I think I've mentioned that last year I really focused more on changing the way I ate - incorporating a more nutritionally balanced diet that, for me, means eating mainly plant-based foods.
This year, along with continuing my healthy eating, I wanted to be more intentional about exercising. I know that regular exercise is what I need to continue my weight loss journey as well as gain strength. It's taken me awhile to really grasp the importance of this in my life. After my diagnosis with breast cancer and the surgeries that followed more than six years ago, it took me a long time to regain a mind-set that exercise was good for me and important in maintaining good health. I struggled with a weak body and mostly used that as an excuse to not bother too much with exercise. I lost so much upper body strength after my surgeries and kinda "milked" that to my advantage of not trying very hard to gain it back.
Well, this year is going to be different!
Last August, Ed & I joined the fitness center that's affiliated with our church and I've enjoyed the benefits of that so much over the last several months. 2011 rolled around and this past month (January) I started exploring different exercise options and what fit best in my schedule. Also, I looked at stretching myself beyond what I thought I was capable of and have looked into trying some new things. But, I'm still taking it at a moderate level, knowing that I can continue to add or change things up as I get stronger.
One of the things that has helped me stay motivated to exercise is creating a schedule - a plan - that is reasonable for me; that fits our daily lives. After experimenting with some classes at the fitness center and setting some goals (short term and long term) throughout January, I sat down with a calendar and wrote out a tentative exercise plan for the month of February:
This is probably hard to read, but it's really just for my benefit - if you're wanting to try something like this, you should create your own plan with your strengths and goals in mind.
I hope to add some new things in March - possibly Zumba (or latin dance) class and even a cycling class (our fitness center offers both!).
Since I started working on some strength training in January, I've already noticed that I've graduated to heavier weights when I do my upper body workouts. This is progress, my friends! My chest muscles were unbelievably weak after the surgeries I had and I really want to improve especially in that area!
Another thing to make exercise and gym time fun:
A fabulous new gym bag, which holds a lot inside (including a special pocket for my shoes that's separate from everything else!) and a carrier at the bottom for my yoga mat, which I take to my Strength train/Cardio class on Monday nights. I used some of my Christmas money to purchase this. Thinking that it was going to be pricey (I had my eye on a Gaiam bag at Target), I was surprised when I found this on sale at Target for $13.27 (marked down from $25) and it's PINK! - matches my mat! I also bought a resistance band and a pedometer (which, sadly, I'll have to return as it doesn't not work at all!). I'm anxious to work with the resistance band at home, along with my stability ball. There are lots of great exercises to do with just these two simple pieces of equipment.
Walking is another form of exercise that I do purposefully. I want to do a 5k walk this Spring, and possibly a 10k. Setting goals helps me to stay focused and move forward toward getting stronger.
What are some of your fitness goals this year?