Category Archives: Fitness

Subreddits That I Love

The Reddit Logo. It is orange and has a smiling alien face in it.

Thank you to Iniverse for giving me the idea for this response post. Go read about the subreddits this blogger enjoys before continuing on here.

Reddit is a site filled with a massive series of message boards on every topic you can imagine and then some. Each topic is separated into its own page there in something called a subreddit.

Today I will follow in Iniverse’s footsteps and share some of my favourite subreddits from that site that fit into the scope of this blog. All of the links in this post are safe to browse at work or if you have a small child looking over your shoulder, but do be warned that this isn’t true for every subreddit out there!

Fitness and Health Subreddits

woman using ab rollerr/1500isplenty

A well-balanced diet can make it easier to reach many different fitness and health goals. This sub is filled with (generally) healthy recipes and support for anyone who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle. There is also r/1200isplentyr/1800isplenty, and r/cico for people with different calorie goals for each day.

r/bodyweightfitness

Who says you have to go to the gym or own fitness equipment to grow stronger? This subreddit contains countless exercise routines that use nothing but your own body weight for strength training.

r/Dance

Am I a great dancer? Not yet, but who says you have to be the best at something in order to enjoy it?! Dancing is for everyone and anyone who enjoys it.

r/EatCheapAndHealthy

The title says it all. I’m always striving to eat well while keeping my grocery budget trimmed down.

r/xxfitness

This is a fitness sub specifically for and by women. Unfortunately, some of the biggest fitness subs are not always welcoming to us. While I read many of them, I’m cautious about which ones I comment on and recommend in general.

r/Yoga

I do a lot of lurking here.

Mindfulness and Meditation Subreddits

 woman closing her eyes while sitting on a couchr/Meditation

r/Mindfulness

These two are self-explanatory, I think.

r/RelaxingGifs

This can be a wonderful resource when I need something visual to focus on. All of these gifs are quiet and soothing enough to calm my mind down enough for a more traditional meditation session.

r/Stoicism

The themes of acceptance and adaptability in Stoicism remind me a lot of mindfulness and meditation.

 

Speculative Fiction Subreddits

A wizard walking down stone steps in an abandoned stone castle covered in vines that's next to a massive mountaing range.r/AskFantasy

r/AskScienceFiction

These subreddits are fantastic for everything from geeking out over your favourite speculative fiction  stories to asking any manner of questions about anything related to these genres.

r/HorrorLit

This is the best horror subreddit I’ve found so far. The commenters there are well-versed in this genre and pretty friendly to newcomers from what I’ve observed.

r/ImaginaryFairytales

Anyone who reads or writes fairy tales should see the beautiful imagery on this subreddit.

r/ScifiConcepts

Here is a slightly more cerebral and writing-focused version of AskScienceFiction. Both readers and writers are welcome, but be prepared to do a lot of critical thinking.

Writing Subreddits

high angle photo of woman writing in a notebookr/AbandonedPorn

I promise this link is safe for your boss, child, or pet to see if they walk past your screen. It’s fascinating to observe how buildings change after humans stop using them and nature begins to take over.

This is excellent source material for anyone writing about ancient ruins, abandoned cities, and the like.

r/AskARace

There are many other AskA subreddits out there for various countries, continents, and minority groups if you need more advice while writing characters who are different from you in some way.  I picked this one specifically because it has such a diverse and knowledgable set of users.

r/CemeteryPorn

You can learn so much about previous generations by paying attention to how they buried and commemorated their dead. I adore looking at tombstones and photos of tombstones.

r/OldSchoolCool

Most of these photos were taken between the 1940s and 1980s, give or take a few decades. They can be a good reference for anyone writing about the 1900s who wants to get their fashion and hairstyles right.

r/WritingPrompts

Endless free ideas are here for the taking if you need some inspiration.

r/WritingLGBT

This is a good place to discuss writing LGBT+ characters and finding books featuring these characters. There are also plenty of LGBT+ authors poking around there, too, if you’re one of us and want to make some new friends.

 

What are your favourite subreddits?

How I Changed My Mind About Weightlifting

As I mentioned last week, weightlifting wasn’t something that I immediately liked when I first tried it.

This week I’ll dig into the reasons why that was so and how I tweaked them so that I could finally enjoy this form of exercise.

No Training, Limited Equipment

Man struggling to open pickle jar
I’m sharing this stock photo because it made me grin.

The high school I attended was small and rural. It had a tiny weight room for student athletes and the occasional gym students to use.

Our mandatory gym classes for ninth and tenth graders were my first introduction to this form of exercise.

The problem was, our gym teacher gave us no training on how to use the equipment in that room. It was also cramped, hot, and crowded there. We generally spent twice as much time waiting in line for the next machine as we did actually exercising.

The first college I attended had nothing but two stationary bikes in their fitness room. The second college I attended had a large room dedicated to weightlifting, but once again our instructor didn’t teach us how to use the equipment safely or pick an appropriate workout for a complete beginner.

I was mildly interested in weight training by this point, but I was scared of accidentally hurting myself. This was the U.S. we’re talking about, and my family considered ourselves lucky to have reached a solid lower middle class existence after my mom graduated from college and found a decent job when I was in my early teens. That is to say, there was little to no extra money lying around for unexpected medical bills if I accidentally hurt myself.

Sensory Overload

Closeup of someone opening their eye wide and feeling overwhelmedMy limited experiences with gyms as an adult were of loud, hot, bright, crowded places.

The combination of those four things can be quite overstimulating to me, especially when I’m trying to concentrate or learn something new.

Kudos to everyone who is energized by all of that stimulation, but I’m not wired that way.

I’ve since visited one high-end gym that was a much more understated place to work out. There was no background music I could remember and the other people there were all working out quietly with plenty of extra machines, weights, and air conditioning to go around.

While it’s currently out of my budget, I am willing to revisit that topic if I ever have so much money that paying those high fees every month feels worth it.

 

Baby Steps

Man and dog standing on a step as the dog contemplates walking down it.So here I was as an adult who wanted to build muscle but had no idea where to start or how to do it safely.

My first baby step into weightlifting was a cardio fitness routine called Dorm Room Workout that included a a few minutes of weight training in the middle and at the end of their routine. If I could still find it anywhere online, I’d link to it here!

A family member had previously given me a set of five-pound hand weights I’d tried using once or twice, but I’d loaned them out to another relative by this point.

What I did have on hand were some soup cans, so that’s what I used for those portions of the Dorm Room Workout. They were light enough that I could copy the instructors moves precisely and didn’t have to worry about hurting myself.

I started to gain a little more confidence in my physical abilities.

Slow and Steady

A rack filled with small dumbbells

At this point, I started watching other videos of instructors doing weightlifting routines.

My other relative had returned the five-pound weights at this point, so I had something a bit more challenging to work with.

Once I’d seen the videos a few times and knew what to expect with them, I tried actually exercising to them. Yes, the trusty soup cans were trotted out first, but I eventually moved onto actual weights once I felt stronger and more confident in my abilities.

The nice thing about many weightlifting videos these days is that they include modifications. I couldn’t do a full pushup when I began, so I did them against the wall or, when I was stronger, on the floor while leaning on my knees. There were some weightlifting moves I wasn’t strong enough to do yet either.

Was my form perfect? No, but because the stakes were so low I adjusted it a bit each time and did my best not to move up to heavier weights or harder types of pushups until I was sure I was ready.

I no doubt could have proceeded much faster than I did, but I’m a cautious soul who would rather move slowly than suffer a painful injury that requires surgery or months of physical therapy to fix. To this day, I always try the modifications in new workout videos of any sort, but especially the weightlifting ones, before jumping straight into the more challenging versions of them.

How to Like Yoga

Woman doing yoga on a wooden floorThe idea for today’s post came from a search engine query that lead someone to this site last month.

I will only make one assumption about this query. My best guess is that it was created by someone who has tried yoga in the past, did not enjoy, and wishes they could find a way to change that.

With that assumption in mind, here are some ideas.

 

Try Other Types of Yoga

Did you know there are many different styles of yoga? I’ve read articles that mention as few as eight and as many as twenty-four depending on how strictly one defines a style.

Vinyasa yoga is athletic and aerobic.

Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, happens in a hot, humid room. Students are expected to make their own adjustments instead of relying on the instructor to help them achieve the right pose.

Ashtanga yoga is energetic. It involves memorizing a specific series of moves and then performing them without any coaching from the instructor. This is best for experienced people.

Yin yoga is slow paced, meditative, and involves a lot of seated positions. This is a good choice fo beginners or anyone who may not be up for the more athletic poses of other types of yoga.

Kundalini yoga is both spiritual and physical. It includes chanting, singing, and breathing exercises.

This list is only scratching the surface. Yoga can be a calm, contemplative experience, a gruelling workout, or many other things depending on which style one chooses and what they want to get out of it.

 

Try It Again

three women doing yogaDisliking any form of exercise the first few times doesn’t necessarily mean that someone will never get used to it.

Weightlifting wasn’t something I enjoyed that much when I first started out with it. I’ll save the specific details of this for a post coming up next week, but I needed time to figure out how to tweak the things I disliked about it and lean into the stuff I did until I learned to enjoy it quite a bit.

 

Try It Under Ideal Conditions

For example:

  • wear comfortable clothing
  • avoid poses that causes pain
  • choose simple poses
  • pick an environment as quiet (or noisy) as you prefer

Sometimes one can grow to like a form of exercise if they ease into it. The rules are there to guide people, not to be followed so strictly they suck all of the enjoyment out of exercising.

 

Try a New Instructor

flexible young asian man doing balancing asana during hatha yoga trainingAll of the yoga I’ve done so far has been at home while watching various instructional videos on the topic. Thank goodness for Youtube.

One time I stopped a new routine within a few moments of checking it out because the instructor’s style didn’t mesh well with me at all. (Although I’m sure there are many other people out there who like their style!)

There’s definitely something to be said or trying several different instructors for a type of yoga that may or may not be the right one for a particular person.

 

Try another Format

Covid-19 makes certain parts of this difficult at the moment, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for comparing an in-person yoga class to online videos or books on the subject.

Some people learn best if they have an instructor nearby to correct their movements.

Having the ability to pause a video while figuring out where on Earth to put their feet next might work better for someone else.

Others might prefer to read all about the various types of yoga they’re thinking about doing before they try a new pose no matter how simple or difficult it might seem to be at first.

 

Try A Different Form of Exercise

A black skipping ropeThe possibility also exists that yoga isn’t the right form of exercise for the person who sent in this query.

I love the idea of running. It’s a form of exercise I’ve tried to get into multiple times, but I’ve never been able to stick to it because of how much I dislike the way it feels. Jogging hurts my joints and lungs in ways that I can’t ignore or push through.

On the other hand, I could go on a brisk walk or a swim for an hour and still have the energy to keep going.

In order to be sustainable, I believe that everyone should pick the forms of exercise they can find something enjoyable about. Few people are going to stick to a fitness routine that they dread doing, especially in the longterm.

There are many other types of exercise out there that might be a better fit for a specific person. It’s totally okay to realize that yoga isn’t one’s cup of tea.

Why You Should Commit to Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution Today

top view of person holding a red and white striped umbrella and walking on a thick layer of snow. Only their footprints and shadow are visible, not the person themselves.I find it interesting how we are all encouraged to over-indulge during multiple holidays from October to December only to be bombarded with weight loss and fitness ads come January 1.

To me, it makes so much more sense to continue on with the same healthy habits I follow the other nine months of the year and to build new ones than to throw everything out of the window between Canadian Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

I still have treats, and there are days when all of my exercise comes in the form of long – or even not so long – walks. With that being said, I do my best to stick to my regular habits as much as possible no matter what the date on the calendar says and to start my New Year’s Resolution a few weeks ahead of time for the following reasons.

Building Habits Takes Time

scrabble bricks that spell out the word "resolutions." Any lifestyle change takes time not only to turn into a habit but to preserve as a normal part of one’s routines.

Starting (or continuing) now will give you a head start on everyone making similar resolutions in a few weeks.

I don’t know about all of you, but I find it easier to stick to small changes in my daily habits if I begin them a few weeks before everyone starts talking about what they want to change about themselves or their lives in the new year.

Fitness isn’t a competition, but there’s something motivating about starting early to me. I like the feeling of already settling into the rhythm of a new habit before it becomes a common topic of conversation in my social circles. It’s not about winning. It’s about having the self-discipline to think about these things in advance and seeing what I can accomplish early on.

Many Different Types of Exercise to Try

black and white photo of woman dancingWill you be dancing? Lifting weights? Walking in a winter wonderland? Riding a stationary bike? Jogging? Playing sports? Something else?

What equipment will you need to purchase or borrow, if any?

What special workout clothing will you need to purchase or borrow, if any?

Which part of your home, yard, or neighbourhood will you be exercising in? If it’s property you own, does anything need to be spruced up or organized beforehand?

I prefer to keep things as simple as possible, especially when I’m trying something new out and have no idea if I’ll stick with that form of exercise in the longterm.

Whether you have a long list of things to accomplish before your first workout or you’re like me and prefer to wing it, these are considerations to start thinking about now.

It’s Great Stress Relief

woman sitting in lotus pose on a yoga mat at home

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year for many of us no matter what we’re celebrating.

One of the things I enjoy the most about sticking to a workout plan as much as possible and trying new forms of exercise when I can is the sense of relief I feel from these activities.

Working out is a chance to turn my brain off and live in the moment. Nothing else matter except that next dance move, yoga pose, kilometre walked, or set completed.

My goal is to get at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, but sometimes I extend a session or go out for another walk simply for the chance to focus on the way my body feels in those moments.

It’s often exhilarating.

If you make fitness-based New Year’s Resolutions, what goals will you be setting for this winter?

Take a Walk This Thanksgiving

Close-up shot of a leaf-littered autumn path. Both sides of the path are surrounded by trees and bushes that are still half-full with their autumn leaves and colour. This post will meander much like my Thanksgiving strolls do.

One of my favourite things to do on Thanksgiving or any other holiday that has decent weather is to take a walk.

If the big meal of the day is scheduled for the evening or if the weather is expected to turn chilly later on, I’ll wander off in the afternoon when the temperature is as its warmest.

Ideally, someone will join me, but there’s also something to be said for walking quietly with your thoughts on a day like this one.

Thanksgiving is one of those big holidays that temporarily shuts down the usual rhythms of life here in Ontario. This is even more true this year due to our government asking us to celebrate it with other members of our households only and avoid all unnecessary in-person interactions with other people now that the second wave of Covid-19 is surging.

Yes, there are advantages to gathering with kind relatives during the holidays. I miss my parents, siblings, sister-in-law, and nephews and dream of the day when my spouse and I can be together with them again.

But there are also advantages to quiet holidays at home, and a walk at the nicest part of the day is one of them.

Our slice of the world is a fairly still place on Thanksgiving even during ordinary times. If they’re lucky enough not to be working, most folks stay home and rest on that day or go visit relatives.

The streets are nearly as empty as they’ll be a few months from now at Christmas. Very few restaurants and other places of business are open today, and I tend to avoid the ones that are to encourage them to give their employees a break.

A walk doesn’t require anyone to put on a uniform, miss out on time with their loved ones, or clean up after you. At most, you might need to find something delicious to nibble on in the kitchen when you return back home.

Walks are meditative. There’s nothing like looking at the beautiful world around you, whether it is a forest painted with all of the colours of autumn, a suburban park filled with curious wildlife, or a quiet urban road that somehow feels like a poem that’s about to begin whenever you unexpectedly see a car drive by.

Parent and child taking a walk on an autumn-leaf-strewn path. Taking a walk is a gentle form of exercise that most people are capable of doing. A pet, small child, senior family member, or loved one who might have a disability that makes more strenuous forms of exercise difficult may be able to join you.

If the pets in your life are anything like the dogs my family had back in the day, they will insist on joining you and might just keep you out of the house much longer than you were expecting to be gone!

Good conversations can happen on walks. Yes, this can include conversations with yourself if you’re walking alone. I am not ashamed to admit that I occasionally talk to myself on walks to sort out a problem or figure out what to do with my stories next.

Walking is non-competitive…unless you’re my siblings who genuinely find joy in making everything a competition between them. Ha! For the rest of us, it’s a form of exercise that doesn’t require any scorekeeping or picking a winner.

It’s tempting to overindulge during the holidays. I find it helpful to go take a walk before I decide whether my stomach truly needs another slice of pie or serving of mashed potatoes and gravy. Whether the answer to that question is yes or no, there’s definitely something to be said for giving your body some time to start digesting what you’ve already eaten before digging into another plate. I’d rather be stopped at the point of satiation than cross that line and end up uncomfortably full.

Have I convinced you to go take a walk yet? I hope you enjoy it if I have.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

3 Reasons Why I Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator

I’m writing this post from the perspective of someone who is able-bodied and still fairly young. Taking the stairs isn’t the right choice for everyone, so listen to your body and your family doctor if this post doesn’t resonate with you.  When was the last time you took the stairs? This question popped into my… Read More

3 Reasons Why You Should Try Mall Walking

Mall walking is a form of exercise involving people walking briskly through the long corridors of shopping malls before the stores open for the day when there are very few other folks about. This is the time of year when I begin to yearn for spring. It’s one thing to experience snowstorms in November and… Read More

My Review of the 30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other workout routine.  In addition, I’m not being compensated for this post and have no affiliation with the creators. There is never affiliate… Read More