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Part 6: Week at a Glance - Fitness Plan
Welcome back! Thanks for sticking with me so far - it's been a rollercoaster as my last health update explained, but so worth it! Post holidays I've been doing much better at eating healthier and generally staying active. My thyroid issues; however, have been making it difficult to reap the benefits of these healthy changes.
You would think I would feel like a million bucks. I've packed my diet full of fruits and vegetables, limited (or, essentially, cut out entirely) gluten, worked out 4 days a week and been getting more sleep (THANK YOU BABY W!!!). Unfortunately my thyroid was all messed up as of my last appointment though and my numbers were enough, according to my doctor, to make even the most otherwise healthy person feel like garbage. I'm hoping with the medication adjustments and continued healthy eating and increased exercise, I'll be feeling top notch within the next couple weeks. If not, it may be time to reevaluate my RA numbers and treatment.
This week is all about continuing to up our physical fitness game! Check out our week-long workout plan that highlights what our ideal week of fitness looks like. We also included some seasonal and gym-based activities to substitute in throughout your week whenever you can to keep things fun and, of course, get outside!
A couple weeks ago, we created a free Facebook accountability group and have been having so much fun getting to know our group-members ever since! The encouragement and ideas about healthy eating and exercising have been phenomenal and watching people work towards their goals and start feeling better is the best! Join us today!
So, if you didn't know this, I live in Minnesota. Yup, the frozen north. I'm certainly more of a warm-weather person but I slug it out each winter because I love this place despite the cold, I do enjoy having all four seasons, I love my family, and there seriously is no better place (in my unbiased opinion) to grow up and raise a family. Anyways, because it's like -11 degrees outside right now and I don't want to bundle up and risk taking a 6 month old out and about, I don't plan on leaving the house. I don't plan on leaving tomorrow either, and probably not even the next day as long as I don't run out of food... you get the picture. I need home workouts that can help me get some movement in as I weather this cold snap.
Since I'm in the season of home workouts, the week-long fitness plan below lays out all the activities I strive to do throughout the day (mostly from the comfort of my own home). As my northern homeland thaws out I'll definitely be incorporating more outdoor activities into my days. If you live somewhere that allows for more outdoor activity, here are some activities you might want to substitute in for your morning workout or afternoon movement activity:
- Go for a walk
- Go for a bike ride
- Go rollerblading
- Sign up for a sand volleyball league or softball league
- Volunteer to play and/or coach in a sports league - my favorite way to get involved is to coach and play as a unified partner for Special Olympics!
I got rid of my gym membership when I got sick half-way through my pregnancy and never reinstated it knowing that I wouldn't be making it there often with a mini me added to the mix. Eventually, I'd love to get a membership again so I could take my mini to play in the pool all year round, but that's a ways off at the moment. If you have the luxury of getting into a gym, you may want to substitute in some of these activities for your daily exercise:
- Get a trainer that specializes in low-impact exercise/working with people with RA or other joint issues.
- Spin Class (MY FAVORITE!)
- Water Aerobics
- Zumba/Barre/other low-impact dance class
- Elliptical for cardio and weights for strength
It's essential that we make the effort to get moving multiple times a day.
Well-rounded is Key
It's not just a people with RA thing, it's an everyone thing: your workout plan should be well rounded. You should get in stretching/flexibility work, cardio and strength training. You should work your muscles hard but also give them time to recover. That's why I like to mix in different types of workouts that keep things fun while working on different parts of the body and different areas of fitness.
For those of us with RA (but again, really anyone), it's essential that we make the effort to get moving multiple times a day. When you sit or lay for too long you get stiff. When you get stiff and stop feeling well, you get unmotivated to exercise and thus begins the vicious cycle. This cycle's toll on our joints is magnified by our RA so no matter what your daily schedule is, taking frequent breaks to incorporate movement is key. You'll notice that my goal in this week-long fitness plan is to start and end my day with stretching. Even 5 minutes first thing in the morning and last thing before bed can be a game changer.
Where to find free home workouts
What did we do before YouTube?! Loads of free home workout videos right at your fingertips. Unfortunately some are MUCH better than others and who has time to sift through them all? Well, I didn't sift through them all, but I did scope out quite a few and have found a handful that I love.
You can start with my free 7 Day Fitness Challenge that has the links and embedded videos for all of the main home workouts listed in the table above. Then you can like our Facebook page to make sure you're always in the know when we put together another fitness challenge and, finally, join our Facebook accountability group to get more workout/nutrition tips and links to one-off workouts that aren't included in our fitness challenges.
- Get moving multiple times a day.
- Work on different areas of fitness including flexibility, cardio and strength.
- Stretch daily.
- Incorporate a variety of activities to keep it fun.
- Find people who will hold you accountable. (Join our tribe!)