These posts are designed to keep me accountable for spending time on my interests; those things that bring me joy but that I tend to see as optional extras. Writing is taken care of through work and this blog, so here are the ways I've indulged my other interests this week.
This week I went to see the Australian cut of the Banff Mountain Film Festival for 2016. It was one of the best adventure film selections I've seen and, as always, I left the theatre even more inspired for adventurous experiences. Next year, I think I'll take the kids along as they would have loved this one. My daughter is passionate about animals and my son loves mountain-biking and there was plenty of both in this year's films.
I also did a little more planning for tackling the 7 Bridges Walk.in Sydney. I've started downloading maps and my sister and I have decided we'll do the walk over two days, catching a train back to our hotel in the evening. With every long walk, we try to do something quite different. This will be our first city-based long walk. Hopefully there will be plenty of bushland and harbour views to enjoy.
I'm reading about the relationship between exercise and the brain in Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey with Eric Hagerman. (I've borrowed the book from my local library so the cover is different in the link.) For so long, exercise has been seen as necessary for weight loss, but in reality, it serves so many other purposes. Even putting aside weight management, exercise increases our energy capacity, stabilises and improves our mood, prevents or fixes numerous health problems, and helps us think and learn better. I'm using this book as inspiration to exercise regularly!
I've also downloaded How to Have a Good Day: Think Bigger, Feel Better and Transform Your Working Life by Caroline Webb. This new book uses evidence from neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics to provide concrete ways we can improve the energy and satisfaction we experience each day. It also has a section on relationships which I'm keen to read.
When I have time on the weekend, I love to do a bit of baking. This week I made an Apple Irish Cake. It was rich and buttery on the inside with a lovely crust on the outside. While it was delicious eaten hot with a cup of tea, I'm also looking forward to trying it cold spread with even more butter. I just need to get to it before everyone else does!
Because I want to be able to enjoy the 7 Bridges Walk in Sydney (27 kilometres), I need to improve my fitness. After a sedentary couple of months, it's nice to get back into my routine. This week I did two sessions of yoga (in my office at lunch-time), two sessions of LifeSprints on the stationery bike, a big cleaning session (this counts as exercise!), and two meditation sessions.
A little more about LifeSprints: The science show, Catalyst, featured this exercise program developed by researchers from the University of New South Wales in their Fit in 6 Minutes a Week episode. Research shows that high-intensity exercise is the best way to quickly and dramatically increase the mitochondria (energy factories) in our bodies, as well as our aerobic fitness. It's also a good way to improve our insulin sensitivity, which is important to me as I had gestational diabetes when pregnant.
LifeSprints is a 'gentle' version of high-intensity training. I do a 5 minute warm-up on the exercise bike, followed by a 20 minute workout, alternating between 8 seconds of sprinting and 12 seconds of slow pedaling, before a 5 minute cool-down. It's all timed for me with a soundtrack which I downloaded from iTunes for $16.99. For the cost of a couple of gym sessions, I've been getting lots of ongoing health benefits from this investment.
What have you been up to this week?