Friday, April 4, 2008

Elusive Exercise...

Are you a NEAT banana or a Buddha-bellied pear? It doesn't matter, as it turns out. We all need to get to the gym...or just get outside and play.

One of my as-yet-unfulfilled New Year's resolutions was to exercise more. I am having difficulty finding the time (or just making myself?) get to the gym and/or complete the at-home workout I've put together more than once or twice a week. While I do have challenges (in the form of small persons who tether me to our house and generally attach themselves to me during their waking hours) I'm hoping that musing about the following random fitness tidbits might provide the catalyst I need to get up to 4-6 days/week (this is both self-flagellation and cogitation, folks).

But first, for those of you who know me IRL, some reassurance about why I want to exercise (it's not because I ever again want to hit the beach in a bikini, although I admit that I covet Linda Hamilton's Terminator 2 arms). According to a Mayo Clinic study, some unnamed people can, in fact, eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce. They automatically burn hundreds of extra calories after they overeat by stretching, changing posture, and rapidly tapping their feet on the floor. The researchers called this factor NEAT (for non-exercise activity thermogenesis). Wikipedia refers to the ever-scrawny slender body type of ectomorphs as bananas.

I belong to a small subsection of the ectomorph populace that my older brother likes to call skinny fat.
I'm definitely getting older, and I can feel my metabolism slowing. It seems like I am overdue for a reality check. My taunting older bro was onto something. Is the combo of eating poorly and not working out just as deadlyas those death sticks? Actually, a lack of exercise is worse than smoking. A sedentary lifestyle will accelerate your aging process. And apparently, even if you're not overweight, you may still be fat inside in terms of chronic inflammation that's associated with health problems like heart disease and arthritis. Exercise appears to be a critical factor in making sure that thin people are healthy.

Seems like no one's off the hook. Skinny, fat, skinny fat? We all have to shake our moneymakers to stay healthy. So tell me, how do you fit in your exercise? Please say it's not all about waking up at 5....


Tech Savvy Mama said...

I commend you on your ability to exercise at home since I've never been able to do it. Unless you count chasing the kids from room to room! And who are those people who can eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce and why am I not one of them??? Oh well. More Cadbury for me, please!

Laura said...

Oh, geez, in a family with two long-distance runners, I am a couch potato. (Mmmm, potatoes.)

Well, you know I walk the dog every day. About two miles. I would love to be a runner. I stand on the sidelines at cross country meets or marathons and feel so envious. Mark qualified for Boston this year. I think that is so cool. I don't want to qualify for anything but maybe not huffing and puffing my way around the trail with Hector. I will watch your blog for exercise motivation ...
Don't fail me, Mamabird. :)

Laura said...

Oh yeah -- but what's up with people like Alberto Salazar and Jim Fixx?

MamaBird said...

Oh, Tech Savvy Mama, you have me dreaming of those Cadbury Eggs again! You go with the Stroller Strides, TSM.

And Laura - I totally credit my dog with whatever shred of exercise I get (and my kids, as TSM points out, I do chase them some). That is *so* cool that someone in yr fam qualified for the Boston Marathon! I grew up there and used to watch it every year -- and was always in AWE watching our neighbors run each year (my brother did it once, too, woo hoo!). Will keep you posted on my own feeble non marathon efforts.

Robin said...

I got a stationary bike about 2 years ago - not the tall one, hurt your back, but the low one with a full back chair.
I also love reading.
I've 'trained' myself that I can only read while riding the bike, so that's my incentive to keep getting on the bike - so I can finish the book I've started.
It also takes care of 2 things at once that are hard to fit into a Mommy's schedule - reading and exercising.

MamaBird said...

Great idea, Robin, thanks. I love the idea of reserving something for exercise - for me it's my mp3 player - I so love music and rarely take the time to turn it on while just hangin with the kids. My aunt watches DVDs of shows she likes, whole seasons of say 24, and only lets herself watch while exercising. Good motivation. No space in our house for any equipment but maybe I will finally figure out how to make up playlists!

kate5kiwis said...

hello mama birdie,
spotted ya at hay's (the secret life of us)
i totally hear ya on the *fitness* level, traditionally i hate exercise but since i started going to the gym with hubby about 2 months ago, i'm hooked!!!
no kids.
no squabbles.
lots of loud music.
and sweat.
lots of sweat.

Going Crunchy said...

Great blog! Interesting reading.

I'm now exercising at the gym at about 4-5 times a week. I've been doing it since November and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. I think you make the time when you realize that it keeps you healthy, makes you feel better and gives you more energy.

My gym has an amazing childcare center with an indoor maze, gym, toddler room, outdoor play area and computer lab. The kids get exercise and play while I get an hour or so to myself. I often go after they go to bed (husband home) and I do a long workout, shower, steamroom and run out in my jammies with a coat or sweater over it.

I get my reading done while I'm on the treadmill or runner do-jigger.

It is part of making time for myself which keeps Mama going, and keeps me active with the kids. We also all love to swim as a family there.

A student of mine gave me the cartoon- - "You can either exercise an hour a day or be dead 24 hours a day." It was so true! I'm fighting a metabolic disorder so it struck home terribly hard though they didn't know that!

MamaBird said...

kate5kiwis - I am hooked too. Love the sweat.

Going Crunchy - I am so jealous about your childcare at the gym! That is *exactly* what is missing from my scenario. I can't believe I didn't see that nose in front of my face. Hope the exercise is helping w/your metabolic disorder. Thanks for stopping by the blog.