Clean Teeth, Strong Legs

I was lamenting to a former boss years ago that I was terrible at climbing hills on my bike – okay, on my own feet, too. It hurt which meant I hated it, so I avoided hills.

His response: “If you hate it, then you should be doing it more”

He was used to the fine-you-win eye roll I gave in return and therefore forgiving enough to offer a suggestion: do squats while you brush your teeth.

While trying to perfect the posture of squats was outside of my realm, I did find a perfect alternative in the wall sit.

Wall Sits are great in that you can build up your strength quickly, so you’re fed encouragement early on in the process. I’ve stopped and started this process over the years in the days leading up to an intense hike or the weeks before a tough backpacking trip and was immensely rewarded with an ability to climb mountains way faster and with very little leg exhaustion. I even smiled some. Oh, and I could talk for a good bit of the journey.

Talking! Up a hill!

This was a great new life ahead of me.

And it’s still great.

I’ve now gotten in the habit of doing this every morning. I tried morning and night, but it was really difficult to get into a schedule with both, so I opted to start small with just the morning and eventually work up to both once that habit was solid.

It was tough to make it to 30 seconds on my first attempt, but I’ve been consistently hitting the full two minutes for a couple months now.

There’s a lot of marks your hitting with this habit:

  • Wall Sits…
    • Build endurance (translation: hills and stairs get easier)
    • Focus training for your brain
    • Strengthen the muscles around your knees (Runner’s Knee sufferers, rejoice!)
    • Are an isometric exercise (meaning lower resting heart rate; therefore lower blood pressure)
    • Are weight bearing (strong bones, here we come!)
  • Dental Hygiene
    • Seriously who actually brushes for a full two minutes otherwise? (If your electric toothbrush “counts” for you, consider yourself excluded)
    • All the stuff your dentist says about gingivitis and other dental maladies affecting the rest of your body
    • Saving yourself on dental bills and, therefore, insurance costs
    • Okay, those procedures don’t just cost money, but time away from work or a million other things you would rather be doing
    • Acknowledging that future “you” will
      • want to eat hard foods as long as possible
      • avoid dentures

Hopefully you’re sold, so when you get ready to brush your teeth tomorrow:

  • Grab your phone and open your stopwatch app
  • Find an open wall, press your back into it and lower down as far as you can without experiencing pain, stopping if your thighs and calves are perpendicular to each other
  • Start the timer and begin to brush your teeth, starting in any quadrant you like (I tend to start with the top-right portion of my mouth)
  • Be sure you keep your stomach in – focus on breathing through your nose and from your chest
  • Try to make it to 30 seconds before you stand up
  • If you’re doing okay, then move to the next quadrant
  • Continue until you simply can’t go on or at 2 minutes

I believe in you! Report back and let us know how it went.

Imperfection: A Great Starting Point

I’m writing this first post for a blog that is, currently, 95% Word Press stock photos and filler text. The remaining writing (in the “About” section) is, at best, a guess of where this is going and, at worst, really just something I’m soap boxing about these days.

If I waited until I felt that the design was perfect and I knew exactly what I wanted, well, it would be yet another three years before I maybe did something about it. That doesn’t mean it would be ready, I’m just saying that I would have done something. Sure, I would have eventually fixed it all up and maybe I would have even pre-written a lot of blog posts in advance to prepare and get a better focus on what the heck we’re doing here.

But, if that were the case, then I would have the same problem that I’ve been ranting about for what feels like years: things don’t magically happen overnight.

 

I so wish we had a picture of our house on the first day we moved into it, but it was far too crammed and messy for me to consider documenting such a state. If I had it, that photo would show that we didn’t just arrive to living well with only the things we love most in 300 sq ft together. We worked really hard get here. We still do.

If I had a photo of myself when I was too embarrassed to document my body at a size that was, in my opinion, less-than-desirable, I would have some encouragement for the days when I forget how far I’ve come. I still haven’t made it to where I want to be, but some perspective really helps to make the journey a happy one. When the road is fun, you’re a lot more likely to get to your destination.

If I had the stats from the first run I went on, I could prove that no matter how slow or how brief that original one is, you are still in a great place to become someone that manages – maybe even enjoys – running for 26.2 miles.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those historical trinkets, so I have to keep hoping that people just believe me. I can get pretty delusional at times, but I’m “with it” enough to know that people usually don’t believe me.

Maybe I’m just crazed or lucky. Maybe I’m underestimating them. Maybe all three?

But maybe I’m not.

I’m looking to challenge all of the misperceptions I’ve heard from people over the years. It’s exciting that for what seems like the first time in my life, I will be documenting the beginnings of something – even if I’m not sure what this something is just yet. Not just as argument points for my ranting, but encouragement for myself.

So, here I am with my imperfect blog and a matching first post.

Oh, and an explicit challenge if you aren’t feeling one already:

Start right here, right now, in this less-than-perfect place in your life. Move just an inch towards the person you want to be. You can’t give the world a marathon today, but don’t let that stop you from giving it just the first steps you can manage.

Stretch goal: Document this imperfect step of yours.

Bonus points: Share in the vulnerability and post it in the comments below.*

*For the record, reaching out to the vast internet for a response when it’s the most likely to just stare back at me with pity definitely counts as my “shared vulnerability”.