Benefits of working out

One of my primary lessons in 2017 was....depression and anxiety really sucks. If you have never experienced this, you may not be able to fully understand the crazy mental game and the overwhelming impact it has on your body, mind, and soul. I feel bad for my family who had to carry this cross with me if only by having to live under the same roof and not really be able to do much. But there are things you can do to help those with depression and of most importance is to be kind and not judgmental. 

But for those battling depression and anxiety, can I talk to you about exercise? Trust me. I know! You feel like crap and don't want to move. Every step is pure torture. You just want to climb into bed and hide. I know. I do understand as when my depression starts rearing its ugly head, I lose all interest in working out. All motivation is gone. ZAP! And the end of 2017 was pure torture as every step I did take while running felt like dragging a zillion pounds. I wasn't seeing the happy results I wanted to see but don't give up. It will pass. It will. And it did for me and to be completely honest, my faith carried me and God's grace gave me a break from symptoms. Thank you!

With that said, I still do not want to undermine the value of working out for depression, anxiety, and more. Exercise has many healthy benefits for all of us, yes, even us without depression or anxiety. Check them out!
  • Decreases depression symptoms - establishing and sticking to a schedule helps you reap the most benefits and when you are exercising, your mind may get a break from depressive thoughts
  • Alleviates anxiety - the repetitive movements and thoughts of exercise can ease the anxious thoughts especially when you can focus on the wind on your face, etc. while you work out
  • Reduces stress - stress makes you tense and regular exercise can flush out the tension and get your blood flowing…and happier thoughts flowing
  • Reduces ADHD symptoms - physical activity boosts dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels and this affects focus and attention - things that can reduce ADHD symptoms as well as depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Helps get you "unstuck" from PTSD and trauma - especially true for exercises that include cross body movements where you totally engage your mind in what it is doing and how your body is feeling
  • Helps heal brain from substance abuse - exercise can provide another avenue to deal with what may lead you to substance abuse or an outlet to do something different 
  • Improves learning ability - with a more alert mind, you are able to retain what you are reading better so why not try to read something while logging some miles on the treadmill
  • Boosts self esteem - nothing is more fulfilling than the sense the satisfaction you get after nailing a good workout or getting up early to workout 
  • Improves mood - this goes hand in hand with self esteem but it can also be the boost in mood to get out of grouchies after a long day and personally, it helps me be a better, more calm mom
  • Increases energy - yes, working out can increase your energy levels even when you feel too tired to work out 
  • Improves sleep - as long as you don't do a huge energy boosting workout right before bed time, the added physical activity in your life will help make you sleep more peacefully through the night
  • Reduces weight - as long as you don't follow each workout with calorie dense foods, you can stay a little slimmer with a regular workout program but be sure to vary your workouts as your body is pretty amazing at learning and adapting to allow it to work more easily
  • Improves your health - doctors say get moving for a good reason and who wouldn't want to decrease their cholesterol or improve their cardiovascular health
Y'all, it works!

And I am a work in progress and not every day is a 5 star amazing day. Tuesday was a tough day. I ran just a mile before work and at work I found out a dear friend's cancer moved into his bones. It broke my heart. It made me a bit angry about all those impacted my cancer in my life. Way too many. By the time I picked up darling daughter I was a grumpy momma and that workout I planned to do after work, I did not want to do. I wanted to take a bath, put on my pj's, and climb into bed for the rest of the night. My inner child was pouting and stomping her feet but....

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I ran another mile on the treadmill and did a new cross training workout that kicked my booty in more ways than one and when I was done....

I felt better. I couldn't change the bad news but I was more at peace in my life and honestly, pretty darn proud of myself for working out. I even commented to darling daughter post workout that maybe I shouldn't talk to anyone before working out. She laughed. I apologized for being a very grumpy mom. She forgave me. And in all of that there is a very important lesson that exercise does improve your mood. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for great workouts available at my fingertips that benefit my mind, body, and soul.

Daily Bible Verse: But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. ~ 2 Timothy 3


Muscle TLC - My top 4 go to's for aching muscles

Between running and cross training, and everyday life, I can end up with some sore and achy muscles on more days than I would like. This can range from sore legs to aching shoulders as I tend to carry all the weight in the world in my shoulders. Ladies, I bet you do the same.

Fortunately, I do have a few go to's that help ease the pain away.

#1 - Oils

I adore essential oils not only because they smell so good, and that in itself is relaxing, but because they work so well in my life. I have some amazing muscle blends that I can mix with an almond oil or coconut oil carrier base and apply to super sore muscles and it helps. I tend to do this right before climbing into bed and sleep my aches away....more or less. I won't lie, it won't keep DOMS away.

#2 - Weighted Blanket

Bondi Band has added weighted blankets to their product line-up and you can find them HERE under the FEATURED header. And yes, this is an affiliate link. The blankets are currently on sale so I can't promise it will work but feel free to try my friends and family code EGFITNESS to get an additional 10% off. Never hurts to try! I have also found that sleeping under this blanket not only helps aching muscles feel better but also eases my anxiety and helps me sleep more peacefully and good sleep also aids in muscle recovery. Win-Win!!!

#3 - Drink Water

I know this may seem ridiculously simple but I also feel many of us are walking around dehydrated and not even realize it. I have taught my daughter at the first sign of a headache think....am I thirsty? Have I had enough water? And to sip on some water. It also helps flush out toxins in your body and I truly believe it aids in my muscle recovery. On a side note, it also seems to help my own headaches and tummy bloating issues. Just saying....

#4 - BATHS!

There is nothing better than a good soak in a tub to ease worries and pains away and I can say with 100% confidence on my part, when I am doing a good job of taking regular baths, my body aches less. When I let them fall to the wayside because I am "too busy" soreness lingers longer in my body. And I love bath bombs! Bath salts! Anything to make my baths more delightful and yes, darling daughter has also learned the bath trick to relaxing and easing her aches from riding horses at least three times a week. We indulged in a bath pillow and bath tray and it also serves as a wonderful way for her to get in some of her reading homework. Now that is one smart girl! Why didn't I think of that when I was her age????

We get our bath products HERE and yes, this is another affiliate link. Just be warned, if you get the black bath bombs, they smell AMAZING but will leave your tub dirty.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for natural ways to ease my aches and pains.

Daily Bible Verse: Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down but a good word makes him glad. ~ Proverbs 12:25


Cross Training Success

Cross training matters. For runners, it is a way to add strength and flexibility to muscles that regular running works. It can also prevent overuse injuries from developing and improve running form. And ladies, as you get older those cross training workouts become more important.

In the past year and a half I have added two essential elements to my workout routine to target flexibility, which it seems I am losing over time, and strength. Weight training is a good thing and can help decrease bone loss too. And trust me, it won't bulk you up monster style but will give you the added strength to do your day-to-day activities.

My goal in 2017 was to do 52 new cross training workouts to keep my workouts fresh and exciting PLUS changing things up tricks your body and works your body better. I crushed my goal with 62 new workouts and for giggles, I am listing them here as maybe one or two may sound fun to you.

I am excited to move into 2018 with the goal of 70 new workouts and I better get started cranking some of them out. I will need to "steal" the TV from darling daughter while I cross train because in the past couple of weeks I have been streaming over my phone and listening to the instructions of a program I LOVE - Core de Force.

And since I am no longer a Beachbody Coach, I get nothing from telling you about these programs but if you want to support me in other endeavors....

I am a Bondi Band Ambassador and you can receive 10% off of most purchases with my code EGFITNESS and I am am a Elk River Soaps affiliate and darling daughter and I love their bath bombs. So much so that we invested in a bath pillow and tray to make the most out of that soaking time....and that is really good muscle recovery for a runner/cross trainer and horseback rider.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for those who have supported me through mu affiliate links and more.

Daily Bible Verse: Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


2017 in numbers

It's 2018. Can you believe it? Are you as excited as I am?

Before I go into what I planned to blog about I want to take moment to thank God for all that He has done for me in 2017 (and all my life for that matter). Many of you know that 2017 was a brutally tough year for me as I struggled with depression and anxiety at levels I had never experienced before. My mileage dropped as just running one mile was a battle of wills with every step feeling like I was carrying a ton of bricks...or ten tons! Rest mile days made no difference. Changed nutrition made no difference. Blood tests confirmed I was healthy and good to go. Nothing made a difference....except God.

I spent December in prayer with a Christmas novena (okay, 2 novenas!) and on December 26th I felt those chains on my body and legs begin to crumble and break away. And I am beyond grateful to be feeling some joy again in my workouts and that is encouraging as my power word for 2018 is JOY.

Each year is a year of growth and in 2017 I did grow in fortitude (2017's power word) and even those small growth rings matter. Those baby steps still carried me to my 6 year streakiversary on December 30.
video recorded on December 30, 2017

For those who are wondering about this, I started my running streak on December 30, 2011 and have run at least one mile every day since.

I have been tracking yearly running miles since 2011 and here is how that wraps up:
  • 2011 - 986 miles
  • 2012 - 1,460 miles
  • 2013 - 1,786 miles
  • 2014 - 1,767 miles
  • 2015 - 1,545 miles
  • 2016 - 1,220 miles
  • 2017 - 1,071 miles
I refuse to get discouraged by the downward trend since 2013 because life happens, my daughter is getting more active and I am spending more time with her and her activities plus crafting PLUS in 2016 I started cross training like a champ. 

And I mean champ.

My goal in 2017 was to do 52 new cross training workouts. I did 62. As of December 31, 2011, I have logged 8,830 streak miles. That makes me happy and sets me up for challenges in 2018. 70 new cross training workouts AND to break 10,000 streak miles so I need a 1,170 mile year. That is totally doable. 

For New Years Resolutions - I am not really making any. I prefer challenges and goals which I continually address and improve upon throughout the years. However, on December 30 I tossed out my crazy idea to dear hubby to go alcohol free in streak year 7 to see how that impacts my overall health and performance. Pray that he joins me in this challenge. And I am taking on my 2017 goal again to read the bible in its entirety and darling daughter got a chuckle that I am going to do it again. It is a great way to start the day and has become a part of my day I cherish as much as cuddling with my gem, watching her ride, running and working out (on the good days), and just striving to be the best me that I can be. 

I resigned from my Silent No More Regional Coordinator role in 2017 as I felt I was not achieving what I was meant to achieve even though the cause is still near and dear to my heart and I won't be silent. But I will devote my time and energy to the Healing Prayer Ministry that has started at my parish and I am loving being part of the lead team along with darling daughter. I feel at home with this and believe that the weekly meetings and prayers also contributed to my return to joy. I do not feel I am all the way there but trust I will be and that each struggle I face is meant to teach me something. 

I can't change the world but I can change how I see the world and everyone in it. I choose to focus on the good and to retrain my thought process to not get stuck in should's, hold up's, doubts, and negativity. I am done hurting myself and am here for you.

God bless and happy New Year!!!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my dark journey in 2017 because it makes the light more beautiful to see.

Daily Bible Verse: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9