Sharing our love of running, fitness, food, family and the beauty of Western North Carolina...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Three Kinds of Fitness

When I was young I used to hear people say, "Oh you just wait and see, when you get older you can't do the things you used to". The funny thing is, a lot of these people were only in their 30's and already sedentary. But over the last couple of years, I've come to understand what they were talking about, and it can be really depressing if you let it.  Bart and I have had lots of conversations regarding our overall total fitness. We have a saying that it's not important to us any longer how fast we are running today, but that we are injury free and still running for the rest of our lives. But running alone isn't going help us have good total fitness.

One of the things I've been paying a lot of attention to lately is elderly patients that come in where I work, and one of the common things I see repeatedly in many patients is loss of strength and flexibility. They are weak, stiff and shuffling around.  Please don't misunderstand, it's not that they have an illness, they're stiff and rigid. And when I come across a patient that has taken care of themselves, they move gracefully and with fluidity. They can get up out of a chair with ease and not have to take time to get their legs moving. The patients that have lost strength and flexibility suffer more trips and falls and more fractured bones. Throughout our lives we all are at constant war against the aging process. It can be a slippery slope. Our friend Mike, who is paralyzed from the waist down, says, "We have a choice. We can choose to sit around all day on the sofa pressing the remote, or we can keep fighting and struggling to keep moving".  Mike chooses to keep moving to the best of his ability.

A) Slippery slope                          B) not so slippery slope

My new position with Mission Health has been refreshing because of their Health and Wellness program. They have a variety of innovative programs, resources and technologies to inspire, support and energize you to be the healthiest you can be.  In their library of information, I came across an article that sums up our goal of overall fitness and what we are trying to achieve. The article discussing three kinds of fitness: aerobic, muscle strength and flexibility. Understanding the differences between each kind of fitness helps us set fitness goals, and reaching a balance between the three is important, because they affect each other and each contribute to total fitness

The Three Kinds of Fitness

Aerobic fitness. Aerobic activities condition your heart and lungs. Aerobic means "with oxygen." The purpose of aerobic conditioning is to increase the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your muscles, which allows them to work longer.  Any activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for an extended period of time will improve your aerobic conditioning.

Muscle Strengthening.  Stronger  muscles can mean either more powerful muscles that can do bigger jobs (such as lifting heavier weights) or muscles that will work longer before becoming exhausted (endurance). Weight training (resistance training) or simple exercises such as push-ups are two examples of ways to focus on muscle strengthening.

Flexibility. Like aerobic fitness and muscle strengthening, flexibility is a result of physical activity. Flexibility comes from stretching. Your muscles are repeatedly shortened when they are used, especially when exercising. They need to be slowly and regularly stretched to counteract the repeated shortening that happens through other activities.

77-year-old ultra runner Barbara Macklow endures

So these are the areas that Bart and I will be working on to achieve total fitness as we both head into the next decade of our lives in the hopes that when life does have its set backs, we will not choose to sit around but continue to fight and keep moving.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Biltmore Estate Blooms

What a beautiful spring, and one of our favorite places to run, the Biltmore Estate, is in full bloom. 

Bart, where's the allergy medicine?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Yoga Morning Stretches

5 Yoga Morning Stretches To Jump-Start Your Day

Stretch One: Standing Half Moon-Ardha-Chandrasana

Stand with your feet together and big toes touching, with the heels slightly apart (or hip-width apart for more stability). interlace your fingers. With your. Pointer fingers released.  Then, stretch your arms up overhead and take a side body stretch to the right.  Take 3 to 5 breaths and repeat on left side.  if your shoulders are tight, you can end your elbows and catch your wrists or upper-arm bones.

The Benefits: The lateral side stretch opens up the side body and rib cage.

Stretch Two: Chair Pose-Utktasana 

stand with your feet together and big toes touching, with heels slightly apart (or hip width apart for more stability). Then, bend your knees and sit down and back.  Take 3 to 5 breaths.  You can stretch your arms straight out in front and elbows bent (known as 'cactus arms') or stretch your biceps by your ears.

The Benefits: This posture builds strength in the legs

Stretch Three: Forward Fold-Uttanasana

Stand with your feet together and big toes touching, with heels slightly apart (or hip-width apart for more stability).  Then, hinge at hips and fold forward so the crowned your head pours toward the earth.  Take 3 breaths.

The Benefits: This move gives flexion of the spine to stretch the entire back line of the body.  Additionally, it allows cerebral spinal fluid to bathe the brain.

Stretch Four: Low Lunge-Anjaneyasana

Step one foot back and release your knee to the ground.  Ensure your front knee is stacked. Right over the ankle.  Place your hands to your hips; lift your chest and shoulders to stack over hips. Take 3 to 5 breaths. As an option, you can extend your arms overhead for a greater stretch.

The Benefits: this move stretches the quads and hip flexors.

Stretch a Five: Reclined Twist-Supta Matsyendrasana

Lie on a mat (or carpet) and hug your right knee into your chest. Then float it over to the left in a gentle twist. Your left hand catches the knee and the right arm stretches along the ground to the right. Look straight up, or gaze to the right. Repeat on the left side.

The Benefits: Provides a twisting of the spine and massages the organs.