Staying Active

There’s No Junk In My Trunk

In my perusal of exercise/running related blogs last week, I came across a post that really ruffled my feathers.

Angry Bird.

The subject of the post is “Running Lingo 101.”  In the post, the blogger in question kindly defines some common running terms for those new to the sport and/or just unfamiliar with the terms she frequently uses on her blog.  For the most part, it’s an informative, informal run-down of some common running related words and phrases.  Fair enough.

However…

One of those terms just doesn’t sit right with me:  Junk Miles.  The blogger (I am purposely not identifying her or her blog because I don’t want to point fingers or make anyone feel bad) defines “junk miles” as “low quality runs used just to get your mileage for the week higher.”  Um, excuse me?  Hold up.  I take issue with this.  Hence…

TCT #7: Is there such a thing as “junk miles?”

To be fair, the blogger is not alone in her description of “junk miles.”  Traditionally, there have been enough runners who subscribe to this notion that it has wormed its way into the lexicon.  However, the times, my friends, they are a changin’ and this idea of “junk miles” is being exposed for the hogwash it is.

Just from a quick google search, I found valuable articles here, here, and here that serve to debunk the myth of “junk miles” and finally set the record straight: all kinds of miles are valuable for various different reasons.

I don’t care if you’re doing speed training, logging distance runs to increase endurance, or just running cause you’ve got nothing better to do – if you’re hoofin’ it, you’re hoofin’ it.  Period.

Who’s to say that if I run “just” to clear my head, enjoy a beautiful day, or spend time with a friend that the miles I cover on those particular runs are “junk?”  Did those miles work my muscles?  Yes.  Did they exercise my cardiovascular system?  Yes.  Did they burn calories and benefit my overall health?  Yes.  Most importantly, did I enjoy myself on those runs and feel good afterwards?  Yes.  Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like “junk” to me.

This doesn’t just apply to running either.  Any time you choose to move your body rather than sit on your tush it’s a good thing.  A 15 minute walk is better than 15 minutes on the couch.  Biking to run errands is better than driving.  Walking to your co-worker’s office to ask a question is better than emailing.  Heck, dancing to a live band at a bar is better than sitting on a bar stool.

Excellent band. Great covers. Heck yeah, I danced.

Any kind of activity that reduces the amount of…ahem…junk in your trunk is worthwhile.  The motivation behind your exercise should not define its overall value.  It doesn’t matter if you’re running to train for a race, lose some weight, or just kill time.  You’re running.  That’s it.  And that’s not junk.

Your turn, dear readers: do you believe in “junk miles?”

What are your two cents?

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Categories: Exercise, Running, Staying Active, Two Cents Tuesday | 4 Comments

A Walk in the Park

Last night Mom and I met for our weekly Wednesday night walk.  I look forward to these little jaunts of ours.  It’s a nice excuse to spend time together while also getting in some exercise.

Really, any time spent with mom is a proverbial walk in the park.  Why?  Well, cause she’s my Best Mom and I love her :).  However, last night we took that idiom and made it literal.

Thank you LTC Construction Company!

One of our local parks has a Fit Trail – a half mile walk around a pond with different exercise stations along the way.  The scenery is beautiful…

The fountains add a certain je ne sais quoi.

…but it’s the exercise stations that take this walk to another level.

Fitness Trails have their origin in 1960s Switzerland but they can be found all over the place now-a-days.  If you haven’t had the good fortune to experience one, it’s basically outdoor circuit training.  Come along with me and Mom, dear readers, as I re-cap last evening’s trek.

All walks should start with some stretching, so we got that outta the way first.

My beautiful, fit Mom.

We followed up stretching with some leg swings to loosen up the joints.

Exercise Barbie at the Park.

I’m not sure of the technical term for this contraption but it sure is a good time.  Your legs go all swing-y, swing-y, back-and-forth and it feels like you’re gliding.  Even better, if you bend your knees a little and focus attention on your hip action and contracting your quads and glutes, you get a great leg and tush work-out.

The best part is that there are two of these things side-by-side, so we could chat while we swung our leggies.

Next up was this barrell-roll type thing:

Someone bring me a Margarita.

If you do this the wrong way, you feel like you’re chillaxing at the shore in a not-particularly-comfortable beach chair.  However, if you do this the right way – contract those abs, lift those legs – it’s an excellent and tough core exercise.

We meandered our way to the next station and discovered this weird turn-y, twist-y thing:

I told Mom to “look confused” and this is the face she made…lol.

Weird arm exercise?  Medieval torture device?  We couldn’t quite figure it out.

Next up, though, was an arm machine we could appreciate:

Look the muscles in Mom’s arm. She’s got some guns, I tell you!

I’m a huge fan of this contraption cause no weights are involved, it’s designed to use your own body weight as the resistance.  Also, it’s double-sided so we could continue our convo as we lifted.  One side was decidedly easier…

No sweat.

…than the other.

Feel the burn.

Further down the trail, I tested my balance…

There I go!

…and made it safely across.

Here I come!

We also did some leg lifts on the parallel bars…

Parallel bars remind me of recess in grammar school.

…and I attempted a pull-up.

This is my “not-gonna-happen” face.

Folks, as fit as I am, I cannot do a pull-up to save my life.  No, not one.  I’m workin’ on it, though.  Perseverance and persistence.  I will get there someday.  🙂

Finally, I knocked out a few sit-ups.  This resulted in an awkward photo…

Made more awkward when Mom stumbled whilst taking the photo…hence the finger in the corner.

…in which I appear to be in the throes of possession by some other-worldly creature.

Didn’t see this comin’…didja?

Notice any similarities?  Hey, at least I’m smiling in my photo.  🙂

We did a few more loops around the pond and then threw in the towel for the day.  Nice walk, fun exercises, and the best Fitness Trail companion a girl could ask for.  It was a pleasant evening, indeed.  🙂

Have you ever done a Fitness Trail?

Do you have an exercise partner that you meet for regular work-outs?

Categories: Exercise, Staying Active | 2 Comments

Two Cents Tuesday: Are you a Monica or a Phoebe?

I’ve never been a fan of that late 90’s TV phenomenon known as Friends but I couldn’t seem to get two of its annoying beloved characters out of my brain as I sat down to write this post.

Gotta love awkward TV stills.

You see, today’s TCT has to do with “planners” and “wingers” – and, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of two better representations of those personalities than the gals pictured above.  **If you can think of better ones, please let me know cause I don’t particularly care for the whole Friends reference.**

TCT #4: Is it better to have a set weekly exercise schedule or to switch it up daily and just go with the flow?

As you all know by now, I am a creature of habit.  Organization, planning, and order make me happy.  I can’t help it.  Blame my mother – I get it from her. 

She is wonderful, by the way. We do cool stuff like climb mountains together.

So, it should come as no surprise that I have a pretty definitive weekly agenda when it comes to fitness:

Monday: Run 4-5 miles

I always feel best after a run. Look, I’m literally shimmering with happiness.

Tuesday: Run 4-5 miles

Maybe not the prettiest, but definitely the most used shoes in my closet.

Wednesday: Walk 3-4 miles with that lovely mom pictured above.

Thursday: Cindy

Don’t hate. Cindy’s got it goin’ on…and she will kick your a**.

Friday: Run 10-12 miles and spend a little time on my arms and my core while watching OnDemand.

This has been my show choice of late. Please don’t judge me.

Saturday: Run 3-4 miles and/or walk 3-4 miles with my lovely mom.

Sunday: Run 4-5 miles (if I didn’t on Saturday) and/or get in 1 hour of pool time. 

Water aerobics is not just for geriatrics.

Finally, Work Wife and I get in our daily 1 mile lunch-time walk and 5-minute plank.

Smokers get smoke breaks. Athletes get plank breaks.

I like my exercise schedule.  It keeps me active.  It’s got variety.  And it allows for a bit of wiggle room. 

BUT…

Come on, you knew there had to be a “but” somewhere in there.

Because I have such a set schedule sometimes I feel unfulfilled if I don’t stick to it.  For instance, if I miss a run on a Monday or Tuesday, that day seems incomplete – like I didn’t check everything off of my to-do list or something – and I end up feeling “off.”

I don’t like the fact that missing a work-out has the potential to ruin my day – makes me seem too obsessive.  So, sometimes I’ll force myself to “wing it” and just exercise according to what mood I’m in on a particular day.  However, if I do that too often I find that I slack off too much and my work-outs are not as frequent, as long, or as intense as they are when I stick to my schedule.

As with anything in life, I suppose it’s most important to find balance in terms of exercise.  As long as you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, I suppose it doesn’t much matter whether you are a “planner” or a “winger” – you’ve just gotta do what works for you. 

In that case, I’m stickin’ with my “planner” tendencies.  Sometimes I may get down if I miss a run but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just ensures that I’ll keep exercise a part of my daily life – having a schedule to rely on just makes it all the more easy to do so.  I mean really, why should I try to force a Phoebe when I’m much more comfortable being a Monica?  🙂

Your turn: When it comes to exercise, are you a Monica or a Phoebe?

What are your two cents?

Categories: Exercise, Running, Schedule, Staying Active, Two Cents Tuesday | 8 Comments

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