Marcia’s Health Challenge Update #4

Yes, it’s that time again…time to report in on my progress. I wish I had something stupendous to report, like:




No, not there yet. However:

After my March slump, I’m happy to say I’m back to my old self and have gotten my hubby motivated, too!

Retirement throws you into a whole new mode and before you realize it, you’ve gotten LAZY!

Before we were married, we lived about 2 hours apart, so Future Hubby would come visit on the weekends. I worked full-time and he was retired, but we both had household chores to do and errands to run. We fit them in to the time we had and spent the free and clear weekends focusing on each other…aah!

Once married, living in the same place and both retired,  we didn’t have the same responsibilities or schedules, of course. We now had one house to care for, we split the chores and errands and we found ourselves twiddling our thumbs trying to come up with things to do.

Friends and family live hours away and we live in a tiny college town with next to no excitement. Our old wake-up times got later and later, we stayed up later at night and found ourselves watching too much TV?

I wonder if this sounds familiar to anyone?

Anyway, my time in a chair dramatically increased when I began writing. Since I was busy with that, Hubby sat around even more. This became a very unhealthy scenario.

A year has passed since we were at that point. We are finally getting our s#!t together and have a workable plan with attainable goals. I hope our motivation and progress will inspire you to do the same.

All this past week we’ve been performing our own personal workout routines, getting up to an alarm each morning and moving through the day. Here’s our 6-day a week schedule:

Wake at 8 AMwalking

Workout until 9 AM

Breakfast and time together until 10 AM

Work, chores, etc until 2 PM

Lunch and time together until 3 PM

Back to work until 5 PM

Walk, lift weights or work in yard until 6 PM

Dinner and time together until 8 PM

Back to work until 10:30 PM

Sleep by Midnight

On the seventh day, we pursue hobbies, go for a country drive or go visit family/friends.

Each of us takes apart the day, on paper, to be specific about plans for the day.

I hope seeing how we get through our days with time for what needs to be done and time for fun, can help you figure out a schedule for yourself, if you’ve been struggling with this. Of course, it’s possible that we’re the only ones. 🙂

If you have trouble finding time to workout, I can help with that. I can’t give you more time in the day but, I can suggest quick activities that will rev up your heart rate and burn some calories.

First and best quick workout:

Motley Health designed this 20 minute circuit workout. This workout targets the whole body, improves cardiovascular efficiency and tones and strengthens the body.

1. Jog in one place for 3 minutes

Simple light jogging on the spot. This does not have to be intensive, so no high knees or jumping around, it is just to gently warm you up for a few minutes before the main exercises.

2. Jumping jacks: 25 repeats

The classic old school cardio burner. Also known as the star jump, start by standing up straight with your feet together, then simply jump the feet out to the sides, just wider than shoulder width apart while lifting you hands upwards. Return to normal standing position. When landing, bend your knees slightly to reduce the impact on knee joints.

3. Crunches: 15 repeats

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands at the sides of your head with your fingers lightly touching your temples, with elbows pointing outwards.

Try to keep your neck in a straight line with your spine, fixing a point on the ceiling above you is a good idea. Flex your waist to raise the upper torso from the floor so that you are “crunching” your abdominals. Ensure that your abs are engaged (contracted) throughout the movement, hold for a second. Then lower yourself until the back of your shoulders touches the mat before repeating. Muscles worked: Abdominals

4. Hip Bridges: 10 repeats

Lie on your back with your arms straight and out by your side and palms facing upwards, knees bent. With only the heels of your feet and your shoulders touching the floor lift your hips up to form a straight line from the shoulders to the knee.

Your legs should be almost vertical from the foot to the knee. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and then lower yourself. Muscle worked: Lower back, hamstrings and glutes.

5. Step ups: 1 minute

You will need a stepper for this. If you do not own a stepper then you can use the bottom step on a flight of stairs or a sturdy stool. Simply stand in front of the step and step up onto it. Alternate your leading leg on each step, so left then right up onto the step, return with left first then right. Then on the next step lead with the right then left leg, return with right first. Repeat. Muscle worked: hamstrings, gluteus, quads.

6. Reverse crunches: 15 repeats

Lie on your back with your hands on your sides. Keep you knees bent. Bring your knees towards your head, till your hips come slightly off the floor. Hold this position for a second, and then lower your knees. Muscle worked: lower abs and obliques.

mountain climber

7. Mountain climbers: 1 minute

Get down on your hands and knees and raise your knees and hips like a starting block sprinter. Run in that position, supporting your upper body with the palms of your hands. Keep your back straight. Muscles worked: triceps, deltoid muscle, gluteus, quads, hamstrings, calves.

8. Push–ups: 15 repeats

The classic push, in the plank position with palms flat on the floor, point forward, about shoulder width apart. Muscles worked: triceps, deltoids, pectorals.

9. Squat thrusts: 1 minute

Stand straight. Now, drop to a crouch position; hands on the floor. Immediately thrust your legs out straight behind on your toes, in push up position, now jump to pull legs back to the chest, in crouching position, then stand up straight. Muscles worked: arms, legs, chest, and lower back.

Cool down by walking around, until your heart rate starts getting back to normal, stretch.

If this is too strenuous, modify it to suit you or use a walking DVD for 20 minutes. I recommend Leslie Sansone’s DVDs. The instruction is good and they have several walking-in-place workouts to choose from.
If 20 minutes is too long, try these shorter workouts:
* 10 minutes of stair stepping in the AM and 10 minutes  of brisk walking in the afternoon
* 10 minutes of jogging in place in the AM and 10 minutes of weight lifting in the afternoon
* 2 minutes of Mountain Climbers and 15 crunches in the AM and 15 minutes of jogging in place in the afternoon
* 5 minutes of jump rope and 15 push-ups or 3 minutes of planking in the AM and 10 Hip Bridges and 25 Jumping Jacks in the afternoon
If you’re watching TV, don’t just sit during commercials. Stand up and march in place or climb the stairs, up and down 3 times.
Try not to sit for more than one hour at a time. Get up and move for 5 minutes before you sit again.
My continued Health Challenge as I work to be younger next year:
  • Exercise 6 days a week
  • Maintain calorie intake at 1600 per day
  • Maintain lots of fruits and veggies
  • Maintain a structured week
  • Take one full day for fun activities
  • See family and friends regularly
  • Be fit by the end of the year!

Thanks for joining me once again and for supporting me on my road to fitness.

Please share what works for you. How are you progressing?


20 thoughts on “Marcia’s Health Challenge Update #4

  1. Congrats on coming up with a routine that works for the two of you and sticking to it, Marcia! I’m going to try that Motley Health routine on days I don’t make it to the gym (which have been way to many lately, although in my defense a part of that HAS been because it is the time of year I want to be outdoors more!). I’m also impressed that you can roll out of bed and work out right away. I have to have an hour or so of “wake up” time before I can work out, and usually have to eat something too, even if it is just a banana.

    • I think the only reason I have no trouble working out right away is because I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I never got into needing caffeine to wake up. Even when I was a smoker-many, many years ago-I was never one to need a cigarette first thing to wake me up. My hubs can’t function til he has a cuppa and half a cigarette and has sat on the porch for 20 minutes. 🙂
      I hope the Motley health routine works for you. It certainly seems to be a good sub for the gym now and then.

  2. When on deadline, I have trouble getting outside to run and play tennis too. Love the pics of the exercises. I’m always *meaning* to look for these things but never remember to do it. Routines make or break it for me. Thanks for the reminder! (Again!)

  3. Sounds like a plan, Marcia! I’m spending way too much time on my b*** writing! I’m promised myself to be finished the WIP in the next two months and then focus on golf and tennis for the summer. Fingers crossed (hey, is that exercise…?) I make it happen! Good luck with yours!

  4. Our March was a slacker month, too, but I know we’ll get back into the groove this next month. DH had some knee trouble and stopped exercising, so *shrugs sheepishly* I fell off, too. Guess we really need that friendly competition to keep going. Good to know. Thanks for the great tips.

  5. That’s great that you and your husband realized retirement was messing with your schedule and set down some realistic goals on paper. Your best time for writing is 4pm and later? I’m barely functioning by then, but I’m with David and I get up around 5am every day. I love mornings. Thank you for putting your goals out there. It makes it less daunting to us readers with our own goals. Always an inspiration, Marcia!!

    • Feeling creative late in the day is kind of a pain…dinner has to be made just as I’m getting started and then I end up staying up later than I planned…It’s a work in progress. Thanks, Tameri.

  6. Early to bed and early to rise . . .

    I’m up anywhere from 4:30 to 5:30 each morning. Walk & breakfast come first, then work most mornings at the computer.

    Usually have most of my work done before 1:00 to 2:00 lunch.

    Light snack for supper with tv in the evening and normally to bed by around 9:00. But then, I’ve been doing this a decade longer than you have, Marcia.

    • Sounds like a great schedule, David. I’ve never been much of a morning person, though I do appreciate the serenity of early mornings. My creativity begins to flow about 4 pm and runs to midnight, sometimes beyond. So I am challenged to try to squeeze in some WIP writing during those hours, while still getting to bed at a reasonable time. I’m trying hard to write creatively earlier in the day but, it’s hit or miss. Thanks for sharing, David!

  7. Thank, August. I hope it can help others…putting it out there makes it more real, too and something I won’t stop working at. Funny about your dog…I remember those days when i had two that did the same thing. Now, if I don’t set the alarm, my cat find s toy to play with in the bedroom, which of course wakes us up.

  8. Such an honest post, Marcia. And one I suspect many of us can relate to. I had the opposite issue with my husband. When we started dating, I started staying up later, eating dinner later and so on. We’re both much happier and healthier now that we stick to routine bed times. (Helps that we have a dog that wakes us early each day; we couldn’t sleep in if we tried! ;))

I love it when you tell me what you think!

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