wearable trackers, check out this Self article. Your head will spin with all the choices out there.

But there is one important thing to keep in mind with an app, journal, or band: you must utilize it. Getting the coolest tech with the neatest website doesn’t mean you will get up and use it. There are four prime things to look for when you are picking out a band:
1. The wearer must have the desire and motivation to want the wearable and able to afford it.
2. The wearer must be able to wear it and recharge it easily.
3. The device must be accurate at tracking the data it’s targeting.
4. Data needs to be presented in a meaningful, user-friendly way that also motivates further action.*

What do those mean? Well, you probably need to plug it in every night when you plug your phone in.  Pick out a reasonable band, taking into account not only the up-front cost but also whether there is a monthly cost to have it connected. Same thing with an app, my Endomondo is free. However, there is a $5 monthly upgrade, but I decided that I didn’t use enough of those features to make it worth it. I did try it, which I suggest everyone try. But don’t be afraid to get rid of it if you are not utilizing all the features.

You also need to be able to understand what it says and how to set it up. Small buttons and tiny readouts are not for everyone.  Plus what it tells you must be usable to you. I don’t track food, so I could care less about calories burned. But to some people that would be a must.  I do care about time and distance, so it is important that my tracker have accurate clock and GPS.

In the end, take your time and  think about what is important to you when you exercise. Think about what kind of information you want to track–time, sleep, weight–and pick out a program/band that will do that for you. And then USE it 😛

 

 

 

*Self

 

 

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Weekly Rundown

Last week went along nicely, but this week is the one I am uptight about. On Friday I see my doctor and learn whether I can put more weight on my leg. Why does this make me anxious? you ask. Well, if I can go to a cane–first, YAY!!  I can carry things–then I can go back to work. Not to mention drive. Ah, the freedom!

My bending is not going so well, I still seem stuck at a 50 degree bend, no matter how many times during the day I stretch my knee and practice bending. But that is not as important in being able to ditch the walker as putting more weight on the leg. He put some extra bone and a metal plate in there when he fixed my tibia plateau break (basically rebuilding the knee area), so I have only been allowed to put about 30 lbs on it while moving with the walker.  Keep your fingers crossed that the x-ray shows enough improvement for me go to a cane and use the leg more!

Monday: just my arm weights and leg PT, two reps of 15 each. I have to say that I am getting a bit bored with the repetitive nature of my exercises. Before I always alternated the running/yoga/weight lifting/riding so that I was never bored. If I didn’t feel like the scheduled exercise for the day, I just did another. Not much of a possibilty of that now.

Tuesday: a rainy day. Feels like England here! Not feeling terribly ambitious, I did about 10 minutes of yoga stretching. I have discovered on the floor that although I can’t sit cross-legged,  I can bend my left leg and tuck the foot under the right  knee. Once I put my “sit bones” on the floor and use my core to sit up straight, it does feel like my cross leg position. But I still can’t do enough poses to make my practice last more than ten minutes.

Wednesday: feeling more ambitious (the sun was out!), I did my arm weights and leg PT.  Starting out differently, I stood and did my yoga breathing/stretches, and even tried to touch my toes. Not so easy after two months of not stretching. Then I managed to get on the floor without lowering myself from the couch–whoo hoo. To top off the session, I rolled over to see if I could do a plank. And I could!! I couldn’t hold the plank after the months, but I could do it.

Thursday: a day off. I did make sure I moved every hour or so to stretch. I took the opportunity to bend my knee each time too. Watching TV or reading a book usually makes me lose track of time and I tend to sit for several hours.

Friday: another day off, but not planned. It was a yucky day: freezing rain. It delayed my husband and I on doing our normal errands.  I planned on doing my exercise after we got home, but after five hours of errands, I was a little tired when we got home. We decided to get new phones and of course between picking them out and setting them up, we were at the phone place for about two and a half hours. Then we had to go grocery shopping. I suppose I got enough walking exercise.

Saturday: another day of arm weights and PT leg exercises.  I did my yoga stretching first, then got on the floor to do the serious stuff. I did a plank again, and added the “roll-up”–walking my hands up to my feet and then walking them back down into plank.  The forward bend provided was much better than my first try this week, probably because I was warmed up first.

Sunday: arm weights and PT leg exercises once more. With my yoga stretching added in it felt pretty dang good. I feel very balanced standing on my legs with no support, hopefully that is a good sign for my doctor’s visit!

Quarterly Check In

So it’s the end of March and we all know my resolutions have been derailed. But how are you guys doing? Did you make a lot of New Year Resolutions? Are you sticking to them or have they already gone by the wayside?  I ran down some tips on keeping your momentum–or rebuilding it  🙂

Focus only improving performance, strength, speed and consistency this year. Take the emphasis off the aesthetic results, and put it in becoming the best athlete you can become.* Once you concentrate on how you feel instead of how you look, you may recognize improvements much quicker.  And that will help you keep going.

Do what you love! If you’re not a runner or a cyclist, don’t force yourself. If you feel unstoppable on the dance floor, dance! If you feel like a kid when you’re in the pool, swim more! The exercise that burns the most calories is the workout that you can see yourself doing daily.*  Many fitness experts will tell you that the key to getting fit is finding exercises that you like and find enjoyable. Thankfully, there are so many ways to exercise that you are bound to find ones that you like.** I believe I have mention this before, so I will let those quotes stand alone.

Resolutions, like goals, should be SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic/relevant, time-bound). Secondly, and equally as important, is to make sure you actually care about the fitness resolutions you are setting. Don’t set them simply because someone else is setting it. Create goals that mean something to you.*  One helpful way to stick with it could be not overdoing or wearing yourself out. Pick manageable times and workout schedules that you can stick to without getting overwhelmed.** Scheduling your workouts is very important. If you miss more than a few, you will feel like you might as well quit. So finding a time to do them when you can actually do them is important. Start small and work up–one to two times a week in the beginning. Soon you will be looking forward to those times of working on yourself and you will want to do them more often.

“Healthy” can mean different things to different people, but generally, feeling good, looking good and taking care of yourself fits the bill.** Trying to focus on these things can make one’s life much happier.  There are ways to work around stress as well: visualization to deep breathing, to simply zoning out to calming tunes. Being prepared with an effective stress relief tool in your mental toolkit can be very useful when you need a breather.**  Once you integrate stress control and exercise into your life, you will be amazed at how much happier you will be. I know I was.

 

*Self

Weekly Rundown

Another week of progress–slow progress, but progress none the less. Still waiting to go to the doctor, so I am still using my walker. Definitely getting tired of that. But it helps me get around, so I guess I will suck it up!

Monday: arm weights and leg PT exercises, two sets of 15.  Afterwards I did  a few moments of yoga stretching.

Tuesday: my physical therapy person came to put me through my paces. She is a lovely person and doesn’t push me into pain, but pushes me to do what I can. I am back to a 50 degree bend in my leg, so all the flexing definitely helped. More to do, but at least I know its working! I did a little yoga stretching after she left, then iced my knee a bit.

Wednesday: more arm weights and PT leg exercises. I have increased my right leg raises to 10, we started with 4 or 5. It is nice just to move my leg around, when I came home from the hospital I had to use my hands to move it around. My right thigh is definitely getting stronger. I also increased my quad sets: I had been doing them fast and my PT person said to hold each one for a count of 5.

Thursday: I took it off. Except that I took a walk to the barn and helped my neighbor (or she helped me) to feed the horses. It was a lovely day for a walk down the driveway and a sit on the porch while we talked.

Friday: oh, what a day. My husband and I did errands as usual. We started with breakfast at the local store, then I had to go into Tractor Supply to help him pick out the horse food, and after a couple more stops I went into the local grocery store to help him get food for us. Then exercises at home! I have figured out how to get on the floor (and back off the floor), which makes my exercises much easier. It also is using my core as I have to sit up straight with my leg outstretched while doing the arm weights. I can sit with my left foot tucked under my right knee, and that is almost like sitting in a cross-legged position for my yoga stretches. I can’t even express how much I miss sitting in a lotus position 😦 but this does seem to help a bit. I did want to try this on a day when my husband was home, I was a bit worried that he might come home and find me still on the floor otherwise! I also walked down the whole driveway to get the  mail.

Saturday: I just did my arm weights and leg PT, two sets of 15 once more.  I was happy that I felt great after the busy day before.

Sunday: off.  I (foolishly) took my sock off during the night. I have to stretch quite a bit to reach my right toes at all, and I guess I twisted my leg when I pulled the sock, plus I didn’t have the leg on the mattress, so it bounced after pulling it off. Won’t do that again. The knee felt funny and achey all day, so I decided the better part of valor was to not exercise.

PS as I write this on Monday, my leg is much better and I have already exercised 🙂

What we have Here…

…is a lack of motivation!

I don’t feel like doing anything today, much less writing an intelligent, interesting post on why you should exercise–whatever your chosen exercise might be. So I am cheating!

I like this one because it can refer to any endeavor, physical or not 🙂

Weekly Rundown

Ah, another week of rehab!  I am getting better every day, at least that is what I tell myself 🙂 I did take a few days off from the Physical Therapy moves, but that is because I did other things that may have made me tired. I think it was a great week in all.

Monday: I did a mere 10 reps of my arm/leg exercises, because I took a lovely walk down the driveway. Finally, I made it outside.

Tuesday: I was tired and sleepy all day, but I did manage to do 10 more reps. Because the next day was supposed to hit 60, I knew we needed to take the horse’s blankets off. They have two, a rain layer and a fleece layer, and if I had been myself for the last three weeks, I would have been taking the under layer off and on with the weather. But it definitely needed to be done now.

So my neighbor, my husband and I went out to the barn. Charby has been giving my husband grief (she does that to new people), and I wanted to be there to help.  Getting me into the barn was fun!! My original plan was to hold Charby’s lead and talk to her while they did the blanket work, but I also wanted to have her attached to the lead in the stall in case the moved and I couldn’t hold her. Silly mare was very interested in the hay on the floor of the tack room, and they would have had to pull her away to attach the other lead. So she ate hay and ignored me while they took her under blanket off. She did raise her head and let me rub her face every time I said her name, so I guess she might have missed me. She wasn’t leaving the stall, so they had to do Christopher Robin outside (he is so much easier) and I didn’t get to see him as much. But, I got out to the barn and saw the horses!!

Wednesday: being lazy, I skipped the arms and just did the legs. Which I suppose are more important right now anyway. A simple 15 reps. My friend Kate came over, we  had decided to re-watch the original Star Wars trilogy, so today was A New Hope.

Thursday: I did some yoga stretching and 15 reps of my arm/leg exercises. And then the Empire Strikes Back !

Friday: I took off as we ran errands and went searching for a car, mine having been totalled. I did walk around the car lot quite a bit, which I considered my exercise for the day.

Saturday: I was at home by myself, so I decided I needed to increase my exercises. I did two reps of 15 of each of my exercises and felt pretty darn good afterwards.

Sunday: off again! But we went out to breakfast and then to the grocery store. First time I attempted a grocery store, but I made it all the way around. I was quite happy, although I went out to sit in the car while he paid, standing around while they bagged everything seemed tedious at best.

Weekly Rundown

Another week of rehab. I managed to slow my weight loss (yes, that is a good thing) to just one pound. Sadly, I had to eat chocolate to do it. The suffering I go through 😉

I also lost a bit of my flexibility in my knee. Guess I didn’t work hard enough. I have about six different leg exercises to do, and I have added some light weight work for my arms as well. But I haven’t worked my walking–getting my knee to flex–and free flexing of my knee enough.

I focused on getting around the house more, and washing dishes, folding laundry. I was trying to a) get back to a normal life; and, b) I wanted to help out the husband. My husband has been marvelous! He has been cooking, cleaning and taking care of me tirelessly. But I hate that everything is on his shoulders. So I try to help.

This week will be more focused on bending that knee! I also want to look into “seated yoga”, something we did in the hospital. I can’t do yoga yet, and I believe my regular readers will understand how much that chafes.  I am getting a bit better, I can reach my hand down below my knee. Next thing you know, I will be able to put my own sock on! (goals for next week)