I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.
To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.
I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!
But most of all I need to hug my dog George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.
Are the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people. I read an article last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.
I’ve been doing all sorts of research into lower back pain. I have plaintively whined at Doc Google for help and the good Doc has given me many options. There’s a lot written about back pain, some good, some fairly useless. You can do various back stretches (mmhmm, doesn’t help a lot for me); buy a new mattress (yup, only arrived yesterday so jury’s still out on that one); exercise (well d’uh!); keep your weight down (extra weight adds pressure to your spine and other joints); and back strengthening exercises.
Flexibility & stretches
I’ve tried yoga and pilates at various times over the years and I’ve realised I’m not particularly stretchy and some of the poses/moves in both disciplines can cause a fair bit of pain. For sure these work for some people and that’s fantastic. However, the rest of us non-bendy types feel like a massive fail for our inability to pretzel. It is definitely one of those things you love or not, unfortunately I’m a not!
I have downloaded a guide to back stretches from Harvard Health – I think if I did them every day, they may have a positive impact. And that’s the thing. I’m really good at exercising pretty much every day, I eat healthily most of the time. I stretch after I go for a run and sometimes after the gym. But a routine of daily stretches is just one thing that I start for a while and then give up.
So maybe rather than whining about my laziness, I should just work back stretches into my daily routine! Right? You would think.
Buy a weighted hula hoop!
My gym has one and I idly picked it up a while back (last time I hooped I was 10 and fairly crap at it), gave it a twirl and away I went, magic! I felt quite proud of myself 😀 So, I researched the benefits of hula hoops and found that they are great for core strength, abdominals, obliques and wait for it – strengthening back muscles!!
me and my new toy!! loving it
You need to hoop between 10-30 minutes per day to gain any real benefit. So of course I started out at 30 minutes – easy! Give it a go, if you don’t quite get the hang of it keep practising. Most gyms have them, so if you belong you can try one out before committing to having one at home. Mine was $35, so it was well within my price range.
I definitely can feel some changes, my abdominals are firming up, my posture has improved (wasn’t expecting that) and I’m hoping the strengthening of my back muscles helps in easing or even better, getting rid of my lower back pain!! I’ll update y’all if it does! 😀
Tell me what you think – yoga, pilates or comment if you have a better idea!
Y’all know I’m into being really active. I run, swim, dance, hike and walk George (my therapy dog). And I’m all for “feelin’ the pain” (actually no, I’m not, but you know that thing – “no pain/no gain” 😛 ) But this is a whole other level of pain! Dislike!
It’s worse in the mornings and it truly is a comical sight watching me try to put my socks on so I can get my joggers on. Luckily, there’s (usually) only George and my cat Blossom around to snigger at my sad attempts at foot sockage.
Seriously, I can’t actually bend first thing in the morning without excruciating lower back pain, so putting on socks has become no small feat (hahahaha feat/feet). I usually put my foot up on my knee and try to lasso the sock over my toes!
Oh and to add injury to insult – here’s a pic of me at my last running event – The Perth Women’s Classic 10k fun run. I literally face planted on the finish line! Cut my chin open, but got free champagne and I still recorded a good time! (check the blood on my nice white event t-shirt! much ouch!)
Research on back pain
I’ve done a bunch of research and discovered the following useful (useless?) facts:
My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories and said “arthritis, it’s your age, get used to it” (rude!!)
Google told me I need a new mattress, preferably firm/medium (there’s actually a research study on it and it’s a thing y’all)
Google also told me to do back stretches when I first wake up (didn’t help)
Then Google told me my sleeping position sucks and I need to sleep with a pillow between my legs and sleep on my side (y’ha, I do that – helps a little bit, but not enough to get my socks on!!)
My PT at the gym told me to give up running! (not gonna happen)
My girlfriends tell me to take up yoga or pilates. Trouble is they are all devotees of one or the other, so I’m kinda stuck.
Need your help to make a decision – there’s a poll at the top of this post, so vote your fave stretchy exercise and help me make a decision. Not to bias the poll, but I’m thinking of doing a Yoga Challenge (don’t see the point in just plain ole go to the community hall and getting my stretch on).
My ideal first date, go for a run and impress him with my sweaty awesomeness! And I got that opportunity on the weekend. I’d been messaging with a fellow I found on my dating site. A lot of his photos were of him at ParkRuns around the world and y’all know I love ParkRuns and travelling, so how could I not be impressed? Plus he’s good looking, came across as smart and genuine and obvs fit – can’t be doing all that running and be unfit, right?!
So, he kinda invited me on his local ParkRun on Sat morning and to go for a coffee after. Best first date offer ever!! Except I had to get him to come to my ParkRun as it was a special one for me, I was about to run my last timed run in my age category of 55-59 – I turned 60 on the 10 Sept! (more on that below). My ParkRun buddies were insisting I do a new PB on the day and go out with a bang! And that’s a challenge I just had to accept. So I invited my date to my run and coffee/breakie after and he said yes and came to my run 🙂 🙂
One of my running buddies offered to pace me 🙂 We’ll start off at a slow and steady pace for the first km or so he said.. mmhmm, his idea of slow and steady was my idea of ‘holy hell this is fast!’ He kept me at a steady rhythm with target goals along the way and a mantra to play out in my head. I noticed my date overtake us at some point and I was thinking – awesome, he’s faster than me! I spotted him as he was heading back after the turn around point and he stopped to take an action shot of me (there’s also a really nice shot of my date guy and I after the run – but I won’t post that just yet – early days people 🙂 ) Oh and I got that PB by 10 seconds!
Then date guy and I went for coffee and breakfast afterwards. Really good conversation and he is lovely. We talked for ages, but I had to cut it short as it was my birthday party day and I had to get organised. He messaged me later in the day with photos and a thank you and on the mad spur of the moment I invited him to swing by my birthday party that evening. He said he’d love to and he did! He was totally at ease with my family and friends and they all loved him. So, how’s that for a first date? Running in the morning, celebrating my birthday in the evening AND running the gauntlet of my family and friends! What a guy, he’s a keeper – am I right?
Musings on turning 60
Turning 60 is awesome, I love milestone birthdays, it’s always an excuse to celebrate, throw a party and have everyone pamper you – what’s not to love? What’s even better is that at my party some of my friends gave me cards to celebrate my 50th and one thought it was my 40th (bless!!). I guess all that exercise and healthy eating and keeping a positive mind-set (and for sure I know that is not always easy, I speak from personal experience) has stood me in good stead for where I am at right here and right now.
There were some beautiful and thoughtful gifts, my daughter bought me a Kobo (an eReader). I’d previously not been keen as I love ‘real’ books – however I have literally run out of bookshelves and the books piling up everywhere looks a bit like I should open a second hand bookstore before I (and the mutts) disappear under the pile 😛
So here are a couple of party pics for y’all – take care, look after each other and if you’re approaching a milestone birthday – enjoy and eat that cake!! xoxo
I’m the one on the left with long hair – I’m harder to recognise when I’m not in my activewear!
I’ve joined the #ParkRun phenomenon. I love running on my own, but it’s pretty nice to run with a group. Have y’all heard of ParkRun? I’ll add a link below for you to check it out. It’s a community/neighborhood organised group and anyone can join in, it doesn’t matter what your pace is, you can run, walk, take your kids, dog, partner, best friend. Or like me, go by yourself and find friends and make new friends and meet more of your neighbors. The best thing is that once you join ParkRun you can run with any group around the world – great way to stay fit and healthy and meet new people wherever you might find yourself 🙂
I am smiling like a crazy thing coz I got a PB, I don’t push myself when running alone – but I had someone pacing me this time 🙂
Finding a friend at the finish line – big hugs 🙂
Lurve and that online dating thing and oh my gosh, ghosting really is a thing!
Well, I persist! Met a cute guy online – 53 year old lawyer. Went on a couple of dates. First date he took me out for dinner, lovely spirited conversation about everything – politics, travel, history, music, movies. He walked me to my car told me I was gorgeous (naaw, bless!) and kissed me – I usually don’t allow guys to kiss me on a first date, too intimate too soon – but this one seemed different and I felt a connection.
Second date he invited me to the cinema, he chose On Chesil Beach, a slow moving British period drama. Lots of beautiful long camera shots of a pebbly British beach and awkward sex scenes with the protagonists and a tragic and trite ending. He held my hand throughout and stroked my hand and fingers.
After the movie he wanted to go to San Churros (if you don’t have this franchise in your city, go google it) and suddenly I felt like an awkward 15 year old. He wanted hot chocolate and a plate of churros (Spanish donuts with a sugary dipping sauce). The conversation was flat, mostly because we were surrounded by noisy teenagers and that does not make for conducive small talk!
He walked me to my car, quick kiss and a “see you later” from him as he dashed to his car. I was left standing with a bemused expression on my face and thinking hmmmm. Then he “ghosted” me! Literally ghosted me. Did not call or message, nothing, nada. Just disappeared. I was messaging my mate Ali and her response? He forgot to use his big boy words! Classic! Seriously, all that is required is a polite text/message saying, thank you, but I don’t think this will work. No harm, no foul and we all go on our separate journeys knowing that good manners prevail and all will be right with the world.
Take care y’all and treat each other with respect and kindness xo
A lot of people tell me that running is not good for you, either at all or when you are an older runner (aka me!!). And you know what? That is not true. Most recent research shows that you can continue running right into your twilight years and in fact, it’s possible to take up running in your 40s, 50s or 60s – even for those who consider themselves “non-runners”*
Last Sunday I was out playing Supa Golf with a bunch of friends, it was hella good fun and a little bit of incidental exercise walking around the 9 hole course. The game is played with big colourful golf balls and a selection of four clubs – including my favorite “big boy” and I am surprisingly ok at the game.
Afterwards we had lunch and I got to talking with this guy I’d not met before and he started talking about running and that he managed to run a couple of times per week (which is actually really good compared to most folk). But then he said the usual “..I don’t have time to run/exercise more than that…” and so I called him on it. You know, we all have the same 24 hours in each and every day and we all choose what we do with those hours, so to say you don’t have time to exercise then I will call you on that! Unless you work 12 hour shifts, have a bunch of young children or health/injury issues to contend with, then you DO have time to exercise!!
we all have time 🙂
WRITING & CATS…
On Saturday I spent the day at a Master’s class on writing – just looking for some tips on being consistent, time management (hey I have a busy life too!!) and tools for increasing/improving my writing for this blog and my e-Book on health and fitness that I’m working on.
And a shout out to Catherine who ran the class who gave us some really cool tips that I’ve already put in place in terms of productivity enhancement. Sometimes in a super busy life you can only “write in the cracks” so when you have those “cracks” in time then you need to make the most of them. So if you want some tools to help you manage your day/productivity (and find that elusive time to exercise!!) then check out some of these tools:
Use an internet blocker so that you don’t get distracted by Facebook; cat videos; emails; more cat videos – a good one is Freedom
My cat Bloss doing her thing!! 🙂 🙂
Use a time management tool – Pomodoro is excellent and can be used with just a timer and a couple of useful tips from the Pomodoro website or a time management app, there are some good ones for IOS and for Android.
LURVE LIFE – because it’s almost Valentine’s Day and you know, romance!!
Now where would we be without an update on all things love?!? Ok… following on from my last post, yes I am seeing someone and yes it is good (so far, there’s always a so far involved in my love life) and he has got me dancing – well taking dancing lessons!! For those who have read my earlier blog posts, you’d know that dancing and I are not usually best buddies. But strangely and to my own eternal surprise I am doing quite well, I am remembering the steps (mostly), have not stomped on anyone’s toes (yet) and I haven’t fallen over my own feet!! And I can practice with my boyfriend/lover/man-person and practising really helps. Another cool surprise is that I usually feel quite happy after a dance class, must be those endorphins – the same ones you get after other forms of exercise!!
*(please note, when beginning any new exercise regimen, always check with your GP or health care provider first)
I’ve decided to start-up a part-time health coaching business. I often give advice to friends and family on their health and fitness goals and I love helping people reach their goals or motivate them to get healthier.
I’m going to name my business after my blog HealthyWildand50plus and I’m setting up a Facebook page to promote it as well – the page is still new and I’d love your feedback, here’s the link – healthywildand50plus on fb
I’ve had to do all the legal things that are required here in Australia to start a small business, including getting an Australian Business Number (ABN) and registering my business name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Need to make sure I have everything legal and above-board before dipping my toe into the small business world!
I’m aiming to offer an introductory consultation, either face-to-face or via Skype and then folk can either leave it there or if they want to hire me as their health coach I will offer a number of options and ask them to commit to three or six months. Health and fitness change does not happen overnight and I am hoping to work with people who are committed to positive change in their lives, but who need guidance, ideas, motivation and support to get and keep going!!
I’m coaching my niece Donna at the moment… giving her encouragement, motivation and a fair dose of nagging to keep her moving every day. Messaged her yesterday asking how’s it going and she’s like “yeah, nah, lazy, lazy” So I messaged straight back with “your treadmill loves you, it misses you, get back on it!” 10 minutes later she sent a pic of her running on her treadie – with her tongue hanging out! Cheeky but funny! I’d put the pic of her on it here, but she’d probs not really appreciate that!! So here’s another pic for your entertainment.
I’m also working with her on her eating and dietary habits, how to shop clean and healthy, ideas for cooking healthy meals and she’s for sure going with it – she’s now sending me pics of the meals she’s putting together!!
Can’t be a post without an update on exercise. This is a pic of my morning run at Lake Monger in Western Australia – beautiful location, pretty scenery, lots of wildlife and loads more runners/walkers/dog exercisers than on my usual run.
This morning I had a running buddy, which is always nice. I do love running alone, but it’s kinda special having someone to run with – especially if it’s someone important in your life. He doesn’t usually run, so it’s pretty cool that he came running with me, like willingly – there was no coercion, seriously none at all!! >.>
Love Life update – well sort of, maybe, not really – but you know, life = complicated, messy and generally confusing if you ask me!!
Well things are for sure happening here in my love life – but for now I’m being all coy on y’all and will only say “watch this space”