Stretching

Oh stretching.

Feels so good, is a key part of preventing injury and any exercise routine…and is usually overlooked.

Look, I get it. I also am guilty of skipping stretching. But I know that’s dumb.

Every session now includes me doing the same stretches. It’s just a part of the beginning of each session. It’s quick but a good addition to warm me up. I also do a weights video with Kevin every so often and we always do a quick 5 minute informal warm up. Even though stretching doesn’t need to be long and/or fancy, it allows your body to prepare for movement.

I just started a few weeks ago doing a series of maybe 10 stretches nightly I can do in a chair. We and especially me sit a huge portion of each day sitting so I like to think this counters that. I also keep a resistance band nearby and try to do a few foot exercises too. I try to not beat myself up though if I miss a night.

I’m working now in my sessions to lift heavier weights; last week I used 6 pound hand weights, 10 pound kettle bells and did some squats with 20 pounders. Because I’m building my upper body strength, stretching afterwards is so important so I’m not so sore I can do nothing.

Many of my favorite stretches need no equipment, but easy pieces to incorporate are resistance bands or a foam roller.

SkyRise Chicago-Support Request

The owner of where I work out for years has suggested doing this challenge. This is the first year I’m physically capable, and was feeling confident that I could do this as a part of a team. Yes I would need help but I trust my trainers to keep me safe.

Well…in a world where so often I cannot do something because of my recovery, I suffered from severe knee pain in the Spring that made participating a total no. The whole ordeal was awful; I had to deal with an asshole of a doctor. I’m so glad to be past that but it was a painful and stressful thing in my life. I ended up getting a Cortisone shot.

While the doctor tried to say he saw wear and tear which maybe indicated need for surgery which I disagree with; I have 33 years of use including being overly hard on them with dancing so no shit they have wear and tear, I do need to not overdo it with biking and stepping.

I was therefore thrilled that SkyRise Chicago was offering a virtual option to participate! You can read more on my page, but I’m challenging myself to do a 2+ mile walk twice before November 7th.

Apparently while I was still in the hospital my parents toured Shirley Ryan and my mom said “oh yeah, this is Logan worthy.” I spent 6 weeks there and, even though I was in a horrid state, it really is an outstanding facility. There’s a reason Shirley Ryan is one of the top rehabilitation places in the country.

I’m so happy to FINALLY be in a position to give back to somewhere that really helped me out. It’s truly an honor to participate, and I please ask that you support me!

Joy

Despite my love of dance I’ve never seriously watched Dancing With the Stars until this season.A lot is due to liking a lot of the cast but also discovering I really enjoy devoting myself to a series of reality tv; I’ve done it with RuPaul’s Drag Race and Top Chef.

One of the judges is Derek Hough, and one of the contestants is Amanda Kloots, who among many things lost her husband to Covid last year. After a great performance and sharing this was a way to heal Derek said:

“Dancing is the best way to reclaim your joy.”

Yes. Oh my gosh did this resinate with me.

Ok I’m a dancer so would of course agree with this. I regularly did adult dance fitness classes and had a tribe of fellow lovers of dance.

But these ladies did not grow up dancing. Removing the technicality that comes from taking regular dance classes, dancing is just plain fun.

Who gives a shit how you look? My motto is dance like an asshole. My go to advice if you’re feeling unsure is just move by copying someone else’s dancing. So crank up some toons, pop on a YouTube of someone dancing and go crazy!

I agree with Derek; dancing = joy.

The Move: Overhead Presses

I obviously learn so many moves through my personal training sessions which was the prompt for this series. I hope you make a workout from my previous posts: clamshells, side steps, side kicks and these overhead presses!

Start with your arms straight down, against the front of your body. Bend at your elbows and curl/lift your hand to your shoulder.Your palm is facing you. Twist your wrist so your palm is now facing out and press your arms up so they’re extended over your head. Reverse it so they’re back down in front of you. That’s one rep.

Make it harder: hold weights, such as dumbbells or kettle bells.

The Joy of Biking

I am very lucky and got a recumbent bike last Christmas. It’s in the basement and I initially used it a lot, but at the end of March I hurt my knee pretty badly. had to get a cortisone shot, stayed away from biking until June then really eased back into biking for a workout.

I started using the bike sporadically but noticed problems every time; the resistance level would automatically go down to 1. It was still under warranty so we had a service call and it needed a whole new console.

Of course that takes time, it JUST got replaced two weeks ago. I finally did a bike ride and I LOVED it! I’m a lover of bike classes, a former regular at Soul Cycle, so I have the Pelaton app and did a class with Cody.

I don’t solely rely on biking for fitness, but I’m really happy to incorporate it once a week to my routine.

My Small Victory

It’s extremely easy to assess this recovery as very before and after, and not acknowledge the progress.

I have a small, but really big victory.

In December 2019 I went to see the Star Wars movie in theaters with Kevin and a friend. Because it was in a huge theater and we didn’t realize you could enter on the second level we had to go up like 30+ stairs. I can do stairs no problem, but I remember how exhausted I was after; I felt like I had to spend the whole movie recovering.

Contrast that with last week. I went to my therapist for a session and afterwards my mom said “bad news. The elevator’s not working.” (Her office is on the second floor.) I said no problem, my mom took my rollator down then walked me down the stairs. It’s maybe a 15 step staircase and it was absolutely no big deal and had no impact on my energy level.

That’s proof of building endurance. Yes it takes time but it can be done.

The Move: Clamshells

I’m starting a new series! Since I workout 2-3 times a week with a personal trainer not to mention on my own, I know a lot of exercises. I wanted to share a few that require little to no equipment.

First up are clamshells.

Lay on your side, bottom forearm propping you up with your top hand cradling your head and resting your elbow on the floor. Have your knees bent, with one stacked on top of the other. Keeping your heels together open your top leg to the sky so you’re making a diamond shape with your legs. Close. That’s one rep. Do 8-10 for one set. Do as many sets as you can handle. Flip over and do it with the other leg opening.

Make it harder: add a resistance band midway up your thighs that you’re stretching open with each clamshell.

Biking

I love biking. I’m somewhat of a cardio devotee, biking is something I loved before and something I can do now.

I used to go to Soul Cycle and I’m asking for seated bike for Christmas.

Kevin is a real biker; he has a real bike and a stationary one at the condo. He regularly does long rides. His sister has a Pelaton which she rides regularly.

I bike a lot at Movement Revolution to get my heart rate up.

What workouts do you love?