Call me superstitious, but I sort of believe in signs. So I hope the fact I get to start my 41st year on this planet on a Motivation Monday is a sign I’ll be stocked with enough adrenaline to tackle the new adventures and challenges waiting for me in the days ahead.
This birthday happens to fall in the wake of a brief but brilliant escape to the beautiful island of Aruba. It was the first vacation I’ve been on in awhile where I truly took it easy. Instead of the high-intensity cardio-fueled workouts I sweat through here at home, I enjoyed extended walks on the beach (sometimes two a day), stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. I even indulged in a massage. The result? Well, while I may have added a pound or two to my waistline thanks to the frozen cocktails and some decadent desserts, I also returned to the frenetic pace of my beloved New York city with relaxed muscles and a relaxed mind.
Part of my unwind time included embracing the fact that getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile, you’ve read one or two posts about the fact that I’m definitely stronger than I was 10 years ago. Physically and mentally. I credit my experienced – both good in bad, in the gym and beyond – for giving me the confidence to make wiser choices today. Sure, I’ll still tweak a muscle during a workout now and then, and I’m the first to admit I’ve made some less-than-optimal choices when it comes to work or my love life. However, at least I believe I have a well-stocked mental file cabinet of information to guide my decisions.
So as we all start a new work week and I start my new year, let’s embrace all the surprises ahead that can only lead us on new paths to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
I’ve been wanting to get in on this growing craze for a long time and finally took the plunge last weekend in Nantucket. After the first 60-minute attempt, I understood why nearly one-point-two million people gave SUP a try in 2013. It’s an activity that can help anyone improve balance and strength regardless of his or her fitness level. The bonus: if you wipe out – which I did at least a half-dozen times – you get a nice shot of cool refreshment to motivate you to get back up on the board.
Why does SUP provide such a good workout? It’s simple: in order to remain upright and propel yourself in the water, you need to stay balanced. That means you use virtually every muscle in your body to stand on a surface which can grow increasingly unstable depending on waves and currents. While I felt a good burn in my legs, I really felt my core muscles firing especially as I focused on keeping my navel drawn-in and glutes engaged in order to stay standing. The paddling also got my arms, back and shoulders pumping, but I was careful not to pump as hard or as often with my left side as I continue to nurse my left shoulder back to health.
What I also like about SUP is that it can truly be tailored to various fitness levels. Newbies can start on their knees before moving to a stand-up position. More seasoned enthusiasts may want to take their skills to rougher waters where bigger waves and stronger currents can present more of a challenge. Either way, you’re getting a low-impact workout which makes it kinder to the joints than running or high-impact group exercise classes. If you have access to the sport and like being on the water, your search for a new cross-training activity could be over.
What about calories, you ask? Just like any other activity, you’ll burn more calories as your intensity increases. For a “casual” hour, you can burn between 250 and 350 calories. If you’re paddling hard, that number goes up. I’ve read some SUP articles that include racers burning more than 1,000 calories in an hour.
While I won’t be adding a board and paddle to my New York City apartment decor anytime soon, I will be keeping my eyes open for SUP opportunities on future getaways. Whether it’s SUP or another activity, let this Motivation Monday post serve as a reminder that adding something new to your routine is still one of the best ways to stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!