Hate Exercising?

Do you hate exercising? Or do you find it impossible to find time for exercising? And do you fail again and again getting into the routine?

Then this Ted talk is for you!

Danish professor Bente Klarlund has researched the benefits of exercise and the results have been so convincing that she, who loathes exercise herself, have convinced herself to exercise.

Get the old bike out

Get the old bike out

 

“Those who think they do not have time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Edward Stanley

Professor Klarlund says “people don’t ask me, when do I excercise too much, they ask how little can I get away with?”

The great news is that a little exercise goes a long way, a very long way! A little exercise makes a big difference!

Research shows that exercise protects against 35 disorders and diseases, type 2 diabetes heart disease, cancer and dementia, to name a few. There is even evidence that exercise can be used as treatment for these chronic diseases!

As little as 30 min walking a day will cut your chances of getting sick with 30% – 1 hours walk per day by half! And by running it is even better!

If you really hate exercising Professor Klarlund suggests

  • skipping the elevator
  • using walk and talk meetings at work
  • biking to work
  • walking to the baker for your daily bread

Even presumably insignificant changes can have a significant positive impact on your health. 

Check out her fantastic Ted Talk and find out more – it is very reassuring!

I wrote about Professor Klarlund in an earlier post “muscles reward exercise”

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Sweat the blues

Can exercise really help us beat the blues?

I came across an interesting article on one of my favorite Danish news sites Fri.dk called “Can exercise prevent depression”?

A research study done by The Danish National Institute of Public Health points out that exercise can have an effective preventive effect on depression.

There is no doubt that exercise can help us when we are feeling the blues, but prevent depression? This is what the article said:

4 hours light exercise or 2 hours hard exercise a week

The Danish study confirms what we already know, that exercise is good for us physically, and that exercise plays a major role in our emotional health, but it also showed that exercise may  have a preventive effect on depression!

The research was done with 18.000 Danes between 18-99 years of age, both answering questions sheets and undergoing blood tests during a 26 year period.

The results showed that, especially in women, there was a preventive effect in the occurrence of depression, by doing regular exercise.

Women who were either physical inactive or exercised less than 2 hours had 1.8 times higher risk of developing depression than the women who were exercising a lot. The “exercising a lot” criteria in the study was, light exercise more than 4 hours or more than 2 hours heavy exercise a week.

The research points (not surprisingly) to have the same beneficial effect for men, but then there was not as many depressive men participating in the study.

The research discussed whether  it is simply exercise that has a preventive effect. They, therefore, also studied people who were physically active during their work day, for example in the postal services, but the research clearly showed that the physical exercise has to be done in free time. Work related “exercise”  had no effect on depression!  So something points to the fact that it is not the physical activity in itself that has the effect, it is important that it is part of free time and maybe there also is a social component.

I think this affirms that health does not happen in isolation – balanced living and happy health – means many things, among them are: getting regular exercise, nourishing our bodies with good food, embracing (all) emotions, having healthy relationships at work and privately, etc. And remember, depression can be a healthy response to something not right in our lives. No matter how much we run, we still need to attend to the underlying emotions and consult our heart – the old saying is true, we cannot run from our problems.

“Being entirely honest with oneself is good exercise”- Sigmund Freud

I think the social component in exercise plays a big and important role in preventing depression. We get out, we meet people and often we have great conversation during exercise, we solve the worlds problems as we go. We connect in a special way with people we exercise with. We set goals together, we sweat together, we laugh and cry together, we stretch ourselves together, we go beyond, we celebrate successes and support each other, we encourage each other, we share together. These aspects have the power to heal us, make us feel better, and prevent depression from occurring.

“The greatest wealth is health “ – Virgil

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health” – Hippocrates

Earlier blog posts on exercise:

Muscles reward exercise

Make running part of your life – for good.

Getting into the great habit

Want to live longer? Jog a bit

Make running part of your life – for good

Jogging is such a perfect way to unwind, relax your mind, and recharge the body. It is impossible to go out for a run and return back, grumpy – it’s simply, not possible. Jogging is an excellent mood enhancer, it works every time! Professionally, it is often a part of the treatment for depression and stress.

Jogging is also a great way to solve problems and ignite your creative juices. Feeling empty or stuck with a problem? Get changed, put on the old running shoes and hit the road. Chances are that the problem will solve itself as you run – all of a sudden you can see things in a new perspective and find a solution.

Running/jogging is a great way to get some “you time” – away from it all.

I am sure most of us will agree that jogging is good for us, but many will also agree with me that it is really hard to actually establish the routine of running, several times a week, every week, every month, every year, year after year.

I see too many people out there looking as though they are not enjoying it at all – pressuring themselves way too hard, beyond healthy, looking stressed, in pain almost – running is just another thing on the to-do-list.

Considering running as a chore is stressful, no fun and you are much more likely to injure yourself ! I’m quite sure that running this way is not healthy either!

I have been a jogger, on an off, my whole life – but it is not until 2 years ago, that I have actually become a faithful runner and I couldn’t live without it!

While out running the other day, I was thinking “how did it happen?”.  For years, I had been an on-and-off runner, usually running  2-3 K max two or three times a week. I would be doing this for some months and then the “monkey mind” would finally convince me I didn’t need it any longer. Then I would stop for a couple of months, till I finally got a grip on my self and started all over again. I did not enjoy it, I forced myself and I actually hated it! I also got injured from running again and again, my knees would bother me, then one foot would become sore with plantar fasciitis, and I would stop, again!

This is how I did it

I was told about Jeff Galloway’s Run -Walk -Run program and that changed everything for me

Jeff Galloway is my hero – he taught me all I needed to know to motivate me to hit the road and keep running.

Galloway is an American Olympian and after many injuries he invented his “Run-Walk-Run” method that has inspired thousands to start running and keep at it. He is the author of many books – he even wrote a book called “Running until you’re 100”!  His message is clear – anyone can run!

By adding more walks in to your runs you:

  • Run injury free
  • your muscles recover faster after each run
  • you gently but surely improve your capability
  • you listen to your body
  • your runs are stress free
  • your runs are enjoyable
  • you feel the improvement week after week

I swear by Galloway’s program. It fits perfect with my philosophy that we have to listen to the body and do mindful running.

This is how I got started, inspired by Galloway:

  •  Run-walk-run, every other day – so for example Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday is your, run-walk-run days
  •  30 min every time
  • Then Mondays – Wednesdays – Fridays,  are walk days – 30 min.
  • Saturdays, a longer run – by doing this, you really improve! You will feel that your usual 30 min run-walk-run becomes a piece of cake – a run in the park 🙂
  • Sunday is rest day – important to have this!
  • Try to get out the same time, every day – to create a routine.
  • Find a running buddy – it is always easier if you know someone is waiting for you out there.
  • Make time – wake up an hour early, for example. Do you know how beautiful it is outside early in the morning? (see this)

In the beginning I was walking a lot more than I was running. To be totally honest with you I could not run 10 steps without being out of breath. As I kept to the program, each time I could run a little longer. It doesn’t matter, as long as we get out – that is the most important.

By following this program you will very quickly, feel improvement. Make sure you can always carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing. Take it easy – AND put in as many walk breaks as you need. Who cares?

I love Oscar Wilde’s philosophical quote:- Life is too important to be taken seriously! This is true when it comes to running too!

Get out, have fun and above all enjoy your run!!

Links to Jeff Galloway’s website and books;

Jeff Galloway

Running, getting started

Running until you’re 100

Getting into the great habit

Developing new habits to help balanced living, can be a big challenge. The norm is that it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  Over the past 2 years, I have nurtured and created new habits and have been successful with maintaining them. Looking back, I can see that there were some important factors that were essential to my success.

Developing good balanced-living habits:

1. Create time – don’t wait for time, take time.

2. Make good routines – Do the new endeavour in the same way and at the same time – the same thing – at the same time – every time. It is easier to create a habit if you make it a routine, for example do the same time every time i.e., running in the morning, mediating from 7 -7:15, etc. Especially in the beginning as the habit is forming – you will be motivated by the great feeling it gives you. You feel how good it is for you and will fall into the rhythm of doing it, because you want more of that feeling.

3. Keep at it – the more that you do it , the easier it is, so do it again, and again, and again, – you are creating new little paths in the brain that eventually turn into new highways. Every time you do it, it becomes easier.

The biggest challenge though, when it comes to creating a new habit, is in the mind. The “monkey mind” I call it. The one that will tell you that you do not need to go for a run right now, it is too early, you are too tired, it is raining, it is cold, you are too busy and tomorrow will be much better. It will continue telling you that you are much better off without and it will, if you allow it, convince you that, yes indeed, mañana, will, of course, be much better.

The problem is that if we let ourselves be seduced by the “monkey mind”- days will go without running, meditating, writing that book, losing the weight, stopping smoking, dancing, taking care of ourselves – or whatever the goal is, days will pass, months will pass, years may pass, a lifetime may pass!

So how to turn off the “monkey mind” and get over the upstart to our jogging, meditating, writing? We can’t turn it off,  but the less we listen to it, the less obnoxious it is .

First of all – the “monkey mind” never tells the truth, so by starting to realize that we are being fooled and conned by the a lying “monkey mind” – is the key. Starting to observe the messages and ask if this is really truth, is an important first step.

Monkey mind : This is way too early, turn off that alarm clock immediately, this has to be a joke !

You: Right it is early, but I will be grateful that I got up to run.

Monkey mind: Hey common – you can’t be serious, feel the warmth of the bed, close your sweet little eyes and dream.

You: Okay, I hear you are really tired and maybe we can nap in the afternoon.

Monkey mind: No no no – now is better, much better and apart from that it is cold and dreadful out there and by the way, you are too old to start running, you don’t need this!

You: I know what you are up to – and it sounds good, but I need my run, that is the truth, so I am off, tired, old and all.

When I wake up having planned an early morning run at 7 am – I can assure you that the “monkey mind” is there, trying every dirty trick in the box, to get me to stay in my warm bed and take another hour or two snoozing. So I am aware – and I know what is coming.

I have tried it so many times that I know that going out there running will benefit me in so many ways that I tell the “monkey mind” – “thanks for your input I’m off running anyway, buddy” – I know by now, that the run will do me so much good and I will love myself for doing it later, so I do it!

Other times I will follow a trick from Jeff Galloway the former Olympic runner, and say ‘ okay I hear you, you are so tired and all we will do this morning is, put the shoes on and run to the end of the drive”! But by the time I reach the end of the drive, I have smelled the fresh morning air, felt the air on my skin, and the sun on my face, and the “monkey mind” is forgotten and I am out there enjoying the run.

“Good habits, once established are just as hard to break as are bad habits” Robert Puller

Muscles reward exercise

I found this very interesting interview with Professor Dr. Med Bente Klarlund Pedersen in one of the Danish newspapers, Politiken (the Danish Article).

Professor (Dr. Med.) Bente Klarlund Pedersen is the director of Copenhagen Muscle Research Center and her focus is on inflammation and metabolism(CIM)

Her results are very interesting to us looking to improve health and balance our lives. For example, her early research has shown that there is a connection between physical activity and the immune system.

She shows that our muscles are not alone making us capable of moving around, but work similarly to other organs producing hormone-like compounds – important for our overall health. She has shown that muscles work like vital organs setting “turbo-on” conversion of sugar and fat during exercise.

Another really interesting point that Dr. Klarlund has found is that in people who are not physically active, not only do their muscles deteriorate, but lack of exercise also makes them more prone to diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer, osteoporosis and depression. She is focusing her research to find out how inactivity can be connected to so many different lifestyle diseases.

Her basis research shows that muscles not only get messages from the nerves, but also communicate through many hormone-like compounds. Thus, muscles work like organs. Some of their research experiments with people paralyzed from the neck and down showed that by stimulating their muscles, they could achieve the same positive effects as if they had been exercising! Their bodies burned sugar and fat and they could even experience “Runner’s high” even though they were paralyzed and not physical active in any way.

In another experiment, they asked a group of people to limit their activities to walk a maximum of 1.500 steps a day – where 10.000 steps would be the norm. The results showed that lots of things happened – for example, they lost 1.2 kg muscle mass. They became insulin resistant which is the stage before diabetes. When they consumed fat, the fat remained longer in the body and built up around the inner organs – in just 2 weeks!!!

Her own 2 sons were part of the study and she explains how they, during the research, became irritable and short-fused. This gave her the idea to the next study she did. She teamed up with Neorospychologists to research how peoples’ focus and ability to concentrate changed when they didn’t get exercise. They are still collecting data but preliminary results show, as they expected, that it is more difficult to concentrate and focus when we do not exercise.

Professor Dr. Bente Klarlund Pedersen recommends a minimum of 1/2 hr of exercise every day. Some of her new research also points out that exercising helps to keep muscles stay younger for longer.

I find her research interesting on so many levels –  when it comes to preventing disease, how exercise affects our levels of concentration and our performance. I  find it fascinating to read about research on how exercise affects our emotional health and well-being.

Dr. Pedersen is currently researching marathon runners – she says she is fascinated by the extremes – to find the difference in the people who exercise a lot – and the people who do little or no exercise.

It is exciting to see what comes of her research.

Morning run in the clear blue

The weather here on the west coast of  Canada has been grey, cold and rainy all winter so many of my morning runs have been in pouring rain. But, I don’t mind, I actually think it has its charms – the freshness and the coolness of the air is invigorating. But…I must admit that it is much more fun when the sun is shining and the sea is calm — like this morning!  I hit the road at 7 am with my friend and running partner – and as we solve the world’s problems as we run, I always return with a light heart and a smile on my face.

 

The Olympic Mountains (USA) in the background. Amazing clear blue sky.

This arrangement made me laugh!

By the lighthouse at the end of the pier.

You can walk on the side of the pier on these impressive stones.

The lighthouse in its full beauty.

The pier – not protected by anything – which is quite amazing considering. It gives me a sense of freedom as I head out to the lighthouse.

Beautiful wild flowers and grass – I adore that everything is natural and allowed to be wild.

Mr. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

The sea is as clam as my soul after a good run.

Hope you have a great Saturday !

Never underestimate what YOU can do

A friend of mine send me this youtube – while watching it, I got goosebumps, tears in my eyes, a joyful heart and the urge to stand up and clap my hands.

This story is inspiring – it shows that when we take charge of our health and well-being – amazing things can happen!

Continue reading

Want to live longer? Jog a bit!

Reading through my Danish morning paper ” Berlingske Tidende”  equipped with a nice cuppa tea – I fell over an article called ” Few Hours Jogging Prolong Your Life Drastically”  – notice the word “Few“, really?

Yes, apparently according to the Danish study it is quite significant. It does not have to be hard and long runs before it makes a significant difference! This is the conclusion of an extended research project “Copenhagen City Heart Study” – started in 1976! The part of the study that involved jogging and it’s effect included 1.116 men and 762 women. The research showed that for joggers the risk of dying was reduced by  44% for both women and men! This reduction happened, even if they did not exercise every day. Between 1 to 2.5 hrs of jogging spread over 2 to 3 days every week gives optimal effect! The conclusion was that we can prolong our life span by 6.2 years for men, and 5.6 years for women – just by going jogging a few hours regularly – every week.

This is great news says Dr. Med Peter Schnohr  –  You do not have to do very much in order to achieve the benefits. The death rate is lower in people who are moderate joggers, than in people who never jog and the people who jog to extremes.

The effect on allergy, epilepsy, amnesia and other illnesses was also measured in the study – that in all followed 20,000 people between the ages of 2o and 93. The study has not yet been publicized but preliminary results were released at the heart conference “EuroPRevent 2012” last week. Dr. Med. Peter Schnohr proclaimed that the research has proven that regular jogging definitely prolongs life.

I am thrilled – I love my life most of the time, and hey, if I can prolong my life with 5.6 years from just jogging 1 – 2 1/2 hours every week, I will make sure I tie my shoe laces and get out there  –  cause that is pretty durable!!

So I’m off then – hope to see you out there!

Au revoir Copenhagen and Thank You!

Landed in Vancouver last night after being in my old home Copenhagen –  for 10 beautiful days!! When we left it was 20+ degrees (70 F) and Copenhagen was showing off, maybe to make it harder for me to leave, I don’t know 🙂

I am married to a Canadian and we have 2 wonderful Canadian/Danish teenagers – this is why my life is split between two of the most gorgeous places in the world. I am so lucky, and hugely privileged, but it is always related to both great happiness and great sadness. Fantastic to say “hello” and sad to say “goodbye”- so I cry with happiness when I arrive and cry with sadness when I leave. That is just the way it is.

Let me rewind a bit – Sunday the 29th of April I tied my shoe laces put on my cap and went out to do the wwwp5k, my opportunity being an early morning run in Copenhagen. I enjoyed every minute of the run and took lots of photos along the way. When I got home I wrote my blog, posted it, closed the laptop and went out to enjoy the rest of my Sunday.

Tuesday morning Danish time I got up and with my cup of tea, I turned on the computer – my in-box was flooded with emails from all over the world, hundreds of emails! I was in shock, what was going on?? My stats had gone from 150 on my busiest day to 8700 in a day!!!!

This is what had happened

I have been asking myself “Really?” over and over again over the past couple of  days.

I have been jumping up and down with joy and gratitude too. Most of all I am humbly grateful from the deep bottom of my heart!! Thank you, WordPress for “pressing me freshly”  for giving me this opportunity! Thank you for all the views, thank you for all the “likes” and all the comments, thank you to new followers, I am thrilled to have you here  – Thank you all!!!

I am grateful beyond words at this point, really!!

All this happened while I was getting ready to go – packing and saying good-bye.

and so “au revoir Copenhagen”, with all its beautiful people and places! The last photos I took before leaving Wonderful Copenhagen.

I love the old back yards

And the garden of Rosenborg Castle in the sunshine

Rosenborg Castle dates back to 1606 and houses the crown jewels and the queens soldiers have residence here. It was King Christian IV favorite place to live until his death

All the way round Rosenborg Castle there are these old sentry houses that today are home for small art galleries, cafes, flower shops, designers, jewelers, etc.

Across from Rosenborg Garden is my favorite juice place – Big Apple Juice Bar- owned and run by Christian – I went down there one last time to get myself a “Green Fix with apple” – a delicious juice made with celery, cucumber, spinach and apple- yum!!

While he was busy making my juice I enjoyed the flowers in his shop

Now I am back home with my family in Canada. Tired and happy – my kids have been in the garden to pick these beautiful flowers for me.

A Morning Run in Copenhagen

I grabbed the opportunity to join in the fun by running the 5k wordpress run. A brilliant idea by WordPress – you simply run/walk/skip/dance/jog/skate/ 5k wherever you are in this world and then you blog about it.

As some of you may know I am visiting Copenhagen, and what better way to breathe in my old city than by running through its beautiful streets? I long to see  the little mermaid again – to give her a good morning kiss. I’m up and out by 7am – the only thing I forgot while planning this – a terrible jet-lag.

So off I go and this just proves that as soon as you get yourself out there it is amazing!! It’s absolutely fabulous – I have Copenhagen all to myself and the sun is rising, the air is fresh and not a person in the streets.

Right away, I meet this lovely little family:

I continue out to Langelinje and pass Gefion springvandet – revisiting my childhood.

Copenhagen is the “city of towers” and when I turn around I see the tower of the old stone English church where I was married and behind its steeple, the magnificent dome of the Marble church right next to where we live when we are here in Copenhagen.

I continue my run along Langelinje enjoying the fresh sea breeze and my solitude on the path.

Suddenly I see her sitting there in the morning sun. The little mermaid – I love her – and either my jet-lag or the sea breeze is suddenly making my eyes moisty.

I turn around and run back towards the city center – wanting to enjoy more of the city in the early morning sun.

Past Amalienborg, where Queen Margrethe lives – a beautiful palace in the center of Copenhagen with the Marble Church in the background. Past the small dock where the royal family, kids, grandchildren, and 2 dachshunds embark on their way to other parts of Denmark – we are in the land of the vikings remember, so by ship of course.

Run, run, run – I am honestly enjoying this run through Wonderful Copenhagen that holds so much  history, culture, architecture and beauty. An adventure through my own city and I mindfully see things that I just took for granted when I lived here. I am loving every minute.

I reach the old harbour – Nyhavn – a romantic place from the seafaring days but  today is full of restaurants and cafes. The place where everyone longs to sit outside in the sunshine and well into the long light summer nights.

This morning it is still quiet but later today it will be packed full of people enjoying life in the sunny side of the street!

And the quiet side of Nyhavn on the other side

Round the corner from Nyhavn I almost fall into a pile of bikes! Copenhagen is a paradise for many things among them cycling. And there are many bicycles!

How about this cute “bike-dress”!

I fell in love with this old lamp on my way home

And this adorable door

I love running – I can explore, I can experience, I can inhale life, I can do it anytime,  it’s cheap, I don’t have to book or reserve – I just do it, anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

On the way home I run into “Joe and the Juice” and get a big glass of Arth Away – a glass of green juice made from fresh spinach, apples and pineapple – I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day! Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday.