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Active Rest Days

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Active Rest DaysIn short, an active rest day is a remedy to over training and involves light exercise that will stimulate and speed up your recovery process. An active rest day is something I have truly learned the meaning of recently. I overworked, burned out and injured myself. Not good! However, I see it as a learning curve and feel that I have really found the value in doing something a little lighter with my body. Not taking the time to rest is so common, even amongst beginners. Some of my clients have come to me with negative experiences of exercise and the reason for their bad experience is because they didn’t take time to rest and therefore burned out.

When considering what activity you might want to adopt as part of your active rest day, you have to take your current fitness level into consideration. Mainly because this exercise should be much less intense than the exercise you do as part of your regular fitness program. For instance, if you were a long distance runner and your body needed time to rest and recover, you could go for a walk instead. It’s going to be different for everyone.

Here are a few ideas of what you could do.

Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

SMR is self-massage with foam roller, tennis ball or a lacrosse ball. After feeling so tight in my upper body from intense pole training, I swear by them now. It’s like getting a deep sports massage. The foam roller is appropriate for larger muscle groups such as the quads, hamstrings and lats, whilst the small lacrosse ball is really great at targeting the difficult to reach areas between the shoulder blades. It is fairly uncomfortable at the time, but the goal is that you feel benefit afterwards. You might find this video useful.

Walking

Walking is as a great way to allow your muscles to recover. I like to listen to a motivational podcast or music whilst walking outside in the park. It’s a really positive way to boost overall wellbeing too. Of course, again, this depends on your fitness level. If walking is part of your fitness program already, you might want to lower the intensity of the walk on the days that you utilise walking for active rest.

Yoga

I’m a true fan of yoga. I love it because it releases my body when it is sore from dancing. However, dependant on the program, it can be very physically challenging. Look for a light yoga class if you aim to use it as a recovery rather than an actual workout. YouTube is a great place to start – I have several, free yoga tutorials that you can follow along with.

Swimming

During my recent holiday, I swam for the first time in about 3 years, so it’s safe to say that I am out of practice. Therefore, my body probably wouldn’t benefit from swimming as an aid to recovery. However, if I were to consider a really low intensity session then I might benefit from the cardiovascular aspects of the activity, as well as the low impact is has on joints and bones.

Overall, it is important to allow yourself time to recuperate. You are human and your body is with you for the long haul, so look after it.

What’s your favourite way of actively resting? You can reach me on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

Rowena x

South America and CGM

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South America and CGM 4Last week I attached a CGM before my holiday to South America. I asked my lovely followers on Instagram where is the best place on the body to put the CGM, the majority said the stomach, so I went with that. I wanted an area that wouldn’t get in the way of me putting my rucksack on and off. Previously, I have worn the CGM on the back of my upper arm. Little did I know, that later on in the holiday, the CGM would be my saving grace as my rucksack, containing my BG meter, was stolen. More on that later.

South America and CGM Before embarking on this journey, I was rehearsing a pole piece that would be performed at Yorkshire Pole Championships. The additional training flared up my shoulder injury so I decided to give my upper body a rest from exercise while I was away. I would focus more on walking and lower body stretching. We walked anywhere from 10000-20000 steps per day which was enough movement to cover some of the tasty foods and wine I consumed whilst I was there. I added some stretching in at practical times, such as waiting in the airport for flights, or before going out to dinner. Oh, I also did some swimming too. Although I have a lifeguard qualification, I’ve always found swimming extremely challenging and this experience was no exception.

South America and CGM During this trip I intended to visit Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio De Janeiro, Ambalse El Yeso – Santiago, Chile and Machu Pechu, Peru. I saw the first two, but after my bag was stolen in central Santiago I was unable to continue my journey onto Peru. Everything was in the rucksack, including my passport and purse, so I had to obtain an emergency passport that would only allow me direct entry into the UK. The first direct flight into the UK from Santiago was full so we had to stay a further two nights until the next BA flight. I’m pretty upset that I didn’t make it to my final world wonder (Macchu Pechu), but I know I will go again someday and maybe have more time to spend there.

South America and CGM With regards to my rucksack being taken, luckily, I didn’t have all of my diabetes supplies in it. I left that with my suitcase back at the hotel with the hotel staff. We had checked out ealrier that morning, but didn’t want to lug the suitcases around with us for final bit of sight seeing. As I said earlier I was wearing the CGM, which alerted me that I was low when I was in the back of the police car on the way to the police station to file the report on the stolen bag. Obviously I had nothing to treat this hypo as it was in my bag, the language barrier didn’t allow for me to tell the police men to stop for me to get some sugar either. I had to wait until I got to the police station where my partner bought me a can of Coca Cola from the vending machine.

South America and CGM Now that I am back, I am looking forward to buckling down to work again. Helping my clients with their training / mindset via my online training tool, finishing my MA dance practices course and teaching dance and fitness. I’m also a woman of habit, so I am also keen to get back to my normal diet. Although I love eating freely when I am on holiday, guessing carbs and eating a lot of them, my body is used to a certain way of eating – 80% healthy, and my energy levels certainly feel it if I don’t eat this way, regardless if my blood sugars are good or not.

How do you like to eat when you travel? Do you work out whilst you are away? Let me know on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

Rowena x

Yoga for Diabetics

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A Step Ahead of the Diabetes Game

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A Step Ahead of the Diabetes GameOften time’s people have asked me how I manage good diabetes control with a busy schedule and I always tell them that it’s because I stay ahead of the game. I know that diabetes is not a game, it’s a very real, shitty disease. However, if it were a game I would win hands down because I refuse to give up. With this in mind I’m always trying to find ways to deal with it and manage it with ease. If that means spending time preparing packed lunches, typing food into MyFitnessPal for carb counting, having spare supplies of everything in my car (apart from insulin – if it came to it I could just use the insulin from inside my pump to inject with), then so be it.

Even if you’ve been diabetic for 10 years or ten days you have something to work with. What happened yesterday that could be altered today? What could be changed and why?

If you tend to go high during a certain time of day – Is your basal insulin correct? What did you eat, is there a chance that you may have miscalculated the carbs? Did you eat more than you bolused for?

If you go high everyday because you’re stressed with an insane workload, don’t blame the workload. Accept that you have the ability to lighten the workload or to increase your basal insulin to manage the highs that are caused by the stress.

Likewise, if you’re constantly going low after a certain exercise – don’t blame that particular exercise and avoid it forever, especially if you enjoy it, take the time to figure out what YOU have to do in order to prevent it in future.

Diabetes is no one’s fault so don’t place blame. None of us asked for it and we would rather not have to deal with it. Accepting that your management is a direct result of your action might be harsh at first, but it will eventually lighten the burden of placing blame on others. – On social media, I once witnessed someone blaming a food company for her high blood sugar, but it’s not their problem. The company didn’t force anyone to buy the food, eat it and bolus for it.

If you take anything away from this post, please understand that you have control. Even if your HBA1C is currently off the chart, you can bring it back. Even if you’re unfit, you can get fit. It’s all about understanding the steps you have already taken and what steps you have to take next.

Finally, I don’t want you to get me wrong in thinking I have perfect diabetes control because I don’t. I have those days of very poor control too, and believe me, there have been times when I have been so busy that it seemed like entering the carbs into my pump was a time consuming task in itself, but I always use these experiences as a learning curve so I can manage better in the future.

You can learn more about managing diabetes in this post here.

Take care

Rowena x

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

My Go To Stretch Routine

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As requested, I thought I would share my go to stretch routine. I do this after any type of workout in order to lengthen my muscles, maintain flexibility, and to ease the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that is bound to make an appearance the next day.

If you want to follow along, I would recommend a short pulse raiser to start. Jogging on the spot for a few minutes should prepare you. Let me know what you think?

Rowena x

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.