By The FIRM Master Instructor Stephanie Huckabee
Many of us keep a list of things we’d like to do before we reach a certain milestone. With my 40th birthday looming, I spent some time evaluating what I would like to include on my own so-called “bucket list” as I move forward in life. My list consisted of things like traveling to specific places, learning to cook my grandmother’s dressing and actually reading many of the classic literature titles currently gathering dust on my book shelf.
But what about a bucket list for exercise? Have you ever thought about keeping a running list of your dreams for fitness? Making a list of your long-term goals along with some smaller ones along the way could be just what you need to keep you motivated for years to come!
How do you lose weight? Substitute diet drinks for sugary drinks. Eat low-fat foods. Just eat less of the bad foods — it’s all about the calories. We are told, “Just have more willpower.”
These ideas are false. They are food- and diet-industry propaganda that makes and keeps us fat and sick. Lies by the food industry combined with bad government policy based on food industry lobbying are the major causes of our obesity and diabetes epidemic.
Now, more than 35 percent of Americans are obese, and almost 70 percent are overweight. This is not an accident but the result of careful marketing and money in politics.
We are told it is all about making better choices. If we all took more personal responsibility, we could stop this obesity and diabetes epidemic. We have been told there are no good or bad foods, that the key to weight loss is moderation. And, of course, if we all just exercised more, all of us would lose weight. These ideas hold us hostage.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee
Do you remember having to do the mile-run fitness test in school? Holy cow! I don’t know about you, but those were some of the worst times in my life. Not only did I hate the little-bitty PE shorts they gave you, but I also hated having to complete the test in front of everyone. I don’t know if it was because it was timed — or because I had those little shorts that would ride up with every step I took — or because I had to do it in front of everyone that made it all so traumatic for me, but it has taken me a long time to get over running that timed mile.
But at this point in my life I am finally over it and actually look forward to challenging myself. So, at the risk of sounding like my old PE teacher, let’s talk about how you can go about improving your mile time, whether you’re walking, jogging or running.
We all know the answer to this one: Because it will improve your cardiovascular fitness. When we set guidelines or goals for exercise, it helps us know where we are starting, what we need to do to improve, and how far we have come in the process. By challenging yourself, you feel good about what you have accomplished and you WILL get fitter!
In the weeks to come and into the fall, there will be many opportunities to participate in various charitable and community run/walks. Go online and you can probably find a race almost any weekend without having to travel too far. Whether it is a local 5K for the community center or a multiple-day walk for a national charity or the city marathon, get those athletic shoes on and join in the fun! There is power in numbers, and nothing is better for your motivation than improving your health and fitness alongside hundreds of other like-minded people.