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some fitness things I learned the hard way (so you don’t have to)

July 17, 2011

I’ve been told before that I’m stubborn. I don’t know where people get that idea. I just know what I like, and I don’t like change. But I finally changed my shoes, and it was such a good idea! I’ve been doing some form of home workout, usually with a video, since I started working out at age 17. (I still remember my first video – it was made by Esquire and involved 30 minutes of basically jogging in place. Don’t know how I ended up with a video obviously made for men.) I used to combine this with actual outdoor jogging, but a few years ago I started having joint trouble and had to stop doing that. That is to say, I started having joint trouble, continued jogging despite the pain, and then finally admitted I would have to stop doing that. In it’s place, I found better home videos of kickboxing and plyometric workouts (I really like Cathe and Tanya). As part of coming back from breaking my heel last year, I added Shaun T’s Ultimate Insanity Workout to the mix. (That one is both higher intensity and higher impact. See what happens when they try to tell me I will never be the same?)

And I finally bought cross trainers. I had been doing these workouts all this time in my running shoes, but since I don’t run any more it didn’t make sense to spend my shoe-money on them. So I got cross trainers, which are made for jumping up and down in place and lunging side to side. The difference for my injured foot, my knees, and the rest of my joints has been amazing. I can do my home workouts much harder and more often with these shoes than I could wearing my running ones.

But because of the arthritis and the injury, I can still only jump up and down so many times a week, and never two days in a row. That’s why I’ve picked up spinning, and why I really miss rollerblading. I was happy, though, to learn from Women’s Health Magazine that even a little jumping up and down is even better for me than I thought:

After age 30, building bone isn’t as easy … but stress from impact exercise can help. “One of the best exercise preventions is jumping for the lower body and resistance training for the upper body,” says physiologist Larry Tucker, Ph.D., of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Exactly how much jumping results in healthier bones is still being researched. But some studies have shown that jumping as few as 10 minutes a day improves bone mass in the hips.

Hooray! Being a descendant of a grandmother with osteoporosis and a mother with osteopenia, it’s great news that all this jumping I’ve been doing will continue to pay off down the road.

I do miss running, especially when I see how happy it makes my husband (an endurance trail runner). But I am finally finding my way to workouts that challenge me without hurting me, and that’s fun too. And I’m here to tell you that if you are investigating running alternatives, you should go ahead and get the right shoes.

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