Did you know that the Physical Activity Guidelines for American Adults is to get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week? Moderate-intensity exercise includes, but is not limited to, activities such as brisk walking, biking on level ground, general gardening, dancing, and tennis. Vigorous-intensity exercise includes, but is not limited to, biking faster than 10 mph, hiking uphill, jumping rope, jogging or running, swimming laps, and sports with a lot of running. Ideally, these recommendations are met with a combination of aerobic and strength activities. Meeting this recommendations provides substantial health benefits, including reduced risk of premature death, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Beyond these recommendations additional health benefits, such as an even lower risk of heart disease or diabetes, are achieved, but most of the benefits come with just 150 minutes a week for adults.
Now, I have exercised for a majority of my life, it is part of my lifestyle, it is a major stress reliever for me, and I have no problem doing it on a regular basis. In fact, I need to do it on a regular basis; for many reasons. However, I recently went from a desk job where I was so bored I wanted to stick pencils through my eyes, to being a grad student pursuing my passion…with hardly any free time. While working my desk job, I set my heart on triathlons, because the training kept me busy, wiped me out, and gave me the feeling of accomplishment. Now I have school tasks that help me feel accomplished (sometimes) while eating up most of my free time, making it hard to find time to exercise. Even though I sit down every Sunday and map out my 5-6 days of exercise for the week, I still struggle to get just 3 days in. This is highly unusual for me, but it is time for me to redefine success when it comes to exercise. By getting in at least three hour long sessions in per week (180 minutes), I am meeting and even slightly exceeding the recommended guidelines for optimal health. And stressing out to exercise beyond that is defeating the purpose entirely.
Last Monday I made it to the gym to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes. To me, that sounded lame compared to the 7 mile trail run I’d rather be doing (but am certainly not in shape for). But, after I made it to the gym, got done with it, and realized how I felt afterwards, I was proud of myself. This made me think that it is important to strive to achieve the appropriate amount and type of physical activity that is right for YOU, whatever your schedule or preferences are. While I may not be training for a triathlon this season, I am still going to get out there, and that is where the benefits lie.
Okay, now that I got that out, I can move on to WIAW!!
Shortly after that I went to a beginners Master’s swim class. I decided that learning to swim laps is like learning a language; unless you learn when you are young there is a STEAP learning curve when you get older. I have been at it for 3-4 years and I still swim like a beginner. Maybe someday I will get there.
For lunch I met Scott for a little Indian buffet quickie.
I tried everything, including the rice pudding for dessert.
During the afternoon I had a small bowl of Fage 2% with cinnamon, a small banana, and some nuts and seeds.
Did you know you can freeze things like tomato paste, diced green chiles, and curry paste by the tablespoonful in an ice cube tray? No more wasting 5 ounces of tomato paste next time you only need a tablespoon. Just make sure you label it so you don’t put red curry paste in your tomato sauce.
For all you eggplant haters out there, Scott hates eggplant, but he loves this recipe. It cooks down enough that it really adds a nice texture to the sauce.
The only thing I changed about the recipe was adding 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper for some kick!
Served over Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice fettuccine noodles, topped with fresh basil, cheap Parmesan, and plenty of Frank’s hot sauce.
Oh, if you are curious about what to eat when you are meeting the physical activity guidelines make sure you check out my post on Team ten20 Cycling about exercise nutrition.
How do you define success when it comes to exercise?