Monday, March 24, 2008

Flab to fab in 4 months

Well I'm not a complete couch potato but I'm not far off. I've been into outdoor sports since I was a wee lass, cycled to and from school, got into bushwalking, rock climbing and caving in my teens. Took up windsurfing and scuba diving once I had a regular income. Always been a swimmer.
But I've sustained a few injuries over the years, and have been a bit slack in the stretching department. My hamstrings are so tight that I ended up popping a few discs in my lower back one day while tightening the downhaul (windsurf talk). Physio, drugs and time got that better, but the weakness is there and it's really a lifelong daily chore to keep my back in shape. I know this because I've popped my back at least 2 more times, and when my stomach muscles are weak I notice it. I can't sit in soft slumpy chairs or I'm sore and stiff as a board.
Stretching is so boring. Not only have you got to do it before and after the fun bit (the exercise itself) but it takes time that you mightn't have factored in to your exercise routine. That's why I now do yoga. The beauty of yoga is it's an exercise in its own right, and you can spend as long a time as you like at it. Now yoga isn't just a bunch of stretches and wacky poses (called asanas) but it's also about breathing and meditation. The more I get into it, the more addictive it becomes, especially the meditation side of it. And the more you do it the better you feel.
So yoga it is. At present I'm going to classes twice a week, given by my fabulous friend Odette who is a marvellous teacher. She has a calmness and tranquillity which I find inspiring. I then try to do home practice at least 2 other days of the week. I am working up to daily practice, but it isn't a reality yet.
Aerobic fitness has suffered dreadfully over the last few years. Long work hours don't help, but that's just an excuse. I've always worked long hours, and have always made time to keep fit. My darling dog Hazel doesn't get her 2 walks a day like she used to. Being a low maintenance hound, this isn't a problem for her, but I know she does miss her walks.
Last year I bought a bike. Well I've always had bikes, it's just that I bought a new one. This one's a road bike, so I can commute. It's a 30km round trip to work or town so I figured as long as I left in time, it would be an easy way to factor in some aerobic work. Trouble is, I couldn't get out of bed in time (I now realise that was part of the depression and have therefore forgiven myself) so I'd end up taking the car instead. I think I managed to do the cycle about 5 - 6 times before I gave up.
Now I'm not working, the bike has been de-mothballed. I cycle in to yoga classes and home again twice a week. Yoga starts at 9:30, a much more achievable time than my 8:30 work start. Plus I don't need to have a shower when I get to yoga, doesn't matter if I'm sweaty and smelly for that. I plan to do more cycles, but haven't yet.
Hazel is now getting more walks. Sometimes we go for an hour or so, first thing in the morning before it gets hot. Best time is to leave just before the sun comes up, mainly to beat the heat but also to enjoy some amazing sunrises. I really must remember to bring the camera on a few occasions.
In four month's time I will be climbing my first ever volcano. We don't have many hills around here so I'm going to have to do some travel to find some hills to practice on. Though a colleague of mine practised for Kilimanjaro by climbing the local sand dunes. Hazel will love that, she particularly likes running up to the top of dunes then sliding down them on her belly. No joke, she loves it!!
I've still got a long way to go, but I'm a lot closer than I was a month ago. From here it's onwards and upwards to that first mountain. Cheers!!

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