Category Archives: SEX: Sleep and Exercise

I’m addicted to Abs

I’m sure you’re all wondering how Abs for Money is coming along so I’ll tell you. I’m up to $5 in book money and I’ve discovered a way to make planking addictive. Technically I’m addicted to playing Fishdom, but I’ve discovered I can Plank and Play so it’s working.

fishdomFishdom is like any other match-3-or-more-and-clear-the-tiles game and therefore sucks away quarter hours by the handful with “one more try and I’ll quit, I promise”. Each level takes approximately 3 minutes to attempt which is deliciously equal to my 3 minute goal for abs per day. I set the timer on my phone for 3 minutes and get into plank position, then switch to Fishdom and start playing. The game distracts my brain from my screaming abs and–more often than not–when the timer goes off, I want to try the level again so I set  the timer again and go.

knee plankI’ve also discovered that you can plank on your knees. I hadn’t realized how long it’d been since I planked for real (on toes and elbows or hands like a push-up) and when my plank lasted a measly ten seconds, I said “Hmm, if you can alter push ups, why not planks?” It’s easier (obviously) on your knees and elbows, but it still works your abs and it keeps your hands free for playing Fishdom. This week I’m going to try going to toes again now that my abs are enormous…ly warmed up. Maybe.

If my elbows are tired of planking, I’ll flip over onto my back and hold my legs out at a 45 degree angle from the floor while I play.  How do you know when you’ve reached 45 degrees? Your abs will burn and you’ll want to drop your legs: that’s the sweet spot. If you look at your toes and it seems more like 85 degrees than 45, just listen to your abs: if they’re unhappy, you got it right.

The only time Plank and Play doesn’t work is when my kids see me on the floor and jump on my back. Maybe someday I’ll be able to plank with a child riding me, but I’ll need to defeat a few hundred Fishdom levels first.

 

Images courtesy of: Get Healthy U (knee plank) and Playrix and Google (Fishdom)

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March Ab-ness Starts Today

March Ab-ness begins TODAY! Why today? Because I couldn’t think of a reason to wait (other than laziness). Two years ago I was doing TRX once a week and when I finished March Ab-ness I felt like I had a belt of muscle around my waist. It was wonderful. I miss that.

coreI haven’t totally stopped working my core—I work it in fits and spurts—but for months I’ve been wanting to get back to consistent mostly-daily core workouts. I’ve proved to myself in Marches past that 3 minutes a day for 30 days takes an inch off my waist. So why haven’t I stuck with it? Ha! You know why. Go ahead, think of a reason. Think of four reasons. My responses are: yes, probably, definitely, and “well, I never!”

The point is not why I let it fizzle, but what I’m going to do about it. Why not start today? I’ve “started today” a few times over months past and fizzled again. So what’s going to be different about today? I’m going to bribe myself.

I work best with goals and rewards, much like a poodle, so I’m going to set a goal and reward myself when I reach it. For example, I like books. I buy most of my books at second hand stores and library book sales and then they sit in my To Read cabinet for months until I get to them. But sometimes, dag-gone-it, I see a book I want to read and it’s new and costs more than a dollar and I look at that cabinet of books I already have and how much milk that new book money could buy and I sigh and set it back on the shelf.

However…

9df88ffd9eff46661653075fe526e848I’ve made myself a chart and decided to pay myself 10 cents for every 1 minute of ab exercises I do. At the end of the month I’m going to tally those minutes into dollars and go buy books. Three minutes a day for 30 days gives me $9 NEW book money.

Books motivate me. They may not motivate you. What does? What special something would you like to do/buy/see/hear/say at the end of the month when you reach your goal? When I first started losing weight, my first goal was a digital scale. Our old scale had a big dial that would change your weight if you leaned forward or backward as you stood on it. I’d hop on and look down and guesstimate my weight from the worn wobbly black lines and if I didn’t like it I’d lean back a bit. The digital scale let me see my progress more accurately. And I covered it with sparkly butterfly stickers so it was pretty.

Figure out what reward motivates you and what goal you’d like to achieve. Start today. Why not?

Feel free to share your own goal and/or reward in the comments. We can learn from one another’s good ideas.

 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

Put Your Heart into It: Exercise and Heart Health

Imagine that you’re a sailor on a sailboat. You and your four friends have been trained to sail, but you’re still new at it. The wind pushes you along peacefully for a while, but then a storm rises. It’s all hands on deck, working frantically against the wind and waves. You make it through that storm and a few more that follow and then one day you realize that you and your friends are stronger, faster, and better sailors than you were before that first storm. When the weather is good, it only takes three of you to man the boat where it once took all five.

heart sailors_0001Exercise is a storm for your heart. Exercise makes your heart work harder for a while which at first can feel like you’re being keelhauled*, but your heart is a fast learner. Before long it’s so used to the battening down the hatches that when your heart is at rest, it can take it easy. Studies show that the resting heart rate of people who exercise is lower than the resting heart rate of landlubbers*. A lubber’s heart (land or otherwise) is not being challenged, so it’s weaker and has to work harder to do less than an exercised heart. More storms makes for better sailors.

Storms have a way of cleaning the air because the extra wind and water (i.e. rain) remove the dust and particles. When you exercise, your blood moves faster which allows it to pulse into every tiny capillary at the tips of your fingers and toes. This allows the blood to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the cells and allows it to remove more junk from those cells. The strong blood flow also helps keep the arteries themselves clean, flexible, and inflammation free. It’s like a storm watering your garden and cleaning the air at the same time. Or sailors scrubbing the deck from jib to mizzenmast. Those are officially now my favorite sailing terms.

heart stormInactivity (keeping your ship docked, so to speak) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Exercise lowers your risk for heart disease by 45%. And that’s exercise at the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise every week level. Even if you’re a landlubber who spends most of her time in the brig and only halfheartedly hoists the mainsail, you’re still reducing your risk of heart disease by a LOT. Anchors aweigh! By the way, those recommended 2.5 hours can be 30 minutes per day five days per week, or 2.5 hours on a weekend, or 25 ten minute bouts of movement sprinkled throughout the week. A bit of climbing the rigging here, a bit of casting off there, maybe a bit of barnacle removal just for fun. Your heart gets stronger with every minute of exercise you do.

We can’t talk about sailing without adding pirates to the mix. Arr, Matey, did you know that your muscles are pirates? Well, they are when you exercise! Our bodies have strict rules about how oxygen is transported, how glucose is absorbed, and so on. When an exercise storm hits, pirates can break those rules. Under the strain of exercise, your pirate muscles are able to steal oxygen and glucose (i.e. energy) straight from the blood instead of waiting for a delivery. This is a very good thing. The heart has to deliver oxygen and glucose to the muscles anyway, so pirate muscles save it some work. I never said they were smart pirates; just that they steal.

heart-pirates.jpgHere are some heart-pumping exercise ideas to get you started:

Walking (to the mailbox, across the parking lot, around the block, etc), biking, running (after toddlers, not your mouth), jogging, vacuuming (under the beds counts double in my book), gardening, roller skating, swimming, jumping (like on a trampoline, not when you see a spider), playing tag (as in chase, not on social media), taking the stairs, jumping jacks (or jills or up the hills).

 

*Keelhauled: a truly awful punishment from sailing days that usually ended in death. Exercise can feel uncomfortable, but if it feels like you’re tied to a rope and being passed under the keel of a ship, maybe pick a different exercise.

*Landlubber: a lubber is old slang for a person who is lazy. Sailors added the land part to make fun of non-sailors. In modern terms we say “couch potato”.

 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37

 

Sail back next week for Her Heart Sank onto the Bed: Sleep and Heart Health

 

References:

Sailing terms – http://brethrencoast.com/Pirate_Glossary.html

Exercise and heart health – http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/specialtopic/physical-activity/exercise’s-effects-on-the-heart.html?print=1&mcubz=3

Exercise and heart health – http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/clinical_services/centers_excellence/womens_cardiovascular_health_center/patient_information/health_topics/exercise_heart.html

Sleeping is Sexy

When your body feels good, you make better choices about the food you eat and drink. Few things make your body feel better than S.EX. That statement holds true for sex itself and for the acronym that S.EX. stands for: Sleep and EXercise.

The exercise-health connection is kind of obvious. Exercise burns calories, builds and tones muscle, and keeps our heart, lungs, brain, skin, and every other part of us in good working order. Getting our blood pumping just a few times per week works wonders for our health. Agreed? Agreed.  On to sleep.

sleep-lose-weight.jpgWhen you sleep seven to eight hours at night, your body has the time and rest it needs to mentally process your day, repair cellular damage (that’s body cells not smart phones), hunt down and remove toxins, and wake up with energy for a new day. When you’re deprived of sleep—even short a few hours a night—your body can only partially recoup. You’re left feeling run down because you are run down and we tend to try to fix ourselves with sweets, junk food, or caffeine for an energy boost.

Sleep does so much more for your body than making you feel awake. “Sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts”(Shape.com). We start with sleep because sleep is going to make all of our other healthy decisions easier to make and more effective. What is the key to weight loss? Eat less and move more, right?

Eating: Studies have shown that sleeping less than 7 hours per night makes you crave high calorie foods, buy more food, and take larger portions than a rested person. Lack of sleep increases cortisol, the stress-related hormone, that ends up making you feel hungry all the time, even when your stomach is full. Fatigue affects your brain, activating the pleasure seeking cerebral section (Donut, anyone?) and slowing down the good decision making (inhibition) center (Fabulous idea! Let’s have two!).

napMoving: Regular sleep helps you burn more calories even when you’re not moving. Sleep is when your body builds and repairs muscle, making any exercise you do more effective. Sleep helps your body regulate hormones like insulin and gives them time to do their job. The result is that sleepers burn more fat than non sleepers, even if their calorie intake is the same.

Sleep to lose weight? That seems too easy. Many of us think weight loss has to involve hours of sweaty torture at a gym, but the secret turns out to be snuggling under the covers in blissful repose. Now that is my kind of weight loss plan!

 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/sleep-weight-loss Six Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

*http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/why-sleep-no-1-most-important-thing-better-body Why Sleep is the No. 1 Most Important Thing For a Better Body

 

Diet vs. Exercise

From the red corner… weighing in at three meals a day plus snacks and beverages… said to have the potential to change your life… is Diet! From the blue corner… weighing in with sneakers and dumbbells… considered a champion of fitness… is Exercise!

Which of these contenders will win the title of Weight Loss Champion of the World? Which of our contenders—Diet or Exercise—will help you lose weight, keep that weight off, and stay healthy and fit for the rest of your life? Let’s find out!

diet vs exerciseRound One: They’re circling each other, calling out random numbers of calories. Exercise calls out 100 calories burned by walking a mile. Oh! Diet lands a solid hit with not consuming one half cup of spaghetti noodles to save that same 100 calories. The crowd roars! So much easier to eat fewer noodles than walk a mile.  Ding ding!

Round Two: Exercise takes an early lead! She barrels out of the blue corner with determination! Going to the gym for one, two, three, four hours a week! Diet stumbles, but is back on her feet. Exercise has burned off a lot of calories with that gym move. Is Diet down? No, Diet’s up! One of those hours spent in the kitchen instead of in the gym could have saved even more calories by cooking meals with lots of vegetables and prepping healthy snacks.  Ding ding!

Round Three: Exercise jabs at Diet. Diet throws a hook, bringing up studies that show diet helps you lose more weight than exercise in the short term. Ooo, that had to hurt. Exercise shakes it off and runs at Diet. Exercise has Diet trapped in the corner. Exercise is pummeling Diet with studies showing that 90% of people who lose weight and keep it off exercise regularly. Ding ding!

Round Four: Diet springs from her corner calling out calories like she did in Round One. Exercise just can’t compete with Diet’s speed cutting calories! Exercise is reeling, trying to keep her feet! She pulls back for a big swing! When cutting calories alone you lose muscle as well as fat, but BAM! With exercise you build muscle and burn more fat than with diet alone, leaving you leaner if not lighter. Diet is catching her breath against the ropes. There’s the bell!

Without a knockout, the judges can’t declare a winner! Diet and Exercise will have to share the Weight Loss Championship belt! Diet is awarded 80% of the belt and Exercise is awarded 20% of the belt. That’s right, folks, Diet gets the leather, and Exercise gets the buckle: Diet is a huge part of weight loss, but Exercise keeps it together.

Be a Champion of Health yourself by keeping both of these champions in your corner!

 

Run in such a way as to get the prize. …we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:24b,25b,26 (NIV)

 

 

Creative Napping (Part 2)

google nap podIf the Google Corporation has nap pods and Japanese businessmen are paying to take naps in special nap stores, then napping is certainly worth a try for you and me. Here are a few more ideas to work those energy boosting minutes of down time into your day:

  1. The Lunch Nap. If you work outside the home, use your lunch hour wisely. Pack a lunch so you can eat quickly and then close your eyes for a few minutes. If your work space lacks privacy, sleep in your car and set an alarm. I repeat, set an alarm.
  2. The Carpool Nap. Arrive twenty minutes early to pick up the kids, put on sunglasses, and lean your seat back. If you’re worried about oversleeping, hold your keys in your hand and rest your hand on the steering wheel. When you drop your keys, the sound wakes you up and your nap is over. That or the sound of the honking horns when the pick up line is moving and you’re not.
  3. The Coffee Nap. Caffeine takes about twenty minutes to affect the body, so that instant alertness you feel with your first sip of coffee in the morning is all in your head. That bean-brain delay is perfect for a Coffee Nap. Simply drink coffee and close your eyes for twenty minutes. The benefits of the coffee and the benefits of the nap will kick in together and leave you tap dancing through the rest of your day.

japanese nap storeIf you don’t like naps, there is another way to boost your energy: exercise. If you’re at home, clean a bathroom or carry things upstairs to put away or do some jumping jacks. If you’re at work, get yourself moving over your lunch or coffee break. Go for a walk, climb some stairs, or do a squat every time one coworker complains about another. (Unfortunately for some of you, that will equal about three hundred squats an hour.) Any kind of exercise will get your blood flowing, wake up your brain, and make you feel more energetic.

Whether you prefer napping or exercise, your body will be reset and ready to finish your day.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope. Acts 2:26 (NIV)

Creative Napping (Part 1)

Naps are controversial. Some people love naps because naps boost your energy and creativity and make you feel refreshed and ready to finish the day. Some people hate naps because naps can sap what’s left of your motivation, leave you dragging, and make it hard to get to sleep at night. We’re going to define the energy boosting kind of naps as Sexy Naps. Sexy Naps are 10-30 minutes in length and therefore only involve light brain sleep, not REM sleep. If your 7-8 hours of sleep at night is your beauty sleep, a Sexy Nap is you “freshening up”.

nap.jpgBut how, Katie? How do I take a Sexy Nap amidst my busy schedule and my unrelentingly present and needy children? Like all great problem solvers of history—such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill, who were habitual nap takers—we’re going to get creative. We should probably nap first, but we’ll press on.

  1. The Play Nap. Little kids really like it when Mommy plays with them, so get down on the floor and play. Drive some cars, dress some dolls, do a puzzle, and work yourself into a horizontal position on the floor. After ten or fifteen minutes of play, inform your child that your car or doll or yourself is tired and is going to sleep for a few minutes, but they should win the race or meet the prince or finish the puzzle while your character self is sleeping. Close your eyes and hope for the best. Even if you’re drooling, most kids are happy that your body is next to theirs and they will play over and around you while you snooze. As for keeping your nap short, that’s a no brainer: they’re your kids. When have they ever left you alone for more than ten minutes.
  2. The Episode Nap. Snuggle up on the sofa with your kids and put on an episode of a show they like. Lay your head back and close your eyes. The kids might wiggle and comment during the show, but you are resting and rest is good. Most kids will wake you up when it’s over to ask if they can watch another one. My husband has the Episode Nap perfected for Saturday afternoons. He lies on the floor with a pillow over his groin and falls asleep watching with our boys. When the show ends, he is invariably jumped upon (hence the pillow protection) and gets up ready for the rest of the day.

It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17 (NIV)

 

http://michaelhyatt.com/videos/the-value-of-naps-from-a-scientific-perspective?utm_source=Michael+Hyatt+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1cc5b87675-rssdaily2&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d1fa5823d7-1cc5b87675-251202785 The Value of Naps