May 29, 2009

Bicep & Tricep Curls

In addition to my daily regimen of running and ab exercises, I have recently added bicep & tricep curls with hand weights.
My husband Eric showed me the correct form for each exercise, and I have been performing them for the past 3 days.
And boy, are my arms sore! But it's a good kind of sore!
I began doing these arm exercises simply because I didn't want to neglect my upper body. Plus, I wanted toned, defined arms! Who doesn't?
These exercises are SO easy to do. They take less than 5 minutes per arm, and I can do them while sitting on the couch, in front of the television! How awesome is that? There's absolutely NO reason for me NOT to do them! Plus, I'm putting to good use those hand weights that my husband had bought a long time ago and had sitting around in the basement!
These exercises are just another step along my ultimate goal of gaining muscle mass while losing fat, and lowering my BMI.

May 21, 2009

Ice & Massages Are My Friends

Because I unknowingly bought running shoes that are too rigid so that they give me perpetually painful shin splints, I have needed to put a lot of work into healing my legs to relieve the pain and get ready for my next run.
I do this by icing my lower legs twice a day (immediately after running, then several hours later, before bed), and by massaging the sore muscles in that area.
This is such an easy process (it takes a little time), but it works so well! There are days where I can run mostly pain-free 3 days in a row, simply because I take care of the pain before it gets worse.
So that is why ice & massages are my friends. My good friends. :)

May 16, 2009

Benefits of Sleep are Equal to Exercise!

As I've been reading through various women's health magazines, (like Runner's World, Women's Running, Shape, Self, Women's Health, and Oxygen), I have read about a few interesting scientific research studies comparing the benefits of sleep to exercise.
These studies compared middle age sedentary women who get 8 hours of sleep a night (or more), with physically active women who get less than 8 hours of sleep. As it turns out, the not active women who slept more were overall healthier than those who exercised but got less sleep!
I have a few questions about these studies that were not answered, like what do they mean when they say "overall healthier?" Do they mean a lower risk of cancers? Do they mean lower incidences of flu or hormonal imbalances? Do they mean that the non-exercisers could run longer with a lower heart rate than the exercisers, simply because they sleep more? I doubt that would be possible, so the study authors must have meant something else.
So, even though I certainly have issues with the terminology & findings of this study, I do wholeheartedly agree that getting 8 or more hours of sleep a night is extremely important to your overall health, well-being, and state of mind.
So, if this perhaps flawed study teaches us anything, it teaches us the importance of getting plenty of zzzz's at night!

May 11, 2009

How to Wear Recovery Sox To Maximize Circulation & Fitness

Recovery Sox is the brand name of "compression socks," athletic socks that promote healthy, regular blood circulation in the lower legs.
Compression socks like these were originally popular with diabetes patients, people with poor leg circulation, & individuals recovering from surgery where blood clots were a concern.
These socks are now made in colors like white, silver, black, and fuschia, and are being tailored more for runners' and active peoples' performance needs.

Recovery Sox have "compression" areas built into the foot arch, ankle, and upper calf areas of the sock, with the compression material woven into the design. The package tells the wearer to "wear for 24 hours for most benefit".
Because these socks are so tight and stretchy, you should put your toe into the sock, gathering all the material in your hands. Then, pull it up over your calves, up to your knees. Adjust as needed. There is no left or right foot, so either sock can fit onto either leg.

Once the socks are on your legs, you need to know how long and where to wear them. I wear them during exercise, when I run errands, and sometimes even when I sleep at night. I pretty much only take them off for showering!
Wearing them during exercise supposedly promotes blood circulation and, when you wear them after exercise, reduces muscle inflammation and helps muscle recovery better & quicker than without compression socks.
You can adjust the wearing time for your specific needs, that means you can wear them pretty much anytime you wish, for as long or as temporary as you see fit! Wear them for awhile, doing different activities, to determine your needs.

Once you become acclimated to your Recovery Sox and you know when & where it benefits you most to wear them, you will notice that they will begin to smell, especially if you wear them while exercising! How should you wash & care for your socks?
I recommend hand washing your Recovery Sox only. Just spend a few minutes hand washing them in the sink, then lay them out somewhere flat & safe to dry, and your socks will be good as new!
I do not recommend putting them in the washer & dryer, even on the delicate cycle. There is a special coating on the material that helps the socks stick to your legs and maintains the stretchiness of the material. The more care you put into your socks, the longer this material will last.

  • When hand washing Recovery Sox, they will turn sticky. This is normal, and this stickiness will disappear once dry. But they will feel really weird until they dry!
  • I am a young woman who has always had poor circulation in my lower legs, which is probably genetic. Being an active runner helps this condition, but the Recovery Sox help even more. I have definitely felt the benefits of my leg circulation improving.
  • This is not medical advice. If you have poor leg circulation or pain, consult your doctor before using this product. This product should not be a substitute for medical help.
  • Again, be nice to your socks! Take care of them and that special coating they have on them, and they will last you for a long time.

Lung Cancer--Still A Threat for Non-Smokers

Did you know that 1 in every 16 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer sometime in their lives? Did you know that research studies have proven that women who have higher levels of estrogen are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer, even if they never smoke?

Go and get your estrogen levels checked! Most birth control pills raise estrogen levels, so consider changing your birth control options. I suggest getting the Depo-Provera birth control shot, which adds no additional estrogen to your body! (And it lasts for 3 whole months!)

Stay away from smokers! Second-hand smoke kills, too! Excuse yourself and quietly leave the room if you're afraid of offending a smoker with your absence. Get lots of fresh air and avoid smokers at all costs!

If you smoke, quit it right now! Seriously, smokers raise their risk of dying from all sorts of diseases: heart disease, all cancers (especially lung cancer), high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity...... The list goes on and on of how much your risk increases if you smoke! So decide to change your lifestyle and literally save your life right now! Your body will thank you for it!

Test your home for Radon gas, and other gas leaks, like Carbon Monoxide. These gasses are poisonous to your bodies and wreak havoc on your lungs. Do the smart thing, go that extra mile, and get your home tested for these fumes!

Eat your vegetables! Seriously, do you know how many wonderful antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and cell-repairing nutrients are in fruits & veggies? The answer is.... A TON! You cannot afford not to eat a healthy diet full of fruits & vegetables. These natural foods literally have properties that help repair cell damage that causes cancers.
What an easy way to eat healthier, have a more balanced diet, promote healthy weight loss and help your body repair damaged cells!

Get active! Research has shown that active people live longer and are much less likely to develop diseases, cancers, and illnesses than sedentary people. Active people live longer, healthier lives! Experts recommend being active (having an elevated heart rate) for 30 minutes a day, or 45 minutes every other day. So get out there and get active!