fitness

Well, that month flew by…Sam is checking in for February, 2022

I don’t know about you but for me, February flew by. I’m not even sure why. It was busy at work. I rode my bike lots and lots in the evenings. It’s a bit of a blur.

So what’s up?

On the bike riding front, I’m on track with my yearly distance goal of 5500 km. In the first two months of the year I’ve ridden 916.9 km, divided pretty evenly between January and February.

What was all the riding about? Well, I completed the Tour de Zwift. I raced in the ZRL (Zwift Racing League) as team captain of TFC Dynamite. I raced as a team member of and sometimes team organizer (aka “herder of cats” a job for which my academic life has prepared me well) of TFC Phantom in the WTRL team time trial series.

TFC logo

Along the way I did some social recovery rides. Zwift now has Black Celebration rides year round but there’s special focus on Black History Month in February. It was great to see some of the rides hosted by Black Girls Do Bike. I’m glad Zwift decided to keep this going.

Black Celebration runs and rides on Zwift

There are also the Pride rides now every two weeks on Zwift and there’s the LGBTQ+ Zwifter community group on Facebook.

Pride Ride

February was also the month I got back to the gym and in person fitness classes. I’ve been enjoying lunch hour TRX and yoga classes. Since Ontario is dropping its vaccine mandate for regular gyms at the end of this month, working out on campus feels like a safer choice. Universities in Ontario are keeping our vaccine mandate through the end of winter semester at least which means everyone working and working out at the campus fitness centre will either be vaccinated or have a medical exemption and be tested regularly.

Overall, I’ve logged 75 workouts in the 222 workouts in 2022 group. It’s mostly a mix of Zwift, dog walks, Yoga with Adriene, plank challenge, and lunch hour group fitness on campus. The more I do the better my knee feels (except for walking which I have to moderate). Luckily there are other people who walk Cheddar!

There’s a lot of numbers in this post, a lot of tracking of various sorts and I’ve been thinking more about the gamification of fitness ever since reading C. Thi Nguyen’s work on games and agency. You can hear a great interview with him in which he talks about fitness, fishing, and rock climbing. It’s on our list of recommended podcasts for the week. He talks about the giddy glee we get when we score points and what it adds and what it takes away, sometimes getting us to focus on the points and their pleasure rather than the intrinsic joy in the experience itself. Maybe more on this theme later…

Instagram snowy dog walk post

Oh, oh, oh. Speaking of joy, I also did one more thing that I cannot recommend enough, Snow Yoga with Alpacas. The instructor is excellent and the alpacas will make you smile. Guaranteed.

I haven’t been fat biking. We’ve had a February of snow, followed by freezing rain, and rain and then ice. I really hope to get out once more at least before the season is over. For the same reason I haven’t been bike commuting either. Oh, and while I feel like I have been doing a lot of yoga (a lot for me anyway) I still haven’t finished Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga, the Move Challenge. I’ll get there. Just a few left. Tracy blogged about it never being too late to start. I hope it’s also never too late to finish.

I also haven’t been lifting serious weights. Things to look forward to…

I have been reading, mostly fluffy fiction and gripping mysteries.

February is also the start of birthday season in my house. I have three kids with birthdays in February, March, and April. They’re 25, 27, and 29 and have turned or are turning 26, 28, and 30. I can’t believe that last one. 30! I’m soon to be the parent of a 30 year old. Not to make it all about me but there it is. This year we’re actually able to see one another indoors and have celebratory meals together. It felt so good.

Birthday cake with lit candles

Of course, we’re ending the month watching in horror as events in Ukraine unfold. I’m too much of a pacifist to feel good about any of this. War is brutal. I’m sad and frightened for us all, but especially for the people of Ukraine.

Ukrainian flag
blog · fitness · top ten

Top Ten Posts in February 2022, #icymi

A white maxipad on a blue background with red beads as stylized drops of blood. Photo by Alexander Sergienko on Unsplash.

First, it’s Cate and menstruation in her 50s. Her post about it almost always makes the top 10 list. This month it’s the most read post.

Second, Sam asks if we should give up calling a certain winter sports hairstyle ‘slut strands’.

Third, Marjorie’s guest post on keeping fit while healing from hysterectomy.

Fourth, Dear Fieldpoppy answers, As a good feminist, what do I do with my body shame?

Fifth, Tracy reminds us that it’s Not too late to start Yoga with Adriene’s January MOVE practice #YWA

Abstract multicoloured swirls of red and teal. Photo from Unsplash.

Sixth, is Elan’s interview Inclusion on Bodybuilding and Gym Culture.

Seventh, Sam’s older post Crotch shots, upskirts, sports reporting, and the objectification of female athletes’ bodies.

Eighth, is Diane on children’s participation in high performance sports.

Ninth, it’s Martha’s post Recognizing diversity in body shapes and parts.

Tenth, Cate is counting.

Red heart on book page. Image by
Andrej Mitin, from Scopio.
fitness

Fit is a Feminist Issue’s Relevant and Recommended List

Back view of young woman in gray shirt wearing headphone. Photo by  Sol vazquez  on  Scopio.

Attend

1. “Demoralizing Fatness” with Kate Manne (Cornell University), Thursday, March 3rd, 7 pm, free and open to the public with registration.

Kate Manne is Associate Professor in the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. She is the author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford UP, 2018), Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women (Crown PRH, 2020). Her recent New York Times column, “Diet Culture is Unhealthy. It’s Also Immoral,” explores how body discrimination is used as a form of moral shame.

Fatness is often moralized. Through a variety of channels—the news, entertainment, social media, and ordinary conversation—fat bodies are depicted as a moral problem, and fat people as a moral failure. The atmosphere may be one of moral panic or, by turns, patronizing concern and ostensibly well-meaning hand-wringing. The idea that fatness is a moral issue is partly suspect in its objectifying tenor (as in the well-known trope of “headless fatties”), its fundamental lack of humaneness, and its embracing of body policing and even, arguably, a fascist body politics. This is a kind of moralism and moralizing that is hence often itself at odds with fundamental moral values. But the argument also fails on its own terms. As I show in this talk, fatness is not plausibly a genuine moral issue.”

Listen

2. Are we measuring out lives all the wrong way? Philosopher C. Thi Nguyen on the Ezra Klein Show

“When we play Monopoly or basketball, we know we are playing a game. The stakes are low. The rules are silly. The point system is arbitrary. But what if life is full of games — ones with much higher stakes — that we don’t even realize we’re playing?

According to the philosopher C. Thi Nguyen, games and gamified systems are everywhere in modern life. Social media applies the lure of a points-based scoring system to the complex act of communication. Fitness apps convert the joy and beauty of physical motion into a set of statistics you can monitor. The grades you received in school flatten the qualitative richness of education into a numerical competition. If you’ve ever consulted the U.S. News & World Report college rankings database, you’ve witnessed the leaderboard approach to university admissions.

[You can listen to this episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” on AppleSpotifyGoogle or wherever you get your podcasts.]

In Nguyen’s book, “Games: Agency as Art,” a core insight is that we’re not simply playing these games — they are playing us, too. Our desires, motivations and behaviors are constantly being shaped and reshaped by incentives and systems that we aren’t even aware of. Whether on the internet or in the vast bureaucracies that structure our lives, we find ourselves stuck playing games over and over again that we may not even want to win — and that we aren’t able to easily walk away from. This is one of those conversations that offers a new and surprising lens for understanding the world. We discuss the unique magic of activities like rock climbing and playing board games, how Twitter’s system of likes and retweets is polluting modern politics, why governments and bureaucracies love tidy packets of information, how echo chambers like QAnon bring comfort to their “players,” how to make sure we don’t get stuck in a game without realizing it, why we should be a little suspicious of things that give us pleasure and how to safeguard our own values in a world that wants us to care about winning the most points.”

3. Maintenance Phase, Wellness and weight loss, debunked and decoded.

Tuesday’s episode is on Jordan Peterson’s carnivorous diet.

fitness · link round up

Link roundup on housework as exercise

There’s a new study out suggesting that doing dishes, gardening, even showering– what the researchers are calling “daily life movement” can reduce mortality risk from heart attack and other cardiovascular disease in women. Of course, the news article features a woman doing dishes and smiling:

A smiling woman, washing a dish that doesn't look dirty at all.
A smiling woman, washing a dish that doesn’t look dirty at all.

This image reminds me of all those smiling women eating salad:

I have opinions about the new study, which you’ll hear about soon. But in the meantime, we at Fit is a Feminist Issue have been covering the housework-as-exercise beat for some time. In case you missed some of them, here are a few posts we’ve written about housework, fitness and exercise.

Tracy wrote about how calorie count lists for household chores is a set up to divert women away from movement they might love and toward more gender-stereotypical behaviors:

Shell Game: Why Knowing How Many Calories Your Housework Burns Is a Set-Up

I also wrote about the cleaning-as-cardio myth– its past and present:

Cleaning is NOT the new cardio: Women, housework and not working out

Sam wrote about some studies showing that extremely sedentary people may experience over-exertion evening after doing dishes or other ordinary life activities:

Hate exercise? You might just be much more unfit than you think

Check them out…

Readers, where does housework fit in your everyday exercise or movement routine? Do some chores count but not others? Let us know what you think.

cycling · fitness

Can’t sleep? Angry, sad, worried about events in the Ukraine?

Ukrainian flag

Do you Zwift?

Join Zwifters worldwide for the Global Solidarity Rides for Ukraine tomorrow.



More info: https://www.zwift.com/events/tag/rideforukraine

I’ve shared the 3 am option for those unable to sleep or who work shifts or are in other time zones, but there are also rides at 10 am and 2 pm EST.

I’ve shared the Zwift option since that’s my fitness community but I am sure similar things are going on in the Peloton world. Please share events in the comments.

fitness · fun · kids and exercise · play

Ranking Outdoor Kid Games (for Adults)

Recently some adult folks and I celebrated a friend’s birthday outside at a park in the snow. We simple played kid outdoor games: a team tossing game, a ball relay, and a good ol’ fashioned snowball fight. We ran around, egging on members of the other team, getting soaked. It was hilarious and silly and fun.

A woman describes rules to a game while people stand in a line behind her. A park in the daytime with snow
Marnie gives instructions to the adults for the next kid game.

Playing outdoor kid games can bring a swell of nostalgia for games in the school yard, the backyard, the park, the lot, the court, or the field. Those games taught us important lessons (good and bad) that we remember throughout our adult lives.

I decided to describe and rank various types of kids outdoor games that can be and still are played by adults. Inter-rater reliability (i.e. with my partner) for the aspects of each game type (e.g., high, medium, or low) was about 92%.

What is your favourite outdoor kid game or game type, and why? Reply in comments below!

Accuracy Games 

CriteriaLevel
Energylow
Skillmed
Teamworklow
Inclusivenessmed
Sillinesslow

Examples: Ladder toss, horseshoes, washer toss, catch/HORSE, hopscotch

These games that pay attention to detail and precision. They have rules and specialized equipment, and may be played individually or in teams. It’s usually the accuracy games that adults want to play to show kids that they’ve still “got it.”

Snowball/Water Balloon Fights

CriteriaLevel
Energymed
Skilllow
Teamworklow
Inclusivenessmed
Sillinesshigh

Snowball and water balloon fights have few rules and are generally a free-for-all of silliness. Often, one need not be the strongest or fastest participant: those who create their own strategy (or find good hiding places) can fare well.

Be careful in these games around those who wear glasses. In northern or southern climates, less popular in Spring/Fall.

Imagination Games

CriteriaLevel
Energylow
Skilllow
Teamworkmed
Inclusivenesshigh
Sillinessmed

Examples: Lost on an island, Cowboys, Fashion show, etc.

Imagination games (also known as “pretend” or “make believe”) are for those who want to escape rule-bound games with winners and losers that require equipment and physical skill or strength.

In imagination games, anyone with creativity and a playful attitude can participate.

"Adults Playing" by eekim is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Adults Playing” by eekim is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Strength Games 

CriteriaLevel
Energyhigh
Skilllow
Teamworkmed
Inclusivenessmed
Sillinessmed

Examples: Red rover, tug of war

Simple, straightforward us-vs-them team games, where the most important rule is…be the strongest and win! Expect the occasional skin burn or scratch.

Sometimes these games can get violent–it was this aspect of tug of war that was emphasized by Netflix’s Squid Game (2021).

"Tug of War" by joshwept is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Tug of War” by joshwept is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Organized Sports Games

CriteriaLevel
Energyhigh
Skillmed
Teamworkhigh
Inclusivenesslow
Sillinesslow

Examples: Flag football, baseball, dodgeball, kickball, soccer

Organized sports build skill, stamina, and teamwork. They create opportunities for life-long bonding. But being group-based, rule-bound, and equipment-heavy, these serious games can separate casual from competitive players.

Also, no one likes to be picked last for a team.

Speed Relay Games

Examples: Relays (e.g., egg and spoon race), potato sack racing

CriteriaLevel
Energymed
Skilllow
Teamworkhigh
Inclusivenesslow
Sillinesshigh

Individual or team-based–and often requiring nothing more than a ball, a baton, or a sack–speed relay games can bring the best of a group of people working together.

These games can be not so fun for folks who may struggle to keep up or who take relays too seriously.

"Sack race" by badjonni is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Sack race” by badjonni is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tag and Strategy Games 

CriteriaLevel
Energymed
Skillmed
Teamworkmed
Inclusivenessmed
Sillinessmed

Examples: Tag, Capture the Flag, Musical Chairs, Red Light-Green Light, Hide and Seek

Combining the skill of accuracy games, the endurance of strength games, and the creativity of imagination games, tag and strategy games can utilize diverse talents. These games attract those who enjoy being the last one standing.

fitness

It can be hard to work out in the winter – find what joy you can

My friend and electronic work-out buddy Diana sent me a note this week saying how hard she find it to work out in the winter. She was complaining specifically about the poor job her town had done of cleaning the sidewalks, she was constantly bracing her back against a possible fall.

I empathize; I often feel like an arthritic penguin, and return home with muscles so tightly clenched that I need a heating pad and foam roller to loosen up again. It is even worse for people with mobility issues. I don’t like climbing over the ice berms left by street ploughs that block sidewalks, but at least I don’t need to navigate with a wheelchair, cane, walker, or simply fragile bones.

Other activities can be tough too. Snowstorms, icy roads and bitter cold can all make it hard to get motivated to get off the couch and go to the gym or studio. Then there is all the bundling up, and needing to go out while still sweaty, or damp from the pool or a shower. If you use a bike as your main means of transport, your ride can be downright treacherous, as well as cold.

Some people embrace the winter by skiing, skating or snowshoeing, which is great. Sadly, the weather has been so unpredictable this year that I haven’t gotten out to do any of those things. Too cold, too icy, too snowy, not enough snow… sigh.

Working from home most of the time, I didn’t even get to do my annual stunt of skiing or snowshoeing to the office during a storm. but today I did get an unexpected little walk thanks to the remaining impact of the occupation of Ottawa. My usual route to drive to the office was blocked by concrete barriers, so I parked the car and walked.

Snow-covered concrete barrier and traffic cones blocking the road to a bridge in the background.

It wasn’t far, but I got a few minutes to enjoy the snow, and appreciate a couple of busy squirrels in a tree.

Two squirrels in the branches of a tree, with a grey sky behind and snow falling in the foreground.

The late winter mood blahs will end soon. I know this because today was the first day of flood prevention on the Rideau River. Before I know it, I’ll be tempted to complain about the bugs or the heat, but I promise to take a moment find the beauty in my surroundings.

View of a frozen river, with big chunks of snow-covered ice sitting in rows. There are grey trees in the background, and snow is falling.

Diane Harper lives in Ottawa.

fitness

Go Team! February 25: Small Things

Hey Team!

Here we are, almost at the end of February – the paradoxical longest/shortest month of the year – and I’d like to invite you to take a moment to celebrate your efforts this month.

In particular, I’d like you to celebrate a small effort you made on your own behalf, no matter what it was.

Did you move a few things around to give yourself a little more space in your living room for yoga?

Did you put a blanket next to the spot where you meditate so the idea of meditation was a little more inviting?

Did you make a plan for how to say no to the person who tries to coax you into plans you don’t really want to participate in?

Did you block out time on your schedule for exercise or meditation or colouring or dance breaks?

Did you work a little harder when exercising? Or go a little easier so you had more energy for your next challenge?

Did you choose to be kinder to yourself about mistakes or challenges or having to start over?

You and I both know that those ‘small’ things are actually HUGE things but they’re also the kind of efforts that we might brush off as not really worthy of celebration because they involved ‘just’ a little change here and there.

To hell with that!

OUR team celebrates EVERY effort.

And ANYTHING you do to make it easier to practice self-kindness and to take good care of yourself is worth breaking out the gold stars.

So, Team, here’s your invitation to think back through your efforts this month and choose to notice ALL of the work involved in making space for yourself, in taking time for yourself, and in doing what you can on any given day.

Go you!

Feel free to pop into the comments to tell me what you’re celebrating!

Here are your gold stars:

A small drawing of seven shiny gold stars against a background of overlapping curved lines. The drawing is resting on a black computer keyboard.
Why celebrate with just one star when I have seven of these VERY shiny ones to share with you? Go Team Us! Image description: small drawing of seven shiny gold stars against a background of overlapping curved lines. The drawing is resting on a black computer keyboard.
fitness

It’s the day to ditch your resolutions (#reblog, #TBT)

It’s actually well past the date most people leave their new year’s resolutions behind, but I am reblogging this post from last year because I like that it rounds up some alternative approaches–kinder, gentler approaches–we’ve offered here on the blog. Do you have other suggestions about moving on and making different choices that feel good to you?

FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

Today’s The Official Day To Ditch Your Resolutions.

“January 17or Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day is popularly thought to be the day when a large number of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions. Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day gives you an excuse to forget your New Year’s resolutions.”

But you don’t have to quit. It’s not mandatory.

You have choices.

You can scale back and start smaller. That’s Tracy’s advice.

You can stick with it for now and quit later. I often like this one.

You can take a few days off and start again later. Last year Catherine started her new year February 9. Why Feb 9? It’s all arbitrary. You get to choose.

Christine has been posting daily tips to make keeping going easier.

Be kind to yourself. There’s a pandemic going on. You’re doing the best that you can.

Did you make…

View original post 15 more words

fitness · snow · winter

No more ‘slut strands’?

I was glad to hear women athletes speaking out against calling the strands of hair women athletes wear outside their helmets “slut strands.” It’s never landed on my ears in a way that sounds self-affirming. Instead it sounds like it’s mean teasing or shaming. Sports culture can be pretty bro-like. But I’m not a snowboarder and snowboarding culture is pretty removed from my world.

American snowboard star Chloe Kim has called for a highly-derogatory term used to describe the hairstyle of female winter sports athletes to be changed. Female skiers and snowboarders will commonly wear two strands of hair outside of their helmets, framing their face in a sign of femininity.” See ‘Hate it’: Winter Olympics hero hits out over ‘sl*t strands’ term.

What are they?

See ‘Those 2 strands of hair bound us all together’: Here’s what the popular women’s snowboarding hairstyle is all about.

“The women’s snowboarding events have come to an end at the Beijing Olympics, and anyone who watched is likely forever changed by all that big-air bravery and beautiful group-hug sportsmanship. Not to mention the winning hair-strand game. As even the most casual viewer may have noticed, pretty much every woman competing in a snowboarding or freestyle skiing event rocked the same look: strands of hair pulled out of their helmet to frame her face — strands that stay where they’re put, beautifully, no matter how many 360s or double corks she executes. Cheekily known as “slut strands,” they’ve been the look on the slopes for many years now, embraced, no doubt, since the sport had always been dominated by men.”

Image from TikTok

Now not everyone dislikes the term. Here’s the slut strand society‘s definition and defense:

“Slut Strand (N.) :Two strands of hair commonly used by the ladies of skiing & snowboarding to express femininity under all dat gear. No, they do not make someone a slut. And no, we do not support slut shaming. They are of comparable importance to your bindings themselves, a true staple to the lifestyle. We’re here to embrace em.”

Or maybe you prefer a different hairstyle altogether!

Found on reddit, image from TikTok

What do you think? Pro or anti the term “slut strands”? Commentators on the blog suggested some alternatives: Power Strands or Sister Strands. Which do you prefer?