Keeping Fit and Healthy

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I’ve always been a very active person, especially once I moved to a rural area near a lake when I was 13.  I love being outdoors and used to spend all day running through the woods and fields or swimming in the lake with my brothers.  I was never really one for team sports, but I did enjoy playing baseball or football with the guys when I was a teenager.  I was definitely a tomboy!  Thankfully I still have a desire to stay active and have a hard time sitting still for too long.  I started working out to The Firm videos when I was 18 in order to keep trim and build some muscle.  I never bought into the misconception that if a women lifted weights she would get bulky and masculine looking.  Strong women are sexy- period!  I love my muscles and the fact that my body can do all the things I ask it to do.  Climb a mountain?  Not a problem.  Heft that 50m pound bag of chicken feed?  Sure thing!  In June I’ll be turning 39, an age at which many women start to freak out about getting OLD.  Fact is, I’m more fit now than at any other time in my life.  The way I see it, age is just a number, and I’ve never been stuck on it.  I often forget how old I am.  I feel great, I think I look pretty darn good, and I’m very comfortable with where I’m at mentally and physically.  Most importantly, I’m happy.  I enjoy working out, I enjoy the yard work and gardening, the hikes, swimming in the creeks and rivers where we camp, even the mundane housework (which is a workout in and of itself) can be enjoyable.

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Here’s a shot of me watering the basil last fall.  Just wandering these 4 acres (with plenty of hills and rocks to climb over) is enough to help keep me in shape!

One thing about me is that I love variety, so I’ve never been one to just do one workout over and over.  I have a good collection of exercise DVDs that I used to use and I used to have an elliptical machine as well.  Over the last year my workouts have changed quite a bit though.  For one thing I was getting bored with the DVDs, plus I gave my elliptical machine to my mother (hiking these hills and mountains in my neighborhood provides an even better butt and thigh workout, not to mention really kicking in the cardio).  Then I started to discover the workout channels on YouTube.  Silly me- I never even thought of looking on YouTube for full length workout videos!

Now I can do a different workout every single day.  Whether I’m looking for strength training, cardio, yoga, or a combination, it can all be found on YouTube.  Of course I have my favorite channels and instructors, most of which I’ve added to my Playlists so if I do choose to repeat a workout, or a Challenge, I can easily find those videos.  You can follow the link in my signature to see which videos I’ve added- just check out my Playlists.  I’ve tried to organize everything into the proper categories (strength training, cardio, yoga, etc).

exercise-areaAnd of course having a personal trainer can be very helpful.   You can see my fluffy trainer keeping an eye on me as he guards my water bottle and my laptop 😉

I’ve got plenty of exercise equipment to add variety to my workouts, although you can get an excellent workout without any equipment at all.  I’ve been adding to my gear for years now and have steps in 2 heights (one for cardio step and a taller one for more strength training and things like box jumps), an exercise ball- great for ab work and stability exercises, dumbbells ranging from 5lbs up to 30lbs, 10lb. kettlebell, 20lb kettlebag, a weighted hula hoop (hooping is a super fun way to burn calories and tone your core), jump rope, yoga blocks and bolster, and BOSU.  I look forward to my daily workouts and am lucky to have a good sized space to work out in.  Normally I’ll do a 30 minute to 1 hour long strength and cardio video followed by a 20- 30 minute yoga stretch.  Pair that with a healthy diet and a low stress lifestyle and you’ve got the recipe for total health and fitness!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters
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