Lent is supposed to be a season of self-denial and repentance, so why do I look forward to Ash Wednesday so much? Why is the Ash Wednesday liturgy my favorite service in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer?
I think I enjoy observing Lent because the prayers, readings, and sacrament of ashes remind us that no matter how bleak our condition may seem, God’s love triumphs over all. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that when I first started blogging I really didn’t like yoga. Even now, it’s not my favorite non-running activity, but I appreciate how it makes me feel, and sometimes I even enjoy doing it. So, I am as surprised as anyone at how much I loved the hot yoga class I took with Cynthia and Mar last week, and how much effort I made to get the most out of my week of free classes at CorePower Yoga.
I’m wrapping up last week’s workouts for the Weekly Wrap link up hosted by Holly and Tricia. Make sure you check it out for motivation and encouragement.
Posted in Fitness
I feel like it’s been ages since we’ve had coffee! January is a long month, and we’re already six days into February. Make sure you visit my co-hosts Deborah at Confessions of A Mother Runner and Lynda at Fitness Mom Wine Country, and spread the love by commenting on other blogs in the link up.
Use the code above to grab the Ultimate Coffee Date badge for your blog.
New to link ups? This post has my top tips for making them work for you. Continue reading
Posted in Coffee Date
February is the month when the American Heart Association asks us to Go Red For Women and learn the facts about heart disease. Women who are physically active–runners, walkers, cyclists, swimmers, cross-fitters, strength trainers–tend to think of ourselves as healthy, but there are five things we all should do to take better care of our hearts.
- Know your risk. A family history of heart disease or stroke, certain medical conditions (including diabetes), high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol levels can put you at increased risk. The American Heart Association encourages you to know your risk and notes that lifestyle changes can reduce your risk by as much as 80%.
- Know the symptoms of heart attack and stroke in women. If you haven’t brushed up on the symptoms of heart attack and stroke since that high school health class, or the CPR class you took to be a lifeguard over summer break, you may not know that the symptoms of heart attack and stroke in women are different than for men. Shortness of breath, jaw pain, back pain, and nausea are some of the unusual heart attack symptoms the American Heart Association wants women to pay attention to. I wrote about the “new” stroke symptoms in women here.
- Follow a healthy diet. If you are active, you may be able to eat burgers and fries, nachos, and ice cream and still fit into your favorite jeans, but just because you are burning off the calories doesn’t mean you are eating healthfully. The new USDA dietary guidelines aren’t very helpful (as I wrote here) but the American Heart Association gives us this more concrete dietary advice:
Eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils. Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available.
- Move more. Yes, I’m talking to you, even if you ran your tenth half marathon this weekend, are training for your fifth triathlon, or won your Crossfit competition. If your activity is concentrated in one hour a day and you spend the rest of the day sitting at your desk like I do, you may not be as healthy as you think. Since I can spend 10 hours a day at work, I’ve finally switched to a standing desk to cut down on my sitting. This article in the Washington Post was one of the things that finally made me take this health risk seriously.
- Manage stress. Running is the main way I manage stress, but when work or family situations get stressful I usually have less time to run, not more. If physical activity is your main stress release, it’s still a good idea to manage stress in other ways–talk to a friend, spend time with people (or animals!) who make you laugh, or treat yourself to a massage. If you need more ideas, check out Mar’s 14 days of self-care program.
This week’s Wednesday Word is heart. I hope this information inspires you to take better care of yours! This week’s Friday Five theme is fitness. Follow these tips to make sure your heart is as fit as it can be.
Spread the word and wear red on Friday, February 5 for #GoRedWearRed day, then come back for the Ultimate Coffee Date Link Up on Saturday!
How do you manage stress?
Laura’s 21-Day Runner’s Reset program has officially ended, but I am still working on implementing several aspects of it. For example, this was the first week I focused on heart rate training and forced myself to do a low heart rate run. It wasn’t fun, but at least I’ve proven to myself that it won’t kill me.
Although the snow stopped falling Saturday night, last weekend’s blizzard impacted my workouts all week. A snow plow didn’t make it to our street
until Tuesday, traffic was a mess all week because they didn’t plow all the lanes, and my usual running paths are either still buried in snow or slick with icy spots. Continue reading