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Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Seven days into 2008 and, proudly, I can say each day has included exercise. Just 14 more days to go and I’ll have my habit back in place. How many times have I gone through this cyclical thing?

Exercise and fitness become more and more important to our health as adults age. Conversely, it becomes easier and easier to blow off a workout – skip a day – due to hectic schedules, a weary body and episodes of “The Office,” which interrupt the best-laid plans.

On my road to training for and participating in the 2008 Buffalo Triathlon, for a sBuffTriLogoecond year in a row, I knew going into my conditioning program that in order to improve performance, I need to take certain steps. Allowing myself to miss a run, ride or weight room workout (swimming doesn’t kick in until March 1)  simply won’t help me attain my goals.

Local Minneapolis fitness guru, Chris Freytag, offers three simple tips designed to help anyone stay on track as they work to achieve their fitness goals:

1. Commitment: The first step is often the hardest. Freytag says you can talk about changing your life repeatedly but until you cross that line deep inside you, you won’t walk the talk. She suggests writing and signing an exercise contract with specific goals spelled out that will get you to the point you want to be.  Ask friends or family members to keep you honest. Your commitment to health and fitness is about honoring a promise to yourself as seriously as the promises you make to others.

2. Convenience: The more convenient the exercise you choose, the more often you’ll do it, says Freytag. The best form of exercise is whatever you do—as long as you like it and it fits into your lifestyle.  If getting up at 5 a.m. and hitting a fitness center doesn’t suit you, don’t make that your plan to get train. For me, my road back on a trainer, coupled with a home weight bench and dumbbells gets me through the winter. If I need to switch things up, I’ll run or ride at my company’s fitness center after work or at lunch.

3. Consistency: As noted in my opening graph, consistency results in habit-forming activity. Freytag says that gradual changes add up to big results in the end.  It’s not what you do today…it’s what you do tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.  Consistency at a moderate pace will more likely create a habit.

And I’ll add a fourth tip of my own:

4. Birds of a Feather (i.e., surround yourself with people who motivate you):  Friends make the difference when it comes to moral support. It’s great to have good friends you can count on to be at the bar right after work. But while you’re training, lifting 16 ounce brewskis doesn’t count. Embed yourself with like-minded people. Runners, cyclists – people with goals you relate to and can mirror.

The challenge in any life goal isn’t about simply showing up. It’s about making the effort, taking yourself to the next level of preparation and surprising even yourself with the results.

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The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and TC-10 mile events on Sunday, Oct. 7 were hot and humid. Race officials nearly called the race early, but the dew point/heat index didn’t quite reach the point Global Heroof closing the course (like they had to do in Chicago at that city’s marathon). Still, most participants were well off their expected completion times, but finished nonetheless.

All but one of the Medtronic Global Heroes, mentioned in my previous post, completed their races.  One participant finished sixth overall among women in the TC 10-mile race. Another female Global Hero had a 3:36 marathon, good enough to be admitted to the Boston Marathon if she chooses.  The individual who took himself off the course did so because of the heat and humidity after running 11 miles of the marathon course. He, along with many other marathoners, made the best decision for himself.

Congratulations to all these great people who are truly motivational for doing what they do – living life fully in spite of a chronic condition that may have otherwise limited their active lifestyles.

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On Sunday, Oct. 7, more than 15,000 running lovers will converge in downtown Minneapolis to participate in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon or TC-10 Mile Run.

15,000 people. Running. Through the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

While running distance races like marathons is nothing new (in fact, I believe running is one of the oldest sports and past-times on the planet), there is something unique about this particular marathon that very few people are cognizant of. In this marathon, dozens of participants are running with implanted medical devices.

Medtronic, with its headquarters in Minneapolis, has been the title sponsor of the Twin Cities GreenMarathon for two years. As part of its sponsorship, the company developed a unique program to recognize runners who have implanted medical devices who are, in essence, living a full and complete life because of their condition and the therapy they’ve chosen to treat it.  Some of these amateur athletes run with a pacemaker or defibrillator in their chests. Others run with an insulin pump attached to their abdomen. Still others have rods and screws along their spine correcting scoliosis.  The list of conditions is amazing.

What’s most inspiring, however, is that these people continue to achieve their goals, live their lives and serve as incredible moms, dads, sisters, brothers, role models, and mentors to many others afflicted with similar conditions who have similar hopes of living a full and complete life.

They are part of Medtronic’s Global Heroes program, and it has become one of the many attributes of the Twin Cities Marathon that makes it “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America.”

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Diet supplements remain a multi-billion dollar industry. And I admit, I’ve forked over a small savings account in order to supplement my dietary needs when I’m training and eating healthily.

The supplements in my home consist of:

FitnessA) Protein powders and pre-mixes. I’m a big fan of the AdvantEdge protein supplement that’s available at almost any Wal-Mart or Target. Made by EAS and recommended by the Body for Life plan, the chocolate and vanilla mixes are tasty and loaded with just 110 calories and 17 grams of protein.  The key in any protein supplement is finding one that tastes good. Most don’t.

B) Protein bars. I can’t recommend any of these nasty tasting things.  Protein bars make me gag, but I choke them down because it’s better for me than eating a kingsize Three Musketeers bar. One protein bar that I can handle is the Next Detour Bar with 290 calories and 30 grams of protein. I’ll cut one in half and over the course of a day have two decent snacks for around a buck. The downside with these bars is that they often contain as many or more carbs than protein. Gotta pay close attention to the nutrition labels when buying bars.

C) All natural cranberry juice. Not so much a supplement as it is an aid to regularity. I’m not talking about Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail, but rather organic, all natural, no sugar added cranberry juice. I water four ounces of the juice down with 28 ounces of water and drink two to three 8-ounce glasses a day.

D) Water. Even Willie Nelson knows the body needs water. When I’m at my best I’m drinking about 60 ounces a day. Just remember, the lighter the urine stream, the better hydrated you are (and no, beer doesn’t count).

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