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New Leaves! June 4, 2014

Filed under: General Musings,Uncategorized — happystitches @ 09:25
Spring in Saskatchewan

Spring in Saskatchewan

It has been an interesting month! Along with having taught at some great places, my brain may have undergone a sea-change.
I’ve always thought of myself as reasonably fit. I love to bike, ski and be outdoors, as well as knit and quilt. However, my attempts to exercise regularly have always been sabotaged by my wholly erratic life style. A ‘Thursday night class at the gym’ is just no good for me; I’d get to about 5 sessions in a year. Maybe it is the fact that there are more random aching bits in me than there used to be that has made me focus more my body.

Two significant things happened recently. Firstly, a friend gave me a book for my birthday. This book, Younger Next Year, stated rather baldly that once you pass the age of 50 the tide has turned and you’d jolly well better start paddling if you wish to live well in your last remaining years rather than shuffling through them. Whilst it’s no guarantee, (none of us will get out of this alive), regular exercise markedly improves the odds of a better quality of life.

My main take-away from the book is that we must rank getting regular exercise at the same level of importance as cleaning our teeth. It just has to be done. Every single day. Doing it every day, or at least 6 out 7, is much more valuable than doing a big whacking lot of exercise sporadically.

While I’mWith Jumbo at Little Red Mitten, teaching, I have always wimped out of doing exercise. It was so easy to rationalize: how could I make the time in such a frenetic schedule? I have taken the odd walk when I could, but essentially surrendered to the ‘no time’ excuse. No more! On my last two trips I’ve actually managed to fit in at least half an hour of something every day (except one flying day when I did walk a fair distance in Detroit airport). Thus far I am managing to think through my days to squeeze in something – walking being the default, since it is almost always possible (although my beloved hiking boots have just started to cash in their chips).

Even at home (read working from home), after returning from a teaching tour, I can always find more important work to do that precludes me making time for exercise (this is the price of being self-employed). However, I am now persuaded that I’ll have a more productive and longer future if I invest time in self-maintenance.

My second motivator has been my investment in a Fitbit band (a pedometer and more besides). I’ve always liked being able to quantify things and set goals; my bike computer tells me that I have biked 23,273 kms on this current bike and I’ll always cycle a bit further to turn a 38 km ride into a 40! I’m finding the same with the Fitbit. It makes me park at the furthest part of the parking lot, go up or down stairs one more time and it counts it all. (Being absent minded adds many trips up and downstairs too!) Having the data recorded makes me see what I’m really doing, not just what I perceive I’m doing! Working towards a ‘number’ is a real motivating force for me.

A few of you fellow knitters must have ripened to a similar age as I. What ways have you found to keep yourselves motivated to exercise daily? Do you have any exercise recording devices that you would recommend? Should we start a KnitFit group?

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26 Responses to “New Leaves!”

  1. I have a FitBit One. I love it! It motivates me every day!

  2. Susan Peirce Ursprung Says:

    Alex and I do a quick sunrise yoga routine every morning (1/2 hour) that really starts the day nicely. (Free stream on YouTube) If we both walk a bit before evening and then do a sunset yoga, we feel a lot more youthful. Still have aches and pains from daily wear and tear, but hope to avoid major setbacks.

  3. Bonnie Miller Says:

    A Knitfit group, what a great idea. There’s also a way to ‘friend’ people in Fitbit (seems to work if the person is in your address book with the same email address that they registered under in Fitbit or if the person is a Facebook friend). Let’s do it!

  4. Mary Jane Says:

    My little fitbit was a prime motivator for me too! It helped me to include long walks everyday no matter where I am. Now I forget to bring it along, or charge it, but I’m still walking everyday.

  5. Morning walks have been my habit for over 20 years. My cardiovascular fitness level is pretty good as a result but as I approach 60 I’ve been noticing aches and pains in my joints–wear and tear! So, I’ve now invested in some expensive shock-absorbing shoes that have made a big difference. Another change is that I’m trying to reduce the force of my heel strike and push off with my big toes–this has helped too! Imagine getting to this age and learning how to walk more effectively. Another thing that helps is using poles which gets my arms and shoulders involved and takes the weight off my feet. Pole walking is also fun! I find that committing to a morning walk means that it gets done–it’s also a great time to catch up with a friend, and if I’m on my own then it’s a time to contemplate my current projects, often coming up with some great ideas. In short, my morning walk is a habit and a commitment. It’s also much more fun than the gym.

  6. Interesting information about the art of walking well. There is always something to learn. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Sarah punderson Says:

    I love my fitbit, although I rarely even look at just knowing I am wearing it I never mind having to go back upstairs for something I got or park far away from my destination.
    I walk on the treadmill 30 min. And watch podcasts if I don’t walk outside with a friend or have tennis scheduled.

    • I try and look at my day first thing and if the weather is bad or there isn’t a definite slot for activity, fit in the treadmill after breakfast and before showering. (I had to change and shower anyway – seems efficient.) I prefer to get my activity done early, then I know I have it in the bank and am not concerned about the day getting away from me – as often happens in the afternoon.

  8. Jennie Says:

    I would be very interested in a KnitFit group. I don’t have a Fitbit but I could easily see how that would be useful for me to monitor the amount of exercise I get. I do go to the gym at least twice a week, but I need something to help me go more frequently. My inspiration is my Mother who, for at least 30 years, went three times per week to an exercise class designed for those over age 50. She was committed to getting her exercise every day (she also walked each morning). She is now 89 and is still active. She was able to overcome a serious illness last Fall and be up and about quickly after several surgeries. I, too, am convinced that her regular exercise regimen played a huge role in her ability to recover quickly in both body and mind.
    We love our knitting but it is a sedentary hobby. It is difficult for a lot of us to give up knitting time to exercise, but I will offer to do what I can to help organize whatever kind of group will promote exercise in our community. Let me know what I can do to help

    • Thanks – your mum is a wonderful role model. Please do feel free to make suggestions as to how we can carry this forward. I’d greatly appreciate your help.

  9. MK Says:

    Morning walks and ab crunches have been my staple for many years. A few years ago, I added light, (very light) weights and a few squats. This month, I am doing two challenges – the 30-day abs and the 30-day buns, guns and abs. So far, it sure showed me how not in shape I really am!!!

    • You have always looked great – now we know your secret! There is always room for more – my half hour a day is my minimum I’m setting now, but I am happy when I can squeeze in more. I’m trying to get variety of activities, doing weights will Holly as my trainer. I can’t seem to do a weight routine on my own yet. Any good suggestions for this?

  10. Sue H Says:

    I was considering getting a FitBit for my husband but now I’m thinking His ‘n’ Hers might be a good idea!

    • I admit I didn’t do a huge amount of research – a friend’s recommendation. I have the Flex, it doesn’t count stairs. I do like it’s simplicity. I’m not sure if my husband would go for this – but he does enjoy his bike computer.

  11. Bonnie Miller Says:

    Unfortunate update… The band on my Fitbit Flex is starting to come apart at the seam by the clear window. I glued it shut with Superglue and order a couple more (which are back ordered for 1-2 weeks). It’s about a year old, so that may be to be expected. I still really like it, but recommend that others might want to get a spare band, since they don’t last forever. Hopefully, my repair will last until the new bands come in!

  12. Andrea Says:

    I was waiting for my baby to go to school so I could get fitter. I already considered myself active. I got a FitBit and was surprised at how inactive I was. I love that little number as it motivates me to get moving. I also stuck the toddler in the trailer and got busy biking. I feel heaps better even though I thought I would die the first time I went out pulling her. It makes me happy when a hill that I could not bike up is now just an extra gear change and I can make it up without walking. I turn 44 this summer and am so glad I got off my ass!!

  13. I love my Fitbit One, it’s permanently attached to me. It’s an extremely motivational little piece of technology.

  14. Janine Says:

    After an active vacation earlier this month I’m determined to get back into shape–I do not always pay attention to the passage of years, but I am getting older and I can’t take this body for granted! I decided that my new mantra will be “Stronger, taller, and more flexible.”

  15. Louise Says:

    I am reading the book. Thanks for recommending it!


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