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Embracing My Lower Intensity Lifestyle

By Sara Baker

For the last 10 months I have been dealing with some health issues.  Though I do not have everything figured out, I am hopefully getting somewhere as it as been a long and frustrating ride.  I am sure some of you can relate when it comes to long-and-frustrating health issues. Anyway, last week, much to my dismay, I was told by my doctor that I need to cut back on my exercise.  Specifically, my cardio and also on my intensity.  Um, what?  Did I hear that right?  You can’t be serious? Even though I am the so called ‘endurance junkie’ of the JillFit crew, I do love me some hard intervals at least 2 to 3 times a week.  And just like the other girls, I like my weights heavy and lifting workouts to be short duration.

Soooo, I was told less than 3 hours of cardio a week, which I am sure compared to most people does not seem like anything close to an emergency. I was only doing probably 4 to 5 hours a week but keep the intensity down?  Not for me!  I also love yoga but of course I like the wicked hot and hard yoga. :)

So there I was last week sitting in the doctor’s office, angry because I have to change my lifestyle for the time being.  Now that I have digested this information, I am working on ‘embracing’ it.  I made a new plan for myself that will involve a lot of incline walking (even if it is only for 30 minutes), a spin class (keeping the intensity a bit lower) and some non-heated yoga.  Luckily, I can keep the lifting but will being doing a few more reps and sets, less weight.  What this also means is my diet needs to be a bit tighter while I am cutting back on my exercise. Anyone who knows me, knows I can eat too.  (Side note:  Jill and I knew we were meant to be friends when we both wanted our OWN individual dessert, i.e. not splitting a dessert, the first time we went out to eat together :))  Being consistent on my diet has always been my biggest challenge.  So I will be challenged the next few months, not necessarily by choice but sometimes that is okay.

I was reading an article today about the “Yin” and “Yang” of exercise.  The Yin being a slower-paced type of exercise with a focus on relaxation, calming, meditative and goal less practice. Examples include yoga, Pilates, tai chi, etc.  The Yang being more intense with a focus on mass, strength or stamina building, goal oriented, exciting etc.  You can probably guess which one my dopamine-driven self is drawn to!  The article talked about limitations to both.  Too much Yin and you might be somewhat physically limited.  Too much Yang can leave you burnt out and even injured.

So due to my current circumstances, I am trying to add a bit more Yin to my life and little less Yang. . .for the time being.  I could already feel myself a little impatient today on the stairmill as all I wanted to do was intervals.  But again I am trying to embrace it and think of the ultimate goal, which is to bring my body back into balance.  So this will be a challenge for me, but hopefully a good challenge as I learn to relax a little more and let myself heal.  As I head to Oregon tomorrow to spend the weekend with my husband’s family, I am not worrying about where the closest gym is so I can lift and get my intervals in.  I am looking forward to hiking with my in-laws, swimming with my 1 year old nephew and a little shopping with my teenage niece.  A little less Yang, a little more Yin. Wish me luck! ox Sara

Would love to hear from you if you have experienced an injury or something similar that challenged you to “take it easy” when that is not your natural instinct! Perhaps we can all learn from each other :)


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