The Right Motivation

One thing about tracking your rides with an application like MapMyRide (MapMyFitness) is at the end of the year you can look at your stats to see how you did and hopefully be amazed. I can log onto the site and look at my ride statistics including the maps, of every ride (or workout) I’ve done since the beginning. It’s great for motivation and reviewing just how hard you did work.

Learn how to track your rides.

I get emails from MapMyRide periodically to remind me of how I’m doing and this year blew my mind! You can see my stats HERE and it has some nice animation to go with it. This was my first full year riding and really was my best year yet.

My Best Year Yet Equals WOW

  • 3,630 miles, that’s equal to running 1,168 5K races.
  • 170 total workouts, that’s like working out daily for 24 weeks in a row.
  • 328 total hours, that’s like working out 24 hours for over 13 days. (Half a year, every other day.)
  • 158,185 total calories burned, that’s 427 slices of pizza.
  • 6 challenges finished, winning 19 awards along the way.

Plenty of times I didn’t want to ride. I almost always ride alone and without a bike carrier so I always bike the same 30+ miles every week. Motivation is my biggest problem. I wish I had a secret to overcoming a lack of motivation but the only way I know of is to try harder.

Overcoming Bad Motivation/Moods

  • treat yourself to something nice after your hard work (not food)
  • have a time of day for your workout and stick to it
  • eat breakfast every morning
  • hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before, during and after
  • think about how good this is for you and pat yourself on the back
  • practice a positive pre-ride mindset/ meditation to clear your mind
  • smile at others and let the scenery take you away
  • be thankful that you can workout and do what many cannot

If all else fails, do the mental work and try again. A half hour into my ride I almost always feel better. If your motivation is low don’t beat yourself up about it pick yourself up and start again. Never workout when you’re sick or have a fever and everyone needs a day off from exercise sometimes.

For most people, the number one reason many fail New Years (or other) resolutions about exercise is motivation. It took you a long time to get out of shape so it will take some time to get back into it. The more positive and realistic you are about your goals the better you’ll do.

Learn how to track your rides with a Fitbit. 

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Motivation:
ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/
noun

  • the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  • the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

There’s no way I could have done what I did last year without learning how to deal with my lack of motivation. Most of the time this was linked to my moods or the weather. This winter I’m having a problem with the weather. It doesn’t snow or freeze in my area of California but if it’s a cold day I can balk.

In reality, it’s barely below 40 degrees and adding full gloves, a head covering and a coat solves that. It’s not too cold to ride but I “feel” like it is and if I don’t challenge that in my mind I probably won’t go. In moments like this, I decide to put on my “big girl boots” and do it anyway. I’m always glad I did.

For every good reason to go work out, there are probably 3 reasons why you won’t. Motivation really is mind over matter which is why so many people fall short of their goals. The real culprit is moods we can’t give in to them. The good news is once you get into better shape you’ll feel better which will put you in a better mood. You’ll find your moods are more even and might find yourself happier.

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I’m much happier going into 2018 and I know it’s because of my love of biking. So many positive things have happened to me surrounding it besides the good health and other benefits for someone my age. I’m a more confident, comfortable person all around and planning to keep it up. And yes, I’m damn proud of myself!

Put Your Bad Motivation On Permanent Vacation For 2018

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Duck Feathers

After I got over the initial pain of being a beginner and settled into my workouts I found that biking was making me feel amazing. I was in the best health ever and things that normally would have thrown me into a funk during my day just weren’t happening. I found myself not sweating the small things. I told my best friend there was no way that I could be depressed while riding my bike and surprised myself when I said it.

Just a year ago I was a dark cloud raining on everything that came my way. I couldn’t see past my various moods they colored even my best days. I was addicted to foods that didn’t nourish my body and spent all my time sitting on my kiester stuffing my face. It was a terrible way to react to the world and treat myself. As I increased my health through my bike rides I found the clouds parting and the weather clearing. Now it’s darn right sunny even on the rainiest days. I never imagined how well exercise worked as an antidepressant.

Now I feel immune to things that would have brought me crashing down in the past. I have found what I affectionately call, “my duck feathers.” Anything that threatens to bring me down just repels off of me like water off a duck. My problems haven’t gone away, I’m still the same person making the same mistakes I’ve always made, but now I have an inner happiness that keeps me going on a positive note.

The health benefits of exercising eating right and good sleep are astounding. My body is slowly changing for the better I can see and feel it. I have a waist and my stomach hasn’t been this flat in decades. My skin has cleared up, my hair is soft and shiny and my energy level is through the roof. My bad knees are so much stronger I don’t need my cane anymore. Overall, my legs and core feel strong. All the hours of riding have improved my heart and my doctor tells me with vitals like mine I’m going to live a long time. After only a year of working out, that’s music to my  62-year-old ears and I’m not stopping anytime soon.

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While all these things are wonderful side effects of an aerobic exercise like bike riding, the thing that surprised me the most is the good mood that won’t go away. A good mood that didn’t require drugs just riding my bicycle regularly. With so many people having problems with depression, syndromes, and unhappiness I would think exercise would be worth trying.

Discovering “my duck feathers” is something I’m thankful for this year, that, and the fact that I found a good reason for riding my 30-year-old bicycle. Getting this twice as old woman functioning, healthy and moving again!

Join me! If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride your bike year-round do it and feel thankful for it.

Sleep 101

If you’re going to bike or do any kind of exercise sleep is something you’ll want to get enough of. Without sleep, you won’t have the energy or concentration needed for your day or ride. There are things your body needs to do that it can only do while you sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping or take sleep for granted but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your body and future health.

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This is a screenshot from my Jawbone UP3 showing a typical night of sleep for me. Let’s see what we can learn from it. As you can see there are 3 kinds of sleep cycles during the night.

Sleep cycles are important.

Not everyone gets the same amount of REM, deep or light sleep a night. It depends on age, the individual and quality of sleep but everyone has these cycles of sleep during the night.

When we are in REM our bodies are paralyzed and we dream. This is why our bodies don’t try to run when we dream about running. REM is not only for dreaming it’s when the mind does it’s sorting of what’s happened during the day. Whether you remember your dreams or not everyone has deep sleep. Our mind needs REM, it makes up sharp and helps us to learn complex things.

For more information on REM sleep: https://www.utzy.com/blogs/blogs/rem-sleep

Deep sleep helps our bodies repair themselves. During deep sleep, our bodies chemically do all the good things we’ll need for the daylight hours. There are functions our bodies can only do at night while in deep sleep. Cells repair themselves and hormones are released. Deep sleep restores us physically and mentally. Deep sleep heals the daytime wear and tear on our bodies.

For more information on deep sleep: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleepless-in-america/201010/the-mysterious-benefits-deep-sleep

Light sleep makes sleep cycles possible. During light sleep our bodies transition between deep and REM sleep. The body rests during light sleep and we can wake up easily.

For more information on light sleep: http://www.sleepdex.org/light.htm

For all of this to happen, we need to get enough sleep each night. We need a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Finding the time for this in our busy lives isn’t easy but if you want the benefits that sleep offers you’ll have to make the time. It takes good sleep planning.

Bedtime is not just for children. 

Give up the late TV shows, get off of the computer and if you go out, plan to get home early. Pick a bedtime you can do every night and stick to it. Set an alarm so you can get ready for bed and be in bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Now that we have On Demand TV it’s not important to stay up for TV shows or movies. Life has its ways of getting in the way be firm about your bedtime.

Before bedtime read or meditate in the dark. 

Some people have problems quieting their minds before sleep. To make sure you’re relaxed enough to sleep after getting ready for bed meditate or read a book for a 1/2 hour or more before your bedtime. Turning the lights out in your bedroom ahead of time and lying in the dark can help bring on a good night’s sleep. Drinking alcohol can help you get to sleep but will play havoc with your sleep cycles giving you a bad night’s sleep.

Here is a good article with tips for better sleep. It states that you shouldn’t read before bed but new studies have found that it can actually help. I read before bed and it puts me right to sleep. It still gives a lot of good information: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20011004/12-tips-better-sleep-troubled-times

Set up your bedroom for sleep.

The bedroom should be as cool and dark as possible. Keep your blinds or curtains shut. I have a window open even in the winter, a stuffy hot room will not help you sleep well. It’s good to keep your bedroom around 50 degrees. I love being warm under a big blanket in a cold room, makes me sleep like a baby.

I make sure all electronic devices with LED’s are off or I put tape over the LED’s so I can’t see them. Blue LED’s or TV/stereo box lights can keep you awake by stimulating your mind just by looking at them in the dark. The darker the room the better.

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Dress in something loose and cool you want to be as comfortable as possible.

If you still need help getting to sleep.

Scent can help you sleep. Lavender is wonderful for sleep I have a spray I can spray on my pillowcase and it puts me right to sleep. Before you go to bed you can take a hot bath and put lavender in it. Either way, it’s heavenly.

Nature sounds of any kind are very relaxing and playing them while you go to sleep can help. There are many applications for cell phones that include timers so you don’t have to turn them off after you fall asleep. This is good if you can’t relax, or if your bedroom tends to be noisy. Do not play music it will keep you and your mind awake.

Make sure you get enough sleep.

I like to get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night including weekends. The recommended amount is a full 7 to 8 hours a night. I set my alarms so I go to sleep at 10:05 and get up at 7 am. That leaves me about 9 hours leeway and most of the time I can sleep 8 hours or more. Part of that time is spent reading. I used to be an insomniac now I sleep like a baby but it didn’t happen overnight it took some time and planning.

It’s up to you!

You need to find what is right for you and stick with it. It might take you as long as a few months to get settled into it. Sleeping well is hard work for us folks that have trouble sleeping. It will happen! Things will come up that mess with your sleep plans but the next day get right back at it. As long as you leave time to get ready for bed and have your bedroom set up for sleep you’ll be doing awesome in no time.

Sleep has superpowers.

There are new studies coming out all of the time about the powers of sleep. It’s been proven that getting enough sleep makes you live longer. People who get enough sleep actually eat 300 fewer calories a day when they were well rested. Sleep brightens your mood for the day. People who get enough sleep don’t get sick as much. Your blood pressure goes down when you sleep giving your heart a break. Sleep helps you make better decisions and boosts your creativity. It also gives you more energy. They are finding out new things about how sleep helps us all of the time.

Let me know how you’re doing or if you have any questions about sleeping better.

Now, get some sleep!

Links from howsleepworks.com, psychologytoday.com, sleepdex.org, webmd.com. and The Utzy Blog.

Fact: People who sleep enough hours every night weigh less than their counterparts.