ADHD · cardio · fitness · goals · health · motivation · self care

Christine is aiming for better than average

I have picked a word for the year – spaciousness – but I hadn’t really settled on a fitness goal until this weekend when I found a new category of information in my Fitbit.

In my average week, I’m moving a fair bit. I take the dog for a walk or two each day, I usually have two TKD classes in a week, I do a bit of yoga and some stretches and a bit of strength training.

A light haired dog rests on bedsheets folded back from where someone got up.
Here’s Khalee supervising while I do yoga. She has such a hard job! I am really a lot of trouble. Image description: Khalee’s head, shoulders and front pays can be seen as she lies on the crumpled top sheet and blankets from my bed. She is facing the camera and her chin is resting on the blankets where they were folded back from when I got up. Her eyes are half-closed and she look looks restful but observant.

Lately though, I have come to realize that I am not really moving the metaphorical needle on my fitness level. I’m maintaining what I have but my efforts are not particularly focused and I’m not feeling any sort of expansion in my capacity.

Part of this is due to my issues with my toes/heel/calf/knee, of course, and luckily that situation is improving steadily. And, up until now, I have been juggling about three things more than I had capacity for at any given time – I could manage to hold most things in the air most of the time but that was it.*

However, some combination of ADHD and personality also factors into this. I never really know when and how to push myself, it’s tricky for me to judge my capacity and energy levels at any given time, and I am never sure if and what I should measure.

I’ve been keeping an eye on my resting heart rate over time but since I don’t wear my Fitbit when I sleep, apparently that’s not a very accurate measurement.

And I check off the box for daily movement but my effort levels vary from day to day. I’m not criticizing myself for that but it does mean that I am maintaining rather than expanding my capacity.

However, this weekend, I accidentally nudged a different part of my Fitbit screen and discovered that I can get more information about my cardio fitness above and beyond just my heart rate.

This puts my numbers in context. I LOVE context!

Fair to average isn’t bad but I’m sure with a little more focused effort, I could get to good and maybe even beyond.

So, in a move that is probably startlingly obvious to anyone who doesn’t live in a ADHD time/pattern soup, I looked up how long it takes to improve cardio fitness and what kinds of exercises will help me see a little progress ASAP. (I know that you can’t rush results but I also know what my brain needs.)

So, now I know that I need to make some of my workouts HIIT workouts and, in about two months, I should see myself inching toward that next blue bar.

In the meantime, I going to try not to check this screen every day hoping for a magical shift. I’ll post about it once a month though, just to keep myself on track.

A screen capture from a Fitbit app showing that the user's cardio fitness is between fair and average.
Image description: A screen capture from my Fitbit app that indicates my cardio fitness on a multicoloured bar with numbers ranging from 24.6 to 39.5. My fitness level is indicated at Fair to Average 27-31 and is in a blue segment of the bar. Text at the top of the image reads: Heart Rate. Cardio Fitness. Your estimate is between Fair and Average for women your age.

PS – I undoubtedly knew some or all of this before. And I may have put some pieces together before. If you had asked me, I probably could have told you that improving cardio fitness is a good idea and that things like HIIT would help. However, when I want to take things on for myself, I always need to have proper context in order to hold on to or apply the information I have. For some reason this chart gave me the right container for the information and let me make a plan. The new level of ADHD meds I started in early December are probably helping this whole process, too.

*Yes, I know that is not an idea situation to be in but I knew it would be relatively short-lived and the effort to juggle was far less than the effort to adjust all my other routines so I just got help where and when I could, took breaks whenever possible, and just juggled the heck out things the rest of the time. And, finally, as of mid-December, a few things finished up and I was back within my capacity and mostly in charge of my schedule. YAY!

cardio · fitness · habits · holiday fitness · meditation · mindfulness · motivation

Making Space: Day 14

I hope Tuesday is treating you well and that you find plenty of space in your day to be kind to yourself.

Here is a star for your efforts: ⭐️

And here are your videos!

As always, there is no pressure to do these videos, you do what is best for you. 💚

This cardio workout was a bit of a challenge for me, coordination-wise, but it was a fun challenge, not a frustrating one.

A 5 minute seated cardio circuit video from the Silver Sneakers YouTube channel. The still image is of the instructor seated on a wooden chair with their arms overhead. They are in a room with green walls and beige carpet, and one side of the still image is blue with white text reading 5-Minute Seated Cardio Circuit with SilverSneakers.

I really liked how this meditation video started with a body scan, I find that a very useful way to ‘tune in’ for a meditation.

A 5 minute guided mediation for Cheryl Brause’s YouTube Channel. Still image is of a large evergreen silhouetted against the sky at sunset. The sky is filled with shades of orange and purple. Text reading ‘Find Your Calm’ is overlaid on the image.

No matter what you are doing today, I wish you ease and space.💚

cardio · fitness · habits · holiday fitness · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · wheelchairs

Making Space: Day 4

Welcome to Day 4!

I hope you have found some space for yourself over the past few days, whether or not you have included movement or meditation.

Always remember that you are doing the best that you can with the resources that you have. Some days will be easier, some will be harder, but you don’t have to blame yourself for the hard ones.

Being hard on yourself doesn’t make you more focused or more disciplined, it just makes you feel bad. No one needs more reasons to feel bad.

Please try to be kind to yourself and to notice your efforts, no matter how things turn out in a given day.

Here’s your gold star for your hard work: ⭐️

And here are your videos for today.

I really enjoyed this workout from Ella Beaumont. The video is 15 minutes long but the workout itself is only 10. That’s because she demonstrates the 5 exercises at the beginning and gives you a one minute rest in the middle. I liked the format and I like how she is upbeat without being overwhelmingly cheery. *

A cardio exercise video from Ella Beaumont’s YouTube channel. The still image shows Ella wearing black workout clothes, sitting in her wheelchair, holding a broom aloft. There is a couch with brightly coloured cushions behind her.

This meditation video was quite calming and I particularly liked the bubbly image that you could watch throughout.

A meditation video from the Mindful Peace YouTube channel. Still image shows the logo from the channel (a person in seated meditation enclosed in a circle) and the words Mental Reset in white. The background appears to be an underwater view of sunshine with bubbles rising on all sides.

Whether you do with either of these or just take a few minutes to observe what’s outside your window, I hope you find some space for yourself today.

*I get *why* a lot of instructors have a constant stream of encouragement chatter but it is often distracting for me. Ella was encouraging without being in-your-face about it.

cardio · fitness · injury

Cardio without knees that work

Last week I wrote about the wonders of walking lots, even if it won’t help you lose weight. At the end of the post I promised to talk about cardio exercises for those of us who can’t walk very much at all. I can manage a dog walk with my knee brace but I’m pretty slow moving and nervous with my seriously arthritic knees. Stairs are okay going up but impossible coming down.

I walk sometimes just for the joy of being outside but it’s not my go-to fitness activity.

A wooded walking trail packed with snow, sunbeams coming through, trees casting shadows. Also, the front end of my dog Cheddar.

But also it’s winter, in Canada, and some of my fitness time these days is in the gym.

My go fitness activities at the gym used to include running on a treadmill and that’s completely out of the question now. So with the help of a personal trainer (hi Meg!) I’ve been exploring some new cardio machines at the gym. Rowing was already on my hit list and I’ve left out cycling altogether. You’ve heard me talk lots about that. Yawn. Sometimes I go to the gym and just do 5 min of each of the following things and then repeat. It’s not a bad routine. Also, these machines are usually free even at the busiest of times. That’s one advantage of not using treadmills, elliptical machines, and the like.

These won’t work for everyone as some of them involve standing.

My gym, the campus fitness center, has all of the following machines:

Hand cycle: You can do both steady state and sprints with these. It’s more work than you might think.

Ski-erg: This was completely new to me and it feels like a pretty good full body workout.

Jacob’s Ladder: I’ve blogged about that before here.

Rope machine

Rowing machine: I’ve spent a lot of time erging, as rowers say. It’s a terrific workout. It’s the thing to me that feels most like the treadmill in that I can do it for awhile and listen to music. I often start my workouts with a 2k warm up and then try to do a speedier 2 k at the end.

There are also non-machine options, like aquafit and swimming, but I’ll leave those for another day.

How about you? What do you recommend for cardio that doesn’t involve knees very much?