The Tug of War by Stephanie Nickel
On one side, fruits and veggies and lean meat . . .
On the other, processed foods and sweets.
On one side, water and herbal teas . . .
On the other, hot chocolate, pop, and sugary juices.
On one side, regular sleep patterns . . .
On the other, staying up late and sleeping until I wake up naturally.
On one side, going for a long walk each day . . .
One the other, going only as far as necessary for the dog to do what he must.
On one side, getting my heart rate into “the zone” at least three times per week . . .
On the other, using my asthma as an excuse.
On one side, doing resistance training three or more times per week . . .
On the other, letting the habit slip and vegging in front of the TV.
One doesn’t need medical training or a personal trainer certification to know which of these is the healthier option. Let’s explore why I—and the majority of the population—should choose Option A each and every time.
Eating healthy makes me feel better almost immediately. Even before I experience the physical effects, I gain the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve done something good for myself. Plus, I don’t feel tired and weighed down as I digest my meal. It energizes me, which is what food is supposed to do.
There are countless benefits to drinking water. (Non-caffeinated teas count as water intake as well.) And as Jillian Michaels says, we really shouldn’t be drinking our calories. (Okay, she does put it much more forcefully, but you get the idea.)
I’m not a huge fan of routine, but when it comes to sleeping, there are many benefits to going to bed and rising at the same time most every day. Personally, if I get up fairly early and dive right into the day’s plans, I am much more productive.
A long walk also has many benefits. (My idea of “long” is not the same as others’, but even fifteen to twenty minutes is a good thing.) It clears my head; gets the blood flowing; counts as low impact exercise; energizes me; helps me develop a positive outlook; etc., etc.
I don’t walk quickly enough to count as cardio, so I really should do something to get my heart rate up every other day or so. The more I do, the more I strengthen my lungs and fend off the asthma. (My asthma is under control with minimal medication. Check with your doctor about exercising if you have any lung problems.) Resistance training is important for all of us, but as a woman of a certain age, it is especially important.
Resistance training strengthens muscles and slows/stops/reverses loss of bone density. (There are studies that indicate the damage can’t be reversed, but even if that’s the case, I certainly don’t want to lose any more bone density than I absolutely have to.)
What about you? Which side of the tug of war are you on? Are you willing to move to the healthy side—even one step at a time?