Sunday, 19 February 2012

Running

Why Running?

One of the best things about running is that it can be done anywhere and is free to do. It's quite easy to get into, anyone who can walk (and obviously with no leg/lower body injuries) can start to run. The first thing you should do though is to get a decent pair of shoes that are designed for running, there are plenty of sports shops who cater for runners and even do gait analysis to get the best shoe for your style of running. Another tip, find somewhere safe to run and preferably a running partner - this helps keep you committed, motivated and safe. You'll want to run 3-4 times a week eventually to get the most benefit but start off slow.

Start with intervals

The first time I went on a run was an absolute disaster, I was wheezing, going too fast and after about a half a mile I gave up - since then I realized I was asthmatic but even so it wasn't pretty. I now know that the best thing to do when you start running is to do intervals or walking and jogging and make sure you warm up and cool down properly. Here is a basic intro to running on which you can build on until you are running constantly:

First week x 3 sessions
- warm up: 5 mins brisk walking
- alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking
- repeat for 20 mins or 8 rounds
- cool down: 5 min walking and stretching

Second week x 3 sessions:
- warm up: 5 mins brisk walking
- alternate 90 seconds of running with 2 mins of walking
- repeat for 20 mins or 6 rounds
- cool down: 5 min walking and stretching

Third week x 3 sessions
- warm up: 5 mins brisk walking
- 2 repetitions of
- 90 seconds run
- 90 seconds walk
- 3 mins run
- 3 mins walk
- cool down: 5 min walking and stretching

Fourth week x 3 sessions
- warm up: 5 min brisk walk
- 3 min run, 90 sec walk, 5 min run, 2.5 min walk, 3 min run, 90 seconds walk, 5 min run
- cool down: 5 min walking and stretching

Fifth week: x 3 sessions:
- warm up: 5 min brisk walk
- 8 min run, walk 5 mins, 8 min run
- cool down: 5 min walk and stretching

You should now be able to run for 20 mins without a walking break during your sixth week. If you need to repeat weeks that's absolutely fine.

Building your base

Now that you're able to run consistently you'll want to work on improving your base. This can be done using endurance/distance techniques and also by working on your speed. There are a few ways to improve this: hills to improve your strength, power, co-ordination, and smaller stabilization muscles; intervals to improve your speed; and simply running faster or running longer.

There are some great sites like www.runnersworld.co.uk that will give you some great programs and further advice.

What if Weight Loss if your Aim?

Another thing I discovered when I first stared running was that I was really hungry. If you're aim is to lose weight with running then you should really keep a food journal to make sure that you're not sabotaging your efforts by unconsciously eating more. There's a great online site called Dailyburn Tracker that will help you to keep track of your food and exercise.

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Fitness

Introduction

So, before this bout of M.E came along I used to be an avid fitness nut; weight lifting, running, swimming, martial arts and intensive home routines that I found through beachbody.com (more on them later). Those routines are far behind me now and have been altered to suit my current lifestyle of fatigue and quite often pain. Running has been substituted with walking, weight lifting with compound body weight exercises, light stretching, and as for my karate it's just not as intense as before.

The purpose of these next few posts will be to give an insight of what I do now to keep active or what I have previously done. So whether you are new to fitness (or just taking it easy for now), or you have reached a plateau and need to knock it up a notch I'm sure there will be something here to suit your needs.

Walking

This is the easiest form of exercise for me at the moment and on good days I'll walk 4 miles (round trip) to work and back. However, I did not just suddenly start with this distance I built up my progress slowly so that I didn't injure myself or cause too much fatigue. I used to drive to work (and still do if I'm having a bad day) but I decided to start parking further away and start with a half mile to work. After a few weeks when it got easy I parked even further away to increase it to a mile, then I took the train to bump it up to two miles. And again, when this got easier I started walking the full distance once a week, twice a week, until I could build it up to 5-6 days.

That progress has taken me 6 months to do, I really cannot afford to waste energy by 'improving' too quickly otherwise I'll just be back to square one. There are times though when it is tough and you have to scale it back to avoid problems, but this mind set can be applied to any activity whether you have an illness or not. Listen to your body, if you feel you can increase time or distance then go for it, but on the other hand if your aching legs are screaming at you to take the bus then do so but maybe get off one stop early and stretch them out.


Of course if you're looking to knock it up a notch you can start running and see where it takes you. In the related posts section you'll find a good collection of links to get you started.

Weight Training

This is one of my favorite forms of exercise as it's so easy to see improvements and you can do pretty much anywhere in a short amount of time. I normally do a circuit (3 - 5 times round) of the following exercises:

- squats (plus variations)
- lunges (plus variations)
- abs (anything from crunches to plank)
- push ups (normally done on my knees and again with loads of variations).

Depending on how I feel that day will depend on how many sets and reps get done. I'll always start with a light warm up of 4-5 reps slowly increasing the range of motion and some stretching so that I don't pull anything and move on to 10 reps per exercise. I also might not do a continuous circuit, I might do 2 rounds and decide to do another later on (again I'll do a light warm up), or I'll set aside a time frame and see how many circuits I can do. The same advice for walking applies here: listen to what your body is telling you.

So that covers most of the activity I do during the week (I'll cover karate in a separate post). Up next will be running - how to start, how to improve, and some cross-training tips I've pick up over the years.

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*Just a note of caution: you should always consult your doctor before starting a fitness routine. These are just my experiences on these forms of exercise and should not be taken as gospel.*

Thursday, 16 February 2012

What is Mystery Disease all About?

Why am I Here?

I decided to start this blog initially to document the discovery of my Mystery Disease. However, since finding out that I have Heterozygous Factor V Leiden (a genetic mutation on one of my chromosomes that prevents my body from breaking down clots) I have dedicated this blog to raising awareness for as many invisible illnesses as I can learn about.

I also have another passion that you'll find cropping up from time to time: fitness. I used to love working out, and still do, so I'll be posting up tips and reviews. I'll also be putting up links products or other sites that might benefit you in your research if I am unable to cover those aspects at the time.

See my About page for more information.