Seventeen days into the new year, and I reckon it's a good time to check on how your New Year's Resolutions are going. Did you make one? Have you kept it? How is your progress so far?
I honestly didn't make a hard resolution for myself. I felt it better to implement Steps Towards Better Health. Here is that list, for me:
1) Drink half my body weight in ounces of water per day.
2) Make and Observe a Bedtime.
3) Exercise three times per week.
4) Meal Planning and Prep...
5) ...so that we only do fast food once per month.
6) Take Self-Care as I need it.
7) Give that 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge thing a shot.
What is that 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge?
I found, as Thanksgiving passed and the midwinter holidays approached, that I was unhappy with the lack of green foods in my diet. Which is ridiculous! We have PLENTY of greens lying around! We have two bunnies, for crying out loud! So, it was time to start ingesting some of those veggies, too. Again. More often.
I joined the Green Smoothie Challenge on Facebook at the end of December, knowing I would be visiting family over the New Year holiday and hoping to do something my mom would be interested in doing, too. (Which she was, because she's awesome.) Essentially, you incorporate one green smoothie into your diet, every day for 30 days. My hope is that I can continue with daily smoothies longer than that.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
One of the big joys for me about the smoothies is that it really impacts my level of hydration. It's hard during winter for me to get enough to drink. Be it the cold, or an inherent willingness to be lazy, the thought of getting down four 24-ounce bottles of water per day is a daunting task. I know that smoothies can't replace all the water I am supposed to be drinking, but I can already feel the day-to-day difference in my body. I do know, however that the quickest way to get me to drink more of anything is for me to exercise.
Absence makes the Heart grow Fonder...
... and Exercise makes the Body Stronger
Oh, exercise. I have such a love-hate relationship with you. I feel so much better when I'm doing it consistently. And yet, I have this problem with a little thing called "motivation."
In late spring of 2018, I took a dive and launched a new practice. As in "rented an office, bought new equipment, left the spa I was working at, have a business partner and tenants" sort of practice. It's been a daunting task, and really cause a lot of my health and fitness goals to take back-burner. My endurance went down. Like, way down. "Unacceptable" is the word that comes to mind most days. And I'm done with that.
My husband is an excellent motivator. He's had plenty of chef training (ohhhh, all the good foooooods...), is an early riser (how did I manage to find one of those?), and has super long legs so when he's "just walking" I have to run to keep up. No, really. The man is 6'10" - that means there's a foot-and-a-half difference in our heights. So, quite literally, keeping up with him is an effort in and of itself.
He and I work together on a weekly basis to determine just what foodstuffs we have in the house, and planning meals around them. We often take time on Sunday afternoons to do meal prep for the upcoming week. This is super helpful for me, allowing me to bring prepared foods to work, knowing I have good and healthy snacks throughout the day, and keeping me from going out to the dreaded fast food joints. I couldn't do it without him. Well, the Strong, Independent Woman in me tells me that I could, but acknowledges that life would be way, way, way more difficult without him.
Having food prepped and ready to go is key for me maintaining a regular exercise routine. I try to do the gym in the morning (followed by a shower before work!) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and attend local aikido classes at Grass Valley Aikikai on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes Fridays. As my office, gym and dojo are all half an hour away from home through curvy, winding mountain roads, I tend to bring all I need for the day with me when I leave in the morning.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, my body feels so much better when I'm consistently exercising.
Let me tell you: "Consistently exercising" I have not been.
And so I ache. My hips aren't moving the way they should be; external rotation has decreased from this time last year. I injured my right ankle in November 2017 - and it's so. much. better. than it was six months ago - but I can still feel the difference in range of motion compared to the left. Even with all the stretching, foam rolling, and lacrosse-balling self-treatment, I'm still not at 100%. And now, this tricky thing is happening in my neck because my strength has diminished: my cervical vertebrae like to go out of alignment if I fall wrong during aikido. (And we do a lot of falling in aikido.) Good thing I have a great chiropractor.
Why Massage is Important
This is why massage is so important - especially in conjunction with a physical training program.
- Bodywork (especially modalities such as Thai Massage) can increase range of motion and soft tissue function.
- Massage has been found to decrease muscle fatigue after exercise.
- According to this study, massage may decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness - which occurs when you exercise a muscle for the first time in a while - by about 30 percent.
- Massage may improve your exercise performance.
- Massage may help muscles relax, allowing for easier chiropractic adjustments.
It is important to discuss with your massage therapist the goals that you have in mind for each session. Using phrases such as "I feel pain in the front of my thigh when I've been sitting for too long," "there's a pulling sensation that goes across my shoulder blade and wraps around my shoulder," or even "it's like my shoulders are always up by my ears," can be very helpful in communicating the types of restrictions your body is experiencing.
You can find more information on the benefits of massage for athletes and those who exercise people here.
Affirmation for the Week:
"Every step towards my health and wellness I take today
allows me to grow stronger every day."
How are your new year's resolutions treating you? What are your favorite types of self-care? Leave a comment below.
If you would like to schedule a treatment, please click here.
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