I titled this post “Playing Catch Up” because I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. For example, one of my New Year’s Resolution was to read at least 6 books this year. It’s a very feasible goal, however I’ve only read 2 or 3 so far. Doh! Another one of my New Year’s Resolution was to do something I’d normally never do. So, I signed up for a 3 something mile obstacle course where you climb cargo nets, jump over fire, crawl through mud with barbed wire above your head and so on. *gasp* Sounds like a piece of cake for some, but this girl *points at self*, is an air conditioning loving, run on a treadmill kind of girl. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, so I’m looking forward to it! The last thing I’m playing catch up with is…watching movies. You should see my Netflix queue. It is sooo long it’s stunning.
You might be thinking, “Ok, so this post is about your New Year’s Resolutions, right?” Kind of, sort of. It’s about exercising and how my effort to cross off the “do something new” resolution led to tackling my “read books” resolution, which then led to “watch movies” resolution, which in the end it turns out they all had a common denominator – exercise. Totally unplanned. Totally cool (at least in my happy head). Once I officially signed up for the obstacle course, I started my “training” which consisted of running outdoors in the 100+ degree Houston heat and building up upper body strength (which I have none of). It was hard getting into this at first, but I kept telling myself I’m being healthy, proactive and all those other go-getter things you see in health magazines to motivate you. I get pretty burned out after my work out, so I usually snack and mentally wind down. I’d watch TV to relax, but since that option isn’t available (I intentionally opted-out of getting cable and DVR to specifically do something more productive with my time), I naturally turned to reading.
A friend of mine told me about a book called Brain Rules, so I swung by the local bookstore and picked it up. It’s fascinating. I’ve watched the intro video and read the first four chapters, and for the last two nights I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with the light still on, one hand sandwiched in the book to keep my place and a highlighter in the other. It’s so good I keep reading it until, well, I can’t keep my eyes open for any longer. I’m digressing, I apologize. I brought up the book because the first chapter of it is about exercising! What a coincidence since that’s what I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. It goes into a good amount of detail of why it’s beneficial and important to do it, but here are the main things I grasped from it:
- the risk for general dementia is cut in half
- risk for Alzheimer’s drops by 60%
- it makes you happier
- cognition when you’re old
- brain fertilizer (BDNF), which I want
- all around improved health
I knew exercising was good for you in general, but it’s pretty neat (really neat) that a little physical activity goes a long way. I think it’s incredible that the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s DROPS by over 50%! I don’t think I’ve personally ever known anyone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but I have seen The Notebook once or twice (x 2) and it’s a heartbreaking disease for you and your loved ones. If you have the ability to lower your chances of developing something like this, why not take a couple of days out of the week to sweat it out and listen to some good upbeat music? I’m all for it.
On days I want to sit around and be still for a long period of time ’cause I’m too sore to flip pages in a book (not kidding, those 45 degree angle push ups are killer!), I’ll succumb to watching a movie. Thank goodness for Netflix streaming and my roommate for movie recommendations. I think I’ve watched 3 movies in a month in a half…and that is REAAALLY good for me.
So, that’s that. My effort to play catch up with one thing lead to another and I feel a bit better about it all now. I just have to keep it up. Perhaps I’ll do a follow-up entry to this later on.
If you’re at all interested in running outdoors, I highly recommend the RunKeeper application for your phone. It has a ton of cool features such as tracking your running route on a map, keeping times of your first mile and subsequent miles, announcing your pace, and keeping track of your distance (although I don’t know if this is 100% accurate, pretty close though). It’s kind of having your own personal trainer in your ear. =D