The Move More in May Challenge

Janetha over at Meals and Moves always comes up with the best challenges!

I am a super sedentary person. Sure, I work out 6 days a week, but if I’m not working out I’m typically sitting on my butt. Right now I am freelancing from home. Here is my typical routine: sleep (laying), get up, make coffee, have coffee and read email (sitting), workout, come back home, work (sitting), make lunch, go back to work (sitting), make dinner, watch tv with husband (sitting) or read (sitting), go to bed (laying). That’s a LOT of sitting in one day.

I always knew I should move more, but I really started to get concerned when a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that sitting more than six hours a day raises your risk of death, regardless of physical activity level.

Enter Janetha’s May challenge:

move more in may
For the month of May, Janetha is challenging readers to make time to move more throughout the day, outside of their actual workouts. Each day you can log your activity, and of course there will be drawings for awesome prizes.
Some ideas I’ve been tossing around for moving more throughout my day:
  • Go for a short walk (30 min. at lunch)
  • Stand up and stretch every 60 min. (I think I’ll set an alarm to go off on my computer as a reminder)
  • Do activity (e.g., jumping jacks, planks, push ups, air squats) while dinner is cooking

That’s all I have so far but I’m sure I’ll come up with more!

Do you have a sedentary job? Do you make an effort to get up and move around? What sort of activity do you incorporate into your day, other than working out?

May Goals

1.Run the Capitola Half Marathon (my first race since 2010!)
I was lucky enough to win an entry into the Capitola Half Marathon from Elise at PhD Strides! I don’t have a concrete goal for this race…my intention is to use it as a gauge for pacing for the San Francisco Marathon in July. My old half marathon time from 2010 is 2:12…I’m not going to lie, I’d definitely like to do better. But I’m not going to get too upset if it doesn’t happen.

2. Stretch EVERY DAY
As I’ve mentioned before, I have really, really tight hamstrings. Throughout April, I really made a conscious effort to try and stretch them out every day. Some days I would only stretch for 30 seconds or so, other days it was 10 to 15 minutes. I missed a few days here and there, but overall I was pretty consistent. Progress has been slow, but I definitely notice a difference. My goal is to be able to do a full forward bend by the end of 2012.

3. Bump up foam rolling frequency to at least 5x/week
My goal for April was to roll a minimum for 3x/week. I’d like to bump this up to 5. When I go too long without rolling my IT band I start to feel a bit tender in my left knee. Foam rolling is something I tell myself I never have time to do…but in actuality it takes five to ten minutes. I waste WAY more time than that on the interwebz each day. Time to step up my foam rolling game.

4. Run a 40 mile week
According to my marathon training schedule, I should hit a 40 mile week toward the end of the month. This is a big mental milestone for me as it will be my highest mileage week ever! Hopefully I don’t look as tired as Homer does.

5. Work my way up to 5 push-ups
Yes, I suck at push-ups. If I can get up to five push-ups in May, I’ll start the 100 push-up program in June.

6. Bump up strength training to 5x/week
While marathon training, my strength routine is mainly consisting of Zuzana’s (former Bodyrock host) ZWOW workouts, as well as her older Bodyrock workouts (this site has a great directory).

What about you, what are your goals for May?

Goals for April 2012

I typically set a few yearly goals for myself each December (I prefer to call them goals rather than resolutions). The thing is…by March I’ve typically forgotten all about them. Or I think “meh, I have until December to do that, no rush!” This leaves a lot of my yearly goals unaccomplished.

I’ve decided that I’m going to set a few monthly goals for myself. I’m hoping that by setting myself smaller goals throughout the year, it will result in more of my omnibus yearly goals being attained by the end of 2012 (my former stats prof would be so proud that I just used ‘omnibus’ in a sentence).

1. Run 13.1 miles

In my marathon training schedule this will be where my long runs need to be. But the 13.1 mile distance is significant to me since I haven’t ran a half marathon since 2010. In my head, I feel like once I accomplish this, I really am “back.”

2. Complete the April No Weigh In Challenge

I just wrote about the challenge the other day – basically it is not stepping on the scale for the entire month of April. I’ve been getting into a negative head space lately with weight, and it needs to stop.

[Source]

3. Complete one, honest-to-goodness, full range of motion, nose to the floor push-up

I have a pretty weak upper body. I can do a few push-ups, but I know I’m cheating and they are not using the full range of motion. I’ve been practicing with incline push-ups and negatives, I want to start cranking these bad boys out.

[Wow, for real? Source]

4. Stretch out hamstrings EVERY DAY

I have a goal to be able to do a full forward bend by the end of 2012. As I’ve shared previously, I have VERY tight hamstrings. I need to put in the stretching time if I’m going to improve the situation.

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5. Foam roll at LEAST three times a week

We all know it’s good for us. Yet it’s something that I find easy to neglect. My goal is to do this at least 3x/week…which is better than the 1x/week I’m doing it now. I just read this post from Carrots ‘n’ Cake on how to ‘properly’ foam roll and I’m eager to give it a try.

6. Do Bodyrock/ZWOW strength workouts at least two times a week

My apartment has a small ‘gym,’ but it doesn’t have much in the weights department. Joining a larger gym isn’t really in my budget right now, so I’ve been doing a lot of bodyweight training. Right now I’m really liking the older Bodyrock workouts that don’t rely so heavily on equipment (this site lets you search for no equipment routines), as well as the new ZWOW workouts that Zuzana Light has been providing on Youtube. At first I was unsure if these workouts were anything more than gratuitous boob shots, but the workouts are pretty tough, short, and I’m definitely getting stronger.

[Source]

7. No binge eating episodes

Binging/restricting cycles are something I have struggled with in the past. This is tied to my pre-occupation with the scale and I know these negative behaviors need to stop before they escalate. So I am going to nip them in the bud. Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to eat treats or what have you. I don’t consider one cookie a ‘binge.’ What IS a binge is when I’m mindlessly stuffing food in my face, even though it’s food I don’t particularly like and I’m almost nauseatingly full.

So there you have it. I’ll report on my progress at the end of the month. What about you? Do you set monthly goals? Do you set yearly goals?

Increasing Hamstring Flexibility

I have really tight hamstrings. I mean REALLY tight. A doctor once told me I had the flexibility of a 70 year old. This was when I was 16.

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I’ve tried yoga in the past…sticking with it for a couple of months at a time. I’ve had trouble sticking with yoga. I’ve tried a ‘free’ class at a commercial gym that has a young, peppy, very bendy instructor who doesn’t really offer modified poses. I’ve also tried the other route – going to an actual yoga studio and attending classes geared toward senior citizens where the instructor is very mindful of modifications. No, I’m not joking. It was a room full of ladies who were 50+ and myself (at the time I was 24). Ultimately I had to give up the fancy yoga studio due to finances.

[Image Credit]

Anyhoo, I digress. this post isn’t about sticking with yoga. The truth of the matter is that flexibility training hasn’t been very important to me. If it was, I would have found a way to work it into my routine.

We all know we should stretch. Is it really that important? Actually, yes. Hamstring flexibility is associated with a lower risk of injury (e.g., Hartig & Henderson, 1999).

Okay then, so what do we do if we, say, are a 28 year old with the flexibility of a 70 year old woman? Studies have shown that one of the most effective ways to increase flexibility is static stretching – Scott et al. (2005) found that people who stretched three days a week, with 1 repetition of 30 seconds, significantly increased hamstring flexibility.

As I gear up for training for the San Francisco Marathon, I definitely want to decrease my risk of injury and I know that stretching is an important aspect of this. Furthermore, one of my 2012 goals is to be able to do a front-bend and be able to touch my toes by December 31st, 2012. Yes, I am so inflexible that I think I will need that many months to work on my goal.

[Image Credit]

And so my game plan for my goal is to do a bit of stretching every day, but three times a week do a more extended stretching routine. This is my starting point for flexibility, I’ll update in a month or so and let you know how I’m progressing: