A Month of Lifestyle Changes

Madison Pickul, Editor in Chief

There’s not just one set way to exercise. The main four types of exercise are endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. The best thing about exercising is that you can pick different forms that work for you, and if you don’t like it you can change it. My goal was to exercise everyday for a month.

Endurance based exercise focuses mainly on increasing heart rate and breathing. The main goal is to improve overall fitness and make it easier to carry out everyday activities. Some forms of exercise for endurance are dancing, yard work, and brisk walking or jogging.  

Strength based exercise focuses mainly on making the muscles stronger. Forms of strength exercising are lifting weights, using your own body weight and a resistance band.

Balanced based exercise focuses mainly on helping to prevent falling and is aimed toward older adults. Forms of balance exercises would be Tai Chi, standing on one foot, and heel-to-toe walking.

Flexibility based exercise main focus is on stretching your muscles and keeping your body limber.  Exercises for flexibility are yoga, calf stretches, and shoulder and upper arm stretching.

For my fitness regime I combined mostly endurance and flexibility based exercises. I combined walking and a number of abdominal exercises like sit-up, russian twists, and planking for the endurance exercises. For the flexibility exercises I used yoga. I chose these two forms to combined because they were the easiest to fit into my daily routine and I’ve done them before in the past so I was more comfortable with them. When it came to strength based exercising I felt I didn’t have the proper equipment to do it, and I avoided balance exercises because I feel my balance is fine enough that I didn’t need to strengthen it.

I didn’t need a gym membership or to dedicate an hour or  two day to hard core working out. My workouts were fairly simple.. I took at least 2o minutes a day to make the time to exercise. On the nights  I had work and school, I would put on the tv and just do some basic yoga poses at night while watching Beverly Hills, 90210 (the original obviously). An advantage it gave me is I now had something to do during the commercial break other then wait for the show to come back on.

I found that when doing yoga I could relax and had an easier time going to bed afterwards, it was pretty therapeutic. I would start off my yoga routine by stretching my arms and legs and then transition in lotus as my first pose. My favorite position ended up being the pigeon which is where you stretch one leg back, bring on up to your chest, and use your arms to lift your chest up. I’d end my routine in the child’s pose which was a great position to wind down with. Even after this study was over, I find myself sitting in the lotus position a lot more lately, especially when sitting on the couch or my bed. To find positions I used yogajournal.com, they separate their poses by anatomy, positions, and type, making is really easy to find positions I would enjoy doing.

When it came to the endurance exercises I did mix of planks, sit-ups, russian twists, and other abdominal  exercises. I did them in sets of ten to start, and each day I would add five more. So on the first day I would do one set of ten of sit-ups and then on the second day I would do fifteen sit-ups and then continue the pattern of adding five more as the day went on the build up my abilities. On the days when it was nice outside, I would choose to walk instead of doing abdominal workouts. Walking was really nice because it gave me a chance to enjoy the fresh air and clear my head.

To be honest, I didn’t exercise with a set routine everyday. Since I did this during Gym Night, on the nights that students had two hour practices, I counted that as my daily exercise.  When Gym Night weekend rolled around, additional exercise was out of the question. I was way too exhausted to do any workouts that weekend. So out of the whole month I may be exercised for about 2 and ½ weeks total.

Working out wasn’t the only thing I changed, I also changed my diet. I completely cut out sodas, other sugary drinks and fried foods. Everyday for lunch I would have a salad and when I would go to work, instead of eating the quick fried foods, I would make vegetable paninis or sandwiches for dinner. I still have a soda every once and awhile, but I try to stay away.

When I chose this topic I didn’t go into it with any specific plan or goal in mind, it just seemed like an interesting and easy topic. I never checked my weight throughout this process, but I noticed both physically and mentally I felt better. I have actually chosen to continue to take at least 2o minutes a day to exercise because I have already seen a difference in  how I feel. I think I want to introduce strength based exercises into the mix as well. I’m interested to see how that will change the more I continue this journey. After all I do have a prom dress to fit in to.