Sometimes Walking Can Be Really Great

This morning, I started off the day with a walk/jog thing. I used to love running. Actually, I still really like running, but lately I’ve learned a lot about some of the challenges that come to people who do a lot of cardio in their lives – how they develop arrhythmias, a-fib, or other heart problems.

And here’s the thing – I already have a heart condition. I already have arrhythmia. I already have some other issues with my heart, too… My father has had a heart attack (he survived), but it was caused by the same issue that I already know I have. I used to be on beta-blockers for my heart problems. I have good heart health – just electrical impulse problems.

So – as I’ve started learning about some of the risks with doing a lot of cardio (think running miles and miles, which I used to do, cycling, etc.) I feel like I’ve got to be careful. I’m not going to say that everyone should just sit on their couches because there are risks in running. Of course there are risks! And for the most part, I think that being sedentary is a much bigger risk than running every day.

All of that being said, I know that I already have a proclivity to these reported risks. I have to be especially careful with my heart. I already have some of the same issues that can cause “sudden death.” I’ve had issues with palpitations, fainting, etc. I feel like (and maybe I’m wrong in this) that the risk of getting a-fib or some other major problem as a cause of too much cardio may be higher for me than others – since I’m already compromised.

So I’ve started walking.

There are times when this feels like – defeat. When you’re a runner, walking feels like giving up.  To combat this feeling, I simply get out of my own head. Detach a little. And I remind myself that my value isn’t based on whether I run or walk.

There are other times when I just start feeling antsy to run. I like it. So, I’ve started doing this combination of running and walking. Run three minutes, walk three. I’m hoping that this keeps my heart out of the black hole enough to not do any major damage to my heart yet I still get to feel the fun of running.

In any case, I’m finding that there are some real benefits to walking. Things like this:

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Blue Flax (from behind)

 

Hike Day and a bit of sunburn…

Despite the fact that I have spent the last few days reading about telomeres and keeping them healthy; despite the fact that my husband just had a patch of skin cancer (basal and squamous cell carcinoma – not melanoma); I went on a long hike today, didn’t think and got a sunburn…

Silly me, I know.

But it was a nice hike. I was in a mountaintop – and mountaintops really are special places. There was a lake with snow melting into it. Pretty much perfect stuff.

Also lots of wildflowers.

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A Yellow Salsify gone to seed

I also went on a nice walk this morning. Well, it was more like a walk/run where I did intervals of both. I love running, but I also know the benefits of walking and not getting into the “chronic cardio” trap. But I like the feel of running sometimes, so I think that doing little intervals of both is great for me.

I was happy and tired by this afternoon. I sat down to sew for a minute, and didn’t really even want to do that, so then I decided to read for a minute instead.

After a bit of reading and before I started fixing dinner, I got caught in the stupid social media loop. It can be a problem for me. I checked IG, and was smiling, even inspired by some of the photos I saw. Then I clicked on this, clicked on that, and all of the joy I had been feeling all day long was kind of dashed into pieces when I started on the stupid comparison train.

Dumb.

So, luckily the fire on the grill was ready, I put down my phone, and just remembered that comparison does nothing for me. There is no real logical benefit that can come from this activity. We do it, though. Why? Just to hurt ourselves?

Saying comparison is not helpful actually isn’t true. Comparison can be very helpful. If I’m going to compare or notice something, then it is data. It doesn’t have to have an emotional impact. When I start to put emotions into my comparisons, that is when joy is leeched out. It’s one thing to compare expenditures from one month to another. But comparing the way someone looks or lives (as represented by them through filtered pictures on IG) and the way that I perceive my life – that isn’t an accurate or worthwhile comparison. In fact, it’s a complete waste of time.

So – here’s to me thinking about what I want in life – joy, experiences, growth, and health. I want to see wildflowers. I want to hike sacred, special mountains and just stare out to the view below. I want to snuggle my kids. I want to watch movies with my husband. I want to see other people dream, work, and then accomplish their goals. I want to read good books. I want to do a handstand. I want to laugh. These are the things that matter to me, and they are the things that will pass me by if I get caught up in some invisible game played out by fictitious people – in my silly head.

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By the way – have you checked out the alt-shift podcast or book? I have to say that listening to Jason Seib has been really helping out my perspective. I’m grateful for all of the people out there who are helping one another. Check out his podcast here!

Telomeres and Father’s Day

I started reading The Telomere Effect, by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel a few days ago. I’m not finished reading it, but I do find the science of telomeres to be pretty fascinating.

If you are unfamiliar, Blackburn and Epel describe telomeres as “repeating segments of noncoding DNA that live at the ends of your chromosomes.” (p. 6) They essentially protect the chromosomes from “unraveling” in a way that is similar to how an aglet protects a shoelace. This is obviously a rudimentary description, but it is the best I can come up with for right now and suits my purposes.

I’m 38 years old. I’m in the thick of middle age, and over the last few years I feel like I’m being reminded – over and over again – that life is short, and that I’m not as invincible as I once thought I was.

Well, it’s not like I thought I was invincible, it’s just that aging and the deterioration of my body never crossed my mind that much – and I’ve done things that could make aging worse. I know that we all have. And I know that my changing mind isn’t unique.

So – I’ve been learning that if we live in a way that will encourage long telomeres, then we encourage good cellular health. Cells make up tissues. Tissues make up organs. And organs make up our body. It’s a good place to start for health.

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Not making a political statement here. I just love my dads. I have a lot of them – A Dad that adopted and raised me and I call him day and his name is my maiden name; a biological dad that I have come to know and love; and a step-dad that has been an influence and friend in my life for over 20 years. So I heart my dads.

Father’s Day

Yesterday, I spoke with all of my fathers for Father’s Day. I have a dad, a biological father, and a step-father. I have only known my biological father for a few years, but I share his DNA, so I’m really grateful for the relationship we have formed over the years.

A few years ago, he had a heart attack. It was caused by stress, and now he has a pacemaker. Overall, the thought was that this heart attack was caused by defective electrical impulses. The crazy arrhythmia was brought on by stress. When I was a teenager, I developed arrhythmia. I spent many years on beta-blockers to regulate my heart beat. Over time, my doctors and I decided it would be better to be off of the medication. I’m living a better quality of life without medication, but I know that I have the condition still.

Over the past year, my biological father has been suffering with many nervous-system issues – and he has had a few surgeries to improve some of his problems. About a week ago, he was having trouble walking, went into the doctor, had a diagnostic test, and then found out he needed to go into an emergency surgery. His spine was so severely compressed that he could have sneezed, then become paralyzed or even killed.

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Just a pretty picture. 🙂

Telomeres And Father’s Day

Obviously, I spoke to all of my father figures on Father’s day. My dad – who I am not related to biologically – spent the day mowing the lawn. He is active. And he is healthy. Most people who see him are surprised to hear that he is in his 60s. He doesn’t seem to be. He doesn’t have many grey hairs. He looks healthy and happy. Is he some kind of buff-cross-fit-games kind of guy? No. He is a normal guy. But he’s healthy. He’s not overweight. And he is very active. I’m grateful for his example.

I spoke with my biological father and he was in the hospital still recovering from his back surgery. It was sobering to think about all that he has experienced recently, and to realize that I share his DNA. If I don’t take care of myself – even on the cellular level – then I know the path that I’m headed down.

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So – it’s time for me to put this blog to use. It’s time for me to treat my body well so that it will treat me well. It’s time for me to learn from the examples in my life and live in a way that is worthy of the gift of this physical body.

Starting a New Blog

So. There are about a million blogs on the internet. I know this. And I’m not really expecting much from this. Except I want a place to make myself accountable. I hope it works. I also want to provide a place that might serve as inspiration for others, as I have been inspired by so many online.

 

So – I’m choco. And this is my “fit and fun” blog.