Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Kids Reactivation

The kids have been in camp for the past week: gymnastics camp. All day from 8:30 until 4:00 they have been moving their bodies. Rest periods are built in, but still that is a lot of physical activity. One child woke up with a sore leg that she refused to walk on (she could still crawl and hop, so I knew the injury wasn’t ultra serious, most likely an overtireFront supportd body). The other complained of a sore back from picking up a springboard the previous day in camp. Both kids requested ReactivationFeeling better post-Reactivation, they completed the full week of camp.

I am very fortunate that I met Andy Langberg, the founder and developer of Reactivation, when I was dealing with major pain issues in my body. I am thrilled that I was able to take the marvelous training in Reactivation Level I, followed immediately with the Level 2 training in 2014. When a body is pushed physically, even when just keeping a body active, injury or excess stress to the body can occur. Extra care is sometimes needed. Reactivation is an amazing form of extra care. Aiding a body to heal itself, giving just a bit of energy to change the vibration of a body; it’s a marvelous thing. As my son asked as I worked on him, “It’s sort of like magic?”

Yes, it is.

Bikercise

I had planned to write more about the Fitbit this week, but this past Saturday I ended up going for a bit more of a sprint than I intended on doing. My daughter and I were running late for her ballet class mainly because I was trying to do too many things. She took her bike which allows us to get to class on time. Last wAnalupe bikeeek she was just remembering how to bike, and I had a pleasant jog keeping up with her. Now she remembers how to ride her bike. She can bike fast! Luckily I knew I would be jogging a little so I had worn my back pack instead of a shoulder bag, and I had on my sneakers, but it was not a jog; it was a sprint. Longer sprints than I’ve been doing when I do my wave workouts.

Unfortunately with the busy morning and the too many things to do, I forgot to put on my Fitbit HR so I have no idea what my heart rate went up to, but pretty high I would guess as I was breathing hard. I also forgot the bike lock and my daughter’s ballet shoes. Too many things to do, not enough time being in the present.

This summer it will be a huge challenge to keep up with both my kids when they are on their bikes and I will be wearing my running sneakers a lot. Or I’ll just have to learn to bike in NYC, which is not high on my list of things I wish to learn.

A New Exercise Tracker and Watch: Fitbit HR

photo by Guillermo Murcia

photo by Guillermo Murcia

I have been wearing the Fitbit HR for the past week. I’m enjoying it very much. Adapting to wearing a watch again has been the main challenge; my wrist is not used to the constricting feeling of a band around it. The LED lights felt painful, like a burning sensation, the first time I wore the watch. Now my skin has desensitized. I don’t notice any burning sensations anymore from the pulsing green lights penetrating my skin, measuring the flow of blood under the surface. If I am already wearing the watch when I turn on the heart rate function I feel a tickling sensation when the lights first come on. When I put my awareness to that area of my body I can still sense the lights flashing, but when busy or otherwise engaged I do not notice the lights pulsing. Because of this I choose to turn the heart rate function off for most of the day and use it mainly when exercising, to watch the heart rate recover. It works well in this function to track the general tendencies of the pumping of the blood. I receive an instantaneous report, as opposed to the 30 – 40 second delay experienced using the sensors on a treadmill, which of course aren’t available in the comfort of my living room when I am running in place, doing jumping jacks, or stepping.

I’ve set the watch to show the heart rate when I tap the watch so it’s very convenient to read. For instance as I sit typing my heart rate is a 76 beats per minute, that’s a bit higher than it ought to be but as my sleep was not so restful last night I’m unsurprised.Being able to view my resting HR is fun. It will be interesting to see if I can drop it below 62 for my average resting rate if I was too increase the consistency of my cardio workouts. Three or four times a week, instead of on to three times plus a few sprints to keep up with kids on bikes or trying to get to the school bus stop on time.

As I do the waves having a stop watch on my wrist is so much more convenient than using the stopwatch located on my phone and much less obtrusive when working with my clients. Also having the tap function set to heart rate makes accessing my heart rate instantaneous rather than needing to scroll through the time of day and the steps taken first.

Ever since my Polar Heart Rate monitor watch broke about 8 years ago I have been using my phone as my watch. After having children, I needed to be available if a caregiver or now the school needs to reach me in an emergency, and the phone has been ever present. I have never enjoyed doing this, as I do find phones and especially smart phones can be unduly distracting whether it is my phone or a clients phone. It’s also cumbersome and obvious when I’m checking the time in the middle of a session. With the Fitbit HR I can leave my phone in my bag or tucked away in a pocket when I am with a client. If I have an incoming call the watch vibrates and shows the caller id. I can put the distraction of the phone further away from myself. It would be nice if text messages could appear on it (after all more people seem to text than call these days) like a caller id with the message too, but for that I suppose I’ll need an apple watch. For a thorough review of the apple watch as a health and fitness tracker click here.

An additional function that I really enjoy is the sleep mode which does not need to be put into sleep mode; no button to push or tapping to do to get the device to record or come out of sleep mode. However, if you get up in the middle of the night like I sometimes do, the Fitbit will call that the waking up and you then need to add a second sleep log for when you fall back asleep until final wake up in the morning. During sleep I find that the weirdness of wearing a watch becomes more pronounced. I rarely wear jewelry or anything so I find myself wanting to remove the Fitbit HR in the middle of the night. It feels constricting and bothersome on my wrist. Needless to say on the nights when I remove during my sleep the results are not so accurate, but as with the pulsing of the LED lights my body is becoming acclimated to wearing a watch.

The rest of the Fitbit HR functions are like the Fitbit One, which my son and husband are both using when they can. I will post about their experiences in the future.

For more detailed reviews of the Fitbit HR you can go here and here.

Relaxation

Last night was a fun evening that reminded me of previous nights, where dinner was interrupted with a cartwheel competition, or just a “look at what I can do” moment of physical activity. My husband was finishing preparing dinner as my daugRelaxationhter began doing her moves. She showed how she now does her arch (wheel for us yoga folks) based on what she had learned in gymnastics class that day. A large, full, energized wheel, that after holding it for an extended amount of time left her tired. So, I showed her how to relax her body fully in Savasana. From there I recalled the relaxation assists that I had learned over the years and performed a few on her. She loved it, the feeling of caring from her mother, but also the wave like motion from the thoracic into the cervical spine with a very gentle traction of the head, and working from the other end, a gentle traction of the spine. In my work I have recently not been performing these sorts of hands on assists with my clients very often as the cause of the body being tight is a decrease in stability and the worst thing for that is for an outside force to create further instability. However, watching her as she melted and the deep relaxation that she was able to attain, it was beautiful to see and a reminder that relaxation is an important skill to learn at any age.

Waves Next to Waves

My newest workout consists of intervals, but not traditional intervals where a short burst of cardio activity is used to elevate the heart rate followed by a conditioning exercise where the heart rate only partially recovers. In these intervals I want my heart rate to reach close to maximum and then have a full recovery between before I begin the next interval. This means standing, or preferably sitting, catching my breath followed by a bit of yogic breathing to slow the heart rate. I do a total of 5 or 6 intervals. The idea is to create a wave with my heart rate: crests and troughs.

Beach in Santa Marta, ColombiaThis past week while the Northeast and my home in Brooklyn was enduring an arctic blast, I had the luxury of spending some time on a beach, creating waves next to waves. The kids mainly wanted to spend the days in the pool, but I convinced my daughter to join me one morning for a walk to the beach with the intention of a bit of exercise. We arrived, took off our sandals and set our goals: I would sprint down to a red tent on the beach and back, she would sprint a shorter distance to the unused volleyball post and back. I took off at a sprint while she stood with our sandals, bag of towels, and her doll that had joined us and was taking a nap. It was wonderful: the sound of the waves, the bright sun, the feel of the sand under my bare feet but also the extra focus and attention that was required to choose the best path so as not twist an ankle on the loosely packed, damp sand, very different than running on a treadmill in the depths of winter. I raced back to my daughter sufficiently winded to conclude that the distance I selected took about a minute round trip. As I recovered my daughter took off on her sprint, down to the pole and back. She was ready for me to go as soon as she returned, but I wisely listened to my body and we talked and rested a bit first and then I ran again. We continued this process until I had completed five sprints and my daughter four; that was more than enough for her little legs, and it was getting hot.

I enjoyed the sprints on the beach with my daughter as it is always wonderful to have company while exercising. In addition we both discovered that cartwheels are fun to do on the sand and looking at the ocean while upside down in a handstand is quite disorienting.

The Giant Boot: 2 Weeks

This post began very differently half a week ago when my foot was beginning to feel much better; I had even woken up one morning and had no pain for 45 minutes. Unfortunately that was the beginning of a day of over 11,000 steps and ended with little sleep due to the New Year’s Eve festivities. Since then my foot has been no fun and ended Thursday night on the lowest note possible when I again logged over 10,000 steps.

I hope I only have to wear the boot for only three weeks, since its basically been no fun lugging around this super unstylish boot. However, there have been a couple of positives: I have been stretching almost every night and most mornings (just to get the kinks caused by the boot out of my body and, since I’m on the floor already, a few sets of push-ups and abdominal exercises) and while on winter break the kids have been spending more time out of the house without me so I can really rest my foot, and my whole self.

My new toy has been a fantastic bonus in that I can easily see which days I am on my feet too long: work days, when I need to run errands, and when I need to take kids anywhere. But then I have the proof available at my fingertips, instead of  just a general sense of having done too much, and can modify my day accordingly. However, now that school and work have recommenced and all my clients have returned from winter break, modifying my day has become a real challenge.

Today I will abide by this need to truly modify my schedule. The kids can clean up their own toys or the toys can rest where they land, the food can be leftovers or prepared foods, and I can sit on the couch and read a book, knit a hat or maybe watch the news or a movie, and I can go to bed before the dishes are washed, after all I am not super woman or even super mom. I can’t do it all especially when I am injured. To the couch I go.

New Toy!

I was given a toy for Christmas: it’s a Fitbit and it is so much fun.

My New Toy  Photo by Guillermo Murcia

My New Toy
Photo by Guillermo Murcia

Remember what a pedometer is? It’s a little box you clip on your waistband and it measures how many steps you take in a day. They have been in use since the mid 1980’s with the generally accepted goal of 10,000 steps a day for most adults. I have had a few different ones over the years, simple, effective, but the Fitbit is different. It’s a twenty-first century pedometer, and so much more. For one thing it’s has a sleek little shape and a soft case that clips to my pants pocket, or bra, or waistline as needed. It measures my steps, tells me how many calories I have burned (not just walking, but being alive, based on my age, weight and gender). How many miles I have walked. How many flights of stairs I have climbed with a 10 flight goal, but, as with the step goal, I can also adjust the number up or down and set my own goal for steps and stairs. And it has a cute name.

My Fitbit also says “HELLO LYNNE,” “SMOOCHES LYNNE,” “GO LYNNE,” and “YOU ROCK LYNNE”; it’s encouraging to have a friend cheering me on when I am trying to be active. While lugging the giant boot around I’m still averaging over 5000 steps a day. So not bad, but half the ideal goal of 10,000 steps and more than my goal for resting my foot.

I can track my activity entirely on the Fitbit on each day and for the past days on the home website, where there is also the option of creating or joining groups. Of course, there is an app for it also!  I record my water intake on the app, and can record my food and activity also. The Fitbit syncs to the phone and it’s just a whole lot of fun. Since I am rarely on my computer the phone app is really helpful and necessary. A great toy for an exercise geek!

The Exercise Geek Photo by Guillermo Murcia

The Exercise Geek
Photo by Guillermo Murcia

Oh, I mustn’t forget the best part. This is what all overtired moms would be interested in: the Fitbit records the amount of time you sleep, and the number of times you wake or are “active” in the night. I’m averaging 36 times a night! No wonder I’m still tired even after being in bed for 8 hours. On the website I can see more details about my sleep patterns, in case I forget at what time a kid woke me up for water, or because the other one needed to be close to her mom. I can also see how long it takes to settle back into sleep after those sweet little wake ups by my lovely children.

As this seems to be a review I guess I should point out a negative: for some reason on the days I ride in a car, or especially the city bus the Fitbit seems to think I have walked many flights of stairs even though I haven’t walked any. The car ride to Vermont equaled 6 flights of stairs and a city bus ride 15 blocks equaled 17! I haven’t explored the food log aspect or the weight loss versus maintain weight tools. I will try those after the winter break so look for the follow up.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Fitbit and received no compensation.

I have a new accessory: a giant boot.

I'm supposed to be wearing it, but as we were baking cookies (with lots of flour) I took a break and the kids tried out the boot. Hopefully my son will never need one!

I’m supposed to be wearing it, but as we were baking cookies (with lots of flour) I took a break and the kids tried out the boot. Hopefully my son will never need one!

Nothing like a stress fracture to slow an active person down. Actually, I wasn’t letting the fracture slow me down, at least not enough, so it’s a good thing I’m lugging this boot around now. Its impossible to walk really fast in this boot. Slow I go, and now my bone will heal. Meanwhile the boot throws my hips out of alignment and “hello” to back pain. Add a lift to balance the hips. Immediate pain on the bottom of my non-injured foot. Try a lift with arch support. Removed that within five minutes, no sense in creating a new injury.

Solutions:

1) sit and not move for three to six weeks.

2) stretch as much as possible.

3) keep doing other exercises to balance my hips and stabilize my torso.

Solution number one, although ideal in many ways, is completely unrealistic. Solution two is something I can do for a few minutes morning and night, and occasionally in between. Solution three is essential even if the dishes haven’t been washed or the kids are not in bed yet.

Of course, 3 to six weeks of non impact cardio, that is a problem. Bike would be the best thing, but I have children and when can I get down to the gym? It’s so much easier to just do 50 jumping jacks then toss a load of laundry in the wash, do another 50, wash some dishes, do some push-ups, more jumping jacks, referee the kids, more jacks, and then find a few minutes at the end of the day to do a few more. Combined with walking kids to various places that makes for good activity, but 30 minutes straight, in a gym on a bike? Impossible, or at least highly unlikely! Hop on one foot? I’ll have to give that a try.

The good news:

1) The kids will get better at doing things for themselves.

2) I have a dance background and strengthening feet is something I can do! This fracture will not reoccur; my feet will become as strong as they used to be when I danced.

Ah, traveling! What a Pleasure!

Okay, not true, but what a difference it makes when there are no children traveling with me. Traveling with my children isn’t difficult, but it does require a constant focus, constant vigilance, constant monitoring of them and how they affect the people around them. It’s not a walk in the park. But without kids! Wow! I read most of a book before I even got on the airplane. But then I closed it and decided I wanted to walk, I was tired of sitting and again, not on the airplane yet where I would be stuck sitting for over 7 hours plus boarding and debarking. Not how I like to be: stationary. I took a little stroll past the shops, through security, saw my gate and kept on walking. I wasn’t hungry as I began this stroll, still wasn’t hungry at the end, but I was incomprehensibly craving chocolate!

Does the picture or the text make you crave something sweet or chocolaty?

Does the picture or the text make you crave something sweet or chocolaty?

So much food and especially candy to buy in an airport, a giant bag of M&M’s, Hershey’s, Godiva, giant muffins, and pastries, anything a tired girl could possibly want! Hard to find anything that qualified as nutritious, at least that isn’t what jumped out at me as I strolled. It was all those other things and they are conveniently located, not just once but twice, three times, in one wing of the terminal. Just in case you change your mind and decide you really do want that party sized pack of peanut M&M’S before you board your flight. The opportunity to purchase those or any other party sized pack of candy you want will present itself without your need to backtrack. You can eat them while you fly, after all you can’t go running while stuck on an airplane, might as well eat.

Once I arrived at my destination food continued to be of interest, not that the fast food is quite so abundant, or as obvious in a foreign country, but all the different foods to eat, different wines and beer to sample. Both very good wine and beer can be found easily in Prague. I couldn’t cook in my hotel room and well, it was vacation; I didn’t want to cook or wash dishes, or shop for groceries. Eating in restaurants, the temptation to try the new and have an appetizer too, and a desert. Yummy! Just one more bite, after all it is vacation and a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m walking all day exploring the sites.

(Tip: When traveling with a companion or when eating out anywhere, it’s a good idea to split the entrees, the appetizers, and the desert if you really want one. But remember restaurant food tends to be richer than what you would cook for yourself, so go easy and enjoy!)

On one of those walks (by myself, no kids, no husband, just me and my flashbacks to backpacking around Europe when I was 21) I found a walking path, described in the NY Times travel section, definitely something I wouldn’t have been reading when I was 21. The path in Prague, was a former railroad bed, now paved over into an ultra smooth bike and walking path. I finally found the path around 10:00 am, more or less as without my iPhone I had no idea what time it was as I haven’t worn a watch in over six years. The path was rather empty, passed two individuals, then I took a detour up 105 steps, straight up, rather good exercise. I do believe walking stairs is some of the best exercise possible and it can be done on any stairs. I took a look at the view and then walked back down the stairs to continue along the path, where a young mother went zooming past rollerblading pushing a stroller while her white golden retriever loped at her side. What fabulous exercise and so much more fun than running and pushing a stroller. My rollerblades were placed in storage very quickly after arriving in NYC, too many bumps, too much traffic, lets face it too scary and the wrist protectors and knee protectors were just plain ugly. Maybe with the increase in bike paths and in NYC there will be an increase in the activity?

Why I Need To Be More (in shape that is)

I don’t like to tell my kids that I can’t do something because I am tired, or aching, or any other excuse, yet in the past year (or two) I have been saying this more and more. The worst thing is for my three year old to start imitating me saying “I can’t do that, my back hurts” or ” I can’t, my leg hurts” or “I’m too tired” when she is perfect health and just woke from a nap. Definitely not the example I wish to set! I need to have all my parts working again. Yes, I would be happy to lose 5 pounds to get back to my pre-children weight, but its the quality of life issue. Even more important is the example I set for my children. I want to be able to play with my children, to be their horse, their slide, tunnel, or bridge, or to take them for a ride on my airplane legs, to allow them to stand on my shoulders and do back flips to the floor! It’s fun to play with them in a physical manner and they still need the physical closeness with their mother. That is the best motivation to give my body the extra time and attention it needs to become strong again.