We had a day trip planned to Leo Carrillo on Saturday, but unfortunately, there was NO parking so that was a pretty bad part of the day. Luckily, we had some fun before and after. Sprinkled in before the weekend are some fun week pics.
Today we stopped by No Kill Los Angeles, or NKLA, which is one of our favorite animal shelters. We adopted a 5-month old puppy from here in the past and have attended their super adoption event with the Best Friend’s Animal Society two years in a row. These two work together with other local animal rescues to try to save the lives of as many animals as possible, and we appreciate that effort. We’ve included pets countless times before in our posts for many reasons, including their positive effect on your mental and physical health.
This is a guest post by Eva McElwain Tucci AKA Gammianne and mom to Hungry
I think that the majority of us would agree that it has been a rather unusual and harsh winter with near record snowfalls in many areas of the country. I was always an active and physical child, however, a Phys Ed assignment my sophomore year in High School led me onto the path of a more organized exercise regime (Thank you Mrs McCormack!!). Our assignment was to choose two sports which we either had to participate in , or choose a spectator sport. As my family was somewhat limited on funds (I am one of nine children) I chose to roller skate, an activity which I had been attending with my Church Group for years and asked my teacher if I could design an exercise plan for myself as my second activity. Being a nerd and overall highly graded student, I was given the go-ahead. That was in 1975 and little did I know when I made that decision that I would be choosing a path for life .
Although disabled in 2008 by a rather serious spinal cord injury at C5, I have been exercising since 1975 and spent many years being a gym rat. I do routinely go to the gym five or six days a week although many of my exercises have been curtailed due to injury and I do have limitations in what I am permitted to do .
Currently away from home , I have not been to the gym since December 22nd (yikes). Instead, I have been largely walking which has been challenging with all the ice and snow (I cannot afford a slip and fall) so I am writing about how to walk outdoors safely in this weather as I have heard too many stories about people slipping, falling and breaking bones and they are much younger than I , not to mention in physically better shape.
The photos in this post show my daily walk (read more at Winter Ninja). It has not been plowed and there are many icy patches as well as uneven terrain. So..what do I do ? I have been walking on top of the snow, simple enough as there is traction to be had there. Rather than walk on the pathway , which is riddled with patches of ice as well as frozen slush making for a ridiculously easy scenario to slip and fall I keep myself on the snow, which today was covered in an icy coating . I am heavy enough to make an impact but light enough not to sink in. Other days there has been more snow and I have,again, learned about limitations.
The weather has warmed up a bit and that crunchy upper layer is uncertain. Again, I walk with great trepidation over any areas that are icy and I definitely recommend avoiding them (beware as if there is a thin coating of snow there is almost certainly ice beneath that, which is quite dangerous) . I was walking last week and the snow was not solid enough ..there was neither tracks or footprints and at points I was slipping in to the ankle while the other leg went in knee-deep. NOT smart…I did happen to fall into a puff of soft snow, and possibly , for the first time in my life I stopped in my tracks and turned around and went back which is something my younger and more fit ego would never have permitted. At almost 55 and with some serious injuries I made a decision to not take the chance and that is okay .
I still go out daily and check the terrain. Yesterday, after yet another snowfall, I went to a familiar and quiet neighborhood and walked around the streets (and in the streets when necessary) . It is almost always possible to get in some type of exercise…you need to know yourself, your limitations and be wise about what you are doing . It is always possible to stay Hungry & Fit as I am a testament to this. Hungry used to fall asleep in the crook of my body while I was doing sit-ups when he was a baby.
From when I started college and probably before then, my mum has woken up bright and early (before the sun in the winter) and goes for between a 2-4 mile walk. She will put her “winter woolies” on (because it’s 50 degrees and that’s cold for Los Angeles folk!) and sneak out of the house just as dawn arrives. She will walk down to the beach and then along the path (an absolutely beautiful walk). She rarely misses her walk, even on the weekend. And boy is she a walker. Even for me, it’s hard to keep up! I don’t know how those legs move so fast. Must be her Kiwi blood. My dad will also go for his walks and bike rides in the morning, knowing that it’s an excellent start to the day.
What I’m getting at is that they taught me a great lesson which I am just starting to follow. And I think New Zealand was also a positive influence on this as well because much of my family will do walking for their primary exercise. Since I’ve gotten back from New Zealand to good old Boulder, Colorado, I have tried to walk more. Now I usually did before, I would walk to the grocery and to the gym. However, now I am really trying to get at least 15 minutes logged in the morning. Sometimes I don’t make it out of bed in time (I blame cuddles with cats and Chris), but when I do, I’m thankful for that quiet time and brisk exercise to wake up my body. I enjoy it more than running (I am not a morning runner–I wish I was but let’s face it) and it really wakes me up more than a splash of cold water in my face. It makes you feel good and is an excellent form of exercise for all levels. I find a good tool is to lay out my shoes and warm clothes so I have no excuse.
I challenge you just to try morning walks for at least 15 minutes. Wake up just 15 minutes earlier. I dare you! You feel so great, energized, and refreshed for the day! You also know that you started the day right with exercise. So if you don’t get to a workout for the rest of the day, at least you had your morning walk. I wouldn’t lie about this–I’m becoming a huge proponent. You also catch killer views and get to experience a more quiet city (or wherever you live)–it’s quite serene and peaceful. So some time this week, just try for that morning walk. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Take your morning walk to stay hungry and fit!
*Question of the Day: Do you take morning walks?
BONUS KITTY PIC
From time to time, we house-sit for a wonderful family in a beautiful house in North Boulder up on the Foothills. We always enjoy this, and not because of the perfect peacetime in the mornings or the chickens that give us 7 fresh eggs every morning. No we truly enjoy this because we also get to dog-sit their amazing amazing dog! She is such a sweet heart, an excellent listener, and a great cuddler (most importantly, obviously). This also means that I get a running buddy! I haven’t had a dog for a few years since my Sassy passed in college, so it’s nice to have a companion like Piper (the dog’s name). However, there are a few important pointers for running with a dog, for your safety and theirs!
1. Keep a short leash. This is especially so if you are running on sidewalks with cars near by. Say you aren’t properly paying attention and your puppy decides to wander too close to the street and the lead is too long to reel back right away. Also, when you’re moving at a faster pace, it’s better to have him or her right by your side in case of other people or dogs too. Safety first! And it’s important to be considerate of others who may not be so dog-friendly.
2. Let your dog stop once in a while. Yes you are on a run, even if you are a serious runner, but you are with your dog. First and foremost, they may have to go to the bathroom. Second of all, your dog may love running but they also love to smell and explore! If you feel your dog lagging, let up a little and let them smell the roses. If you’re doing hard training, then you shouldn’t be with your dog anyways! Let them enjoy it!
3. Go on nice terrain. I’m not saying don’t go trail running, totally go for that! But think twice about going somewhere with little rocks or sharp objects. Yes, you have awesome running shoes, but your dog doesn’t! They may have pads on their feet, but they’re soft and they can easily get cut. Go on terrain you can both enjoy: sidewalk, trails, grass, dirt!
4. Run without headphones. So I guess this is optional. You can run with headphones and run with your dog, but I feel it’s better to be present with your dog. That way you can listen to their breathing to see if they need a break, if they’re whining or growling, and also to pay better attention to their movements. When I run solo, I listen to an audiobook and it allows me to kind of get lost in it. However, if I’m lost in my book and not noticing that my dog is limping, that’s a recipe for trouble. This isn’t a necessary step, but I sure as heck suggest it!
5. Bring a bag! It kills me when I don’t see this. This should be standard for any walk or run no matter how short or where it is! Even if you’re hiking and they’re doing their business in “nature,” people still don’t want to step in it. Tuck a bag in your pocket if you’re wearing a jacket, or just tuck it into the top of your pants, or even in your sports bra if you’re a girl. Do the right thing and just bring it.
6. Provide water for a long run. Dogs use more energy than we do when they run because they are using four legs while we are using just two. I know you may not want to carry a water bottle, but you have a dog, and you have to think of the furry thing! Or, if you know there is a stream near where you’re running, stop long enough for your puppy to drink up. There are making these fold out water containers for hiking with dogs that are perfect for clipping on your belt or pants and then filling up with your water.
7. Talk to your dog. Yes, your dog is with you already, but sometimes they like to hear from you. Remember to tell them “good girl” or “good boy” to show your appreciation with them keeping up with you. And if they’re slowing a little, say “come on” or “you can do it!” Remember to provide your support and encouragement all the way through.
And those are just a few tips from me to you about caring for you and your dog’s safety . As family gathers round in time for Thanksgiving, I’m betting there’s a furry creature or two that would love a nice run or walk. Dogs are a part of the family and we need to do everything we can to keep them safe and keep them cared for. Use these tips to keep you and your dog hungry and fit!
BONUS KITTY PIC
Needless to say, this has been a very interesting few days. Yesterday was the first day back to work after the Boulder Flood (#boulderflood) and it felt surreal. At first, I wasn’t even sure I could get to work (I work in Longmont and live in Boulder) but after some steady driving in the rain, I made it. Sure the highway was a bit beaten up and there were floods beside the road, but I made it perfectly safe and sound. However, yesterday more than any day, I felt mentally exhausted. Weird that it had come after all the catastrophe. Chris woke me up last night because I was having some sort of bad dream and all I remember is rain. It was nice to take a nap when I got back from work. Anyhow, back on point. Walking.
Especially from that Thursday, if we wanted to go anywhere, it was safer to walk than to drive. We then did a lot of walking on Friday and even on Saturday too. Sunday, we were landlocked again (another storm). It got me thinking…I want to do more walking. Not because there’s a chance my car might get toted away by a flood, but because it should be more a part of everyone’s lifestyle! Even if you don’t have time for a workout, walk where you need to go. The whole concept of moving and staying active is what is going to keep you healthy for life.
So from now on, especially in the coming Fall, I plan to walk more places. To the grocery (we live 2-3 blocks away from one), instead of picking Chris up I will walk back with him, and walk to the gym. Those are just a few examples. You’d be surprised how just that extra bit of moving can make a big impact in your life and your health. So as life slowly falls back into place after the flood, I will find myself walking more and more and exploring new places. Who’s with me?! Take a walk to stay hungry and fit!
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BONUS KITTY PIC
Boulder is known for many physical activities including rock climbing, bouldering, triathlon, and more. There is another sport that we recently discovered in town that may be less physically exhausting then those already listed, but just as fun for some. Disc golf, or frisbee golf, is a game that blends golf with frisbee. Seems simple enough right?
You take your discs (that are crafted specifically for the sport), step up to the tee, and use a driver to launch the disc anywhere from 100 feet to 100 yards. Then you switch to other discs that float and curve less as you approach the “hole.” The hole is actually a basket that stands about 5-6 feet tall and has chains that help you sink the final shot. If you hit the chains properly with a straight shot that is not too hard, you typically will get the rebounding effect to knock the disc into the basket, effectively allowing you to move on. Every hole has a suggested number of throws that determines what your score should be. At the course we play at every hole has a par of 3. The last two times I finished two and one shot over par, which I was happy about. Alana doesn’t count her throws, or strokes. Let’s talk more about the physical aspects of the sport.
Some might argue it isn’t a sport and is more so a hobby, but we could do that for everything. It’s a combination of two sports and requires some physical skills, including serious hand-eye coordination. If you just go onto the course and try to launch the discs, you’ll score horribly. If you try to take short straight throws to be safe, your result will be similar. You need to practice proper throwing and release techniques in order to get distance while maintaining the right position relative to the hole. It’s a delicate balance of power and finesse, which is not easy. A great way to generate power is by snapping your wrist, but this needs to be done with precision. Otherwise you will snap the disc into the area code next to you, when you want to throw the disc in front. Those are some basic tips if you want to improve your game. But I’ll tell you why you should play.
It’s not going to necessarily be a workout and help you lose fat, build muscle, or anything along those lines. However, it’s something active that could lead to playing Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, biking or another outdoor activity. Here in Boulder, the course at Valmont Park has all kinds of trails and just watching other people move on by while playing frisbee golf can be a motivating factor. It can help you develop some specific muscles in your shoulders and arms if you throw the disc enough. Plus, walking from hole to hole is a workout in itself for some more than others.
Trying out disc golf is a way to get outside and motivate yourself to be more active. It’s not very strenuous so it can be a good way to ease yourself into more intense exercise and fitness routines. Or it’s a great way to spend some time with family and friends and enjoy life. I do not recommend playing alone. It’s nowhere near as fun. And family, friends, fun and sun are all a major part of being hungry and fit!
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