A Balance Exercise to easily fit into your daily routine

I’m learning a lot from my chiropractor.  Not only does he tell corny “Dad” jokes that I haven’t heard in a while, but he also teaches me new things.  The best thing I’ve learned from him so far is the easiest balance exercise to fit into a daily routine.

You ready for it?

Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth!

Keep your knee bent (never lock out legs) and your hands off the counter as much as possible.  It’s pretty crazy – when you switch from your left teeth to your right (or vice versa), it really is an extra balance challenge!  Plus you already brush your teeth twice a day (I hope) so you are not adding anything extra into your routine – but gaining lots of benefits.

Balance exercises help you:

  • become more body aware (you know where your body/limbs are in space), so you decrease the chance for falls and injuries
  • improve coordination by causing muscles and muscles groups to work together to balance.
  • improve the stability of your joints – especially your ankles, knees and hips!
  • improve your reaction time – when your balance is tested, your body has to learn to react fast to upright yourself.

If you are new to balance exercises, start out slow and use a progression:

  1. Hold on to a wall or steady piece of furniture with both hands.
  2. Hold on with one hand.
  3. Use only a few to one finger to hold.
  4. Lift both hands slightly away from the wall or furniture so they can grab on as needed.
  5. Move to trying it while brushing your teeth.  You may need to hold on with one hand or a few fingers, and that’s ok.  Work your way up!  You are improving your balance and doing a great job!!

I’ve been doing this daily for a week now and have really noticed a difference in how quickly my muscles fire and react when my balance is tested.

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5 Tips for Surviving Injury Boredom

When you are an athlete or an avid exerciser, an injury is devastating.  Not only do you worry about losing strength, endurance and skill, but your whole schedule and routine is thrown for a loop.  What are you going to do now?

I injured my hip flexor a few weeks ago.  At first I thought it had just cramped up on me and I needed to work through it – so I did, without any issues, for 3 days.  Then day 4 came, and I don’t know if it was the speed skaters, the jump squats or the sprints that did me in, but boy oh boy did that create a very real hip injury.  It hurt to walk the next day.  So I quickly called the sports medicine clinic and made an appointment.  I was hoping a few treatments and I’d be good.  Here I am entering week 3 and I’m still not back to my normal routine.

So yes, I worry about all the progress I’ve made and now lost.  I worry about starting again at the gym.  I worry about being out of shape.

And I’m not really sure what to do with the extra time I have.  Most people would love having extra time – and me included, but not when it comes at the expensive of my workout.

So I go to the sports clinic twice a week for treatments.  And on days I don’t go there – I go to the gym and do upper body only machines – no I’m not allowed to do anything but that.  I try to challenge myself with heavy weights, or lots of repetitions with lighter weights, but it’s definitely not the same as my Burn Boot Camp workouts that I truly love.   I also do my obligatory 5 minutes of hip stretching every morning and night.  Yawn.  I’m bored.

So here’s a few things I’ve come up with to help me beat my injury-recovery boredom:

  1. Cook ahead of time.  I usually spend my weekends making waffles, pancakes, muffins, veggie nuggets, etc. for my son.  I bake and freeze whatever is needed.  So instead of going to the gym while the young one is learning and playing away at preschool, I go ahead and bake/freeze.
  2. Take care of myself in different ways.  For me, I love to read.  I usually have about 30 minutes at night that I can read – and I make the most of that time.  So I’ve been reading a lot more during the day.  It’s fantastic!
  3. Clean out.  I hate the amount of junk that’s in my house now.  I’m pretty sure it’s quadrupled since I’ve had my son.  So I’ve been cleaning out stuff.  Some for donation, some for selling, some are just trash.  But it feels good to have empty drawers and shelves in the house again (that I’m sure will be promptly filled up next week when my son turns 2).
  4. Run errands without a child.  It’s rare that I get a trip to the grocery store or Target without a toddler.  And it’s glorious to be able to take my time, browse a little, read a few nutrition labels, without a kid squirming and making his “I’m frustrated” noise.
  5. Keep your goals in mind – but look at them from a different perspective.  I love to workout – the exercise part of health has always come easy for me.  But the nutrition – well, I also love chocolate and burgers, so that’s the harder part.  And while I have in no way revamped my diet during these 2 weeks, I have noticed changes that need to be made and am working to improve upon them.  I’m eating more protein sources for snacks instead of crackers.  I’m cutting back on the amount of caffeine I’m consuming and drinking more water.  I’m making egg white sandwiches and oatmeal more of a breakfast routine than eating some of the waffles I prepared for my son.  (I have yet to kick the pb&j for lunch habit though.   I’m all about that lately.)

The important thing to do when recovering from an injury is to focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.  Have a lower body injury?  Focus on gaining strength in your upper body.  It’s all in the way you view things!

Core Exercise Routine

Last week I tweaked a hip flexor/adductor.  I’m not really sure which one, but it was pretty tight on me last week.  Luckily I could stretch it out a bit and all was fine.  Until Friday – oh Friday.  Athletic Conditioning day really made that tendon angry.  So now I’m a bit hobbled and oh so missing my workouts.

While I can go to 2 workouts this week that are upper body – the rest involve too much hip action so I’m at home trying to figure out my own hip-friendly routine.  Luckily a lot of core work is fairly hip friendly and I’m able to do a good bit of it at home.  And since I love working abs – that makes some of the frustration of not being able to go to the gym every day less.

Here’s an at home Ab Workout I did this week.  There are a few links below for some of the exercises in case you are not familiar with my vernacular.

ab exercises

Hope you have fun!

I’m off to the chiropractor to figure out what is causing my hip pain.  Fingers crossed for me!!

Supermans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc6UVRS7PW4
Side Plank Dips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgaYt4Hi6-g
Side Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVfzmxQYTdA
Forearm plank toe taps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtgjQYcL1NI

 

A good start

Right now the little boy is lying in his crib playing with his feet.  I love that view on the monitor!  He’s so happy and content – and flexible!!

After not working out a bit last week, I was determined to start the week of on a better foot.  Well, Monday didn’t happen but it rarely does.  I have a ton of work tasks to do on Monday so really I think of Tuesday as the start of my week.

Tuesday did happen.  Boy did it happen.  I went to my normal group exercise class even though I had a ton on my mind and didn’t really want to go.  But lying in bed Tuesday morning, asking God to give me strength and guidance for the day ahead, for some reason a vision of me doing the speed skater exercise popped into my head.  I don’t know why – but I took that as a sign from at least my subconscious that I need to go exercise that day.  (And no, we did not do any speed skaters)

My mind wandered the whole class – my body was going, but my mind was elsewhere.  And I think that made me work out harder than I normally would have.  Because boy oh boy are my muscles sore today!

So with my mind a little bit clearer today after a 2 hour phone call to my Mom, I decided to do some yoga stretching.  And my muscles did not want to move!  But it was good for them – even as I sit here envying my son’s flexibility I’m happy I went.  While I’m no where near as flexible as I was pre-pregnancy, my muscles are much happier now than they were before.

So all in all a good start to the week.  (Besides the mind clutter that I can’t stop from freaking me out!)

What day is it?

I’m having difficulty remembering what day it is.  Days tend to all blur together – one bleeding into the next.  We actually still have a notebook we keep logging our son’s diaper changes, feedings, naps, etc.  Otherwise we won’t remember.  Parenthood definitely takes away some of your brain power.

So it’s already Wednesday.  Wow.

I am happy to report I did good on my workout goal for last week.  I did every workout except for Sunday’s yoga DVD.  It’s probably the one I need to most, but the one I feel least guilty about skipping.  Odd, right?  But there were days I had to force myself to do my 15 minute exercise  – and I did it.  So yay!  Small victory dance.

snoopy_dance_4844

My goal this week is 30 minutes.  Yesterday that didn’t happen.  Yesterday was chaotic.  My sitter didn’t show up and I had an early morning meeting with my boss – so my husband had to stay with the baby.  And from then on, craziness ensued.  You know how when your day starts off crazy, it just stays crazy.  Unexpected trip to the pediatricians office, ridiculously long lines at the grocery store for 11am on a Tuesday, all that happened.  So no, I didn’t workout then.  But I did my 30 minutes on Monday and today, so I’m just picking up where I left off.  No guilt.  Things happen.  No quitting – that’s the more important thing!

stubble

On a totally unrelated note, while I’m happy I’ve started this exercise regime, I still can’t help looking towards next year for me to finally have some happiness.  I don’t know why – I’ve never been a New Year’s person.  January 1 is just the same as December 31st in my book.  But for some reason I feel like all the hurt and stress I have buried deep down in me will disappear with the changing of the year.  It doesn’t work that way, I know.  I just don’t have the time or the means to release it, and it will stay with me until I do.  That’s a scary thought.  But I just have to keep powering on.  When the feelings overcome me, I let them.  I don’t judge myself.  You can’t wish away sadness anymore than you can wish for more money.  So I just feel it.  And hope that one day I won’t be so sad anymore.

moving-on-quotes-and-sayings-for-girls-2

But that’s my update.  Nothing overwhelming.  Just thought I’d throw this out there.

A little progress is better than nothing

I just had to pat myself on the back a little bit.  Three days of doing some working out while my little one napped (or was suppose to be napping).

I have to give you a bit of background information.

This used to be me:img_0497

After a rough pregnancy (all day sickness started at 6 weeks – ended 2 days after I gave birth) and a bad recovery (unplanned C-section, reflux baby requiring round the clock care, etc.), working out has not been in my schedule for over a year now.

Before pregnancy, as I went out to run 3-4 miles before a good 30-45 minute strength training session, I used to look at people who were walking and be jealous.  Part of me hated pushing myself so hard to get a good workout.  Now, by the end of my 30 minute walk, I’m sweating.  I’m that person I used to be jealous of – and I’m completely jealous of the old me.  Grass is always greener, right?

So part of me is a bit down on my current workout.

I’m doing the 21 Day Fix DVDs (no, I’m not a Beachbody rep – but I do enjoy their products).  And I’m not even doing all the DVD – I’m only doing one round of each exercise.  So my workouts are more like 15 minutes.  And yep, I get a little winded, sweaty, and I definitely feel them the next day (even though I’m using little to no weight).  Compared to where I was, I feel like a slug doing such a little workout.

But I have to quit comparing myself to, well, myself.  My body has been through a lot – and made a beautiful, healthy and amazing little boy.  So yeah, it’s going to be a little beat up.  And that’s ok.  Because it will get better.  And I may never be where I was when that picture was taken, and that’s honestly 100% ok with me.  My goal, to be perfectly open, is just to fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes.  Not all – but at least a few.

3 days down – 18 more to go, then a habit forms, right?

Productivity abounds

The great thing about a rest day, is the next day you are more than ready to go, go, go!

After a lazy Sunday, Monday was a very productive day.

I got a great deal of work done, which is fabulous.  I’ve been getting my daily tasks completed but haven’t had any time to do any research of brainstorming to improve on my daily tasks.   I’m excited to come up with some new ideas that keeps my job fun and interesting, as well as helps to improve my workplace!

I did some housework, including laundry and cleaning the stove.  I hate cleaning the stove, but it’s a necessary evil.  You cook, you have to clean.  Bleck!  I love to cook, but cleaning, not my favorite thing!

And then I went to an indoor cycle class.  I’m becoming somewhat addicted to indoor cycling and I’m not sure why.  It’s not really “fun”.  In fact, it’s more on the boring side than any of my other workouts.  But it’s challenging, and I love a good challenge.  So I guess that’s why I keep going.  One day I want to be like my favorite instructor, who powers through a very tough 1 hour workout without huffing and puffing.  She sweats, but you never hear her breathing into the mic.  It’s quite impressive!

Today has been a day off so I’m trying not to lose my productivity mojo and get things done, with some time for relaxing of course.

I did some strength training at home with the Nike Training App.  I’m starting a new program and I think I’m going to like it – I’ll give you more updates once I do a few more workouts.

I ran to Target and spent a whole lot of money.  I mean, really, do you ever not spend a lot of money at Target?

And I baked some banana avocado muffins.  Yum!  Look for that recipe coming up soon too.

So all in all, productivity abounds.  While it’s not the most exciting two days in the world, most of the time life isn’t overly exciting.  So there’s a little glimpse into my daily life.

Hope you have a great Tuesday!