Tag Archives: exercise

It’s Day One – Beautiful!

How many times have you had to start over? Losing weight? starting-overExercising every day? Writing that book? Learning how to play the guitar? Liberate yourself from the weight of backsliding or inaction by facing forward and declaring, “Today is a beautiful day to be ‘Day One’!”

That’s what I did recently.

Before the focus of our household became defined by my husband’s hospice care, I was already trying to lose those “last five pounds.” I had been actively engrossed in expanding my exercise repertoHospiceire to include pull-ups – sort of semi-pull-ups – real push-ups, and using a heavier kettlebell. Success was within my grasp! Just keep at it a little bit every day.

After the March 21st trip to the ER, everything changed. Survival mode ruled the day. Stress threatened to overwhelm. The coping techniques I wrote about in Toolkit for Wellness became my best friends.

Stress does a number on how our bodies function. Well, I knew that; but, wow! The pull for carbs – even gluten-free ones – is insidious. I felt I deserved the carb-y treats just for surviving the day.

A good day? Carbs to celebrate!

Exercise? Yeah, right.

WalkingGo for a walk? Can’t leave home without a sitter.

Planks? Push-ups? Have to be later, busy with my husband’s needs.

Gradually over the course of almost four months, I became out of shape and fifteen pounds over where I want to be.

But I am keeping my spirits buoyed by wonderful moments with my husband, the encouragement and frequent contacts with family, friends, helpers, and the wise use of free time at home to enjoy looking at the birds and squirrels, and by coloring.

I placed no pressure on myself for any additional requirements except to eat lots of the veggies I loved.girl-exercising

But it was time to take control.

I think you reach a point when you no longer want to be a ‘victim’ or just someone always in a reactionary mode. I want to call the shots.

So do it! Enter “Day One”!

CoffeeBack to exercises done during coffee brewing time. We drink the stuff every day. That time is already allotted. Piggy back habits by exercising during brew time.

I had to start slowly again. Backsliding does that. Who cares? Who’s looking? Only me. Start over. No big deal. That’s how it works – a little bit every day.

My full-body plank had shrunk to 20 seconds. Fine. Day One is 20 wall-squatseconds. Day Two is thirty seconds.

I find there are ample opportunities to do more movements in the kitchen – exercise central for me. Waiting for a pan to heat up? Squats right in front of the stove. Nuking something for a minute? Kitchen counter push-ups. Waiting to stir the veggies sautéing in the pan? Time for arm circles.

The following is a list of exercises I am currently doing during brew time and at other cooking times. These are fully explained in my book, Toolkit for Wellness, staplank-girlrting on page 237:

PLANKS- These are always first because they are the hardest. Full body plank followed by half-plank. My goal is to do a two-minute full body plank.

SQUATS- These are so easily done any time, especially while waiting for a pan to heat up.

STEPS IN PLACE- Starting with very high and slow steps gradually getting faster and shorter, then returning to high steps. This is my favorite for getting pumped up.push up

PUSH-UPS- These right now are done at the kitchen counter but will eventually follow planks.

KETTLEBELL LIFTS and SWINGS- Returning to my lower weight kettlebell, I do single arm lifts, double arm lifts, around-the-world swings, and standard kettlebell swing through.

BALLET POINTS- From a “first position stance,” I point my toe/leg to the front, side, and back, ten times each for both legs

FLY LIKE AN EAGLEarmsPalms up with arms to the side, lower outstretched arms 1/3rd of the way down to your leg and back up 8 times. Repeat 2/3rds of the way down 8 times. Repeat all the way down 8 times. Continue to do arm circles, palms up both forward and back 8 times. Continue with pumping arms back 8 times. Whew!

TODAY is a beautiful day to be “Day One”! What are YOU working on?







A New Trend In Exercise – The Plank

A svelte model, I am not. model

One to turn heads in spandex, no.

Worth a second look fully clothed….maybe.

I just know that I want tighter abs and stronger back muscles. My poor chiropractor has to re-assemble my lower back every month, and it never seems far away from “going out.” Then, there is the flat tummy thing. After two babies, each weighing over 9 pounds, those lower regions have been stretched to kingdom come! Even returning to my pre-pregnancy weight back then never gave me “abs of steel”!

Coupling these two needs with my application of recent advanced studies in habits, I have made fantastic progress!

A little history, first. The whole idea of doing planks was brand new to me. I thought we just walked on planks of wood…it’s called flooring; but, my fifth period junior boys were showing off to each other their prowess at doing planks. Students taught me things all the time; this was cool! I was eager to learn!

How-to-do-a-plankIt seemed simple enough: get down on the floor, face down, with body touching floor only at the elbows and forearms and toes, and stay there a minute. The two boys who were having a plank-off seemed to be having a tough time after about 30 seconds. Their whole bodies seemed to tremble at the 45 second mark. They were wiped out after a minute.

One boy hung back, not wanting to participate. Seems he boasted he badform-plcould do it, but just not in front of everybody. Wise chap.

Needless to say, Mrs. Edwards went home to try it out for herself…in private…away from photo sharing students who would have lit up Facebook with embarrassing pics of their teacher. That was over three years ago.

Sure enough, seemed like I had found yet another exercise I couldn’t do! I played around with it every now and then, making it easier by bending my knees and cutting the work load in half. Still…I naturally did not master it because I did not consistently do it. And…it was a little boring!

But there was somePlank_modified_opthing intriguing about this exercise. I kept reading about it and watching it on videos. “Great exercise for core strength!” “Perfect for those efficient 10 minute workouts!”
Ten minute workout? That’s me!

So, ok. A little here….a little there…once a week….twice a week…every few days…. Is it any surprise things were still no good? I decided that, sure as I want to become a better writer, so I needed to write every day; I needed to do this (and other exercise) every day as well, if I wanted to see progress.

If all I could do was a half-plank for 15 seconds, then fine! Who does not have 15 seconds? So I did 15-second, half-planks every day. Period. No skipping. Naturally, as I got stronger, it was easy to extend my time to 30 seconds. Every day. Then 45 seconds; then a full minute!

But that was a half-plank, so I moved on to a full body plank: only elbows/lower arms and toes on the floor. I followed up full-minute half-planks with a 15-second full plank.

You can imagine how this is going to play out. From 15 seconds to 20…to 30…to 40…45…50…a full minute! Wow! What elation! What happiness! I did it!

Then I learned about straight-arm, full-body planks! You got it! Right now, I do:

Muscles toned by planking!
Muscles toned by planking!

A full-body elbow-toe plank for a minute

A half-plank for a minute as a rest, then do a straight-arm plank for a minute!Three minutes of plank-ness! ME! Non-exercise-y me!
And you know what? That straight arm plank so looks like the starting position for a push up…..!

Always wanted to do push-ups……

Maybe I’ll start on my knees with those….

Whatever you are trying to accomplish remember to:

1) break it down to a manageable, easily repeatable task that takes just a little time, knowing that what you are doing is right, and will pay off in time, and

2) show up every day to do it!

When doing a teensy good thing, it is easy to do!

But it is also easy NOT to do, as well… happy-fitness-class

If you miss doing your 15-second plank today…no harm? People who succeed would tell you that, yes, there’s harm in not doing it. The world is full of people who do not succeed. Their teensy little things just do not get done. It’s easy to do and equally easy not to do! As a result, they reflect that daily choice just the same way those who do that teensy little thing also reflect the result of their daily choices.

I chose to do a plank. What do you want to choose?

Deidre Edwards, “Planker” Extraordinaire!