Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Feet

I love to dance. I’m terrible at it, but I love it all the same. When I decided to renew my commitment to fitness and healthy living, I knew that I wanted to dance more. I looked at classes and clubs and all sorts of options, but nothing seemed like a good fit. I’d like to try belly dance, but the thought of trekking through winter weather to a class, let alone finding the time to fit in a class at all was daunting. So I decided that the best option was just to dance!

Once a week I come home straight from work, set up the mats on the floor, pull up my workout playlist and dance. It doesn’t matter if I’m good or bad, if I’ve got two left feet or moves like Jagger, I just move to the music. I set a time that I have to achieve – usually thirty minutes – and then I just go. Most days, I end up doing about forty minutes, just because it’s so much fun. I don’t even feel like I’m exercising.   

Dancing alone isn’t going to keep me healthy, but I think that it provides more than just a chance to add in a little exercise every week – it makes me happy. I feel great when I’m dancing and I’m happy for hours afterward. Dancing ensures that I’m getting in an extra workout outside of my strength-training and walking. It also means that I’m getting a huge endorphin rush once a week – and experts say that’s a really good thing. It will hopefully keep me motivated to move and healthier overall.

Do you have a favourite workout that you just love to do?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Your Mouth: The Gateway to a Healthier You

Recently, I picked up a copy of Your Mouth: The Gateway to a Healthier You by Dana G. Colson, D.D.S. I started reading it in the lobby at my doctor’s office and it was a great way to pass the time – especially because my doctor (who is fabulous) often runs a bit behind. Dr. Colson’s belief is that the mouth is the gateway to a lot of health issues and that by treating it well we can be healthier and happier.

Some of the dental/oral health issues covered were ones that I was already familiar with, but I really enjoyed how she incorporated yoga and yogic thinking into having a healthy mouth. She had great exercises, many based in yogic practice, that could be used to improve your oral health and how your smile looks overall. It was definitely interesting and practicing the exercises was really beneficial. I have only done yoga in a limited way so far, but I’ve always wanted to do more. I’m going to try to incorporate these exercises into my life – and I’m definitely going to try to smile more. I think that’s one of the best tips of all – because smiling helps you exercise your mouth, but it also lifts the spirits of you and those around you. That’s something worth embracing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stand Up, Sit Down

My trainer at the gym taught me a great (and easy) move recently – all I have to do is sit down on the Bosu ball and stand back up. That’s it. So simple! But, it’s actually really hard and I can feel the burn the entire time I’m doing it.

She says I’m actually really good at it, which means I get to do even more reps than she had originally suggested (yay?). I don’t mind, though. I’ve actually decided to ask Shawn to get our Bosu set up in the living room so that I can do more at home. I like the idea of simple, easy-to-do exercises that are high-impact. Maybe doing extra reps will off-set the guilt I feel when I watch trashy reality TV.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Club is Back

Some of you may remember that I was in a book club years ago. I loved it! But when Invest in Kids closed, so did our staff book club. I haven’t stopped reading (I managed 63 books in 2011 – a personal record), but I did stop talking about books in a meaningful way. I still chatted with people on Twitter now and then, but real book-club-style conversations were few and far between.

Recently, one of my co-workers started a book club and invited me to join. I immediately said yes. Our first book was A Lesson Before Dying, which was incredibly powerful, and I loved the lively conversation and different opinions of everyone who attended. There’s something so amazing about the opportunity to discuss a book with others – you get to see things so differently and experience the book in ways you might not have considered.

I think that having smart, thought-provoking conversations is so important to living a healthy, fully-experienced life and I’m so glad that book club is back in mine. We’re reading The Night Circus next and I am looking really forward to that. I’ve heard great reviews and I’m sure it will evoke some fantastic conversations.

Anyone else in a book club? Why do you like being involved?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year, New Me

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but this year I decided to take on some new goals. I always feel like January 1st is the worst time to do that, but so far I feel like it’s going pretty well. To start with, I took the advice of Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point blog and didn’t start on the 1st. On New Year’s Day we always have a crazy, decadent brunch, we laze around the house and any healthy living ideas are pretty much out the window by noon.

Instead, I started when I was back at work. It helped to be far enough removed from the holidays that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on something. I cut way back on sugar, I went to the gym and I felt much, much better. I’m not fully back on the sugar fast yet (peanut butter pretzel bites, why did I buy you?), but I’m avoiding it during the week and working on making better food choices overall.

I miss being healthy. I let myself go over the last year – less time at the gym, less thought going into my food choices and far too few entries into my healthy living blog. Will 2012 see me returning to fighting form? I’m hopeful, but hesitant because I was doing so well and then, well, I failed. But I have hope and a positive outlook moving forward. So no resolutions this year, just the resolve to do better so that I’ll feel better – that’s worth giving up a few peanut butter pretzels, in my opinion.