Posted by: kathryngraves | October 14, 2015

Go, Girl!

Breaking News. Did you know that 4 to 7 hours of moderate to intense exercise per week reduces the risk of recurrence of breast cancer? Did you know that the same amount of exercise reduces the risk of getting breast cancer in the first place? Did you know that other kinds of cancer also respond positively to this regimen?

That’s enough information to make me decide to add exercise to my day. Six days per week! We’ve all heard the old adage that brisk walking for 30 minutes per day, 3 days a week is sufficient. Maybe that’s true for keeping your heart healthy, but it is nowhere near enough to prevent cancer.

What to do. So what kind of exercise is best? We can get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, if we do weight-bearing exercise. That means walking as well as weight training. Anything that causes us to “bear weight” on our spine is considered weight bearing activity. This builds strong bones better than calcium supplements! (More on calcium in another post.) It also strengthens the heart and helps us carry out daily activities with ease.

Walk like crazy. I choose to walk, with the eventual goal of running, 2 1/2 miles every day. However, recent research has shown that if we change up our direction and style we can increase our calorie consumption by as  much as 20%! Count me in. So what does this mean? Try to think up as many different ways to “walk” as you can and change it up every few seconds. I walk side-ways with my left shoulder leading, walk side-ways with my right shoulder leading, hop like a rabbit, skip, leap like a gazelle, walk backward, jog, walk pumping my fists like a boxer, and walk swinging my arms. According to the researchers, the stop/start motion is what uses up so much energy. Who knew?

Functional Fitness. Some weight training is also a good idea. But you don’t need a gym membership or 6-pack abs for this activity. Functional Fitness trains groups of muscles to work together. That way you can more easily carry several bags of groceries across an icy parking lot or pick up boxes out of the trunk of your car.

An example of a Functional Fitness exercise is squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands straight up over your head. As you squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, lower your arms in front of you, keeping the elbows straight, until they are also parallel to the floor. Stand back up to starting position. Start with as many as you can do without pain and work up to 20 a day.

Crisis averted. I needed the strength and flexibility gained from this type of exercise just yesterday. I headed out to my car with arms loaded. I carried several large books, a computer briefcase, my purse, a plastic grocery bag full of items, and my Camelback water bottle. Oh, and I held my car key with the same hand as the grocery bag. Attempting to press the unlock button on the remote, I fumbled the key and it dropped to the driveway. Looking around, I couldn’t see it anywhere. I stood there for a few seconds before I realized I would have to set some of my things on the ground and bend over to peer under the car. When I did, I spotted the key just out of reach. I needed to get onto my hands and knees and duck my head while reaching as far as I could with my arm to grasp the errant key. Because I am limber and strong, I easily retrieved my key, picked up all the stuff from the driveway, and loaded it inside the car. It would have been so embarrassing to have to call someone else to come get that key for me if I were unable to bend over double or maneuver on all fours.

Catching Beautiful. Every morning, while I’m outside walking in my crazy patterns, I feel incredible joy at being alive another day. I speak a prayer of gratitude as I move toward the sunrise. There is nothing quite like having met death face-to-face and watched God defeat it. I want to squeeze every drop of life from each new day. Scientists might say the endorphin release from the exercise is what makes me happy. I believe the Lord is responsible not only for my life, but my happiness. And a smile is such a beautiful thing.




  1. I’m smiling when I think of you trying to reach your keys which are underneath your car. Isn’t God good that you could do that on your own without having to call for help??? Miss you.

  2. You go, girl! Great tips! You are up and running! Yay!

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