Finding the Time

One of the biggest struggles to consistently working out is finding the time. Eric, one of our operations specialists, looked at the problem only as an operations specialist could. After analyzing his schedule, he found he could create the time, but it required a change is the way he gets to and from the office. Here is his story:

EricLike many of us, it was a challenge for me to fit physical activity into my busy schedule. Between family, work, friends, and a myriad of miscellaneous responsibilities exercise often fell by the wayside. As the inevitable effects of this inactivity manifested themselves, it became apparent that I needed to find the time…….somehow.

Following a thorough analysis of my available time, I discovered that incorporating exercise into my daily commute was the solution. I was unwilling to sacrifice my time in others areas of my life i.e. kids, chores, sleep, recreational activities, etc. but my daily commute presented an opportunity. Given my proximity to work, walking, running, or some equivalent option was not viable. Those activities would have taken more additional time than I could afford. Though, I discovered that cycling to work add only 30 minutes to my commute, round-trip. Logically, it was an easy decision.

Despite the soundness of the logic, I still had some reservations. I had never been much of a cyclist. Of course, I learned to ride a bike when I was young and it was the preferred modus operandi for transportation before I was able to drive, but I never anticipated that it would become a large part of my life. I would see cyclists on the road and derisively snicker at their shorts and matching shirts (I have two sets now) or grumble about their brashness in traffic. Certainly, I never thought that I would become one of THEM.

Also, a major downside to this form of exercise is the initial cost; I had to come up with an initial investment for a quality (aka dependable) bike. Plus, I needed to acquire the necessities like a waterproof bag, lights, helmet, clothing, anti-theft protection, etc. I found it especially difficult to justify this cost because I didn’t have any evidence that I would really like it. Thankfully, I took the gamble and acquired the equipment so I could at least give it a shot. Again, given my time constraints I had to try.

My first few rides were wonderful: great weather, a feeling of accomplishment, the adulation of my friends/family. These were easy days to ride but life-style/routine changes are particularly tough and after the honeymoon stage wore off, it wasn’t always so easy to get excited in the morning for that ride……especially on days when it was cold or rainy.

Thankfully, the vast benefits of cycling daily motivated me through the difficult days and eventually the routine set-in. Now, I don’t even think about the commute – it’s just how I get to work. My energy level throughout the day is considerably higher, my mood is improved, and my productivity is enhanced. Each person is different and finding a physical activity that you enjoy is a challenge. Ultimately, for me, it is cycling and it has enriched my life infinitely………..and it only cost me an additional 30 minutes a day.

If you liked this story, check out Elaina’s story about her family’s decision to switch to bikes for their everyday transportation.

Just Be Sneaky About Sneaking in Exercise

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can challenge our best intentions. Don’t let your hectic schedule interfere with physical activity. Find ways to sneak in exercise even when you’re busy.

  1. Power shop – Spend 10-15 minutes briskly walking through the mall before you start your shopping.
  2. Take the stairs – At work, the mall, the airport—wherever they are present—opt for the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
  3. Stage a walk-out – A brisk walk before dinner will have everyone looking forward to a warm meal. Together, your friends and family will get their metabolism going, lower their blood sugar levels, and work up a hearty appetite.
  4. Family time is fun time – Teach good fitness habits to your kids while accumulating benefits for yourself.
  5. Make a new holiday tradition – Play a family-friendly game of kickball or tag football on the holiday or the day after. Give everyone something else to look forward too than just food.

    Snowy ping pong

    Our staff sneaking out for a game of ping pong in the snow! Not recommended, but fun!

  6. To give is to receive – Holidays are about giving, and one of the best ways to give is to volunteer your time. Many communities offer opportunities to rake leaves or shovel snow for the elderly or disabled. This volunteer work is sure to make you sweat.
  7. Crank up the tunes and dance – With everyone home for the holidays, it’s a great time to turn up that jazzy holiday music and kick up your heels. Dancing burns lots of calories and can help you beat those winter blues!

These are all simple and easy ways to burn a few extra calories for when the holidays leave us in a daze.  What other ways can you find to be more active throughout the day?

Tips to Stay Warm During a Cold Weather Workout

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A cold day for a run!

In the winter months, staying warm is on the top of our priority list. But don’t let less desirable weather dampen your motivation to move. Learning how to stay warm when the weather turns chilly will keep your winter workouts from getting stale.
Layer Up
In the winter, it’s all about layers. Exercise generates a lot of heat, so dressing in layers is the key to keeping your body temperature in a desirable range. Keep in mind that stop-and-go activities, such as mixing walking with running, can make you vulnerable to the cold if you repeatedly work up a sweat and then get chilly. Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat, and then put them back on as needed. For the truly cold day, here are a few suggestions:

  • Start off with a moisture wicking top. Synthetic material, such as polypropylene, draws sweat away from your body, unlike cotton, which stays wet next to your skin.
  • Next, wear a long-sleeved, mid-weight, base-layer shirt made from either non-itchy merino wool or polyester.
  • For your feet and lower leg, wear moisture wicking socks that go up to your knee to keep your calves warm, like lightweight ski socks.
  • Wear warm running tights.
  • Over the long-sleeve shirt, wear a fitted, wind-stopping softshell.
  • Wear running gloves or liners to protect your hands.
  • Put on a lightweight hat that so your head doesn’t get too sweaty.
  • Also consider a fleece neck warmer. Not only will it keep your neck and chin warm, but it’ll prevent burning lungs.
  • Facial sunscreen and lip balm with SPF is also a must, as are sunglasses to protect your eyes, since sun reflecting off white snow can be blinding.
  • Of course, you’ll need some good running sneakers.

Warm Up
It’s important to warm up before any workout. Get your blood flowing and muscles loose by warming up indoors first.

Get Outside
Now it’s time to brave the actual workout. Cold-weather workouts present extra challenges:

  • When it’s windy outside, make sure to head into the wind first. It will decrease your chances of frostbite.
  • Roads can be slippery and earlier sunsets can make for darker runs. Invest in a head lamp and reflective gear.
  • Protect your hands, feet, and ears. When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated on your body’s core, leaving your hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite.

Drink Plenty of Fluids
You need to stay well hydrated when exercising in cold weather, just as you do when exercising in warm weather.

Putting It All Together
Remember to continually monitor how your body feels to help prevent cold-weather injuries, such as frostbite. Consider shortening your outdoor workout or skipping it altogether during weather extremes.

Also, almost everyone can exercise safely during cold weather. But if you have certain conditions, such as asthma, heart problems, or Raynaud’s disease, check with your doctor before you work out in cold weather. Your doctor can review any special precautions you need based on your condition or medications you might take.