Tag Archives: exercise

Old School Sports

21 Feb

Like most people, I started the year with the intention of being more active and getting fit again. For most of 2018 I was on the treatment table at the local physiotherapist because of a knee injury. This made the year frustrating in terms of health and fitness.

Healed and healthy, I now have no excuses. 2019 has had a great start sport-wise. I decided to rekindle my passion for two sports that I haven’t played for the past 10 years or more, as well as get back into running.

As January and the beginning of February have been very cold, I decided that the best thing to do was stay inside and get in a pool. If I am honest, some of my motivation has come from seeing my niece at her swimming lessons. She loves being in the water so much and enjoys her lessons. I remember going to swimming as a kid and having as much fun as she does. These were simpler times where I would just do the sports that I enjoyed and not because I wanted to maintain my weight.

At first it was hard. It felt a bit boring going back and forth. But I have noticed that I am finding it easier and I feel a lot stronger than I did a few weeks ago. I remember getting out of the pool in the first week in January and having to steady myself on the side because my legs felt like jelly. Now, I am swimming further and pushing myself to do a little bit further than last time and I am enjoying it a lot. I have also found that it gives me time to think about things. Once I get into a rhythm, it’s like my body is on auto pilot and my brain has the freedom to think. Having time to think about things is something that I think we forget about doing these days.

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The second sport I have tried is netball. Netball isn’t so well-known in Switzerland and most of the players are expats from UK, Australia and New Zealand. I felt really welcomed by the team and it wasn’t too hard to get back into the swing of things. I was wondering if I would have forgotten how to catch a ball but it turns out that netball is like riding a bike!

I didn’t feel like I was putting much effort into all of the running around (I was playing GS after all). But when I looked at the mirrors in the toilets afterwards, I realised that I bore a striking resemblance to a boiled beetroot. I used to be embarrassed about how red my face got during sport but it is a good indicator that I have been working hard. No one can accuse me of not putting effort in to something when I have changed colour quicker than a chameleon. Having said that, I know that as I get fitter that my redness will reduce – which is also good motivation!

As the weather has improved, I even decided to go running. My knee is better and there is no reason why I shouldn’t when there is no snow and ice on the ground waiting to trip me up. Oh wait, there is a reason. An old nemesis of mine, also from my school days has decided to rear its ugly head. Asthma.

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I was diagnosed with asthma when I was a teenager. After cross country running, my classmates told me that I sounded like the laughing dog, Muttley, from The Wacky Races TV series. So, I decided it would be a good idea to get checked out because the symptoms seemed to point to asthma. I was given an inhaler to relieve the symptoms and then I sort of forgot about it.

I ran 10ks, half marathons and even a marathon and I didn’t need my medication to relieve any symptoms but they weren’t there. I thought I had managed to outgrow a childhood illness (which is completely possible). I realised last week that I was wrong. My asthma is particularly affected by cold temperatures, which is why this hadn’t become apparent when I have been swimming and playing netball inside where the temperature is warmer.

After a short run I sounded like Wheezy the Penguin from Toy Story 2 when he has lost his squeak: my chest was tight and I felt like I was suffocating. I admitted defeat, called the doctor and asked for an appointment.

Armed with my inhaler, I feel like a different person. Two runs powered by medication and I can breathe easily, I’m not wheezing and I am actually enjoying running again. If I keep going like this, I think that I will be able to hit my fitness goals for 2019. However, even if I don’t, even if my 10k personal best eludes me, I know that I am on the right track for a happier and healthier me.

Fitness goal update 

22 Feb

8 weeks into the New Year and 8 weeks into the new fitness regime already. In my earlier post, I talked about the advice given to me by an online BMI calculator to lose 30 kilos to be the average weight for my height.

Luckily for me, I believe in striving to be above average in everything that I do. I downgraded the goal of 30 kilos to something more modest. My initial aim was to lose 6 kilos before my holiday in mid-April and then make another weight loss goal after my return.

The good news is I am well on track to achieve this. Despite a week in Munich when I didn’t exercise so much and a week of being ill when I had no energy to exercise nor to prepare healthy food, I have already lost almost 4 kilos and I still have 6 weeks until I jet off on holiday.

Each week I have prepared by lunchtime meals in advance, not bought anything from the vending machines at work (helped by leaving my credit card, the form of payment, at home), eaten a filling but health evening meal and exercised at least 4 times a week. I weigh myself each Monday at the gym to track my progress.

It no longer feels like a chore. Every Sunday I make my lunches, pack my gym bag and get ready for my weigh in. I have been constantly amazed each week when I have jumped on the scales, thinking if I have just maintained the weight I was last week that would not be so bad, only to see I have lost more weight. Not that I am complaining!

The bad news is that I might have ruined my weight loss goals by taking a trip on the Fondue ship! Every Tuesday in winter/spring a ship leaves centrally from Zurich to make a round-trip on the lake and serve the guests onboard Fondue. Combined with a second portion, beer, wine and a cold platter of smoked meats as a starter, the calories start to add up. I did go to the gym during the day but I’m not even sure that will counteract the calories consumed. Nevertheless, it was a great evening and having one night off every so often does not mean that the diet is a complete failure…


And I still have time to meet my weight-before-going-on-holiday target. I am confident that I can lose a little bit more than I intended to before setting off. Fingers crossed. This would mean I get to eat and drink a bit more while on holiday and not feel so bad about it!

In some ways I am nervous about going away and getting out of the routine I have at the moment. It will be a little painful to get back into the swing of things but that is one thing I will not be worrying about on holiday!