Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Mountain fitness - progress report - January 2014

Getting fitter to enjoy this sort of view

It’s been almost two weeks now since I started out on my “mountain fitness” regime and I’m already starting to see positive results.  I began by stating that I wasn’t overly concerned with my actual weight, although I did acknowledge that I probably needed to lose at least a couple of stones.  Initially I thought I wouldn’t be using weight loss as a benchmark to my fitness, because as far as I’m concerned overall fitness is more important than actual weight.  However, I now realise that if I’m going to keep my blog up to date with my progress then statements such as “my clothes feel a bit slacker” or “I definitely feel lighter” aren’t as quantifiable as “I’ve lost x pounds”.  So, with that in mind, after ten days I can happily report a weight loss of 5 pounds.  This is actually a little more than I would have anticipated, particularly in view of the fact that I haven’t been following any specific diet plan.  Nevertheless, it’s very encouraging and just goes to show that sensible eating and regular exercise definitely pay dividends.  And I suppose every pound I shed is a pound less I have to carry along on a walk!

The dietary side of my regime has been very easy and relaxed.  No calorie counting or measuring of portions; simply conscious choices to eat sensibly.  For example, if I don’t feel like eating much breakfast I’ll just have a yoghurt, otherwise it’s a bowl of porridge with a teaspoon of heather honey.  Lunch may be just a piece of cooked chicken with a little chutney and a yoghurt or piece of fruit, and my evening meal might be roast salmon or chicken with a selection of vegetables.  No potatoes, pasta, rice or bread…as a rule.  However, when a family member presented me with a freshly baked chicken and mushroom pie at the weekend, I happily cleaned my plate! Getting too obsessive about food choices is counterproductive I find.  During the course of the day I’m sure to drink plenty of water and I always take my coffee black with no sugar.  And that’s about the extent of my “diet”.  For the majority of the time I’m making sensible choices, but if I do eat something that’s not so healthy then I won’t let that bother me.

As far as I’m concerned, the most significant part of my “mountain fitness” regime is exercise, and I’ve been tackling this in two ways.

First there’s my regular (preferably daily) walking routine, with an aim of walking a total of 1,250 miles throughout the course of 2014.  This is a challenge I’m taking part in along with a small group of Facebook friends.  We’re all monitoring our progress and encouraging each other along with the aid of Runkeeper, an excellent free app for iphone or Android that measures your walking distance, pace, counts how many calories you’ve burned and maps out your route.  Runkeeper allows you to set a specific goal within a set timescale and monitors your progress towards the achievement of the goal.  After 12 days I’ve walked a total of 61 miles which has accounted for 5% of my yearly target to date.  I’m hoping to have completed 10% by the end of January. 

I try to walk at least twice a day, up to eight miles a day if possible or in any case at least three or four miles, and further at weekends.  One of the major benefits of walking as a form of exercise is that it’s easy to do.  You can simply set off from your own front door and walk for whatever distance or timescale you choose.  As an added incentive, I help out an older family member by also regularly taking her dog for a walk.

Deejay the Poodle helps to keep me motivated

The second part of my exercise plan is a programme designed for me by Anthony Mayatt of Breathe Fitness.   Basically, this consists of a simple warm-up routine followed by a series of exercises using items I already had about the house.  For example, for one of the exercise sets I have to climb up the stairs two or three steps at a time, pressing down from the heel as I ascend and then gently descend and repeat, completing a total of ten repetitions per set.  I have to admit that I have found some of these exercises extremely difficult (especially press-ups!) and after ten days I still haven’t quite got up to the initial number of sets and repetitions first suggested by Anthony.  Partly this is due to my having fallen victim to a couple of seasonal viruses recently and partly because I hadn’t realised just quite how unfit I really was!  I’m persevering though and will feel very pleased with myself when I can finally work through every exercise on the list.

And that’s it so far.  Small steps to begin with, but steps in the right direction.
Breathe Fitness can be found on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube (see link below).

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