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Seeking one's stride

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It is "common wisdom" that the exercise that is best is the one you will do. Obviously, I have found my stroke in the pool, from last evening's post-swim blog. This has happened since the acquisition of the nose clip and ear plugs. I think the strength training didn't hurt, either. But a few swims back when I "got my stroke" with the crawl breathing rotation, I felt like "I'm back!"

Now, I want that same feeling in a run... I know I can have it with a speed walk, I've felt it... but can I get it running? I don't think I've ever had it running! Can I get it biking? Bottom line, I want the cross-training, but I also want the "zen" in all three sports.

I came closer in Sunday's run... tried to keep the knees soft and the footfalls quiet. After work today, the plan calls for 3 miles on foot... I will be seeking my stride... the zen zone!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOVE_2_LAUGH 1/12/2012 8:48PM

    Ah yes, that "zen" moment in exercising. I'm not sure I'll ever find that, but I am enjoying the elliptical. If you're able to find that sweet spot in all three forms of exercise, you'll be floating through those triathalons!

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MOBYCARP 1/10/2012 5:17PM

    emoticon Great concept!

I think to avoid injury running, I need to concentrate on hitting my stride. Run because it feels good, not because I want to be able to run longer or further. That got me to a 10K; can it get me to a half marathon?

In any event, hitting the stride or the zen zone is a good concept. When I lose it, chances are I've trained too hard.

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_LINDA 1/10/2012 12:59PM

    Way to feel it!! I too, love getting in the zone where things just go so smoothly and you are in a world of your own -I am like that on the elliptical -I actually close my eyes while on it :) I really enjoy my exercise and do get strongly into it, ignoring all that is going on around me. Exercise really is a selfish pursuit -you are in it for yourself so you want to make it the most fun and enjoyable thing you can do..
Good luck with the running and biking!

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ANDI571 1/10/2012 12:15PM

    You are so awesome! emoticon

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MSLZZY 1/10/2012 12:02PM

    Go for it! HUGS!

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MIZCATHI 1/10/2012 10:21AM

    I agree, there has to be something you like about the exercise, especially when you first begin. Now I just like to exercise because of how it makes me FEEL! Once you can get to that place it all becomes easier don't you think?

I don't know about running, though, it seems to suck the air out of my lungs. I have considered trying it again when I drop more weight.

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KRISZTA11 1/10/2012 8:36AM

    emoticon
Very true - the best exercise is the one you do, and you do the one you enjoy!

Looking back on these past 6 months, I think all my past exercise attempts failed within 2-3 few weeks because I did not enjoy them.

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DEBRA0818 1/10/2012 8:27AM

    I like that feeling too -- for me with water aerobics, Zumba and walking. It's a great feeling when you hit your stride and, quite frankly, a startling accomplishment for all us former couch potatoes. Rock on!

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KALIGIRL 1/10/2012 8:05AM

    Love it - zen zones!
emoticon for me - super circuit and walking. Tomorrow is the pool - hope the fish I remember as a kid comes back.
Still checking on Sat or Sun, but will get back to you.

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I challenge you...

Monday, January 09, 2012

for that matter, I challenge anyone with a stressful life to spend 35 minutes listening to nothing (ear plugs were in), moving your body rhymically (stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe, stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe), and focussed only on counting laps and breathing. If you are fit enough to do this (and not hyperventilate, mind you)... I challenge you not to leave the pool with a smile on your face. Ahhhh!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROGGGY13 1/10/2012 6:17AM

    Oh, that sounds wonderful! One of my happiest fitness-related memories is of swimming a bunch, in college. There is a meditative aspect in swimming that I haven't found anywhere else and I really do miss it.

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DRB13_1 1/10/2012 5:57AM

    nothing like breathing during exercise to focus you into the present moment...

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MIZCATHI 1/10/2012 5:34AM

    I LOVE to swim and for a very long time it was the majority of my exercise. I will miss the Y and the big pool, but the fact of the matter is I can't afford 2 gym memberships and I haven't been in 6 months... Still, though, you are right. The deep exchanges of air that drum in the ears, the strength of your body charging through the water - nothing quite like it!

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KRISZTA11 1/10/2012 4:17AM

    emoticon
That sounds like meditation to me!
With the added advantage of ST and calories burnt : )
I feel like that during and after running too. Smile is granted.

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JUST_TRI_IT 1/10/2012 1:55AM

    You are so right! It is a wonderfully zen-like experience. What a nice way to start your week.

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_LINDA 1/10/2012 12:26AM

    I can't swim, but peace and quiet is what I enjoy and why I like to get on the trails farther away from the busy city roads. Being in water is a little piece of heaven to be sure, love the cushioning weight lifting feeling of it :)

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BESTSUSIEYET 1/9/2012 11:05PM

    I never got good at swimming ... But this sounds delightful!

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MSLZZY 1/9/2012 10:49PM

    Ah, if the pool were just a little closer. HUGS!

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SUNNY1432 1/9/2012 10:27PM

    Sounds nice, or sound I say quiet. emoticon

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FITFABJENN 1/9/2012 9:35PM

    Yikes! I never have silence. That is quite a challenge.

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DEBRITA01 1/9/2012 9:08PM

    Spending 35 minutes in silence or being in tune with our body for that period of time is often a rare occurrence. (BTW, I would probably hyperventilate AND I'm not that fit either) Being able to focus solely on something you enjoy must be bliss... emoticon

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It's ba-ack! The Biggest Loser.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Honesty here. I did not set out to be a fan of The Biggest Loser. The results were artificial. You took people away from their home environment. People could "game" it. Heck, *I* knew how to "game" it with overeating to gain so you could lose the water weight in a later week, etc.

And who could take 12 or more weeks off work to go away... and what would happen when you came home? Furthermore, why wait for an opportunity to get on the show... didn't you have to be in REALLY bad shape to get on? I didn't want to lapse to THAT point! I needed to start NOW, not some day when the "good fairy" gave me an incredible opportunity.

There were whole seasons I didn't watch at all. Then streaming video entered my life, and I was able to watch the episodes at my own convenience. I started using them as background to my own treadmill sessions, or dragging out my step to do the initial challenge with the contestants.

I watched the show transform lives. I watched online friends become inspired by it and make great changes in THEIR lives, too. I say on my Spark Page that I will use *any* tool that helps me succeed in maintaining motivation and getting / staying fit. And guess what? This show is now in my arsenal of tools.

Weekend mornings is when I fire up xfinitiytv and watch the episode of the week. And I hop on my treadmill during at least a part of the show... walking, jogging, whatever. I start to care about these people... talk back to them, root for them, kind of like... Spark Friends who don't know I'm watching them.

Looks like this season is going to be another great tool for my half training... it's an hour and a half long, and you walk a LOOOONG time in training!

Life's good... and strong feels soooo good! emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 1/9/2012 5:13PM

    emoticon

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ANDI571 1/8/2012 11:24PM

    I love Biggest Loser. I just think if those contestants can run the marathons they run at the end, and do what they do, it gives me hope.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/8/2012 11:17PM

    I admit I watch it too. It helps me remember.

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KARIDIAN1 1/8/2012 7:08PM

    I have not seen it, but have heard about the show. Sounds like it has a very positive show.

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HOT4FITNESS 1/8/2012 4:51PM

    Don't watch sthe show personally. But my coworkers talk it about it all the time. But I certainly think its an awesome thing if it motivates others to make lifestyle changes in their own lives. Spark on!!!

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TARANITUP 1/8/2012 3:05PM

    Totally agree, I think its a great show! Thats how i discovered Jillian who has been my "Trainer of choice" in my workout video collection :)

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CEHALLA 1/8/2012 2:15PM

    We started watching a few years ago, and I like it most of the time. I get annoyed a little by the game playing and the artificial delays.

But as I started my healthy journey, I loved watching the workouts with the trainers and being able to say: "I can do that, I did that, I want to learn how to do that!" I get involved with some of the contestants and root for their success, even after they leave the show.

I am grateful, though to have found success without resorting to a TV show. And I love reading about others struggles as well as successes on SP and other blogs.

Spark On!!

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SUNNY1432 1/8/2012 2:14PM

    I'm not a avid watcher, but I do enjoy watching people find success, maybe I'll have to check it out. emoticon

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_KATHY 1/8/2012 1:56PM

    Count me as one who uses Biggest Loser as a motivational tool. I find it inspirational no matter how contrived. I've watched the other ones as well. Any kind of personal success inspires me.

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 1/8/2012 1:38PM

    You are so right--we need to take advantage of all the motivational and inspirational tools we can find and Biggest Loser is definitely one of them. I never watched it until the last couple of years when I started my own journey. I had no interest in being inspired to lose weight when I was super morbidly obese, it was too depressing to watch those people changing their lives. Now, no matter how artificial it all is, as long as I find it useful to me in my own battle, I'm watching it! I also watch "I Used to be Fat," on MTV, the show about the school for fat kids (I forget what it's called), and this summer there was a show called Extreme Makeover/Body Version (That's not what it's called either--but it was something like that--a mind is a terrible thing to lose!) There was another one on on MTV called "Chelsea Settles" about this beautiful, but large, young woman who moved to California to make it in the fashion industry--just saw her picture in one of my magazines (again I forget which one, either US or People), and she has lost over 100 pounds and is even more gorgeous. I also read lots of weight loss blogs, certainly the ones I find here, but also other ones, like jenful.com, dietgirl.org, and my new favorite runsforcookies.com. I friend people on Facebook who are successful losers, who have written books or have blogs about maintaining. I read a whole bunch of weight loss memoirs too. AND...most importantly....I come to Spark every single day and get a whole dose of motivation FOR FREE! Inspiration lives here and all we have to do is log on. I plan on logging on every single day this year...how about you?

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FROGGGY13 1/8/2012 1:29PM

    I don't see anything bad about it if it motivates you! It is so easy to get distracted or lose motivation, and whatever way you can get it, go for it!

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DEBRITA01 1/8/2012 12:27PM

    Don't watch the show, but if it motivates and uplifts you, it's worth watching. We have to grab onto any tools we can for our tool belt. Happy viewing! emoticon

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MSLZZY 1/8/2012 12:20PM

    I try to follow all season and miss more than I see so I can't begin to root for any contestand. Maybe this season will be different. Whatever works-go for it!

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WATERMELLEN 1/8/2012 12:09PM

    I'm a "no TV at all" person but gotta say . . . if it works, why not??

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MNTWINSGAL 1/8/2012 11:38AM

    I'm a sucker for this kind of reality show - you know, the "game" type shows. Wouldn't be caught dead watching the Real Housewives or the Kardashians, or whatever, but as you know, I totally addicted to Big Brother, and I'll admit I tune into Survivor, Amazing Race, Hell's Kitchen, etc. whenever I can...and yes, Biggest Loser too. Although I don't agree with their methods of dropping that much weight that quickly....it's not good for your body! But like you, I root for the contestants, empathize with their struggles, and sometimes cry along at the voting segment. I do feel inspired by them too, and I think it does give us "regular folks" hope.

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JUST_TRI_IT 1/8/2012 11:00AM

    As you say.. whatever tool in the tool belt that will work, is a great tool!

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SALSIFY 1/8/2012 10:31AM

    We just got a TV for Xmas after 12 happy years living without one. One of the first things I watched was the first episode of UK Biggest Loser & I'm immediately hooked. I know it's all a bit odd & I wonder how many manage to keep any of the weight off - but it's instantaneous motivation!

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DRB13_1 1/8/2012 10:23AM

    Since it comes on Tuesday nights here, I tend to get on my elliptical during the broadcast and bear with the countless "we'll reveal the answer...after this break!" segments that they do.
This season and last I have a new reason to watch - that yummy, yummy DOLVETT! More muscle t-shirts, please! emoticon

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MITCHARVEY 1/8/2012 10:05AM

    I too find working out while watching this show is motivating. I am glad to read that I wasnt the only one.

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So the trainer says...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

"For next time... when you run, focus on your feet being as quiet as possible." We had jogged half a lap. Hmmm. THAT could help the knees. I've always been a heavy striker... my mom used to call me "hard on shoes" as a kid.

So... that's the next challenge. My son has proposed another run tomorrow noonish... we'll see what the footing is like. The weatherman may have something to say about that. They have been tossing the word snow about in the forecast, along with "freezing drizzle" overnight and in the morning... but it's still supposed to get up to 40 F during the day.

She also worked my little fanny off, as usual, today focus was on abs / obliques. She had me doing Russian twists and kettle bell swings and rows and raises. And a step-up almost as tall as my knee. My abs *do* know they have had a workout.

Onward... still pondering the cycle... and taking one day at a time.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COMETER 1/9/2012 10:17PM

    Just curious to know what motivated you to work with a trainer. Is that something you've done before? I do my working out at home with exercise DVDs or freeweights, and I've wondered what I'd learn from a trainer.

And best wishes for your continued success!

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JUST_TRI_IT 1/8/2012 1:03AM

    On my run today I noticed so many different "kinds" of runners. The guys and gals zooming past the rest of us looked soooooo smooth as they ran... Mostly pretty quiet feet.

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KARIDIAN1 1/7/2012 10:21PM

    Sounds like you had a good workout. New tips to try for your running to. Hope you can go on your run tomorrow.

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WATERMELLEN 1/7/2012 9:41PM

    I love to run . . . and can't run . . . because I ran too much. About 10 km a day every day for too many years. Heel strike, long stride. No ST to stabilize the knee and hip joints. Dumb dumb dumb.

But when I tried again in 2009, I used the POSE/chi technique of quiet feet, midfoot landing, short rapid stride: like a bumble bee (and was able to run for awhile -- completed 5 km program and was well into 8 km when knees rebelled again).

There is lots on the net about POSE/chi but here's one link:

http://www.youtube.com
/posetv

Also: love the podrunner downloads for interval running . . .

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SLENDERELLA61 1/7/2012 8:25PM

    Oh, you make me want a trainer! I have never tried one, but I am surely tempted. Good for you for all your efforts. I know since I've been running I've kind of backed off some of my strength training because I don't like to run sore. Have you found a way to schedule it all that it works?? Or do you just run sore? Maybe I'm being a wuss. Take care, Marsha

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MOBYCARP 1/7/2012 6:41PM

    Quiet feet, huh? That's a different way of expressing the idea of striding lightly and gently. The thing that I remember from the random bits I've read is, striking with the forefoot (as compared to striking with the heel) gives you one more flexing joint and a few more muscles to absorb the shock of hitting the ground. It made sense to me, so I deliberately trained myself to be a forefoot striker when I got serious about running. It's also probably part of having quite feet.


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_LINDA 1/7/2012 6:23PM

    A step as high as your knee?? Whats your trainer trying to do, kill you?? LOL, sounds like you are being given performance athletic training!! My abs hurt in sympathy..
I hope your weather stays reasonable, under no circumstances go out if there is ice. If I had a dollar for every time the weather station predicted snow for us, I would be able to go on vacation now. They certainly got our forecast for winter completely wrong..
My personal trainer will always be a physiotherapist, they have insidious ways of making you hurt all over
in the guise of healing and getting stronger..
Hope you are not too sore tomorrow!!

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MSLZZY 1/7/2012 5:26PM

    Way to go and the idea of keeping your feet as quiet as possible is a good hint. Thanks for sharing. HUGS!

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SUNNY1432 1/7/2012 4:33PM

    I would love to have a personal trainer, I know that they can really help keep you on track and push you! emoticon I hope the weather stays nice and allows you a nice run tomorrow. emoticon

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MIZCATHI 1/7/2012 3:48PM

    I so wish I could afford a personal trainer, but over the next 2 years as we enforce our plan to get out of debt, I'm going to be a fortunate girl to hold onto my Anytime Fitness gym membership. I just closed the Y membership due to not going there since I joined the other gym. In the meantime, I watch the trainers and try to incorporate some of their exercises.

Snow, yuck! Much less running in it, worse! You're training is so awesome, as well as your relationship with your son. I like the idea of focusing on your feet being quiet - I bet that makes other parts of your body work differently.

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Continuous improvement... hocum!

Friday, January 06, 2012

One of the articles Spark e-mailed me this morning was one addressing those "new to exercise", but one of the points it made spoke to me, personally. It was about the initial fatigue one feels when stepping it up, especially if one tries to do too much, too soon.

Well! What have I been blogging about off and on the past few weeks? Tired, choosing a rest day? Hmmm! So I took a look at how much a step up I'd been giving myself since November. I joined a gym, hired a trainer, and the trainer gave me workouts that were twice to three times as long as those I'd been doing. I changed sports, took a spin class or two that were half again as long as my half hour workouts. I swam, but I took that easy, starting with 20 minutes, gradually increasing it to now 35... swimming does not give me that fatigue. But the four mile run with son? When I hadn't been running continuously more than 3? Hmmm, yet again!

Too much, too fast. No wonder! An ah-hah moment. It can hit at any time. Be prepared! emoticon

So... rethinking yet again. The conceptual thing I've been toying with has to do with the natural limits of the human body. Granted, we can all do more than we THINK we can. But as the line in Chariots of Fire said, "you can't put in what God's left out". There is a physical limit to how far my body will train. And there is a psychological limit to how much time and effort I am willing to commit to the effort.

How much of the half marathon I will run... when the knees complained for a couple of days after a 4 mile outing? Last year I trained to walk... much easier on the knees. The jury is still out. Maybe I'm not a real runner, and maybe, just maybe... I've just been pressing the limits of "too much too fast".

to be continued...

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 1/6/2012 7:04PM

    Well, Barb, we egg each other on and we're good for each other . . . except when our competitive natures get us to try too much. I've got much the same type of puzzle to solve here that you have, with respect to how much can I do without burning out.

I've been down this path before. As you note with the weight never being the same ten pounds, I think it's never the same overreach to run/swim/bike/lift weights/pick your current passion.

The real puzzle is, how much is "too much too fast" and how much is just plain "too much?" It's not unlike losing weight without knowing exactly where the goal is.

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KRISZTA11 1/6/2012 12:35PM

    Good insight...
Take care and do only enough, not to much!

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MSLZZY 1/6/2012 11:08AM

    You read the same article I did and came to the same conclusion. The body is only
designed for so much and it needs time to adjust to all the extra activity. You are
doing the right thing to re-think the situation. Take care-hugs!

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DEBRITA01 1/6/2012 9:22AM

    Good to listen to your body...it knows best. I'm sure after careful thought and consideration, you'll make the right choices for you. emoticon

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LJCANNON 1/6/2012 8:57AM

    emoticonI know you have learned to really Listen to your Body and it does let you know what it can do. I know you will get to the right decision for YOU, and that is what is important.

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_LINDA 1/6/2012 8:55AM

    Welcome to the overdid it club. I have a very sore leg from doing that pile of strength training physiotherapy exercises. I am not used to it, and perhaps my physiotherapist thought I could take more because I was in such good shape before the surgery, but two problems with that. I had a eight week layoff just before and during the surgery and you do lose toning rapidly. The other factor is I was a cardio junkie and rarely focused on strength training, big mistake. I put all my effort into whatever I do and was probably squeezing my muscles to the limit.
I am glad you are rethinking your position on running. While I have read its supposed to be something your body does naturally, those of us with any kind of condition or health issues it can be bad for. I know impact bothers my joints and I try to not do too much of it. You never know what underlying condition you have that makes running a bad choice. Arthritis doesn't show up in the blood tests before it strikes. An X-Ray is the only way to tell if you have the beginnings of arthritis changes. Perhaps you need a thorough check up by a Dr. and clearance before attempting this..
That being said, it does sound like you have jumped into a lot..
Good luck with it..

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PENNYAN45 1/6/2012 8:53AM

    We Sparkers have trained ourselves to ignore complaints from our body: "I'm hungry, I'm tired, I don't feel like it." That is how we were able to succeed.

Now - though - I agree with you that it might make sense to scale back a little on some of your physical activity.

Also, I, too, would agree with your previous commenters. My running in my thirties caused some unintended long-term damage to my knees - so ever since then I stick to walking.

emoticon emoticon

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DEBRA0818 1/6/2012 8:27AM

    In regard to what KATHRYNLP wrote, I have also been advised against running by an orthopod who told me that the long term dangers of running far outweighed any short term benefits. Yet, one cannot deny the many benefits! I guess each person has to decide these things for him or herself based upon body type, genetic endowment and personal goals.

For me, that lead me directly to the pool for swimming and water aerobics.

I know you'll make the right choice for you!

emoticon emoticon

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KATHRYNLP 1/6/2012 8:16AM

    Don't wear your knees or your feet out like a friend of mine did.
She put in several miles a week, running, at age 65, weighing only 132 lbs.and now she needs knee surgery on both knees. Take care... emoticon emoticon

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