Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ending 2015 on a healthier note

Feeling accomplished

Peace and Blessings Health Partners! 

The Healthier Picks, LLC © 2015 website finally launched December 1st as planned! This is such a major accomplishment that I needed a couple of days to relish that launch moment. This Health Partners blog can be found on the website's "Our Social Responsibility" page. We also had our very first major event, the fundraising dinner for the kids' school. It was a ton of work, but well worth the time the Healthier Picks team put into it...thank you ladies!

Shout outs to the Healthier Picks Team

Health Partners didn't do much biking this month, but I do feel accomplished in the bike department, nonetheless. I finally got the hitch and bike rack installed. No more hauling the whole bike into the trunk anymore. Also got around to naming the bike, my littlest baby, TITI, which means eternal / endless / forever in Yoruba. I chose this name because I hope Titi will forever be my side kick on this health journey. There she is, posing without her front wheel.
My forever bike, "Titi"

Health Partners meets
The month of December presented us with a much welcomed warmer-than-expected weather, which I am totally grateful for. The first couple of weeks sent us scrambling for indoor activities...then came the warmer weather, which brought us right back outside again. This warmer month has helped contribute immensely in achieving the ubiquitous goal of striving to make health a priority and fitness a habit. I'm sure that such weather anomaly will not be the case in years to come, but at least it's a good start for Health Partners. I must confess, I did not miss snow one bit, you couldn't find even a trace of the desire to go sledding in me this season. 

I would be remiss if I do not acknowledge the fact that I could not have accomplished any health goal of being active 2-3 days a week in this past month alone. So, from one Health Partner to another, a huge thank you to all the Health Partners. This month and the last have been one of the more active months in my adult life and I appreciate everyone being such a great partner and motivator to each other. Here goes a brief description of what we were up to in the last month of 2015.

Summary of activities
2015-1206: Walk at the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade
We gave the outdoors one more try after a series of frigid cold days. A couple of Health Partners walked the Baltimore Waterfront Promenade, starting from Federal Triangle. It was a sight to behold! The various battle and war relics such as the cannon and shipwreck remains were fascinating to us and to our 7- and 8-year old sons who accompanied us. It is so easy to forget that this city of Baltimore, tucked away in our backyard, is so rich in American history.
Baltimore Waterfront Promenade

2015-1213: Kickboxing with Saira (private Health Partners session)
In anticipation of colder weather, we ran back to the indoors. We elected for kickboxing with Saira Khan, a martial arts trainer. This lady truly makes health a priority when working with the ladies. Saira...that's Dr. Khan, as she's a doctoral-level trained nutritionist from the University of Maryland...holds weekly all-women kickboxing sessions at a martial arts studio. Health Partners are entirely grateful that she has welcomed us to her space and taken the time to share some health nuggets with us. After our first 45 minutes workout session, she shared the importance of staying well hydrated with us. 
Battle rope training

2015-1215: Kickboxing with Saira (general admission)
We loved the private session so much that Health Partners decided to join Saira's weeknight kickboxing class to supplement our Sunday morning activity. It was a great feeling of sisterhood, having other woman (no less than 25 by my count) gather together for no other reasons but to get on with a healthy lifestyle. I loved every moment of the hour long work out.

2015-1220: Zumba with Nefertiti (private Health Partners session)
Nefertiti welcomed Health Partners to her Columbia Lady Group Fitness. This studio is exclusively for women, so NO BOYS ALLOWED! Well, except for the little ones, for whom she provides a play area where they can hang out while the mommies get on with their workout. This lady, I know in my heart of heats, has truly made fitness a habit. In addition to Zumba, Nefertiti offers Turbo Kick, Yoga, Total Body Sculpt, Core Fusion (YES PLEASE, I could use a few sessions of those), Hot Hula, R.I.P.P.E.D, and Socacize. I live for those evenings I can join her classes. 
Columbia Lady Group Fitness studio

2015-1222: Kickboxing with Saira (general admission)
This was another packed weeknight kickboxing class with Saira. The camaraderie among these women is no match. It's such a great feeling to see women who we run into at the stores, in the playground, at the school, and other places in the community, standing side-by-side to get a solid workout session in a positive and safe environment.

2015-1224: Walk on the Paint Branch trail
This was such an impromptu event. After realizing that I would be off work on the 24th and 25th, and not wanting the good weather to go to waste, I called on my fellow Health Partners. About five of us hit the trails on this rainy, but quite warm-for-the-winter kinda' morning. These were all ladies I had never walked with, another perk of being a Health Partner: your circle of friends widens each time you show up to an event. I've been on this trail a number of times, but for the very first time, I was encouraged to try out the exercise gadgets on the trail. With all these FREE resources (free trail, free exercise gadgets that look and feel like gym quality etc.), why do we pay so much for Gym membership that we never make use of? Just food for thought. Back to the trail...we ran into PG County executive, Rushern Baker, jogging right along the trail with his entourage. He's definitely making use of what we already have at our disposals. These trails and parks are the best!
Trying out the outdoor exercise equipment

Paint Branch trail

County Executive, Rushern Baker & entourage jogging on the Paint Branch trail

2015-1225: Walk at Patapsco Valley State Park, Avalon Area
A few Health Partners dedicated this day to our fitness goals. The park was scheduled to be opened, but for some reason, the gates remained locked. After waiting anxiously in the car for what seemed like an endless "waiting for the gates to open" period, we decide to take matters into our own hands as we did not drive all of 27 minutes, only to be turned away. We drove a few yards from the state park, parked the car along the side street, and walked through the open sides of the gate that leads onto the trail. This path was a long walk, about 1.25 miles or so, before reaching the beginning of the Avalon Area. We decided to walk back to the gate, which meant about 2.5 miles, and call it a day. It was well worth the time and energy we put in, and I looked forward to coming back. It'll definitely be great for biking adventure.
Patapscco Valley State Park

2015-1227: Cardio and resistance training with Saira (private Health Partners session)
Just when I thought Saira had pull all the tricks out of her wonderful kickboxing fitness hat, she pulls this challenging on the Health Partners...a 50 minutes rigorous workout session. The Health Partners had 5 stations to visit: kickboxing, floor roller weight, chair arm strengthening, battle rope training, and wall squats. These all sound simple, but three days post workout, I was still feeling the firmness in my abs, thighs, and arms.
"Kicking it" with Saira

2015-1229: Kickboxing with Saira (general admission)
It was nice to be able to get active once again during this week, even with the soreness from Sunday's resistance training still very much present. This Tuesday kickboxing class was just what we needed to remind our aching muscles that there is plenty more to be done to whip ourselves into shape. 

2015-1230: Salsa Zumba with Nefertiti (general admission)
This was a Salsa-themed class with Nefertiti and a number of other Zumba instructors grilling us. The studio was super packed!!! It was well worth braving the I-95 traffic jam to spend this hour and a half with the ladies. Again, I live for those evenings I can join Nefertiti's classes.

2015-1231: Biking at Patapsco Valley State Park, Orange Grove
Not wanting to bike through the park solo, I called upon an honorary Health 8-year old son. He was actually excited to tag along on the fun ride through the Orange Grove area with his green bike, which he appropriately named EARTH...let's play nice now Titi! By the time we were done, I was dog-tired. This child wore me out after only 45 minutes of riding with him. Advise to Health Partners: work out with someone with a lot of energy, like an 8-year old, from time to time. This will test the limits we set for ourselves and can take you to greater heights.
Honorary Health 8-year old companion

And it's a wrap for December...until next month, I pray you live in peace and wish you many blessings and an abundance of good health from the Almighty. I bid you success in striving to make health a priority and fitness a habit.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

We are Health Partners

Who we are
Health Partners is a circle of women striving to make health a priority and fitness a habit through walking, biking, and other fun physical activities. It is one of the "social responsibility" arms of Healthier Picks, LLC © 2015. The idea of getting together with other women to motivate each other to get active had always been on my mind, especially after baby #3, and mid-late 2015 seemed to be when real action finally followed my thoughts and ideas. The group has been going strong for all of 4 weeks!!! This excites me, not only because we've managed to be consistent, but because come rain, shine, or wet weather, the Health Partners show up. We've had attendance vary from 3 to 7 ladies on any given day.

Why Sundays?
It had to be a weekend! Saturday or Sunday. We settled on Sunday only because it seemed to be the most convenient day for our very first activity. It also had to be early enough for me, and I'm sure many of the ladies in the group, to be able to sneak out of the house while the hubby and kiddos are still fast asleep. That means leaving home by 7 or 730 am, depending on where the day takes us, in order to meet-up by 8 am.

Activity selections
The original idea was to engage in activities that are free-of-cost, and fun. To me, this meant walking trails (walk-for-health) and riding my bike (bike-for-health). With the changing weather, we have now incorporated indoor activities and continue to look to creative ways to stay active.

Summary of activities
2015-1108: Bike-for-health on Mt. Vernon trails, Virginia. These ladies went hard...we did a hardy 5 miles on the hilly trail. There were numerous bike hiccups here and there, but we were determined to make the very best out of the great weather. Mental note...we need to educate ourselves on bike maintenance.

2015-1115: Walk-for-health at the National Harbor. The view was breathtaking. I am so grateful that the Health Partners did not let the coolness of the weather discourage us. We walked, and jogged, and had some great conversation exchanging notes on motherhood, careers, and just being plain human beings.

2015-1122: Walk- & bike-for health on Paint Branch trails. I've been biking this trail all summer long and only on this ride was I challenged to "cross the street" to see what was on the other side. Let me tell you, I am so glad I crossed the street! The creek we ran into was gorgeous, to say the least. Challenges...that's one major benefit of the Health Partners that I hold dear to my heart.

2015-1129: Cardio-for-health with Coach Tracey at her Oxon Hill studio. This was such a fun activity. It rained cats & dogs outside, so I was glad to be indoors with the Health Partners. Coach Tracey first put us through the wringer with her infused cardio workout...we survived, so it wasn't so bad, plus it was FUN! We ended the "fun fit" session with some belly dancing, which I thought was such a nice sweet reward.