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Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Some think it’s a pretty freakin’ boring activity that takes too much time for the amount of calories it ultimately burns. However, walking does have some pretty huge benefits. Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah – you’ve heard it a thousand times before, you know walking is good for you, you know you should exercise…..but maybe it’s not so bad to be reminded every so often…..

Walk·ing

Pronunciation: \ˈw-kiŋ\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 : the action of one that walks <walking is good exercise>
2 : the condition of a surface for one going on foot <the walking is slippery>

Walking burns calories, strengthens back muscles, slims your waist, is easy on your joints, strengthens your bones, lowers blood pressure, allows time with family and friends, shapes and tones your legs and butt, cuts cholesterol, reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, & other conditions, reduces stress, helps you sleep better, improves mood and outlook on life, can be done almost anywhere, requires no equipment, AND it’s free.

In addition to going to the gym, I have been trying to get in a decent walk every day. The route I’ve been plugging away on daily loops through the golf course, past two lakes and is a little over 10 km (roughly 6 1/2 miles). It takes me about an hour and a half-ish to complete, gives me some 1:1 time with myself and my iPod, and leaves me feeling sweaty, renewed, and refreshed (how can thirty two degrees Celsius not! Brrr…..).

Honestly, besides the crappy weather some days (I was caught in a graupel storm yesterday – seriously – it’s real – look that one up kids), I have every reason to get my bootie in motion and bust it outside – into the gorgeous crisp air. With the wedding less than three months away I do have an overwhelming desire to look fit and feel healthy for the big day.

I have also been blessed with a pair of perfectly good legs (which I’m forever thankful for) and have sixty eight pairs of running shoes (or ‘trainers’ as they lovingly refer to them in Europe) waiting patiently for their turn to break out of our fourth-bedroom-turned-walk-in-closet.

And yeah, that’s a grip of sneakers. I know.

Cut me some slack here….It’s no secret I cherish shoes and I do come from the ‘land of Nike’ where it’s bordering on an obsessive compulsive disorder cool and hip to own so many pairs of kicks, one to match every possible combination of exercise gear you might slip into.

But most importantly, with copious amounts of time now available to dedicate to a healthy activity like working out – something that was more of a luxury and took a backseat in my past life, I really have no excuses.

I was curious. Just how many calories am I burning on these little ninety minute hikes in the sticks?

And wouldn’t you know it, there are some simple formulas you can use to determine how many calories are being burned according to your weight and how fast you are walking.

3.0 miles/hour (20-minute mile): Burns .027 calories/pound/minute.

3.5 miles/hour (17 minute mile): Burns .033 calories/pound/minute.

4.0 miles/hour (15 minute mile): Burns .042 calories/pound/minute.

4.5 miles/hour (13 minute mile): Burns .047 calories/pound/minute.

Take the number of calories/pound/minute you burn and multiply it by your weight and then by the number of minutes you walk.

For instance, if you weigh 125 pounds and walk a 17-minute mile for 60 minutes, you multiply 125 by .033, then multiple the result (4.125) by 60. You burn a measly 247.5 calories.

So, that’s not a helluva lot, huh? Especially considering one pound of body fat is equal to 3500 calories. Ugh. And one 5 ounce glass of wine contains roughly 125 calories. And seeing I had more than one glass of wine last night, uh, and the night before too….I better step it up.

Here is a fun tool from Body Builder that will calculate how many calories you are burning per specific activity (they even list things such as house cleaning, playing music, standing in line, watching TV, & riding in a car – although I have to imagine the latter three don’t burn much if any at all), you can even discover how many minutes you need to exercise to burn your desired number of calories.

Either way, it’s time for me to lace up the next lucky pair of sneaks, head out, and burn up those nasty calories.

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I know, normally it’s date night but for us it has been date week.

We wanted to spend time together while doing something good for ourselves and our bodies. We quickly agreed on the answer. Regular trips to the gym followed by evenings of cooking for each other. With the upcoming nuptials and my latest attempt to squeeze into my Amsale wedding dress, I thought this sounded like a excellent idea.

So, we grabbed our duffel bags and trotted off to the club.

But not your pedestrian treadmill, recumbent bike, or boring circuit training routines. No.

We went swimming.

date

At first, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Swimming? Really? I mean, I love most bodies of water – lakes, pools (laying beside them in posh hotels), and always look forward to playing in the surf at the beach. But, uh, swimming laps? What are we? All of sudden 75? Since I’m usually up for new adventures and love Fattie to death – I grinned and agreed to give it a go.

But not without some apprehension. Here’s my top 5 concerns:

1) Germs. I don’t like them.

I certainly don’t like my bare feet coming in contact with any gym/locker room floor – and would NEVER consider taking a shower in a public place without flip flops on (even on our trip to Italy last month I showered in the hotel with thongs on). I know, I know – it’s borderline OCD.

2) Chlorine. Not my BFF.

My locks are professionally straightened and highlighted every 8-10 weeks, so chlorine, it’s drying agents, and all those other pool chemicals and I – just don’t get along.

3) Swimsuit. I don’t own one.

I mean, I don’t own a proper suit for swimming. I have about 60 suits to catch rays in – they’re called b-i-k-i-n-i-s and not really what you see folks draped in while they’re dog paddling around the pool to work up a sweat.

4) Casper. As in, Casper the ghost.

My first winter in Sweden and I’m paler than I’ve ever been, so you can understand I was horrified of the thought of showing my bleached out body to the general public.

5) Dork Incorporated. Probably not on the top 10 list of ‘cool’ things to do.

To be honest, I felt like a the biggest nerd answering my sister in law when she asked curiously the other day, “What are you guys going to do tonight?”…..me muttering under my breath, “Uh, we’re going swimming”.

Now, here’s a little interesting, or depending on how you look at it depressing, nugget of information about Sweden. The Swedes remove their shoes upon entering a place of residence. Not only do I think it’s terrible to be greeted by a pile of shoes at your front entry way, I’m just not used to it. And frankly – don’t like it.

See, I adore shoes. I’ve been known to build entire outfits around my shoes, so chucking them off at the door is somewhat alarming to me. All my pants, and I mean ALL my pants besides my Juicy sweat-suits, have been tailored for high-heels. The removal of any footwear means I not only become shorter but if I’m not in a dress or skirt then I also have 4 inches of pant leg dragging around behind me. Not attractive. And certainly not the ‘look’ I was going for. With the exception of boots, I’m used to walking around in strappy sandal type shoes – you know, the kind you don’t wear socks with – so, you can bet your bootie I’m not entirely thrilled about being in someone’s home for a dinner or cocktail party barefoot with pants in tow.

But really. I am leading up to something here.

We checked into the gym and rounded the corner to proceed to the locker rooms only to be embraced by the largest mud room I’ve ever laid my big brown eyes upon. What? Those stinking Swedes remove their shoes here too? At the gym? Uh-huh. Apparently, it’s common (and highly encouraged) to drop off your shoes BEFORE entering the locker room.

Nope. Not having it. None of it.

I glanced over at Fattie and squeaked apologetically, “I’m not doing it. I don’t care if I am being disrespectful…..I’m N-O-T doing it.” At this point, not only the potential cooties came into play but you can imagine I was mortified at the thought of leaving my hundred and fifty dollar UGGs out in the open for anyone to snag or worse yet the possibility of someone sticking their foot into my boot – eeewww. Ok, ok. I know. Take it easy. No, I don’t think the local Swedes are thieves; and no, I don’t think I’m so important that someone would really want to steal my shoes – but I can’t take that chance and I certainly can’t walk barefoot into the locker room!

Of course, being who he is and loving me for who I am, Fattie just smiled at me while he was finding a nice home on the shelf for his Converse.

Swim

Wow. Not exactly the burn from lifting weights or the high from running but swimming is hard work. I was envisioning these straight roped off lanes, head down, goggles on, proceeding ahead with the crawl stroke….But to my surprise the dudes in the water were swimming the breast stroke in a long rectangular loop. After a few laughs and comments about being the youngest people there by at least 30 years, I cautiously merged into the circle of elders….The first 2 laps were silly but alright. The next 48 were some kind of modern water torture. I made it through, only after stopping to rest and giggle with Fattie every 10 laps or so.

Now here’s something I had never seen before. Self cleaning hot-tubs. Ok, I guess that is cool and all. But what this really means is everyone and their grandmother scrambles to the jacuzzi at the same time sandwiching in next to each other and then right on queue, exactly 10 minutes later, everyone jumps out to allow the tub to ‘cleanse itself’. 10 minutes in – 10 minutes out. Weird.

Then came the locker room.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the near vicinity with so many naked 75 year old ladies in my entire life. My eyes must have been as big as saucers! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a prude or shy of nudity – I worked in a health club for several years in my early 20’s so I am very accustomed to the gym and locker room culture. But holy smokes. I’ve seen children smaller than some of those bushes! The gardener must be on a permanent holiday. And don’t get me started on the sauna – it looked like a box of raisins.

Then it hit me. Someday I will be just like these little old ladies – hopefully with a little less hair. Spooky.

If on day/date 1 of our swimming adventure we were the youngest peeps by 30 years, then day 2 we were certainly the oldest by 30 years. Mental note: Mondays = senior night, Wednesday = kiddie night. Oh, the joy.

By our 2nd week hitting the drink, swimming was becoming an amusing routine. We both feel amazingly refreshed afterwards and savor the time we are spending together participating in an engaging, healthy, and, well – goofy activity. We also have had a brilliant time coming up with creative plates of grub to dish up for each other. Last week Fattie made these fabulous Greek meatballs of freshly ground lamb aside homemade tzatziki – reminded me of the yearly Greek festival back home – YUMO.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get so into this swimming thing I might even invest in a proper swimsuit – maybe even a swimming cap. Daaaaang – did I really just write that? So, it is very possible we are I am a giant dork. But at least I won’t be a barefoot dork.

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