Sunday, October 9, 2011

Frugal Fitness

I realized about a year ago that I needed to start exercising more and taking better care of myself. There were a couple of issues with getting started on that, most of them geographic. We sort of live out in the sticks, so finding a fitness option that worked with my work schedule and that didn't break the bank ($$$) was definitely a challenge.

So I did something I never ever thought I would do - I started running. Well not really running at first, more like a very brisk walk that knocked the wind out of me. I very loosely followed the Couch to 5K program and it took me way longer than 9 weeks, but I am very proud to say, I can actually run an entire 5K now! Yes, that's me and my kiddos over there in the picture before the west Michigan Race for the Cure.

Running was a pretty easy way to get myself exercising with minimal start up cost. The basics:

1. Legs/feet
2. Running shoes
3. Music

I am always looking for a good deal on New Balance shoes, and a few months prior to starting C25K, I picked up a very cute pair of pink and gray shoes. When I decided to start running I looked and it turns out that the shoes I bought were specifically made for running! So no extra expense to worry about, shoes were on hand and they were in excellent condition.

I already own an iPod Touch, so it was just a matter of hunting around online a bit and finding some free podcasts to get started with. I thankfully found quite a few and was able to use those to help me get my timing straightened up. No real expense to get started there.

Now that I've been running for almost a year, I've picked up some things here and there that aren't necessary, but definitely make for a nicer experience. Things like wicking t-shirts, skull candy ear buds, and an armband holder for my iPod. I always check out the clearance racks when I hit the stores and see if I can't find some good exercise clothes while I am there and slowly I've added a few things into the mix besides cotton shorts and t-shirts.

I wish I could say I've lost all kinds of weight running, but I can't. I can say though that I've improved my fitness level tremendously over that time and I've forced myself to take better care of me. When I started out, running for 90 seconds was a challenge and I could hardly do that without gasping for breath. I hit a major wall when i worked myself up to a 5 minute running window and went to see my primary doctor. She ran a few tests, gave me an inhaler and suggested that it could be exercise induced asthma, or it very well could be I was just that out of shape and needed to keep at it. Turns out she was right, I really just needed to keep going and the inhaler did nothing to help me.

My previous primary doctor never sent over my blood work from the year prior, so I can't really compare before and after, but i know the after from just early this fall and I am very pleased! From cholesterol to glucose, everything is looking pretty darn good. The only problem area I have is my iron levels and I am focused now on boosting those through 3 times/day supplements.

Now that the fall is here, it's my goal to still keep at the running and to continue straight through winter as the weather allows.