Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Day on a Jazzer-Cruise

At Jazzercise on Monday, Tria, our instructor, talked about the idea of a Jazzercise cruise. I've been thinking a lot about that idea this week and frankly, I think it's a winner.
Here's an imaginary schedule for the day aboard the Jazzercise Cruise ship.
 Good morning, Jazzer-Cruisers. This is your captain speaking.

Our stop at Judi's Private Island yesterday was fantastic! Sun, sand, water and drinks with little umbrellas - what could be better than that? I'm sure everyone burned a few extra calories with that Jazzercise class on the beach. Pivot turns and chasses are challenging when you're ankle deep in sand. And that G.I. Jazzer-Jane class was definitely badass. Especially that part where you took all the lifeboats off the ship and ran laps in the ocean.

Today we're at sea and here's what's on the schedule:

6 a.m.   Fit with Fara
This Personal Touch class gets you moving and energized for the day. Squat, jump, lunge and climb your way to health and fitness with Fara. (Note: Due to noise complaints from those who didn't get IN until 6 a.m., the class will no longer be permitted to do lunges through all the corridors outside the stateroom areas. The loud groaning is waking the passengers. The class will, however, be running  stairs. So get out of the way.)

11 a.m. What? It's Morning Already?
During this low-low-low impact class, you'll sit in a deck chair and barely move. Especially designed for those who complained about the go-getters in Fara's class. (Bloody Marys and ibuprofen extra.)

Noon  Lunch buffet on deck.
Build your own fabulous salad and smoothie.

1:00 What? It's Afternoon Already?
Move from the deck chair to the spa for a mani-pedi and facial.

2:00 Soul-Time
Massages and yoga on deck. Entertainment by special guest, Sara Bareilles. Namaste.

3:00 Don't Exercise, Accessorize!
Find your favorite Jazzercise merch, workout gear and accessories at our shopping mall on the Promenade Deck. Shoes! Prices slashed! Everything on Sale! Shoes!

4 - 4:30 GangPlanks
...And other core exercise.

5:00 Latin Jazzercise on Deck
Led by Inigo Montoya.

6:00 Dinner
Dine in one of our fabulous restaurants.
The Veg features a delicious and nutrient packed menu. Options for gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Atkins, lacto-veggie, lacto-ovo, ovo-nuevo, fruitarian and taste-free.
DieTanic features extra everything.

7:00 Dancing with the Stars
DWTS cast includes Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Taye Diggs and Johnny Depp.

9:00 Dance the Night Away
Join us in the Single, Single, Double Dance Club where the Jazzercise playlist will be spinning all night.

Jazzercise Under the Stars. Followed by the Endless Chocolate and Wine Buffet.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Sloth in Pajamas

Sometimes, I joke about staying in pajamas all day.

Sunday, I did it.
All. Day. Long.
It was UH-mazing.

It was a gorgeous fall day and I don't think I ever stepped outside, except to let the dogs out. I kept thinking: I should go outside and rake leaves. I should take the dogs for a walk. I should work out. Those things and (many more "should-as") never happened.

Now, this is not normal for me. I usually have a very long to-do list on the weekends and I tend to barrel through it relentlessly. And on Saturday, that's what I did. Yoga, groceries, laundry, cleaning, errands. Check, check, check, check.

But Sunday, I started with the paper and coffee and ended with a good book. In between, I did my nails, worked on a scarf and a sweater I'm knitting,  thought about the fall and what I want to accomplish, made a fall bucket list and watched TV. Oh, and I think there was a nap in there somewhere.

Did I say it felt great?

This morning,  I had a twinge of guilt for wasting a day. Then I came to work this morning and saw this article and felt vindicated. The author of  The Lost Practice of Resting One Day Each Week talks about the importance of rest for our body and mind. But it was the rest for the soul that caught my attention.

We live in a 24/7 world where "busyness" equals success. We can be reached no matter where we are or what we're doing. Information is at our fingertips and there's never an excuse for being unconnected. Sometimes, I check into Twitter or Facebook and it ratchets up my anxiety because I feel like I'm missing out. I should be on the move. Doing something, making something, buying something.

The result is less time to think, reflect and just breathe. There's value in simplicity, quiet, contentment and being restful.

I don't think I'll spend every Sunday as a sloth in pajamas - not really my style. But rest is essential and helps me return to work feeling less frazzled and more energized. (Besides, it gave me an excuse to google sloth in pjs and find adorable pictures. The internet is a wonderful thing.)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Strike a Pose

I'm conflicted about yoga.

I've tried it several times over the years and never stuck with it. Yoga has always taken a back seat to other types of exercise that involve cardio and strength. I want heart-pounding, calorie-demolishing intensity. And, face it, it's just more fun for me to dance at Jazzercise then twist myself into impossible poses at yoga class. At Jazzercise, I feel like I'm on Broadway. When I do yoga, I feel ungainly, inflexible and, well, silly.

I also have trouble quieting my mind and yoga demands focus and concentration. When I'm supposed to be focusing on correctly holding a pose, I'm likely to notice my chipped manicure and wonder when I'll have time to do my nails again. When we're in Savasana, or corpse pose, at the end of class, I start to think about what I need to pick up at the grocery store.

Recently, I decided to go back to yoga and try to make it a habit.  My goal is to improve my flexibility and balance, two elements of a well-rounded exercise program that are often ignored.

There are other benefits to yoga, as well.
  • Strength  Yoga helps improve strength in your core, legs and upper body. After class, I can tell I've worked every muscle. 
  • Body Awareness  After taking yoga, I realize how poor my posture is most of the time. There's no slouching in yoga.
  • Health  Regular yoga practice is linked to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides and that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Yoga may also boost the body's immune system.
  • Decreasing Anxiety, Stress and Depression  Studies suggest the breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques in yoga help relieve stress and boost feelings of well-being. And who doesn't need that, these days? 
  • Yoga Pants are great. There's nothing comfier than yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
So, okay. I'm going to give yoga another try. My plan is to go at least once a week through December and see how much my balance, flexibility and state of mind improve.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thinking Outside the Head of Lettuce

I take my lunch to work almost every day. Usually, I throw together a big salad with a variety of greens and whatever I have on hand - tomatoes, mozzarella, cucumbers, a little cooked chicken, olives, broccoli. It's a great way to get a hearty serving of veggies every day.

But, lately, I've been suffering from salad fatigue. It can get boring.

I've started spicing things up by looking for interesting and healthy salad recipes on Pinterest. This is what I tried this week and it was great!
It's roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, chopped green beans and a few dried cranberries with a raspberry vinaigrette. Tasty, colorful and filling.

In September, I couldn't get enough of this salad:

Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, corn, mozzarella and avocado. Of course, it's always easier for me to put together a great salad in the summer and early fall when vegetables are fresh. But I do love an alternative to lettuce!

What are your favorite healthy brown-bag lunches?