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Gotta Run!

August 4, 2014 - Phyllis Sigal
Me? Run? Really?

"Who woulda thunk it," as a former co-worker used to say.

Fitness has taken over the world, it appears to me. There are more apps and tracking devices out there than you can shake a walking stick at.

It's certainly taken over my world. Although I've been exercising regularly for about 17 years — I joined a local gym just after I hit the big 4-0 — I'm more committed than ever.

I'm so wired up, I could run on that energy alone. I've got a Jawbone Up24 (an activity, diet and sleep tracking device that was a Mother's Day gift from my son) and a Weight Watchers activity monitor, and, on my phone have I got apps — Map My Run, Map My Fitness, C25K and Yoga Stretch for activity; and Weight Watchers for food tracking. And I love my new Bluetooth headphones for run/walking. (Those were one of my best purchases ever!)

I spent days and days researching new shoes, asking every runner I know what their favorites are. The Athleta website and store — for running, walking, yoga, etc. clothes — is my new best friend.

Yes, I am good to go. Literally.

It's not like I'm running a marathon. I'm lucky to run a little over half of my 4-mile run/walk excursion. But I feel good about my accomplishments. I plan to run/walk every day. So if I skip a day or two a week, I've still covered a good 15-20 miles.

My Jawbone Up24 really keeps me moving — I strive to reach my goal every day. Most days I exceed my goal; but some days when stuck behind a desk with no time to walk or run, I don't. But if I'm close? You'll find me running around my house and up and down the steps just so I can hit 100 percent before bedtime.

When I'm not out run/walking — either alone or with one of my walking buddies, Misty and Lisa — I'm exercising to On Demand shows on television in my bedroom. It looks like a gym locker under my bed with my yoga mat and props, assorted hand and ankle weights, and stretchy bands left over from physical therapy. Or I'm going to my yoga class, and I'm considering trying a flex band class maybe once a week.

And if I sound a bit obsessive, it's OK — there are worse things with which to be obsessed.

I do believe we as a nation are becoming so much more interested in the healthy life. We run, walk, bike, lift. We track our activity, our food, our water. We share our stats and accomplishments with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

I know lots of people who sport black bands (Fitbits, Up24, Nike FuelBands) around their wrists that track their every waking move and their sleeping habits, too. Personally, I've got four teammates on my UP24 team. Friendly competition can be even more motivating.

But despite the seemingly obsessive number of health nuts and fitness fanatics in the country, there are many we need to entice to our side.

According to information on the President's Council on Fitness website:

• In 2013, research found adults in the following states to be most likely to report exercising three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes: Vermont (65.3 percent), Hawaii (62.2 percent), Montana (60.1 percent), Alaska (60.1 percent). The least likely were Delaware (46.5 percent), West Virginia (47.1 percent) and Alabama (47.5 percent). The national average for regular exercise is 51.6 percent. (Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2013).

• More than 80 percent of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80 percent of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

There are so many good reasons to be active. It lowers the risk of a number of diseases; it keeps blood pressure in check; it keeps your muscles and bones strong; and your weight healthy, just to name a few.

But, really, it just makes me feel good — physically and mentally.

OK, I've been sitting here long enough, so I'm going to wrap up this blog right now. ... Gotta run!

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