My last post included a link to a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. Was America’s obesity epidemic a poor choice of topics during the Christmas holiday, a time where just about everyone overeats? Even though I appeared insensitive, I did have a plan, and it will present itself if you’re brave enough to continue reading.
How many of you calculated your BMI last week? Did any of you discover that you would be statistically healthier if you were a few pounds lighter? Are you thinking that you may want to improve your eating or exercise habits in the year to come? I’m guessing that most Americans desire to improve these two areas of their lives, but don’t really know where to start. Well, it’s time to be making those New Year’s resolutions, and I’m here to offer you some encouragement as well as a little assistance in helping you reach those 2012 goals. You see, I made a New Year’s resolution myself a few months back, and it is to help others improve their level of physical activity.
I know a little about this topic, having gone from a totally sedentary “couch potato” to a 46 year old marathon finisher in less than two years. I’m now the owner of a “healthy” BMI after 25 years of being either “overweight” or “obese.” I’m perhaps in the best shape of my life, and while changing my eating habits was important in this turnaround, it was the increase in activity level that truly transformed me into a different person. You have to believe that there is nothing special about me: I know for a fact that if I can turn my life around, you can do it too.
I began my exercise journey after losing some weight through dietary changes, and had decided to increase my activity level to help lose a little more stubborn fat. We got a new dog, Maxie, and I began to walk her almost every day for between two and three miles. It was a large time commitment, spending almost an hour each day exercising, but I began to feel stronger, and that made it worthwhile. Maxie wanted to go faster, so I began walking faster with her. Winter came, and the walks required me wearing heavy snow boots, which strengthened my body further. After six months of this daily routine, I jogged a block during the middle of a walk one day, and that was how I got started running. I ran my first 5K race (3.1 miles) four months later and my first marathon 10 months after that: I was hooked!
I belong to a group called Red River Runners, whose only purpose is to promote running as a fun, healthy activity for people of all ages and abilities. I have volunteered to lead their “Beginner’s Running Group” (BRG) which is supposed to help people make the transition from walking to running. I’m very excited about this opportunity, and know that along with Erin, Erin, and Anne Marie, we will be able to offer fantastic support and encouragement to anyone wishing to increase their activity level. We will do it the same way I did, by starting out mostly walking, and mixing in a few minutes of jogging throughout a 30 minute session. We will meet once per week, but runners will need to get in additional workouts by themselves or with others from the group. Over the course of 18 weeks, we will gradually increase the running time until you will be able to run nonstop for 30 minutes. You will be ready for your own first ever 5K race this spring, maybe even the huge one in Fargo with 8,000 other runners, if that sounds like fun to you! Who knows where your running will take you after that: Will there be more 5K’s, a 10K, or maybe even a marathon in your future?
We will be starting our Beginner’s Running Group in January. This “class” will possibly be offered again in the summer if you need a few months of walking prior to taking your first running steps. Click here to go to Red River Runners home page, where you will be able to find the dates and times of all our activities, including the Beginner’s Running Group, once that information has been determined. Will you join us for a run? It’ll be fun! Trust me!