A to Z Challenge: T is for Travel

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Have you ever taken a Fitcation? Maybe you, or someone you know, has used their vacation time to run a half marathon, a tough mudder or go on a yoga retreat?

We have done a few of these types of trips and I have to say, I really recommend it!

There are all types of fitcations, all over the world and of course at varying costs. In an attempt to be all encompassing, I tried to include a wide variety of options.

First, Health and Fitness travel

They have an enormous variety to offer, of course for a price! I have not tried this resource yet, but I am tempted! They will work with you to tailor your destination and activity for your ideal holiday and fitness goals. This would be my way of going to an exotic local and tying in yoga or a spa holiday!

 

The Best fitness vacations to take in 2018

Of course we are already in April, but this is a great place to get ideas for next year as well.

I have been to a few of these already, and certainly agree with some of their choices!

They highlight Mii Amo Resort in Sedona, Arizona. We stayed there in 2016 and it was one of the reasons we eventually bought our house in Tucson.

Sedona is spectacular!Β  And Mii Amo is a truly unique experience. It is pricy to be sure, but it is all inclusive and worth every penny! Massages, yoga, hiking, golf, mountain biking and delicious, healthy food!

 

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The Edgewater Inn at the Seattle waterfront is fabulous and while they reference the Brunch Run in April, the reality is that there are many 5k, 10k and half marathons in the Seattle area all summer long. There are bike rides and wonderful hiking in the nearby mountain ranges as well. I can promise you that the best time to visit Seattle is the summer, not so much the rest of the year.πŸŒ§β˜”οΈπŸ’¦

 

 

Vancouver in September! The perfect time to go! But the SeaWheeze half marathon fills fast, so if you are interested sign up now! The run through Stanley park is beautiful!

 

Finally, I would like to recommend O.A.R.S. for the more adventurious of you. We have done the white water rafting trip through a portion of the Grand Canyon. We spent the night at Bar 10 Ranch and, the next morning, took a helicopter ride down into Whitmore Wash. We boarded the Dories (wooden boats) and our guides took us through the rapids for the next three days. We camped along the way, and dined on delicious food, all provided by the company!

We actually have two more adventure trips set up for this summer! I am sure there will be plenty of pictures on my blog! 😊

I do hope you will consider a Fitcation at some point in your vacation planning. They are a great alternative to the same old routine and you may just find that your friends and family enjoy having a new shared activity.

Do you have a favorite Fitcation adventure? Please share it with me! I am always looking for new ideasΒ πŸ’‘Β πŸ’•

 

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A to Z Challenge: L is for Level of Fitness

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Our fitness levels are really important, especially as we enter into midlife. The reality is that our overall fitness level begins to degrade long before midlife, in fact there are losses beginning as early as our 20s and 30s. We loose 3% to 6% in those early decades but skyrocket to 20% loss as we near 70 years of age.

Why should you care? The less overall fitness you have, the slower your metabolism, which of course leaves you vulnerable to injury and disease.maxresdefault

Decreased muscle mass also correlated to bone strength. Strong healthy muscles need strong bones for attachment, so new bone must be laid down as your muscles grow. Of course the converse relationship also exists. You lose a third to a half a pound of muscle each year unless you’re strength training and your bones will loose density as well.

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The good news is that this can be reversed at any time! Moving is critical! There are five key tests that are used to determine your overall fitness level. This is a great indicator as to where to focus your exercise goals. They specifically measure your overall strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness.

 

  1. Core strength: You will need a timer for this exercise. Get into a plank formation and start your timer. The goal is to hold this position for as long as possible. Note the time when you can no longer support your body weight and find your age group on the chart below.

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2. Upper body strength: This is a push up test, no timer needed. Perform the exercise and keep track of your completed reps. Watch your form! Count only completed push ups.

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3. Lower body strength:

This is a timed wall sit. Stand with your back against a flat surface and lower until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Start your timer, and record when you can no loner hold the position.

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4. Aerobic Fitness:

There are several versions for this as some will have you walk a track for a specific time or distance. This one will be a step assessment. If you choose an alternative test, make sure you use the chart for that specific assessment, as the charts are not interchangeable.

For this, you will need a timer and an 8 inch step.Β Straighten your back and engage your stomach muscles, then begin stepping on and off the step, alternating your feet. Maintain a steady pace for three minutes, with the goal of taking 40 steps per minute. When the time is up, rest for 30 seconds, then take your pulse for 15 seconds. (You can check your pulse at your wrist using your opposite hand’s index and middle finger.) Multiply the 15 second pulse count by four to get your heart rate per minute.

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Women’s Chart

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Men’s Chart

5. Flexibility: This is the sit and reach test.Β Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Stretch your arms forward, reaching toward your toes. If you cannot reach your toes, then bend your knees until you can.

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So, how did you do?😊 Now that you know your strength and weaknesses you can add in those activities that will help you move into a better overall fitness level! The goal is to be a little better than you were the day before πŸ’•

 

References:

https://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/how-to-test-your-fitness-level/slide/6

https://saveourbones.com/test-your-fitness-level-with-these-five-simple-assessments/

https://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1112

http://www.healthreviser.com/content/fitness-level-declines-dramatically-age

A to Z Challenge: K is for Kickboxing

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It’s Wednesday and time for the letter K. For me, this has to mean kickboxing. Β I wanted to introduce you to something that you may not have thought about, to give you a new activity to try. After all, isn’t trying something new one of the ways to keep our mental acuity sharp as we age?

I take a one hour class every Wednesday, and I look forward to it each week. If I enjoy it so much, you might wonder why I don’t do it more than just once a week. Well, I also am committed to my rock climbing training program, which has specific workouts three times a week for 2 hours per session, plus I climb on the off days. Add in yoga and hiking and this old body needs a break from time to time πŸ˜ƒ I also love the trainer that teaches only the Wednesday class!

Kickboxing or boxing, may seem intimidating but here are some reasons to consider adding in a class either at a gym, or a home workout.

The calorie burn πŸ”₯Β kb2

This is an intense, one hour workout that combines balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, power and strength. You will be jumping rope, shadow boxing, circuit training and performing conditioning drills. The average 125lbΒ  person will burn anywhere from 750-900 calories!

It’s a total body workout πŸ‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈΒ images

The movements necessary to punch, jab, kick and slip a punch require a coordinated effort from several muscle groups, all Β working in unison. You will work your arms, core, legs, glutes and back. Working muscles from different angels is the most efficient way to build strength. And no ladies, you will not bulk up! You will tone and lengthen the muscle fibers.

This is also a cardio workoutπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ2932-01P_MMY_RBG_JUMPROPE-hpr-2_u99ynl

The intensity level is high, as you raise your heart rate and maintain that throughout the entire workout. Of course, you will need to start slowly and build that endurance, just like any other sport. Eventually, you will be able to keep moving during the complete hour. Cardio, not only torches calories, it will also help to remove stubborn abdomninal fat that has been linked to so many health complications.

Kickboxing can improve your overall mood😁

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Kickboxing is an excellent stress reliever. Participants report better quality of sleep, better mental clarity and lower stress levels throughout the day. Both men and women often site learning basic defense skills as a source of self confidence, and better self esteem.

You don’t have to join a pricey gym

I do love my gym and I appreciate my trainer and fellow students. You really get to know someone when trying to kick them in the head!😜 But, I will only have access to this gym when I am in Tucson. When I am in Seattle, I will be doing the Core de Force program from Beachbody on Demand. There are several levels and skill sets to choose from. I also recommend this for anyone who would like to start slower, or learn some basics before making the monetary commitment. core-de-force2

Is there a sport or activity you have always wanted to try, but just haven’t pulled the trigger? Go for it 😊

References:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/benefits-of-kickboxing-for-women/view-all/

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/kickboxing-benefits

https://www.livestrong.com/article/155221-kickboxing-belts-gradings/

A Nanosecond of Fame?

HI All, and I hope you are having a wonderful Monday😊

I have a tiny bit of excitement to share. A little bit ago I was contacted by ModernFit Magazine. I was asked to participate in their online coaching spotlight, which is a segment (way in the back) were they mention women who are into fitness.

If you check out the last page, and don’t blink, you might see me😜

Roda’s Signs of Spring ChallengeπŸ€

There is a very short window for spring in Tucson. This week is in the 80Fs already and it is only March 9th. That means it will be too hot (for me anyway) to be hiking at the end of the month. So the hubby and I are out as much as possible right now. Soon there will be rattlesnakes 🐍 and scorpions πŸ¦‚Β out and about too!

We set out to hike Soldier Trail on nearby Mt. Lemmon. The out and back trail is just under 6 miles, but has some hefty elevation gains. It was rated difficult with an 1800 ft. climb. Eventually, it does crest! And, that is where we recorded our evidence of spring in the desert 🌡

New growth on this prickly guy!

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And at the tips of this spiky plant!

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As with Sabino Canyon we found water flowing in Soldier Canyon! Look at that green color near the top of the steam, leading to a series of pools. That color won’t last long.

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The canyon itself is quite deep, and plants grow in any crevice they can find. This one is hanging off the edge.

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We went on our way and saw many examples of foliage that, somehow, thrives in this harsh environment.

 

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Here is an old, craggy life form, hitting a modified tree pose now 😜

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We are heading back to Sabino Canyon this weekend, to the Seven Falls Trail! Hoping to find some bigger waterfalls before they dry up for the season πŸ€žπŸ’•

 

Roda’s Signs of Spring Challenge!

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I hope this works! This is my first post from my new, and highly improved, computer!

I am so sorry to my blog buddies, I am so behind on many of your great articles, recipes and stories!! My old lap top just couldn’t keep up with anything anymore πŸ˜’! So after 2 hours at the only Mac store in Tucson, and a few grand lighter in my wallet, I am back online 🀞.

The amazing Roda, from Growing Self Blog has issued a challenge! The mission is to find signs of spring as we say good bye to winter!Β πŸ¦‹

The weather is fabulous in Tucson (80Fs all week!). I had to get outside the other day and decided to head over to nearby Sabino Canyon. I have been there many times and while it is a great place, it has always been extremely dry. Not this time! Apparently spring in the desert means water, and lot of it.

This is the Sabino Creek trail, where I usually walk straight through the dry sand. Today there was no way to cross over to the other side.

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The top of the dam, which is never wet!

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We have never seen water trickling over the dam, but now it is in torrents!

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There were families out enjoying this anomaly!

I had to take a video to prove to my family that this really did happen! Remember this is dry and dusty most of the year, and this was the first time we have had any evidence that the dam was more than just ornamental ☺️

I will be out looking for more signs, if this post works! πŸ’•

 

Yoga Retreat, One More Time

Last January I let my hubby talk me into attending a yoga retreat. He is a big yogi and his instructor told him about a retreat she was holding just north of Manzanillo. I was skeptical. I don’t love Mexican food, we had been to Mexico many times and it was always way too hot for me and I only do yoga when I can’t rock climb or run. So, how much fun could I possibly have?

The answer: So Much!!

Our goal last year was to meet fun people and do some yoga. We greatly exceeded those expectations, so much so that we signed up to go again this year. We even hosted a reunion last summer at our house. My blog posts from last time Good Morning from Manzanillo!,Β Exploring Bara de Navidad,Β Happy Hour,Snorkeling and Lunch in Santiago Bay! andΒ Our Yoga Retreat Wrap Up!Β are full of pictures and images that we were privy to this time around as well. So, for this year’s post, I tried to focus more on what was different.

Bill and Susan, our hosts, were once again, fabulous! They made most of our meals and they both are great cooks! Additionally, they would take us to places that no other tourists go-we had day trips to Colima and Comala and they chose restaurants that the locals frequent. They are a big reason why we chose to repeat this experience. Of course Lisa, our yoga teacher, was another big draw to the event! Once again we met wonderful people and had even more adventures. We did repeat the snorkeling trip but otherwise the experience was unique.

We began each day with meditation at the nearby beach then morning yoga, at Bill and Susan’s home. Look at these views!

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The infinity pool at the lower house

 

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View from the lower house

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Another angle from the lower house

We did all our yoga at the upper house, under the palapa. You can see the pool at the upper house as well

We had morning and evening yoga sessions. This year Lisa challenged us with partner yoga poses. She would give us a pose and then we had to interpret that pose in a creative way. For example, Dennis and I did a “moon pose” on the beach.

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And, Janet and Annie did this interpretation of the fish pose, in the pool

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So these were more creative poses than the traditional forms. It was fun to see what everyone would come up with for their assignment.

In between all the yoga were the adventures. Snorkeling, hiking, museum visits and lots of shopping.

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And the food! Oh my god, did we eat!! If Bill and Susan weren’t cooking then we were at some amazing restaurants! I have a few images, many of which were on Instagram, of some of the cuisine we were fortunate to enjoy.

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Breakfast was wonderful! Bill’s granola and yogurt, with local fruit was a fan favorite. And with this sunrise, hard to beat!

 

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Bill and Susan always served dessert-This is a Poncho Villa. Amazing!

 

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Lunch in Colima, these crepes could have been from Paris

 

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Bill and Susan selected this restaurant near Colima. So glad they did!

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Many of you know about my coffee “issues”, This Sunday brunch spot, Los Portales de Suchitlan, was a true highlight. A young girl served as our translator as this was a local place, no tourists around!

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And then this…A Swiss restaurant (?) in Comala, Mexico! Piccolo Suizo was spectacular!

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You can see why we are trying to eat lighter after coming back to Tucson! We ate constantly on this retreat, and it was worth it! So good πŸ™‚

We had another wonderful experience this year, just like last time. One of the tasks I undertook was to organize a slide show for the final night, I was the only one who brought a computer (what a nerd, right?). I took the partner poses and some fun images of our experience to attempt to capture the feel of the week. It is short, only 2.5 minutes and our yogi buddies wanted to see it again. I thought I would post it here for anyone who wants to see a few more images.

 

So what is next for Dennis and I? We need to spend some time on the homes for now, no trips planned right now, but you never know!