Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wellness Wish: "three outa five ain't bad"

Darn--I missed my goal! I planned to work out five days each week, and I only worked out three! However, I made progress!

I gave my valentine a Fitbit on Valentine's Day and liked it so much, I got one for myself! We've both been paying attention to our heart rates, exercise, sleep, diet, etc . . . it's been very educational! I'll be writing more about my Fitbit in future posts--I love it.

On Monday, I had planned on going to Sport and Health to work out, but the roads were icy, so I was stuck with the treadmill in our exercise room for the morning--hey, it works. 

Now that the snow is gone, I've had a chance to go to Sport and Health to work out. So far, I've had two dates with a cross-trainer. This one is different from the ones I've used in the past--it moves laterally. I liked it--my legs felt like jello when I was finished, but my heart rate didn't go too high. Perfect!

Now, I just need to build a habit of going to the gym . . . daily! I do have a lot on my plate, and it is hard to fit one more thing in, but it's so worth it. I'm worth it. The next challenge is making it to the gym at the proper time to be able to join a class!

Life is good--cheers!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Wellness Wish: metrics and establishing a baseline

Wow, it's been a busy week! Last week, I was in an Army course, the Enhanced Financial Management Training course (bootcamp for the CDFM certification exams), and I had the flu, so I wasn't able to fit in much exercise. However, I am back in the game. The week before last, I worked out at 0400 on a treadmill three times and established the following baseline: incline 5, speed 3 (to keep my heart rate below 145). I have a lot of room for improvement!

This Valentine weekend, I joined the Sport and Health near my home and learned that there is a discount for Booz Allen employees--how great is this?!

I'm excited about the variety of classes offered there--yoga, pilates, and something called bodyflow, which is a combination of yoga, tai chi, and pilates. I was hoping for a barre class, but I'm looking forward to getting off of the treadmill and trying something new! Unfortunately, it snowed today, so it was another treadmill day. My goal is to workout at least five days each week, with one day on the treadmill in order to measure my progress.

For those of you who are curious about your own target heart rate, the following chart is from the American Heart Association:

For Valentine fun, we went wine tasting at Trump Winery and Barboursville Winery (red wine is heart healthy!)--yum! 


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Wellness Wish: another journey begins

In 2010, I began a fitness journey—a challenge. It was more than a challenge. I decided to run a half marathon and raise $2400 to find a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma with Team in Training. It was a wonderful, life changing journey that led to three more half marathons. I blogged throughout that journey, sharing my trials, triumphs, and lessons with others.

I’m about to embark upon another journey. A year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurism, and it has drastically affected my lifestyle. It is critical for me to watch my blood pressure, I’m not supposed to lift more than 40 pounds, and I’m not supposed to allow my heart rate to rise above 145 bpm when I exercise. This is difficult for a normally active person, and the result has been my turning into a much less active person.

In December, I entered a wellness wish challenge via my employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, and I was given a grant of $500 toward my wellness wish. What is my wish? In a nutshell, I want to find a way to improve my fitness in such a way that it doesn’t stress my heart and increase the size of the aneurism. I want to be able to enjoy activities like hiking, kayaking, and tennis, yet keep my heart rate low and not stress my heart.

I’m going to use this grant to pay for a health club membership that offers a variety classes such as yoga so I can gradually increase my activity levels while maintaining a low heart rate. I’m also going to learn about heart health and ways to lower my blood pressure and heart rate through my diet. As in 2010, I’m going to share this journey—trials, triumphs, and lessons—in a blog so that others may follow along with me. Please join me on my journey!

Friday, July 04, 2014

On Freedom: independence isn't a one-shot deal

Today is Independence Day here in the United States. This is the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. And today, people will celebrate with parades, picnics, fireworks displays, and more.

When we celebrate important events from history, I'm always amazed by the stories of heroes of the past--people willing to make sacrifices for something bigger than themselves. I close my eyes and try to imagine what they went through. Mostly, I cannot--the sacrifices I've made don't come close to the sacrifices people made in the early days of our country.

We shouldn't take our freedom for granted. Not only did brave men and women make sacrifices in the past, but they continue to do so today. Some sacrifices aren't as readily apparent as others--we can easily recognize that civilians and military members at war are making great sacrifices as are their loved ones at home. But there are many others quietly making sacrifices in an effort to ensure freedom while avoiding war or other conflicts.

Independence isn't a one-shot deal. And it isn't a movie or video game. The sacrifices, both past and present, are real. If we don't continue to protect our freedom today and moving forward, we may wake up one morning to find that we are no longer free.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Please, have some tea . . .

“In their culture, you can’t just shake hands and get down to business. When they offer you tea, accept the offer. Ask about their family. Build a relationship . . .”
This was taught in a cultural awareness class I attended years ago. We Americans have a reputation for being abrupt, getting to the point, and viewing time as money, but I believe the above statement applies here at home as well as in other cultures. Perhaps not the specifics (drinking tea), but the part about building a relationship is very relevant in our culture.

For example, a colleague once commented to me, “but you get results because you are friends.” To bring my above point home, I wasn't friends with the person about whom we were discussing before working together on a project, but I worked hard to build relationships with the project team members. Building these relationships definitely helped me to get results.

But building relationships in business doesn't necessarily mean becoming friends on a personal level. Rather, it is about building trust. This trust can be vital in uncovering potentially hidden problems and ensuring the “right” problem is solved.

This sounds simple, but it isn't always easy. Relationships in business, like personal relationships, are as different as the people involved. There is a time to get down to business because everyone is time conscious, and there are times when we need to drink a little tea and get to know one another first.

So, the next time you aren't getting the results you want on a project, take some time for tea, and get to know the people with whom you are working. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results that follow!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fear of Change

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Charles Darwin
I've been writing about fear, and my intention was to continue the series each Saturday. Unfortunately, last weekend I spent in bed with the flu, and I had an extremely busy work week. But I've been thinking about the topic and my recent quest for information via Facebook, and I realized that I'm not so eager to reveal my greatest fear--to anyone. Only a handful of people know what I truly fear . . . and no, I'm not going to reveal it in my blog. But I've noticed some common fears among people, and one of the major fears appears to be the fear of change.

I believe fear of change is really fear of the unknown. It seems easier to cling to what one knows rather then to step out and wander into the unknown. Unfortunately, this is what keeps people in dysfunctional relationships, stagnant work situations, living locations with little room for upward mobility, the list goes on. It can also keep business owners and managers from making key decisions.

I realize that I'm making change sound like it's always a good thing--it isn't. Effecting change merely for the sake of change isn't good. There's a saying in the Army when we hear of changes that don't make sense, "Just think, someone got promoted because of this."  It's never hard to find someone looking for something to change just to get attention. Unfortunately, this fuels people's fear of healthy change.

Change can be difficult, to be sure. But I believe change for the better should be embraced. It can be painful at first, but the results can be well worth the effort.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fitness and Nutrition Tracker

As many of you know, I'm training for another event,  Nike Women's Half in DC. With my recent injury and the asthma treatments I've been undergoing, I've felt very "out-of-shape." So I've kicked it up a notch and have changed everything I'm doing to train--eating, rest, workouts . . . everything. My challenge was tracking everything.

Then a friend introduced me to LiveStrong's online tracker. It's amazing, and it's free. With it, I'm tracking my weight, food intake/calories, and workouts. The calorie tracker has a search function to make tracking easier. If you are having the same challenge, I encourage you to check it out!

I'm so motivated--bring it on!