July 2012 Self-Care Retreat: Movement (Reinventing a Favorite Game from Childhood)

blog event, self care, meditation, movement

You might be surprised to see me taking on movement for our Second Annual July Self-Care Retreat hosted by Cheryl (Gluten Free Goodness). The truth is I’m not physically fit. In. Any. Way. But I do believe in movement. Daily movement. And when I get in a habit of moving, I want to move more. It feels good. And it makes me healthier … even if I’m not at the optimum level of fitness or movement.

Are you moving daily? For some, movement is like breathing, and for others, it feels like they can’t breathe when they move. So they might sit on the sofa instead of move. Sometimes a litany of excuses holds us back. Here are some of the ones I use most often.

It’s too hot.

It’s too cold.

I don’t have time.

I’m too tired.

I don’t want to change my clothes to exercise.

The dog has been lying on the rug where I want to do my yoga. If I do my yoga there, I’ll get dog hair all over me. I don’t want to vacuum because Mr. GFE (or Son) is asleep, plus I don’t have time to vacuum.

And the list goes on …

Diane (The Whole Gang) shared a post a while back on the single best exercise and told us that she’d asked Melissa McLean Jory (Gluten Free for Good) what the best exercise is. Melissa is the “resident expert” for many of us gluten-free blogging friends. She has a degree in exercise science, is a nutritional therapist, yoga instructor (and much more), and lives what she teaches every single day. Melissa’s response to Diane was: “The best exercise is the one you’ll actually do.” Indeed. And the one we’ll actually do is different for each of us. It will also vary according to the time of year and what may be going on in our lives at the time.

For me, with the exception of yoga, I do much better when my movement has a purpose. Like walking the dog. Paddling the canoe on the Shenandoah River at our mountain property. Foraging for firewood at our property. Unloading/stacking firewood at our home after Mr. GFE has cut and split it. The activity can’t just be for the sake of exercise. Walking (or running) on a treadmill is not going to happen for me. I had brief success when I walked on a treadmill while watching Jeopardy and focusing on supplying the questions that went with the answers. Again, that was briefly. And that was in my own home. Even if George or Christian were working out beside me and I could “admire” them while I walked, I’d never get on a dreadmill at a gym. For me, that’s just not happening. Still it’s important to have an exercise that I will actually do as Melissa says. And again, I simply can’t do mindless exercise.

canoeing, paddling, Shenandoah River, self-care retreat

campfire, camping, self-care retreat

Well, maybe the exception is yoga. Some might call that a mindless exercise, purposely mindless. To do it well, ideally one must “still” the mind, so that’s sort of mindless. I love yoga though. Not over-the-top yoga. Just simple yoga moves with Rodney Yee via video each day, preferably in the morning. When I don’t do my yoga, I feel like a rusted version of myself. None of my joints seem to want to move well. However, when I do my yoga, my joints work properly and I can bound across the room and up and down the stairs. I don’t often miss my morning yoga sessions because I know how much I need them. When I was getting ready for the recent gfe retreat, I was going up and down the stairs tons of times each day, moving furniture, decluttering, and more before and after work. At one point, I had not done my yoga two days in a row and my body was getting stiffer and stiffer. One morning I was already running late for work (after squeezing in more on my “to do” list), but I literally said in my head, “You are going to do your yoga or you will not be able to walk.” So I stopped and did my yoga right then, even though I would be a little later going into work. I started out so stiffly and awkwardly and even at the end was not doing my moves with the flexibility I usually exhibit. But I felt so much better afterwards. The body I had at the end of my routine was much different from the body I had at the beginning.

Yoga effects can be as powerful (or more so) as some medications like muscle relaxers or cortisone shots, and with none of the possible side effects. How is that possible? The movements one does in yoga have been shown to actually offer anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and muscle relaxant properties. If you don’t believe in the power of yoga, you’ll want to watch this video below. It blows me away every single time I watch it. One of many things that it shows is that yoga can be done by anyone and that the power of yoga is bigger than most of us can even begin to imagine. We have to actually see yoga’s effects demonstrated in Arthur Boorman. If you haven’t seen this video already, I think you will be amazed. Yoga and Arthur both totally rock!

For those who don’t have time to view the video right now, Arthur, an American paratrooper who had been injured in the Gulf War, had been told he’d never walk again. Yoga and his commitment proved that diagnosis wrong. Read more on his story in this Huffington Post article. If you’ve been reluctant to try yoga, start like Arthur did. He used baby steps in the more literal sense of the word because he couldn’t do more than baby steps. But those baby steps “strung all together” became something completely different. He was—as the saying goes—a changed man.

Since our Self-Care Retreat started, I’ve been doing my yoga each morning and I’m far better for it. So I’m on board with yoga, but I’ve been looking to add something to my exercise in the mornings. I already do my yoga routine and walk our dog, Sonny, before work. Mornings are my prime exercise time. I like getting it done in the morning. It not only sets a positive tone for my day, but gets me limber for moving throughout the day as I said. But what else could I do?

Sonny, walking, movement, self-care retreat

walking, movement, self-care retreat

I originally planned to add on another 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in the mornings this past week, but I realized that wasn’t going to work for my schedule. So I thought about what I might be able to do that would add to my movement without impacting my schedule greatly. Another George, George Foreman, and his wisdom came to mind. After retiring from professional boxing after holding the World Heavyweight title and losing it, he decided to make a comeback years later. As in over 10 years later. At the age of 45. I’m sure that he did all sorts of the typical weight training and daily drills that one sees in the movies, but I read one thing that he did during his drive to regain his title that has stuck with me, almost 20 years later. Each day he would dump out a bushel basket of golf balls in his yard (or gym) and then pick the balls up, one by one, returning them to the basket. This exercise was designed to improve his flexibility, dexterity, and stamina. I’ve often thought of that technique of George’s when I pick up “sticks”—twigs, branches, and even logs—scattered over our mountain property. It reminds me that the activity will not only ensure we have a nice campfire, but will also help my body. As I said I like doing movement with a purpose to begin with, but knowing that this activity is improving my body makes it much more rewarding! Oh, and incidentally, George did regain his heavyweight title with his own training program despite his long hiatus from the sport and being at an “advanced age”—45. Although he retired a few years later in 1997, he still holds the record for being the oldest Heavyweight Champion in boxing. Inspiring!

Pick-Up Sticks, game, self-care retreat, kid's games

Flickr photo credit:  lovelihood

So I decided to add this activity to my morning routine this week. Consider it an outdoor, single-player version of that favorite game from childhood, Pick-Up Sticks. Remember that one? I’m pretty sure that it’s still played. A classic. You dump colorful plastic sticks (some upscale sets are made from wood) out on the floor and then take turns picking them up, acquiring and losing points depending upon whether or not you can pick up the stick without disturbing others. Interestingly enough, I just learned that Pick-up Sticks is a Native American game. It was originated by the American Indians, and taught to the pioneers who settled our country. And, rather ironically I’ll add, it was originally played with straws of wheat. It seems that the game basically remains the same as the original other than the sticks used and the ways of scoring.

What does all that have to do with movement? Well … while we certainly don’t need a campfire here right now and I don’t want to gather wood for any reason at our home, I decided I could pick up sticks—the real kind … from nature—as part of my walk with Sonny. As he ambles ahead, I pick up sticks and toss them aside in the ditch or woods. We live in a wooded subdivision, so there’s never, ever a shortage of sticks, just from the normal “droppings” from all the trees. Here’s a piece of trivia for you: an acre of hardwood (i.e., trees such as oak and hickory) yields a cord of dead wood a year. That’s just normal tree degeneration, so to speak. We live on 1 ½ acres, so there’s plenty of dropped tree “debris” just on our property to pick up. But Sonny and I venture out all over the neighborhood. I’ve set my daily stick goal at 100 sticks and I usually pick up more than that, but I must pick up 100 sticks each day. And I’ve made the rule that if I pick up more than one stick when bending over, only one counts in my total. I count in my head, but if I lose track—when say greeting a neighbor or talking to Sonny—I simply restart my counting from an even number a few back … just to keep me honest, you know? I’m doing this activity on an ongoing basis while we’re walking. Sometimes Sonny is looking back wondering what the heck I’m up to! Our walk is usually 30 to 40 minutes long, so it’s easy to get this activity worked into my morning routine and the multi-tasking aspect of it doesn’t tax my brain at all. It’s quite relaxing actually. Sometimes when I’m picking up those sticks, I see beauty from nature that I might miss otherwise … bird feathers, bird egg shells, wildflowers, ferns. Nature always speaks to my soul, and has always been a vital component of my self-care, plus my version of Pick-Up Sticks has been a great way to aid in the same things that George was seeking—flexibility, dexterity, and stamina. But, bonus, and it’s a big bonus (or maybe a getting smaller bonus?), this activity is already shaping up my gluteus maximus. While I don’t think I’ll become the female equivalent of Russell Crowe’s Maximus or anything like that, this new daily movement is making a difference to my body and outlook on life.

walking, movement, self-care retreat

walking, movement, self-care retreat, woodland scene

Wildflowers, walking, movement, self-care retreat, brown-eyed Susans, black-eyed Susans

ferns, walking, movement, self-care retreat

I’m not telling you to go out and pick up sticks in your neighborhood, but do consider getting in more movement each day. We all know the list of tips for easily adding in more movement to one’s day. Park at the furthest end of the parking lot where you live or work, always takes the stairs versus an elevator, walk versus drive whenever you can, and so forth. Some of those we can readily do daily. Some are not practical, but chances are, there are definitely simple ways to add movement to your life. For self care, try just one this week. My friend Alisa (Go Dairy Free and Alisa Cooks) recently shared that she walks 15 flights of stairs to her apartment when she goes to and from the pool each day. Awesome! I don’t come close to that stair stepping level, but sometimes I purposely make multiple trips up and down my stairs when carrying things up or down, just for the exercise benefit. Sometimes I run up and down them when transporting small objects from one floor to another, just to get my heart rate up. If we’re able, using stairs is great movement for our bodies.

Of course, simple walking is one of the most effective movements there is. I credit walking, a weight-bearing exercise, as being one of the primary contributors for reversing my osteopenia after going gluten free. Never discredit the importance of walking. Cheryl, our self-care retreat hostess, recently shared on our 2nd Annual July Self-Care Retreat Facebook group page that she’s been getting up early to walk in the mornings and it’s taking her “back to her high school days.” How cool is that? An easy way to get in movement and feel young again!

As I mentioned, if all goes well, I’ll be adding in another 30-minute activity in the mornings this week. The key to making that work is getting to bed early enough so that when I get up, I’m ready to commit to my various movement activities instead of slugging along trying to feel better through exercise alone. (Great food, aka fuel, also plays a major role, of course.) Hey, if I keep this up, I may truly feel like I qualify as someone with “an active gluten-free life,” the target audience for Melissa and Pete Bronski’s brand new book, The Gluten-Free Edge:  A Nutrition and Training Guide for Peak Athletic Performance and an Active Gluten-Free Life. Have you heard about The Gluten-Free Edge? This book was officially released yesterday, but because I had pre-ordered it through Amazon, I got my copy on Wednesday. Woohoo! I’ve just started it (love the beginning!) and plan to finish reading it this weekend. As I stated on Facebook the other day, this terrific book has a little of everything … medical information, nutritional guidance, training wisdom, profiles of gluten-free athletes (you know how much I love personal stories, right? These are powerful, encouraging tales) and last, but not least, 50 recipes! Priced at $11, with that wealth of info, it’s a true value. (Note: Amazon links on gfe are affiliate links and I do get a few cents for each book sold through them.)

gluten free, athletes, performance, training, recipes, Melissa McLean Jory, Peter Bronski

These posts are to inspire you all to make July a month of reflecting on self-care and the many ways to nourish ourselves. We encourage everyone to participate in this event in a way that feels appropriate to them, whether through personal reflection, journal or other self-care. If you would like to share your experience with self-care, we would love to include you in the experience, whether you join us for one week or every week. You can write generally about self-care and how you include it in your life, or “try on” one of the practices we’re blogging about over the course of the next week (movement, food, family/friends/pets, creativity and inward reflection). We ask that you link back to this post so that more people can learn about this retreat, and leave a comment for the weekly theme host, too! As a little added incentive, for each post on your goals and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, you’ll be entered to receive a $50 gift certificate to Nuts.com  (donated by our hostess, Cheryl). If you would like to be included in our roundup and the drawing, please email a link to your post, along with your name and blog name, to us at selfcareretreat at gmail dot com by July 30, 2011.

Are you moving each day? Are you exercising self-care in other ways? If the answer is no, maybe you can change that this week. You’ll want to visit Cheryl, Carrie, Iris, and Valerie to read all their inspiring posts on self care. See Cheryl’s post with all the self-care retreats to date here. Last, here’s my post on Nourishment Through Family, Friends, and Pets from last year’s Self-Care Retreat. It’s one of my favorites; I hope you’ll like it, too.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


32 Responses to “July 2012 Self-Care Retreat: Movement (Reinventing a Favorite Game from Childhood)”

  1. Melissa @ glutenfreeforgood on July 14th, 2012 12:39 pm

    Wow, Shirley, what a great post on the importance of movement and activity! Thank you for including my comments in your intro and thank you for adding The Gluten Free Edge to your post. Pete and I appreciate that so much.

    You know, being an exercise science nerd doesn’t mean I have any desire to walk on a treadmill in front of a TV blaring the news. That is stressful to me. Although I know lots of people who benefit greatly from belonging to a gym, I’m not one of them. The reason I say that the best exercise is the one you’ll do is because it’s true and applies to me as well. I can’t make myself go to a gym, but I have no problem riding my mountain bike, skiing, or hiking because I don’t feel like I “have” to do it. I want to because I have fun (except the occasional bike crash) playing in the outdoors. Yoga complements my active lifestyle, keeps me healthy, and is good mental medicine for me because I’m overly “wound-up.” =)

    You did a great job expressing how important movement and activity are. I love the idea of picking up and throwing sticks! Do you change hands with each stick? The area where you live is so gorgeous that you also get a good dose of nature therapy. Wow, you live in such beautiful surroundings.

    Shirley, this is such important information that you’ve provided with this post (and creative in the telling)! It’s interesting, when you live an active lifestyle, you start taking more interest in what you eat to fuel that active lifestyle. It’s a positive lifestyle shift in so many ways. Great post and thank you for your support!

    Peace, love, and shake your booty (dance, walk, run, skip, throw sticks, whatever — it’s all active movement)!
    PS: BTW, you mentioned working your glutes. I have a good friend who is a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) instructor. He leads wilderness training backpacking courses for weeks at a time. He calls his career, “the buns of steel job.” =) I love it.

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:15 am

      Hi Melissa–Your sweet words mean so much to me! I’m happy to share The Gluten-Free Edge because I think it’s going to be such a helpful book to many. :-)

      I love that you share what works for you for exercise. Not “having to do it” and not being able to make yourself go to the gym speak to me so much, and I’m sure will speak to many others as well. Great point on why yoga is so helpful, too. Some days it does not unwind me completely, but it always helps. A lot. And what it does for my joints and muscles is fantastic.

      So I had not been changing hands when throwing sticks this past week (it hadn’t even occurred to me!), but based on your question and Lisa’s comment as well, I did this morning. I threw them from my non-dominant hand today. It was awkward at first, but quickly became a non-issue. So I guess from your question that I should switch back and forth each time I pick up a stick?

      I agree that one is moving and wanting to do many active things, one does take a closer look at the food that’s fueling one. I guess that’s why hubby couldn’t get me out of the produce dept yesterday when we went to the grocery store just to pick up a few things. ;-) And in choosing all my favorite green stuff, I discovered that my store now has organic carrots–yay!

      Those were just some quick morning snapshots of a few of the streets of our neighborhood, but it’s wooded and so green, and I do love it.

      Major kudos to your friend who has the “buns of steel” job–important work with nice added bennies, no video routine required to get those buns! ;-)

      Still wincing over thoughts of your bike crash! Stay safe on two wheels, dear!

  2. cheryl on July 14th, 2012 12:44 pm

    Yay! love this post. I am so glad to hear that yoga has been working well for you. I do my own version of pickup sticks (i.e. pick up acorns, because I hate stepping on them) but I never thought my tush would benefit! As always, thanks so much for hosting and sharing your movement journeys.

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:18 am

      Hi Cheryl–I appreciate your kind feedback! Acorn picking … love that, too! Although, here we have way too many busy squirrels for acorns to be on the ground long enough to be a walking hazard. Anyway, here’s to tush-building gathering! :-)


  3. Susan on July 14th, 2012 1:16 pm

    What a great post Shirley! I certainly needed that reminder about the importance of movement. I really like your idea about incorporating something easy to do into your daily routine. I’m going to give it a try!

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:23 am

      Hi Susan–Thanks! Making sure to get enough movement is something that I constantly have to work on. If I don’t have an activity to move for, my tendency is to be on the computer, reading, etc. But, of course, I feel best when I have that often elusive balance of them all. :-)

      Add something fun, Susan, and keep doing it! ;-)

  4. Debi on July 14th, 2012 2:53 pm

    I remember reading several years ago about exercise. I want to say it was Dr. Hyman, but I’m probably wrong. Anyway, it was about how when we were kids there was no exercise. Only play. So if we find something we can play that we enjoy and will keep us moving, that is what we should do. :D

    And if Christian were next to me on a treadmill… Wait that would never happen. Because we’d be too busy with other things. LOL ;)

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:28 am

      Hey Debi–Whoever said that is right, of course! I remember going absolutely non-stop as a child and being “brown as a berry” (as my parents always say) during the summer because I was forever outside and busy, busy. ;-)

      ROFL on Christian! Yeah, I totally get that. :-)

      Thanks so much for commenting, dear!

  5. LisaB on July 14th, 2012 2:55 pm

    I love your approach! You are adding just one small thing into an activity that you are already doing. That’s fantastic. When we keep adding one small thing, pretty soon all those small things add up to big changes. I find it frustrating that some people think the only exercise that “counts” is the stuff that’s done in the gym. We spend more of our lives outside the gym than inside, and anything we can do to move more is good.
    Other observations: (1) personally I think you would be interested in a FitBit- it’s pedometer based on a 3D accelerometer (like a Nintendo Wii remote) that tracks your movement for each day. It doesn’t only track steps, it also tracks elevation- so for example when I walk up the hill at the end of my street, it counts as climbing two flights of stairs. I think you might appreciate seeing your numbers go up every day. (No I’m not getting paid by FitBit, I’m just a fan).
    (2) I’m curious to know, how to you keep track that you’ve picked up 100 sticks? Are you counting or guesstimating? And I second Melissa’s question- are you changing hands with each stick? I guarantee you that George Foreman did not pick up all those golf balls with his dominant hand.

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:52 am

      Hi Lisa–Thank you; I appreciate your support and input! I guess the idea had been percolating in my brain for a bit as we’ve had lots of storms of late and the ongoing supply of sticks has been even more “in my face.” ;-) Some of us will never be in a gym, but it’s so important that we keep moving. Plus as some of us have shared, there’s the added component of nature, being with pets, etc.

      The FitBit is intriguing. I took a quick look. So you have to program it to your stride like most pedometers? I’ve tried those in the past and did enjoy seeing the results of my efforts, but they always seemed to break shortly after I got them. Of course, they were not in the same league as the FitBit. I love that it also takes elevation into account. (We have some hilly walking areas in our neighborhood.)

      I updated the post to show that I count in my head. If I lose track momentarily, I just go back a few numbers (rounding back, so to speak) to be sure I’m not selling myself short. Therefore, I probably actually pick up closer to 115 or so sticks. :-)

      I responded to Melissa on changing hands. I had not done it until you guys asked the question. It hadn’t occurred to me. Duh! Today I used my non-dominant hand the whole time, but based on Melissa’s wording, I’m quessing I should alternate each time?

      Thanks again!

  6. Angela on July 14th, 2012 8:57 pm

    Loved your post, Shirely. What a wonderful way to get more meaningful exercise into an already exisiting routine! Really creative!
    Thanks for Sharing!

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:53 am

      Hey Angela–Thanks! Sometimes creative answers are staring us in the face … we just have to look in a different direction. ;-)


  7. Alta on July 14th, 2012 10:57 pm

    Shirley, great post! I know from simply picking up the sticks that our willow tree drops in a single bad storm, picking up 100 sticks can definitely be work! I too am amazed by the beautiful surroundings you have for your walk. Lovely. And that video – thank you so much for sharing. Brings tears to my eyes.

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 11:59 am

      Thanks, Alta! Well, as I was just saying in a reply, the increased number of sticks from recent storms certainly helped them become more obvious as a fitness tool to me. ;-) We are indeed blessed with a lovely property and area. :-)

      That video brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it. I’m so glad you found it just as powerful! I hope everyone will share Arthur’s video. It could change so many lives … inspire non-moving fully capable folks, inspire folks with limitations, show all the benefits of yoga, etc. So powerful!


  8. Linda on July 14th, 2012 11:47 pm

    Okay, Shirley. You’ve got me looking into Yoga. I just found a couple free ones on Amazon prime instant video that I might try out.

    I never thought about it, but I think I agree with you on exercise needing a purpose. The one thing I do consistently is walk the dogs. Every morning, rain or shine, hot or cold. Some days I walk longer or faster than others. When I’m feeling my best, I alternate with a little jogging, but even on my worst days I get out there and walk at least a little. The dogs need their exercise and routines. It throws everyone off if we don’t walk. And I do it because I’m determined to not stop moving completely. (I did take a week off when I hurt my back, but that was a first.)

    I need to do more, and your post has inspired me. My first step is to try a little yoga. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 12:40 pm

      That’s terrific news, Linda! If you don’t find a video you click with, keep looking. My faves are Rodney Yee’s AM and PM videos. I have others of his, but those two I can do when I’m totally “on track” or totally rusty. When I’m totally “on track,” I can do them better. Better, farther stretches, etc. But as I said in my post, I can still do them when I’m rusty and the benefits are great. I’ve not had as much success with other yoga videos and classes (well, except for the Yin Yoga that my dear friend Jennifer teaches!).

      A large part of the exercising with a purpose is that we actually forget that we’re exercising. Similarly, we went to a dude ranch years ago, actually called a guest ranch, and their program was “riding with a purpose.” We actually herded/moved their cattle (with the assistance of the wrangler, of course) all week. The idea was that the guests would forget about their inhibitions and concerns on riding if they were focused on the cattle. And it worked! As riders we just did what came naturally, focusing on the cattle, and we forgot to worry about leaning over too far, our bums hurting, etc. ;-) At the end of the week, the inexperienced riders felt just as good about themselves as the experienced riders!

      It’s funny you should mention jogging when you are walking the dogs. I’ve done that a few times lately with Sonny, too, and he gets so excited! It cracks me up because he starts running like a puppy and barking like crazy!

      Yes, we all need our routines and movement. Thanks so much for the feedback! Fingers crossed that you’ll find a yoga video/routine that clicks with you. Even with one that’s a good match for you, it may take a few times for it to feel “right” and that you will grow into it the more you do it of it.


  9. Vicky on July 15th, 2012 3:52 am

    Great post Shirley! I really need to add more exercise into my daily routine and reading this has made me more determined! When I’m at work (basically desk bound) I make sure I’m getting up every 5 or 10 minutes and walking down the other end of the office to file or to fax etc and at home I’m forever climbing up and down the stairs BUT I think “stilling” the mind and learning to relax more is of huge benefit.

    I loved your pictures, what a lovely place to live! And your picture of the pick-up sticks reminds me that I have got a set upstairs hidden away (a wooden one), I loved that game when I was a child and my children did too.

    Thank you for writing this, it has encouraged me to try even more to keep on the move!

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 1:09 pm

      Hi Vicky–Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear that you found this post so helpful, dear! :-) I’m in a desk job like that, too, and even with making efforts to get up and move during the day, sometimes when I will start to get up from my office chair, I feel like I’m completely “rusted shut”! In general, some days I’ll feel like I’ve been moving a good amount, but I fall short in reality. That was one thing that I did learn when I wore a pedometer (like Lisa mentioned).

      Stilling the mind with yoga or other activities is hugely important to me. I absolutely need/relish quiet time with no distractions.

      Oh, you have a wooden set of Pick-Up Sticks? How wonderful! I think that’s a fun game—and keeps the brain on its toes—for all ages. :-)


  10. Kay G. on July 15th, 2012 6:41 am

    The best exercise is one that you will actually do…that is excellent advice.

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 1:11 pm

      Isn’t it, Kay? I so loved those words/advice of Melissa’s! They just make life so much easier. Just do what you like and don’t worry about the rest!


  11. Cindy W. on July 15th, 2012 9:57 am

    That video was absolutely inspiring,Shirley. Thank you for sharing it. I had to chuckle picturing you throwing sticks on your walk but great idea to add a little power to your walks. I try to keep moving too. I enjoy walking outside, did 5K’s in my 40′s, and I like to put on some LOUD, fast music and dance around the house. Anything to keep my heart strong and my joints limber. Great post!

    • Shirley on July 15th, 2012 1:39 pm

      Hi Cindy!–I know .. seriously moving and inspiring. If Arthur can slowly transform himself like that, we can all do it, right? Dancing around the house is fantastic exercise! No waltzing for you, huh? You’re getting your boogie on–love it! :-)


  12. Lexie on July 15th, 2012 6:20 pm

    Shirley, glad to find you so inspired. It’s infectious … keep it up : ) xo Lexie

    • Shirley on July 18th, 2012 11:15 am

      Hey Lexie!–I see from your FB posts that you’ve been getting in your movement, too. So cool, and it definitely has a domino effect, doesn’t it? This morning I did my walk before yoga (Sonny had to go! LOL) and I was feeling sluggish and not exactly wanting to pick up sticks, but once I picked up one I couldn’t stop myself from picking up the other 99! ;-) Who knew one could make a habit in just over a week?

      Keep up the good work on your end! xo,

  13. Ina Gawne on July 16th, 2012 10:14 am

    Shirley – it is great that you are doing Yoga each day and walking. I think Yoga is the best exercise for anyone to do. I love it, although, must admit,I do need to do more of it! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Shirley on July 18th, 2012 11:17 am

      Thanks, Ina! I seriously don’t feel like myself if I miss my yoga, or maybe I should say that I feel like a much older version of Shirley when I don’t do my yoga. True. We need to “set our intentions” to do daily yoga, don’t we? ;-)


  14. Gail Mollencopf on July 16th, 2012 9:43 pm

    Just what I needed to confirm my thinking. Been finally feeling better & thinking I really need to exercise. My mom did yoga in her later years said it was the easiest on her joints. After this post I believe this is the one for me also. Thanks!

    • Shirley on July 18th, 2012 11:19 am

      Hi Gail–You are welcome! I hope you will start out slow with yoga and let it works its magic on your body and soul. :-) How wonderful that you have the example of your mom! I’d really like to get my mom doing yoga for her flexibility and pain relief. Maybe I should try to convince her?


  15. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on July 16th, 2012 11:48 pm

    Shirley, this is so perfect!! I always think of all of the outdoor activities I am doing with a purpose as exercise…weeding the garden, cleaning the side yard, skimming the pool, running after the boys, picking up there toys (the ones they are supposed to be picking up), and I actually scrub my wood floors inside on my hands and knees so that it gives me extra exercise. And even though I play tennis for pure fun, the extra perk is that it is a great form of exercise too and I don’t even think about it that way because I am so busy enjoying it!

    I love all of the ideas you listed here!! And I am SO So excited to get Melissa and Pete’s book!

    And the pics you posted of Sonny and your neighborhood make me miss you so so much more!

    • Shirley on July 18th, 2012 11:28 am

      Hi Kim–It’s funny that you should mention getting in extra movement through being on your hands and knees while cleaning floors. Mr. GFE and I were just talking about some of the ways that we add extra movement in our day. Until I started picking up sticks and shared that with him, I had no idea that he was doing such extra steps at work. It all adds up, and you are such a fine example of being in constant movement. It’s sort of a given when having little ones, but we need even more than that movement … movement in purposeful ways as you’ve shared! I actually thing that all the timesaving appliances have done more to harm us than do good. That’s why I still use a wooden spoon most of the time when mixing. ;-)

      I haven’t finished Melissa and Pete’s book yet. I need to cloister myself away from everyday life to get in any “long-term” reading lately. Now if they had it on audio and I could listen to it in the car, I’d be golden! (Are you hearing me, Melissa and Pete? I want the next edition to be an audio one. You guys can take turns reading.)

      Missing you, too, dear! Hoping we’ll have another get together this year! xo,

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