Fitness Book Club: The Blue Zones

Fitness Book Club: The Blue Zones

Welcome to the second installment of my Fitness Book club!! I hope you enjoyed this month’s selection The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Tonight is the actual discussion on Facebook so please join us at at 8 pm CDT for a discussion on how we all plan to live past 100!

Instead of discussing the book here, I want to share with you a change from the book I’ve already implemented in my life.

I’ve decided to take a Sabbath.

Not in a religious sense, but respecting the idea of day without work and, at least in my case, social media.

You see I work all the time, mainly because I love what I do. I always say fitness is not what I do; it’s who I am. Having my own business has led to me working 7 days a week. I train clients Monday – Saturday. When I’m not training I’m prepping sessions, meeting with clients and business associates, balancing the books, blogging, tweeting, pinning and Facebooking. I always feel like in some way I’m working and plugged in.

I read the Blue Zones on the way to and the way back from SXSW. At the same time my husband was reading The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, which also references taking a Sabbath. Then, at an amazing session with Tiffany Schlain, Lisa Ling and Susan Orlean about women and how we present ourselves online, the subject came up again. Tiffany Schlain was talking about her film Connected and her own decision to reclaim one day to unplug and reconnect with the real world.

It was as though the universe was trying to tell me something.

You need to unplug. For your own health and sanity you need to take at least one day away from the computer and away from work.

That is what I have done for the last 2 Sundays. No Facebook, no Twitter, not even checking in on Foursquare. No blogging or working on client programs.  My one computer activity was one quick check of my email to make sure I didn’t have any cancellations for my early Monday sessions.

It’s amazing how it’s changed my day to step away from the computer. I am truly able to relax and recharge. My Sunday even seems longer. Somehow without the computer interference I feel able to fill those same hours with so much more.

My workouts have already changed in nature. Instead of having to get it done first thing in the morning, so I can work in the afternoon, I can be more flexible. Last Sunday morning it was too chilly to bike. No problem. Yoga, laundry, lunch and then walking around the Nature Center. I could be flexible because I had left the demands of writing, posting and prepping behind for just one day.

I also have more time to cook. In the morning, instead of checking email I put seitan on to boil before I made our Vanilla Coconut Protein Pancakes. After dinner I had time to make some curried seitan salad to eat the next day. The best part? I was enjoying cooking again because I wasn’t trying to do 20 things at the same time.

Fitness is about more than miles and push-ups. It’s feeling well in all aspects of your life. We put a lot of demands on our body and our mind on this journey. Even I forgot how important it is to take a rest stop now and again. The Blue Zones reminded me that, just like in weight training, recovery is just as important as the workout. To live a long life means taking your rest as seriously as your work.

  • Suzanne

    Thanks so much for writing this Pamela. I know I could really benefit from unplugging one day a week. It becomes a habit to “check in” constantly, and it steals our productivity big time. And you’re right that fitness is about more than physical exercise. Recovery, even mental rest from the constant barrage of input, is just as essential.

  • Mary C. Weaver, CSCS

    This is so reassuring. I too tend to keep doing and doing and doing seven days a week–and yet if we don’t take time to restore ourselves, how can we continue to help other people?

    I love the idea of taking at least one full day off work. Let’s see if I can implement it!

  • Pamela Hernandez

    Thank you ladies. It is hard. I never realized how often I went to my phone or PC for things. I really do feel a lot better though, so I highly recommend giving it a try. 

  • Shira

    Pamela, I haven’t read the book yet but am impressed by the sound advice offered. After burning myself out by trying to do to much for most of my conscious adult like, I try to take a day off once a week from work and writing to just relax and always emerge much sharper, stronger and better for it. The hard thing is social media. I tend not to check email and social media much after my work day ends but I’m still logging on even on my day of rest. BTW, those vanilla coconut protein pancakes sound amazing! 

  • Pamela Hernandez

    It’s amazing how social media has become so intertwined in our lives. I never thought of it as work before but I realized after just one day unplugged how much work it really is. And the pancakes are very yummy!

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