Sunday, September 13, 2009

Get to know your neighborhood while improving your fitness.

One of my most favorite things to do is ride my bike outside.

Now, I'm not a fast road biker in fancy spandex - I tried that sport, but unfortunately, because of my back (I have a grade 2 unstable spondylolithesis at L5/S1 with a herniation at L4), I can't tolerate the flexion position of a road bike, no matter how I adjust the frame.

The bike I ride sits me more like the picture above; mostly upright. And this is a very comfortable position for me to enjoy the beauty of the world around me, while on my bike.

Today was my day off of lifting in the gym and, just my luck, it was a gorgeous one. My husband and I spent the morning at the Hebron Harvest Fair watching the Dock Dogs, Extreme Motocross, and checking out the cute barn yard animals (my favorite are the goats). We returned home at about 2pm (It was getting hot and I wasn't doing so well in the heat), and then spent time with our neighbors celebrating their daughter's 7th birthday.

With my day off, I also enjoyed some "treats" - a slice of birthday cake and an oatmeal raisin cookie - and boy, they were good ;) So, my planned evening hour ride (about 10 miles for me on my Granny bike) was well worth it.

But, what I love the most about riding outside, is, unlike spin class, where you're stuck indoors praying that the air conditioning will work, you get to enjoy the secrets of your own neighborhood and discover new places and people.

For example, I live in a pretty rural part of Connecticut (and I love it). My house is surrounded by a few different farms including tobacco, corn, berry, apple, and peach, and each time I go out for a ride from my house I find either a new farmer's market or a new farm.

Tonight I found a new peach farm just up the road, a new farmers market (Juknis Farms) and then discovered a beautiful field of sunflowers (and I'm a total sunflower fanatic - so I had to stop and say hello to all of them). I also had the opportunity to admire some of the nice homes in my area and fantasize what my future dream home would look like - I don't want anything large or obnoxious, just something open and spacious (minimal walls), with plently of land around it and LOTS of sunflowers.

My whole point of this blog post is just to share with you how wonderful the world can really be when you take the time to admire what you have around you. At the same time too, you can burn some calories, build some cardiovascular endurance and challenge your muscles (especially if you find some great hills to attack... which I did).

You don't have to bike, you can run, or hike, or roller blade, or snowshoe or cross-country ski,.... you get the idea. Just do something that gets you outside and gets your heart working and muscle fibers contracting. No matter if you live in the city or the country, there's always something new to explore and appreciate right in your own neighborhood while you work up a good sweat. Plus, when the weather's co-operative, it helps you open up your mind and take away any unwanted stress.

After my ride, I fired up the stove to boil some local corn-on-the-cob, some East coast mussels and steamed green beans with butter. It was a perfect conclusion to a perfect ride and a great way to end my weekend. I'm looking forward to this upcoming week as tomorrow I'm having my week 12 ultrasound and will get to see how my baby is progressing, and then on Wednesday I'm teaching my third night class at UConn on the topic of carbohydrates and can't wait to share new research with the students on how lower-carb diets are very effective for certain health conditions.

I hope all of you get to enjoy a wonderful week ahead, and if you can, will soak up the beauty in the world around you.

In health and fitness,



chrislz15 said...

Hi Cassandra, I really dig your blog, keep it up. How does you back condition affect your ability to deadlift? I had a disk problem recently and was curious how you get around it if at all. Thanks!

Cassandra Forsythe said...

Hi Chris

I still deadlift, but have learned to be really careful with my form and to not go too heavy - I can only go up to 185lbs without issues. The exercises I avoid definitely are back hyperextensions, back squats and anything that directly loads my spine or causes excessive hyperextension. I see a Physical Therapist regularly so I'm firing all my muscles correcting and do a LOT of core stabilization work.

Heather said...

Hi Cassandra, I also have a back condition (scoliosis), and I feel that this makes fitness all the more important. Great to read about your beautiful day!