I hate to admit it, but this is true. People have been saying it to me for years, and though I would nod my head in reply, I never got off my ass and did anything. Reason? I was simply too tired. No energy. I was having enough trouble just getting through a day – getting dressed and doing something other than staring at the TV – let alone having the energy to work out. I have depression to thank for that.
But I was wrong. At least I think I was wrong, or partially. Maybe timing is everything?
Recently I was invited to participate in a ‘challenge’ to get me into better shape and to simply get healthy. The request came from choir members – yes, I sing in a fabulous gospel choir – as we knew we each carried some extra weight, were eating crap, and were caught up in the circle of eating poorly, not exercising, and continuing to eat poorly. And, we felt crappy. So we created a secret Facebook page – to keep us accountable – and called it “iChose“. A positive and non-stressful take on it.
The goal is to post our successes, of course, and to feel accountable for what we are doing. But it is also a place to be honest, express our struggles and not feel judged. That is what is most important to me, anyway. I don’t expect to be perfect, and I’m not competitive at all. But if I give my word on something, I do it. 100% in. I have good days and bad days, like everyone, but I keep going.
So, it started as a 30-day challenge, and was for the month of April. It is almost done. However, we are planning to continue, starting a NEW 30-day challenge May 1. We will get together to talk about our progress (or lack thereof), support each other to stay motivated. I don’t know if all 5 of us will continue, but I surely will. I need to get back on the bandwagon, and I’ve been able to do so for the last month. It has to become a lifestyle choice to stay healthy, and this is very helpful.
My exercises of choice have been walking and yoga.
Walking: To track my progress, I downloaded the “Runkeeper” app for my phone. It is a motivator, it can propose workouts of walking, running or biking, and everything is tracked. Here’s how I’ve done so far:
1. Tracked activities: 27. I started tracking my walks before this challenge began, but was sporadic. So this number goes back a few months but since mid-April, I’ve done 7.
2. In April, I’ve walked 34.3 kms so far. In March, I walked 22.3
3. I’ve started a proposed workout to be able to do a 5km run. It guides me through each activity I do, tracks my progress and even gives me ‘rest days’. If I don’t follow it, I get reminders to do so. Perfect for a lazy ass like me!!
Yoga: I took an ‘Introduction to Hatha Yoga’ class with one of my girlfriends back in Feb-March. I loved it. I blogged about it here: https://paulettecake.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/the-benefits-of-yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression-sufferers/ Then, we decided to take a 3-month unlimited membership. The first month I didn’t go much, but for the last few weeks, I been going twice a week. It’s fantastic. I come out of each session feeling relaxed, a bit stiff, and much calmer.
However, I must say the walking has really been fantastic. Since I’m still on work leave, I can go when I like. Once I go back to work I’ll have to schedule it in, but I think the fact that Spring is finally showing its face has been a big help in me getting outside. The winter was tough…. I also live next to a fantastic park, (not even 2 kms away), and this week have done two 6 km walks. I’m outside, in nature, yet still in the city. Who could ask for more? I even did a walk last Sunday with one of the girls doing the challenge. It was fun to chat while walking, talk about our challenges, and exercise at the same time. I hope to do more of that.
Tonight is yoga, so I didn’t walk today. Tomorrow an interval workout awaits, and I’m already excited about it. I try to take one day off between workouts, or if I don’t, I walk less the 2nd day. I don’t want my body to get used to a rhythm I won’t be able to keep up with. That will be very unmotivating, and I want this to become a way of life for me.
So what are the benefits of doing this? Well, the MENTAL (or depression-related ones):
1. I feel ‘lighter’ in every sense of the word.
2. I smile more.
3. I am grateful to breathe in fresh (well as fresh as it can be in the city) air.
4. I am close to nature, which is so calming.
5. I feel less anxious. I guess I ‘evacuate’ stress through walking and yoga instead of keeping it all inside.
Oh, and by the way, since I started this exercise challenge, I’ve been eating WAY better too. My favourite meal these days is, after I come back from a long walk, to make myself a big salad with my homemade vinaigrette! Who’d have thunk such a thing a few months ago? Not me, that’s for sure…
My plan is to do a 5km run in August. Hopefully some of my iChose partners will do it with me…
Onwards and upwards.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think, when I’m exhausted and afraid and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks. It’s just one of those things I do. I walk and I walk and sooner or later something comes to me, something to make me feel less like jumping off a building.” -Jim Butcher
“Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.” -Gary Snyder
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” -B. K. S. Iyengar
“In the practice of Yoga one can emphasize the body, the mind or the self and hence the effort can never be fruitless.” –T. Krishnamacharya