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Monday Morning Fitness Routines

Updated on October 29, 2012

As I lie awake sleepless this Sunday night/Monday morning (2:18am), I contemplate the morning to come. It's our Monday Morning Ritual: a 2+ mile hike in the foothills, including 3 grueling steep uphill grades (the kind you don't talk during - you just pant) - taking about an hour in total. The only way to make it up the hills is to think about how good it will feel when you're done.

The Purpose

The purpose of the hike is to get ourselves ready for the week to come - the theory being that once you do something really hard, all else is 'downhill' from there. And, it truly must be, as I envision the gasping, toe over toe steep ascents, with sagebrush on either side, masking what I hope are not rattlesnakes.

No Excuses

Almost every Monday, from the point when my alarm goes off to the point of walking out the door, I think of plausible excuses I can use to beg off the Monday morning hike. But, frankly, if my 65-yr-old aunt can do it, I have no viable excuses. Another factor in my inability to avoid the inevitable, is that my aunt and uncle pick me up. They don't check with me to confirm that I'm up for the hike - it is assumed. I would have to initiate the excuse phone call or text, and I know from experience, that it would be met with a bit of "Give me a break, are you serious?"

So, I guess the fitness social support theory really holds true. Plus, I know that I'd regret wimping out, negatively affecting my self-esteem and setting a pattern for the week to come.


The Reward

Besides the supposed week-long reward, is the immediate reward of meeting the family for breakfast after the hike. For the 2-3 of us who make the hike, meeting up at Denny's for a $4 breakfast, with the rest of the available family, seems reward enough - although thinking about it now, I'm not so sure. The hikers order scrambled egg whites or broiled chicken, while the more sensible non-hiking family members order biscuits and gravy, steak, potatoes, and eggs over easy.

The Difference

As I contemplate the difference between the hikers and non-hikers, the difference is interesting: the hikers are sweaty, chilled by the air conditioning, and eating abstemiously, while the non-hikers are dry, warm, and eating like the concept of high cholesterol doesn't exist. In total, one group doesn't seem to weigh more than the other - the non-hikers just seem more satisfied with their meals, while I wrap my left-over chicken breast in foil to save for devouring as soon as I get home.

What I wish is that Denny's had one of those blood pressure monitors where you can stick your arm in the compression cuff and get a quick read-out. I'm pretty positive that the hiker, low-fat eating group would score better than the others, but frankly, I'm afraid to find out.

Maybe it's actually all about stress with those of us who stress about our health enough to tackle a (seeming) mountain every Monday morning increasing our heart rates and blood pressure just by worrying. What if it's not really about what we eat, but how we think?

Worth It?

Lying here with my laptop, I contemplate the benefits of this early week challenge. I know that if I joined the non-hikers and their eating regimen, that I'd feel like sludge and be poorly prepared for the week ahead. And yet . . . I doubt that the non-hiking, over-eating segment of our Monday morning group are up at (it's now) 2:48am contemplating this subject.

If only I could remove the stress and keep the exercise and eating well all at the same time, I'd live forever.

Which do you think has a greater impact on health and life expectancy?

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