Archive for the ‘running’ Tag

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.

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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.

Without a running partner

Today I was in the park with Mateo and ran into my running partner. I have been feeling a bit guilty about not calling her when I have gone running the past few weekends, but I know I would not have been able to keep up with her due to this pregnancy. I didn’t tell her that was why I hadn’t called (I haven’t been sharing the fact that I’m pregnant with everyone I know, still waiting for the first trimester to be complete for that), instead I told her that my time of day was inconsistent (which is also true)…. Her reason was better: that she wants to sleep or read the newspaper with her free time. Good choice especially since she is caring for two little girls under the age of 2 1/2. She mentioned that she missed the activity though and I began to think about it. She is active in her life anyway so missing these morning runs won’t affect her health that much. Same with me, I lead a very active lifestyle even without my added running or workouts. And that is the point, the goal in life, to be active. It’s not just about exercising for an hour three or four times a week. It’s about being physically active on a daily basis: to create an active life. Then if you miss a workout, it doesn’t matter so much, well to the mental health maybe, but not the physical health, not so much.  And sometimes taking time to sleep or read the newspaper is also very important for the mental health.

Tips on Scootercise

Brief description of “Scootercise”:  Exercise that occurs while chasing a toddler or older child who is riding on a scooter. (My first day of scootercise occured on August 15, 2008, for a full account go to my website and click on that blog and the entry titled Scootercise.) 

1) Wear a good pair of shoes, preferably running sneakers. This is not the time to worry about fashion!

2) Bring water or know where the water fountains are located; it’s hard work chasing a scooter and the driver of the scooter will also get thirsty, eventually.

3) Be prepared to yell: “Stop,” “Slow down,” and “Wait for your Mama” are a few phrases that I use and they sometimes work.

4) Choose a path without many roadway intersections: a bike path, a running path, or a park are good locations.

5) Be prepared for bumps in the road or path: bring bandaids.

6) Remember to have fun, even when you are carrying a tired child and a scooter!

I found a running partner!

7:55 am August 2, 2008

 Today I will go for a run with a new running partner, if I can coordinate meeting with her at the correct time. I will be great if we can, for both of us. It always helps to have a partner especially when winter arrives and it’s cold and dark outside, very difficult to motivate for running and especially when I haven’t slept enough. She is a mother of two cute little girls, I think her second one is close to 6 months now. I will finish the log when I return. 

Later….

Okay, that was a hard run, too fast, and plenty long. My new running partner is very good; an endurance runner. We did a loop around Cadman Plaza running loop (which I adore, the rubberized surface is fantastic), then we headed down Middagh Street to the Promenade, and up Montague Street with a confused turn onto Clinton, to Pierrpont Street to get to Cadman Plaza West, turned onto Tillary Street, then onto the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge (I didn’t realize we were turning so there was a momentary collision of two sweaty, heavy breathing mothers as I went straight and she turned), then the difference between the two of us really became apparent as we reached the stairs going down off the Brooklyn Bridge that would allow us back into our neighborhood of Dumbo; she was ready to keep going, I was ready to call it a day. 

We called it a day and went down the stairs; I still ran the rest of the way back to Bridge Street (“ran” may be a little strong a word, “jogged slowly” is more accurate), then walked up the two flights of stairs. When I arrived home, Mateo was awake, so we said good morning, got out the yoga mat and I did a round of the sun salutation. My son decided it was time to poop, I changed the diaper and then finished the rest of the sun salutation… Okay, finished is not quite the most accurate word: 

The rounds were not consecutive, many poses became tunnels for Mateo: downward dog, plank, the step backs. Then Mateo climbed on top  of me in the middle of a round and I held plank position with him on top; 25 pounds of toddler is a great challenge for the stabilizing muscles of the torso and shoulders. I attempted Vashisthasana, but Mateo decided it was time to climb on me again.Mateo climbing

I think Vashisthasana is one of the most challenging poses to do with a two year old climbing on top, but I could really feel my oblique muscles working, more than the usual amount. Then he wandered away to play with cars and I began to prep for a headstand, which I have not done consistently since before he was born. That was when Mateo decided that I had exercised enough, “whine, whine, cry cry.”

It was time to end the session, Time to just be, no more trying to get in one more pose.  

Mateo cuddled up in my lap, resting his head on my belly. Arms wrapped around my waist.

Inhale.

Exhale. 

Rock, rock. 

Inhale. 

Exhale.

Inhale, “do you want breakfast?” 

Inhale.

“No.”

Exhale. 

Inhale.

Exhale.

Rock, rock.

Inhale, ”you just want to sit with me, right?”

“Yes.”

And so we sat.