Movement, Wellness & An Urban Hike

Countdown To Surgery

With nicer temps now upon us here in Florida, I’ve been trying harder to get out and enjoy it before my upcoming surgery.  I’m having some more breast reconstruction, and will be recovering for more than a month.  That means no working out, hiking or off-roading.  Since I had complications and infection previously, I have to be extra careful.  And that equals extra boring.  I’ll be having surgery right before Christmas (ugh) but hopefully I’ll recover in enough time to enjoy the best time of year for hiking in our state.

dog in Jeep
Rama is always up for an adventure!

Being outdoors is my therapy.  I don’t get out nearly as much as I should, but I’ve been trying to get out every spare moment I can knowing that soon I’ll be recovering, dreaming of getting out again.   I’ve been quite preoccupied as of late.  Editing photos of our summer travels, the seemingly endless parade of birthdays, school festivals and functions this time of year has kept me from my regular blog schedule.  With a new year approaching, it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

I’m still working out 3 days per week with a trainer and hiking weekends as I can, watching what I eat and pushing toward my goals for my body.  It’s not easy and I’m a big whiner at the gym, but I’m doing it and I’ve passed the 15 month mark.  I am, however, dealing with a lot of anxiety about being sedentary after this surgery.

Urban Hiking

There is no doubt that hiking helps me cope with the anxiety.  A few weekends ago Rama and I set off to hike some of the hammock trails that we have nearby.  They are part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge surrounding Kennedy Space Center.  But due to the recent hurricane they were still under water in many places, so we decided to take a bridge walk and explore some of the Indian River shoreline instead.  Linking Titusville and the Refuge and then further out the Canaveral National Seashore, the Max Brewer Bridge is a popular destination for walkers and runners.  We hadn’t gone there in quite a while.  There was a time that I walked that bridge every day.  With the wooded trails flooded out and daylight ticking away, I decided that this was better than nothing.  Our other favorite trails are further away and with the recent changing back of the clocks, the sun sets way too early for my taste.

With the marshy wetlands ahead of us and the city behind, I still consider this urban hiking.  When you can see the city and condos are a stone’s throw from where you parked, it’s urban hiking.  But that’s ok.  It’s still exercise, and we are moving and enjoying the glorious breezes that come off the water this time of year.  With temps in the 60s that morning, by the time we hit the bridge it was probably 75.  Absolute heaven to feel that breeze and sun on your skin.  It’s the prescription for whatever ails you.

dog walking on bridge

Movement And Mental Health

We all have our own lives and set of stresses, and learning how to manage them and take care of ourselves is a tough one, especially for moms.  We are hardwired to be there for everyone, to put ourselves and our own needs last, and to take care of everyone’s everything.  But who takes care of us?  The simple fact is that we have to advocate for our own mental health.  If we are having a hard time, we pretty much have to suck it up, sweep it under the rug, do whatever we have to do to keep going and keep the house running.  Kids still have to be fed, taken to school, helped with homework, etc.  As much as we might want to crawl into bed and stay there, we can’t.  Maintaining my activity at a certain level is key to my mental (as well as physical) health and wellness.

When you exercise (even 30 minutes a day) you release feel-good chemicals (endorphins) in the brain and this helps to provide a feeling of happiness and boost overall mood.   The vitamin D you absorb from the sun also helps in alleviating depression.  Even knowing all this, it can seem almost impossible to take that first step.  There is no secret.   You just have to do it.  You will be glad you did.  No one regrets how they feel after a workout or a nice long walk.  I may bitch and moan about how I don’t want to work out or even leave my bed, but never about how I feel afterward.  After a while your body will begin to look different, and this is a huge mood booster.  Who doesn’t like looking better?

Getting out and getting exercise makes me feel human again.  It wasn’t a walk in the woods, but it was a lovely day and at the other end of the bridge we walked along the shore of the river and looked at the water, the dolphins and the boats going by.  It was quiet time with my girl, which was much needed.  My life tends to be quite hectic and noisy and I desperately need these moments to re-center myself.

cane corso side profile
Watching the activity on the water.

 

It’s always a good day when you can get out and enjoy it!

What do you do to achieve wellness?  How do you take care of yourself and make sure your mind as well as your body is healthy?

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/mental-health-benefits-exercise_n_2956099.html

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6 Comments

  1. Dz Dogs December 6, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Great post!
    I can’t believe your weather is still occasionally 75!
    I totally understand what you mean about exercising, if I don’t do something physical I feel terrible. Recently I’ve had a hell of a time getting back into a workout routine, my schedule is far from consistent and I want to zumba but the class schedules haven’t worked out well for me. I need to just buckle down and do it though. Last year right before Christmas I lost 25 pounds over the course of a couple months, eating right and doing zumba 3-4 times a week. I think I’ve gained about half of that amount back (i’m still eating right just not exercising like I should) and it frustrates me to no end so I just hide from the scale and focus on more positive things. LoL
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. Shannon Adams December 11, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Yep, good ‘ol Florida winters! It is 71 this morning. I tend to avoid the scale, too. Since I’m trying to gain muscle I’ve not been weighing myself (unless I go to the dr) but measuring instead. There have been some months that I have gone backward but I’m happy to say I’ve come back and am moving forward again. I’m especially concerned since I’m going to be sedentary following my surgery and won’t be able to work out. You guys have been so busy with your new home that I bet you’ve gotten more exercise than you think you have!

  2. Barbara Rivers December 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Hear, hear to that “we have to advocate for our own mental health” – after years of putting myself last and everyone and everything else first, this has been MY year and boy, does it feel good! I started writing down my accomplishments after the end of every month, and even if they seemed small in the overall scheme of things, 12 months later all the small steps are shaping up into a larger picture. Attending the Global Pet Expo in March was one of my accomplishments, and meeting you there in person was so cool! I’m wishing you strength post-surgery and hope that we’ll meet up again in 2017.

    1. Shannon Adams December 11, 2016 at 10:50 am

      It was so nice meeting you, too! And kudos to you, girl, for putting yourself first! I’ve been doing as you have–writing down accomplishments–and watching things progress over time. It’s easy to get discouraged along the way but looking at how all the small changes stack up is really amazing. I’m 15 months in to my workout journey and I’m feeling so much stronger. Will you be at BlogPaws and Global this year?

  3. Dachshund Nola December 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Good luck with your upcoming surgery! I know what you mean about getting outdoors – it’s been pouring rain the past two days and I’ve been stuck with pretty much only yoga. It’s thrown me so out of whack!

    1. Shannon Adams December 11, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Ugh I hope you get a break from the rain. It’s been so nice here but we’ve had so many holiday-related activities elsewhere that it’s been hard to carve out the time to go outdoors.