Why I Don’t Run

I don’t run for exercise. Sometimes I wish I could, or would, because you burn so many calories so quickly, but it doesn’t work for me. I blame my boobs and my brain.

I know, all women have boobs, but my tatas are too big for running. (Note: I am not complaining, I am stating a fact. My boobs are wonderful; they’re just not built for running.) I have yet to meet a bra that can hold the Ladies in such a way that effectively fights the counter-bounce of gravity. To be comfortable, I have to tuck my elbows into my sides and make a shelf for my boobs with my forearms. Couple that with my gasping for air and I look like an asthmatic Tyrannosaurus Rex lumbering along.Trex run

My husband runs almost every day. I tried once. When I complained that I couldn’t breathe, he helpfully advised me to count to four as I breathe in and to four again as I breathe out. I tried it and it worked very well: I could breathe and running was easier, but I kept having flashbacks of Lamaze breathing during labor. Also, after two minutes of counting, my brain was bored. Me + bored + sweaty T-Rex = not a happy runner. I prefer to power walk while reading a book.

The only time I like to run is when I play soccer or some other competitive field sport. There’s something about chasing down my prey and stealing the ball that thrills me. It’s how T-Rexes like to run.

 

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. (1 Corinthians 9:26)

 

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Help, They’re Taking my Excuses

The BBC is out to get me. Out to get me healthy, that is. They keep publishing news about studies that show there is no wrong way to exercise. First researchers set the exercise bar at 150 minutes per week. That’s two and a half hours, which sounds like a lot, but if you break it up into 30 minutes a day, five days a week, it becomes very doable.

Unless…

bbc-vacuumExcuse #1: I can’t make it to the gym five days a week this week because my kid is sick, my other kid has a dentist appointment, it’s snowing, my car’s in the shop, there’s a Downton Abbey marathon on TV, my sneakers don’t match my only clean t-shirt, and no one wants to sweat on a Friday. May as well give up.

BBC: Your exercise doesn’t have to be done in a gym and doesn’t have to be 30 minutes in a row. Every little bit of exercise adds up, so five minutes of walking because you parked at the back of the parking lot, or ten minutes vacuuming the house, or 7 minutes pulling weeds in the garden, or 20 minutes shoveling snow all add up. No excuses.

Unless…

bbc-bikeExcuse #2: I have a sedentary job and a busy schedule driving here and there and the only time I can do any real exercising is on the weekends. But going for a hike or playing tennis or taking a long bike ride doesn’t count, right? I mean, if most of my exercise is all in one day, it doesn’t do any good, does it?

BBC: Actually, it does; it does a lot of good. It does almost as much good as spreading the exercise out over five days. Again, moving your body for 150 minutes per week is what’s important, not how those minutes are grouped together.

So…

There’s no wrong way to exercise? Every little bit counts and every a lot bit counts and all of it adds up to reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes, not to mention looking and feeling fantastic?

BBC: Yes.

Then I’d better get moving. No excuses. BBC, can you please publish an article on how eating chocolate burns fat?

BBC: When a scientific study proves it, sure.

Sticking with the non-fiction, then, are you? Fair enough.

 

“For in him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28a

 

Weekend exercise alone ‘has significant health benefits’ http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38560616

Could Vacuuming Save the Nation? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3670523.stm

A Tale of Two Scrooges

scrooge_5212Ebenezer Scrooge strolled briskly down the sidewalk. His cane tapped out a satisfying rhythm with the coins clinking in his pocket. Odd sounding footsteps approached him from behind—more of a webbed toe flap than a step. He knew that sound. He turned to greet his colleague, but didn’t slow his pace.

“Scrooge McDuck! What brings you out this fine morning?”

Scrooge grinned and narrowed his eyes. “Wouldn’t you like to know, laddie?”

Ebenezer allowed Scrooge to catch up and walk alongside him. He studied the duck out of the corner of his eyes. Two wealthy men out for a stroll the morning after that study was released? Hardly a coincidence. “How’s your heart, Scrooge?”

McDuck flapped his wings once and gave a little hop. To a passerby it would look like a well dressed duck ruffling his feathers, but Ebenezer knew he’d startled his fowl friend. He’d guessed correctly and by the scowl on McDuck’s face, McDuck knew it too.

“How’s your own heart, Ebenezer? Still cold as gold in an iceberg?”

Ebenezer laughed. “You’ve lost, McDuck!”

mcduckScrooge pumped his wings and walked faster. “You eat low fat, cholesterol free gruel every day. Your arteries are as clean as a newly minted coin.”

Ebenezer lengthened his strides. “And you chase all over the earth with those three nephews of yours hunting for treasure. You swim in gold doubloons every day. I, on the other hand, sit at my desk all day counting money! This is the first exercise I’ve had in years!”

The two millionaires glared at one another and increased their pace. Sweat glistened on their foreheads and Ebenezer’s top hat tilted to one side.

They were so intent on one another that they didn’t see a young woman roller skating down the sidewalk toward them. McDuck managed to fly up into the air at the last moment, but Ebenezer power walked into her and sent them both sprawling into the grass. Ebenezer pushed himself onto his knees.

“My apologies, Madame! Are you hurt?”

The woman sat up and inspected her elbow where a fresh scrape was oozing red. “Why weren’t you watching where you were going?”

Ebenezer pointed at McDuck who was just landing on the grass beside them. “This scoundrel was trying to save more money than me!”

The woman’s eyebrows reached for the clouds. “Excuse me?”

Scrooge pulled a Band-Aid from a pocket in his vest and handed it to the woman. “The Journal of the American Heart Association just released a study showing that people who exercise save more money on health care each year than people who don’t. This old crank thinks his heart is in worse shape than mine.”

The woman pulled open the Band-Aid. “I don’t understand. What does his heart have to do with it?”

mcduck-swimmingEbenezer picked up his cane and stood. “The study focused on heart disease because many other studies have already shown that exercise is directly linked to heart health. If exercisers with heart disease save money and non-exercisers with heart disease don’t, we can draw a straight line between exercise and saving money. It’s an A=B, B=C, therefore A=C scenario.”

Scrooge’s eyes twinkled like silver in sunlight. “Those scientists saved themselves a kilt-load of cash by building on the work of their predecessors.”

Ebenezer nodded. “Indeed.”

The woman laid the Band-Aid across her scrape and pressed it into place. “And you want your heart to be bad because…”

Ebenezer held out his hand and helped the woman to her feet. “Because exercisers without heart disease saved about 500 dollars per year, but exercisers with heart disease saved up to 2500 dollars!”

“And they used less prescription medication and had fewer visits to the hospital,” added Scrooge.

“So if you exercise, you save money. The unhealthier you are when you start exercising, the more money you save,” said the woman. The millionaires nodded. “But the more you exercise, the healthier your heart will be and the less money you’ll save next year.”

Ebenezer scratched his head and frowned.

Scrooge lifted a feathered finger. “You’re forgetting the most important thing, lass. If we exercise, we not only save that 500 dollars every year, but we’ll live longer to enjoy it!”

The woman laughed and skated off down the sidewalk. Scrooge and Ebenezer watched her go.

“Maybe we should try roller staking,” said Scrooge.

“Don’t be ridiculous, McDuck, skates cost money.”

Scrooge winked up at his friend. “I can borrow them from my nephews.”

 

 

*http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/09/08/price-of-healthcare-report-american-heart-association-regular-exercise-save-money-2500-medical-costs-years/89992240/

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/want-to-keep-medical-costs-down-hit-the-gym_us_57d2d7b9e4b00642712d23c6

 

 

Images courtesy of: tvtropes.org (Ebenezer), gks2.com (McDuck), imgur.com (McDuck swimming)

Exercise, Weight Loss, and the Bible

p1020324The Bible as a lot to say about exercise. Unfortunately for our weight loss efforts, the Greek words translated as “exercise” have nothing to do with working out. The Bible talks about exercising kindness and authority, but has little to say on the subjects of weight lifting and lunges. Mostly we get are metaphors to “run the race” set out for us (Hebrews 12:1) and not to run or box aimlessly but to try to win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-36).

P1000582There is one reference to literal working out. The word “gymnasia” in Greek is used in Timothy 4:8 where we’re told that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”. There we have it, folks, the biblical endorsement of physical exercise, a motto for Christian fitness instructors everywhere: physical training is of “some value”. It’s not exactly poster worthy motivation. But lucky for us, the Bible was not written to help us lose weight, but to point us to eternal things that are way more important than our physical bodies.

While I can’t memorize verses about “feeling the burn”, I do get encouragement to exercise from looking at creation, both the creation account in Genesis and my created body. Our bodies were clearly designed to move, i.e. to exercise. Adam and Eve were tasked with gardening and animal husbandry, both of which require physical effort. Our body benefits when we exercise and suffers when we don’t. Exercise helps regulate our hormones and blood sugar, and keeps our circulatory, excretory and respiratory systems in tip top shape.

2013 August 106Exercise doesn’t have to involve hours of sweat or debilitatingly sore muscles, it just has to get your blood pumping and your muscles moving. Every little bit of exercise adds up and adds benefit, even as little as two minutes.

My favorite verse for exercise is Job 39:13 because I, like the ostrich, do not look graceful when I exercise, but I flap joyfully!

 

What motivates you to exercise?

God’s Gatorade (part 2)

Most fruits and vegetables are 80-90% water, so they help hydrate your body as well as fill it with vitamins and nutrients. Here are three more highly hydrating snacks to quench your cravings.

035Field Irrigation: Watermelon and sunflower seeds. Sweet and salty, this snack satisfies both cravings. Just make sure you pay attention to which seeds you eat and which you spit.

 

036Mediterranean Berries: Greek yogurt and berries. Fill a small plastic container with Greek yogurt and add a few tablespoons of frozen raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries and your snack is ready to travel without refrigeration.

 

037newCooling Waters: Cucumber smoothie. Blend a peeled and de-seeded cucumber with fruit and milk. Refreshing, sweet, and a great way to consume the bounty of a too-prolific cucumber plant in your summer garden.

 

Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.   Romans 14:16,17 (NIV)

God’s Gatorade (part 1)

What hydrates your body better than water? Better than sports drinks? Vegetables!

Most vegetables are 90% water or more and they contain natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts, and vitamins. This combination does for your body what sports drinks advertise, but without chemicals. At 97% water content, cucumbers are God’s Gatorade.

Studies show that the food you eat provides 20% of the water your body needs each day. When you snack on vegetables, you get hydration, restocking of the minerals, acids, and vitamins your body needs, and fiber to move along what your body doesn’t need. Add a little protein to that snack and it’ll keep the energy flowing for hours.

Here are some super-hydrating protein-packed super-snacks. Any fruit or vegetable is going to have at least 75% water content, but the ones listed in these snacks are at least 90% water:

 

032The Aqueduct: celery with nut butter. This crunchy nutty combination is not just for kids. Let the water and protein flow.

 

033Muddle the Puddle: hummus and cucumber slices. Hummus comes in a variety of flavors to keep things interesting as well as hydrated.

 

034Bell Pepper Boats: half a bell pepper boat filled with tuna salad. This can be a snack, or two boats can be lunch. Easy to take on the go and they store well.

 

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Beverage Math

037newYou’ve probably seen Beverage Math on just about every weight loss episode of any talk show for the past ten years. An overweight guest stares hopefully at the host as s/he pulls up a power point slide showing that if the overweight guest stops drinking soda (or “pop” or “Coke” if you’re not a nor’easter), s/he will lose ten pounds in a year. I’ve always been envious of those guests and their Soda Math. Stop drinking soda and lose ten pounds?! That would be so easy! Easy for me because I only drink soda a few times a year.

My envy ended when it occurred to me that while I may not have a Soda Math situation going on, I do have Coffee Math: I take my coffee on par with melted coffee ice cream. Whether I add half and half, milk, creamer, sugar, or a combination of them all, each mug for me averages 100 calories apiece. And I drink it like that twice a day. Ready for the Coffee Math?

2014 Aug transformers 043One pounds = 3,500 calories. So 200 calories of coffee per day x 365 days per year = 20.8 pounds. Twenty pounds in one year simply by switching to black coffee. That would be so easy!

But I love creamy coffee. I don’t want to drink it black.

But twenty pounds? I want to lose twenty pounds.

What if I drank creamatose coffee once a day and black coffee once a day? That’s ten pounds in one year and twenty pounds in two. And I can still start my morning with creamy sweet caffeine.

When we drink our calories, we tend to savor them less than the calories we chew. I’m not saying that we should only ever drink water and water-calorie equivalents (black coffee, unsweetened tea, etc); I’m just saying that we should do our own personal Beverage Math. We all have that one drink we’d rather not give up. So don’t give it up. Cut it in half if you need to, but savor every drop.

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”” John 4:13-14