Sunday, January 31, 2016

Winter came with a bang!

Peace and Blessings Health Partners! 

Knock, knock, it's Jonas2016

Winter finally decided to visit us with Snow Storm Jonas2016 towards the end of January. The storm reminded me of the blizzard of '96, except this time, I got a good understanding of what my parents must have gone through as they tried to keep me and my three siblings occupied. Jonas2016 gave the kids a much welcomed 11 straight days out of school! YIKES!!! Apparently, the snow storm neglected to check-in with parents to see if it was a good time for us. Since sitting the kids in front of the television was definitely not an option, I had to come up with creative ways to keep them from being bored. On the fitness side of things, the one thing that helped keep me sane through the days we were home-bound was exploring different exercise routines with the boys on YouTube. I would be the first to admit that I am such a social butterfly and often need the company of other adults around me to make it through a good workout, but the company of my three boys had to do. We did jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, and even had a couple of Zumba dance parties. Soliciting workout ideas from the Health Partners' group list also helped get us a good mix of things to try. When staying indoors became a bit too much, we bundled up in layers and went outside to get some fresh air.

On the health side of things, I am so glad we stocked up on plenty of fruits and vegetables. With my boys, one thing I can attest to is that they will eat whatever they find in the refrigerator, cabinets, and kitchen shelves. We had an abundance of apples, green grapes (their favorite), clementines, pears, tomatoes, carrots, and celery sticks. I couldn't help smiling every time I saw them make a trip to the refrigerator to grab something to eat. We did some healthier snacking too with some mixed nuts, Kind bars (my favorite), and Back to Nature organic cookies...with great attempts made to keep them at appropriate portion sizes. One new item I have fallen in love with are the Stone Ground Whole Wheat Fig Newtons. They are quite delectable! I think they've just made it to the Healthier Picks' list of must-haves.

Our cabin fever snacks

Summary of activities
Walk at the Theodore Roosevelt Island (1/1/2016)
Health Partners spent new year's day with fitness on our minds. I'm sorry to have missed this walk as I had a coughing spell I couldn't shake off in time. The ladies covered about 2 miles, notwithstanding the cold, and shared some gorgeous pictures of the beautiful scenery. This is yet another one of the wonderful treasures tucked away in our backyard, right off GW Parkway.

Theodore Roosevelt Island
Theodore Roosevelt's statue

Cardio & Belly dancing (1/3/2016)
This was another intense "putting us through the ringer" cardio workout session with Tracey, on another very cold day. Twenty-eight degrees to be exact, but that didn't stop the Health Partners. Tracey incorporated five stations to our routine: agility ladder, side shuffle with 5lbs weights, burpees, jump rope, and cross country skiing with weights. By the time we got through this routine, we were so ready for belly dancing.

Cardio with Tracey

Another belly dancing session with Tracey

Kickboxing (1/5, 1/12, 1/19/2016)
Health Partners now join the Cardio Kickboxing Group on Tuesdays to supplement our Sunday private sessions. I'm always excited to join the cardio-group ladies for an additional workout session with Saira.

Cardio & Endurance Training (1/0, 1/17, 1/31/2016)
Health Partners had three cardio & endurance training sessions with Saira this month. The classes have definitely gotten more challenging, and we welcome the challenge! On another exciting note, we finally got to work with the huge tire I've been eyeing from the very first day. And in the last class session, Health Partners tried a Mommy & Me workout day. We thought it would be fun to include our little ones in some fitness fun. It was a hit! They had a blast, so that  idea is a keeper.

Saira demonstrates how to work with the tire

This month, Saira also shared the latest physical activity guidelines from the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with the Health Partners. The guideline that caught my attention is the suggestion that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity workout in order to reap substantial health benefits such as decreased likelihood of developing a number of chronic diseases. Guess what, Health Partners are already doing just that and some more. We should definitely keep it up and add some more vigorous-intensity and muscle-strengthening activities in order to reap more extensive health benefits. 

Useful guidelines for keeping active

Zumba (1/14, 1/28/2016)
In order to get up to the recommended 150 minutes of weekly activity, Health Partners are encouraged to attend Zumba at the community center. The instructor, Dionne, brings a high-tempo to the Zumba Dance Party, as it is referred to. I forgot to pack my workout outfit and proper shoes on one of the class, but I didn't let that discourage me. I jumped right into the fun not afraid to dance without shoes, and "winged" it with my pink-ish socks. I definitely enjoy the cardio benefit of this class and plan to continue with it as a supplement to our Sunday sessions.

Ready, set, and Zumba in pink-ish socks

When it comes to health and fitness, one of the things I learned is the great effect of one's behavior. Health doesn't just happen, and neither does fitness. It takes making conscious decisions and proactive steps to make health and fitness "happen." Some of the conscious decisions I have made in the past couple of months is to take time out for myself. I ensure that I leave work early enough to be able to make it to my Tuesday and Thursday classes. I try to get in bed early enough on Saturday nights in order to be well rested and ready for the Health Partners' Sunday morning workout session. And reflecting back on Jonas2016, had I stocked up on junk food, junk food is all my family would have feasted on during those home-bound days. And had I permitted the kids to have their way with the AppleTV (we still don't do conventional television), cartoon is all they would have consumed. The conscious decision to pack the refrigerator and kitchen shelves with healthier, and tastier, selections kept their taste buds, and mine, very happy. The decision to keep them active was in many ways my strategy to avoid getting bored and "unmoved" (pun intended). In the end, we scaled through Jonas2016 in health and much needed fitness and I hope I can say the same for the entire year when 2016 comes to a close.

That's it for January...until next month, I pray you live in peace and wish you many blessings and an abundance of good health. As always, I bid you success in striving to make health a priority and fitness a habit.

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