Exercise

Walking in Autumn Weather

A good way to start, especially if you haven’t been doing much exercise lately. The weather is starting to cool down in Sydney, so outside exercise is more pleasant of late.

Me and my family recently went on a short break to the Blue Mountains, a little west of Sydney. We took the opportunity to go out into the fresh air to walk. We took our kids and they enjoyed it too (even the teenagers).

Who wouldn’t enjoy doing exercise when you are rewarded with this beautiful scenery.

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Incidental Exercise

For three out of seven days I have a desk job. So I don’t burn many calories at work.

On these days I take every opportunity to walk as much as I can. I don’t get off the train at the nearest train station, so I have further to walk. I make sure that I go for a walk at lunch time. Instead of taking the lift, I use the stairs.

I have found a free app for an iPhone which can track how far you have walked or run and can even calculate how many calories you have burned. It’s called Runtastic.

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Runtastic App for iPhone

 

You basically start it, do your walk and then stop it. It will  display all the information about how far you have travelled and how many calories you have burned.

You can use it to challenge yourself each day to ensure you achieve a certain amount of exercise.

 

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Runtastic display after walking from the train station to work

 

Cross Trainer

With the weather in Sydney cold at the moment, I haven’t wanted to go outside much. A lot of my friends who live here prefer the winter, but not me.

I’m doing most of my exercise indoors now and I’m loving the cross trainer.

When I first started my weight loss journey, 5 minutes on a cross trainer would leave me breathless. Now I can go for 20 minutes and not feel a thing.

I have a playlist of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to listen to, so 20 minutes flys past.

 

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Swimming

Well, I haven’t swam any laps in a long time. It’s probably been about a year.

Since I can’t do any weight bearing exercise at the moment, I’ve decided to start swimming again.

I might be injured but that’s not going to stop me from doing some form of exercise.

I had a hamstring injury in 2012 and an Achilles’ tendon injury in 2013. Which meant I couldn’t do any weight bearing exercise for a month out of 2012 and 2013.

In 2012, I did an adults learn to swim class at the local swimming pool. I could already swim but I could bearly manage to swim 50m.

In the very first class the swim instructor observed that I wasn’t turning my head from side to side correctly to breathe. I was turning my head to the side and then looking ahead. When this was corrected, swimming became easy. Very quickly I could manage to swim 1 km.

It’s amazing how this one change meant the difference between being able to swim 50m and being able to swim 1km.

On Sunday I swam 500m. Not quite a kilometre but I’m getting there.

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Running

I starting running 7 years ago.

First of all, I ran on a treadmill in a gym. I was desperate to lose my pregnancy weight gain. I did lose some weight. But I also got an Achilles’ tendon injury.

My first round of many trips to the physiotherapists commenced. The physiotherapists found that I was rolling my feet in. I was fitted with orthodics and the pain went away.

My husband and sons were already members of a cross country club. St George District Cross Country Club in Sydney meets once a week for cross country races. Once in a while a number of cross country clubs get together for inter club competitions.

In 2009 (at the age of 42) I decided to join the club. For the first time since high school I was nervously lining up for a running race.

My two older sons were incredibly embarrassed that their mum was running in a race.

I will always remember that day!

Running on grass is a lot harder than running on a treadmill. I managed to not come last (actually I was second last). My third son Jeremy was also in the race. Being young and not over weight, he blitzed me. At the end of the race and with the brutal honesty of a child he told me that the reason why I was a slow runner was because I was too fat.

Lucky for me there were a lot of adults in the club who were a great encouragement to me. Many of them were older than me and had also overcome injuries. They spurred me on to keep running when I was absolutely exhausted.

There was a man who ran in the 2 km race with me, he had just started running again after open heart surgery. We kept each other company in the race as most of the others were miles ahead of us.

There is also a lady in her 70s who stills runs in the 2 km race. After she finishes her race she goes into the clubhouse to make tea and coffee for everyone.

These people are such an inspiration!

 

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Dancing

I started ballet when I was three years old. I loved it and later on started jazz and tap as well.

I continued with dancing classes until my mid twenties. I completed all my exams, won some awards and performed in many concerts.

Then life got too busy so I stopped.

After my fourth son was born I went to the gym and I started distance running. Quickly I was hooked on running.

But destiny prevailed. The Sydney weather was awful. It kept raining and I don’t like running in the rain. After a few weeks of non stop rain I was very frustrated. I was looking through the local newspaper and noticed an ad for adult dance classes.

“That’s it!” I thought. Dance classes are inside so it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. I basically put on a track suit, jumped in the car and joined the lesson. I hadn’t taken a dance lesson in 17 years. I loved it and six months later did my first dancing concert in 17 years. That was in 2011.

I remember waiting in the wings (side of the stage) and being very nervous. But once I got onto the stage all nerves vanished and I loved it.

This year I am doing three lessons a week. JFH, tap and ballet. They are such contrasting dance styles. I have never learnt the JFH (jazz/funk/hip hop) style before. So it seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.

This is a picture of some lovely ladies in my tap class.

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Tap Class

 

 

Weight Training

Friday is always weights day for me.

As a women, I used to be cautious of weight training. I was worried about building up too much muscle.

I reasoned that muscle sits under fat and building up muscle would be wasted effort because the muscle would be hidden under the fat. I thought that it would be far better to just concentrate on losing the fat.

Well to a certain extent that is true. When I was 15 kgs overweight, fat burning was high on my hitlist.

However, weight training complements my other exercises well. I run and take dance classes so I get quite a bit of cardio work. Weight training builds strength and gives my body some muscle definition.

Running and dancing build strength in the lower body but there is very little upper body work. When I do weight training I focus on my upper body.

 

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