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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trying to Add More Activity Into My Life:
A State Park Stroll and Swimming is Next

Since I'm still struggling so badly with the caloric containment, I figure I ought to at least work on increasing the movement aspect. I have strength training and flexibility going well with my 3x a week Pilates personal training. I definitely feel stronger and my muscles are firmer.

After nearly 2 decades of being a total couch potato--from bed to chair to sofa to bed, with maybe a few hundred steps taken a day, unless I had errands to run--this is a wonderful difference. I don't want to lose the habit of moving. I know, from all the stats, that I need to move more. Obese folks who are serious about losing fat and keeping weight off tend to have to exercise MORE than normal. That means an hour or more five or more days a week. I'm up to three.

I need more.

The big, fat gaping hole in my exercise plan is not my mouth, it's cardio. I am not working on the sort of movement that gets the heart up to target zone and keeps it there long enough to really get the heart strong. As a person at risk of heart attack and stroke, I need to do that. NEED, not necessarily want.

The main obstacle has been and is my bum left knee, and now my recently-becoming bum right one, and possibly early arthritic left hip (it aches a lot and requires mucho stretching mornings). Being fat is murder on one's lower body joints. Just wears those babies out. Doing anything that requires walking, stepping, etc, in any sort of brisk pace scares me. I do not want to be injured and off my feet.

Fear aside, I did get in about 2 hours of strolling on Saturday. My sis, hubby and I went to Oleta River State Park, which is close to my house. Less than a five-minute drive. I've lived in this neighborhood 11 years and never have visited. That's cause I never was trying to be active, and this is a park frequented by "mountain" bikers, hikers, nature enthusiasts, kayakers and the such. But we went, walked around to see if it would be a good place for my birthday party next month. In all, I was on my feet and moving for a little over two hours, but not at a cardio pace. Still, I was quite happy to get some fresh air, sun, dip my hands into a creek, walk along the small beach, smell the barbecue from assorted family parties, and catch sight of vultures, hawks, seagulls, pelicans (including one curious one with "blonde" feathers on his head), other birds I don't know by name, and, best of all, no snakes or gators. :D When one is obese, any activity is a plus. Saturday was an activity plus for me.

It's also my first outing in shorts (other than for a quick to/fro to my Pilates) in a long, long time. Behold a morbidly obese, middle-aged woman with a gargantuan messenger bag:

My junior high nickname was "Red." My love of red has not abated, as you can see.

As I normally avoid cameras, it must have seemed odd to my hubby that I was like, "Take a pic for the blog!" I said, "Do I look stupid?" He said, "No, you look very happy." I said, "I AM HAPPY!"

I was, too. Which must mean that the funk that was brewing was more related to the stress of having been ill for weeks, rather than a real depression. It has been lifting, off and way. Hurrah! (I am still sleeping 12 hours, so it's not completely gone, or I'm not completely over the physical draining of the illness. Either way, it's a good sign that I can feel happy.)

Back to "being active":

I did a brave, brave thing. Yes, I ordered two bathing suits. Whoa. And goggles. And a swim cap, which will guarantee I'll be the dorkiest swimmer in the city.

There's a pool one block away I've never used. I figure I might try to just paddle around for 20 to 30 mins a couple times a week (when the chill passes) and get my heart rate up without taxing my knees and hip. I haven't been in a pool in more than 20 years. I'm a little anxious about it, especially being in a suit in public. Ick.

I remember when I wouldn't go out without sleeves. Last year, I got over that and have worn a lot of sleeveless camisoles and empire tops out. I did it at first just cause I was exercising and it was my workout wear for Pilates. Later, it was my way of staying cool during hot flashes. Now, while I am still not fully comfortable with my fat flappy arms being exposed, I got over the terror of doing it. One step...

Some of my goals for overcoming fears for the year are water-related: 1. learn to swim properly, rather than just barely/poorly 2. to get over my fear of doing activities on the water, like canoeing or kayaking and 3. to lose enough weight to fit into a kayak so I can get over that fear and 4 to lose enough weight that I can fearlessly wear a skirtless bathing suit.

I've lived in the Sunshine State for 35 years come June, and I really should get to the point where I can take advantage of all this sun and water.

Dontcha think?

What brave thing will you do this year that your fat has kept you from doing?

Let's work toward it!


The Better Idiot said...

If you end up feeling a little too self conscious in pool you could try one of these air walker things:


It's really smooth so there is no ipact on your joints but you get the same benefits as from walking/running etc. Just a thought if you'd like to stay within your own home. It's not too expensive either.

Lynn said...

You can do it! The pool is such a good place to get a gentle on the joints work out. I remember when I first braved the pool. It was hard but I did it and I am still alive. Most people will be too focused on themselves to worry about what you look like! You can do it.

Anonymous said...

The pool ROCKS... I'm between pool programs right now, and I HATE it. I'll qualify for the next set of classes in July. I could go back now to the old pool, but at $52/month it's just too much money.

I miss living in florida. Even walking along the sandy shores knee deep in water is a great exercise. I used to walk up and down the barrier islands.

Back then I couldn't walk as far as I wanted, and being fat held me back form a lot of things, but I never let embarrassment get in the way... it was more the physical aspect.

Today I do find that there are things I may be physically capable of doing that I don't do because of embarrassment, so in that sense I've taken a step back. there are jogging trails along the foothills where all the skinny fit people run. I've thought about trying to run, and the trail runs only a few feet from my back yard. Yet I've never been on it.

Heather said...

I hear you - I needed more exercise as well. as much as we hate it, it is important! congrats on pushing yourself, and you look great in shorts!