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Exercises of the Ages (a Collaboration with fellow interns Jennie Menominee & Chealee O’Neill)

Exercise. Something people of all ages should do daily. We all have different capabilities
and there’s so many things one person may be able to do, but another cannot. So many people can have health problems that make exercise hard. We never know another person’s story or the complications they deal with. What works for one person may not work for the next. We hope to help with some easy exercises and even some stretches that you could do daily to get in that exercise with some personal insight with our range of ages and health problems we deal with on an everyday basis. Exercise is so important for living a healthy lifestyle, however we all know it can be such a pain and motivation can be so hard to find at times. Exercising can help improve mood and stress, even though we all know stressful and problematic it can be. What are some of your favorite ways to exercise and some of your favorite stretches to do? Below, we have three personal stories and experiences with exercise and what works best for us all being different ages.

What? Between work, culinary school, wifery, cooking and eating, sleeping, we have to
find time to exercise? Life is busy, life is hard. So many expectations physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially and educationally, not to mention sexually. Sometimes life has gotten so hectic I’ve even referred to it as sexercise, combining the two. Haha! As this site has a lot of insightful information on health, sustainability, healthy eating, recipes, nature, it seems “fitting” to have an article on staying fit, pun intended. There are many websites, DVD’s, tv shows, gyms, personal trainers and even educational experts that have their own ways and opinions on how, when and how much to exercise to include a daily workout.
Coming from someone with bilateral bursitis, plantar fasciitis, and even a little fluffy, I have none of the above. So I will make this personal on my take of exercise and how I do what I can to fit it into my daily routine. Because of these conditions as well as a full time State Department job, I had to make a decision to do a remote externship rather that an internship at a professional kitchen. Several of my colleagues as well have some physical disabilities that keep them from being able to stand 25 hours or more in a professional restaurant kitchen. As I entered culinary school, I was also working in the pharmacy, on my feet at least 35 hours a week. I was in a small space but a lot of back and forth on concrete floors finally got to my feet. So I used the FMLA and short term disability benefits from my job and got some medical help and physical therapy. I
still use some of these exercises to this day as well as sometimes the expensive shoes and insoles that cost us a fortune. Some of these exercises and stretches include use of pulling my feet towards me with a belt or some restraint while sitting flat on the floor. The use of an iced water bottle rolling back and forth from the ball of my foot to the heel of my foot is another good way of relieving inflammation. Although walking is the number one exercise recommended for anyone at any age, actually because of my condition, the use of a stationary bicycle was highly recommended. I have one on the back screened-in porch. It’s nice to come home and spend time on it unwinding while I watch the sunset go down as that part of the house faces west. One important thing at work that I am very conscientious of is posture. Because I sit at a desk full time, I take my posture from my shoulders, hands on the keyboard all the way down to my feet very seriously. Sometimes I’ll find myself getting slack and once I straighten up again, I actually feel better. However even though I’m not always in my expensive orthopedic shoes, but
rather the most comfortable dress work shoes I can get away with, I do take my government mandated 15 minute breaks twice a day and one hour lunch to walk either around the big office we have if it’s too hot outside or walk around outside to get some fresh air. A few stretches, a little exercise, fresh air, healthy lunch and back to work. Exercise is not just about staying or getting fit physically, it is actually great mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Recommended for stress, anxiety, hormone therapy, and more, there are all kinds of exercises that work for all ages and conditions.

Ah, the joys of exercise and fitting it into the daily routine. Juggling school, work, mom
life, being newly married, and being a new home owner on top of getting the proper exercise in has been difficult. Honestly, walking is my absolute favorite way to get my exercise in; I will walk to and from work on top of being on my feet all day at my job and I love it all; walking so much helps with my anxiety. Swimming is also another favorite of mine, however the Great Lakes are cold and I don’t always feel like paying to get into one of the pools. This summer, though, I can’t do my usual. I’m in my last three months of my pregnancy with some horrid sciatica and SI joint pain going on, which at least I can still get around and am not on bed rest like I was with my first at this time in that pregnancy, but I still am so frustrated that I cannot do everything that is the
norm for me. I feel pretty useless and lazy being so immobile. I’m only 24 years old and can’t even make it up the stairs to my bedroom without my husbands help. Typically, my job requires you to be up walking and standing with very little sitting, only allowed to sit if there is no one in the store, but even then walk the store and find things to put away or stock shirts, fix the moccasins. But, now, I have to sit so often and am so limited with walking that it’s ridiculous; I totally hate restrictions. I have until the beginning of October with these limitations. Before, I’d always “get my 10,000 steps in recommended by Fitbit“; I love my Fitbit by the way, well not so much currently. Now, it’s such a challenge to get them all in. I’m in physical therapy to learn stretches and do some things that will hopefully help this pain and make walking more bearable. I’m beyond thankful for the stretches because they do give some brief relief which is better than none at all. To warm up, they have me on a stationary bike when I first come in, which I have something similar at home. workout I try to use that for at least 10 minutes on the days I don’t have therapy and do it there. Have you heard of nerve glides? No? Well, a nerve glide is a stretch that is supposed to help try to move the nerve from where it is being pinched. What I love about this stretch is it is so easy to do anywhere to try to relieve that pain. All you need to do is, if sitting, tilt your head straight forward and point your toes towards the ceiling. Then point your toes and as you’re pointing your toes tilt your head down, so do this in unison. If you’re standing, it’s the same just need to lift your toes off the ground grounding yourself with your heels and hold onto something to do the stretch. I do this 30 times. Another stretch that I do and am really fond of includes an exercise ball. You start with sitting with your legs apart as far as you’d like. Then, you roll the ball out in front of you, between your legs and go as far as you can tolerate, hold for 20 seconds and then slowly roll the ball back towards you and repeat 5 times. Next, you do this off to each side, having the ball right in front of your foot, hold again 20 seconds and do 5 times on each side. Light yoga and meditation are some great things I enjoy doing as well. Breathing exercises are very important to me especially in my current state of not being able to walk wherever and whenever I want to help calm my anxiety. I use YouTube and Pinterest to find yoga poses and use the relax app on my Fitbit to work on guided breathing. Being in my current physical condition, I can feel how not being able to do what I’m used to doing affects my mental health. This feeling isn’t pleasant at all and I am so looking forward to being able to get back to being myself. I enjoy my stretches and all, but I want to walk without pain and I want to go have fun with my kids without needing to sit. I want to go walk Lake Huron and find beach glass, walk through the town and go through all the tourist shops. We have long winters here, so it’s not going to be until next summer that I’ll really be able to do things I enjoy.
However, I’m trying to make the best of what I’ve been dealt, but October can’t come soon enough, not just to meet this little bundle of joy, but to also get back to me and my exercise I enjoy. Maybe I’ll even take advantage of the specials our only gym in town has and go there or sign up for an actual yoga class!

Don’t have time for the gym or think the gym is too expensive? No worries you will find that a lot of people share the same opinion. So, they workout at home on their own schedule. I work, go to school, and raise three kids that are not in school. Trying to take a day to go to the gym is impossible and I don’t have it budgeted in. So, I find ways to workout at home either with my kids or while they nap. My favorite moves are Planks, Crunches, Torso Twists, going for a jog in the evening or early morning. I take 45 minutes every day to do these workouts, however I can’t stress enough to make sure you stretch before starting the workouts. Not stretching can lead to a lot of sore muscles and you could pull a muscle. Also drink plenty of water. When you start your workout remember don’t push your self too hard because that can lead to exhaustion, muscle tears, and sore muscles as well. I will describe these workouts below. Be safe and have fun!
Plank: Place forearms on the ground, keep your arms parallel with your body. Shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and lift your legs and the core area upwards with your toes on the ground and hold it for as long as your comfortable and try to add 5 seconds to your time each time you do it.
Crunches: Lay on the ground knees up and feet flat. Arms crossed your chest. Bring your
elbows to your knees and repeat. Try in intervals of 10 at first then add 5 more as the exercise becomes easier for you to do.
Torso Twists: Stand with feet hip width apart and arms at your sides. Twist just your torso to the left while touching your right leg with your left hand and then twist your torso to the right while touching your left leg with your right hand.
Jog: Put on your favorite breathable but not loose clothing and good running shoes and start out at a slow space and work up to a faster one but remember your jogging not running.

As we are all studying culinary arts and becoming Chefs, we know the challenges of juggling many responsibilities each day as a Chef does. Making workouts part of a daily routine is very important to even the Chef. He has to take care of his staff, his dishes, his restaurant, his customers and yes even Herself! juggler-chef-play-some-ingredients-kitchen-tools-47488515

References:                                                                                                                (exercise photo courtesy of Jennie Menominee)


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