The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race – 2017 – Race Review

The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race shirtThis past weekend I ran the half marathon in The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race. This was my 4th half marathon of 2017 and 16th of all time. The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race consisted of 4 different events – the half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run. Costumes are encouraged, with awards given to the top adult and child costumes and groups. This is a small race, with a cap of 5,000 participants, but only 795 runners completed the half marathon. A couple of factors likely let to this number. First, there are 3 major half marathons within the St Louis area within the month of October – Mo’ Cowbell, Rock ‘n Roll, then GO! Halloween. I was also supposed to run Mo’ Cowbell the first weekend of the month, but got sick the day before. The second contributing factor to the low turnout was the threat of rain. Meteorologists predicted that we would have storms all morning, including lightening, but we ended up with a downpour just before starting, then a light mist for a couple of miles before clear skies.

Packet Pick-Up

Packet Pick-Up occurred at the GO! St Louis offices in Clayton. I arrived in the last hour of pick-up on Saturday, having just driven back to St Louis from Juice Plus+ Live in Indianapolis. There were no lines and I was able to pick up my bib, shirt, and swag quickly. I had signed up for the Bridges & Broomsticks Challenge last October, which required me to run both the GO! St Louis half marathon in April and the GO! Halloween. At packet pick-up, I was able to pick-up my extra hooded sweatshirt for the challenge.

I do love the GO! St Louis challenges! You get an extra shirt and medal, and usually save a little on registration fees. Last year, I completed the Triple 5K Challenge. Having just had a baby in February 2016, I thought starting back with 5ks would be a good idea. The three 5ks were the GO! St Louis in April, All American in June, and GO! Halloween in October. Other Challenges include the GO! Short GO! Long which includes the 5k and either half or full marathon in April on back to back days and the 17K Challenge. The 17K Challenge includes a 7K at the GO! St Louis event in April and the GO! Halloween 10K.

Race Morning

To start the morning off, my alarm did not go off!! Every runner’s worst nightmare! The half marathon started at 7:30, but with the 5k starting at 7, I wanted to be downtown by 6:30. Well…I woke up at 6:00! I had partially laid out my clothes, but not my water belt or anything else that I would need. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off, my husband was warning me not to wake the kids. I was able to get out the door and downtown by 6:45. Luckily for the rain and low attendance, I was able to find parking in my normal spot and meet my friends at the Big River Running tent. A group of us had spent the season training together with Big River and started out the race together. The 10K runners split off about mile 4.5 and then there were just 4 of us together for the half marathon.

Mile 5 was tough for me. I haven’t been training as much as I should, and while I know that I can run a half marathon, my legs like to get very heavy. I fell back from my friends, but continued with my 30:30 intervals. At Mile 8, I had a resurgence and passed two of my friends, but it was short lived and my legs felt heavy again by Mile 10. Under good training conditions, I typically start extending my runs at the 10 Mile mark, but held out until closer to Mile 11. I also start finding people that I can pick off, especially if they look like they could be in the same age group as me. And although I’ll never win my age group, it’s just a sense of pride when I can pick those runners off in the last couple of miles. My last 2 miles ended up being over a minute faster than any of my other miles. So finished strong!

My friends that had completed the 10K were all near the finish line and tempting me with doughnuts. Going through the finish line, they handed me my medal for this event, along with water, chocolate, a pretzel bun, banana, and fruit cup. I had to go to another tent to collect my Challenge medal. I eventually reconnected with all of my friends where we enjoyed the doughnut holes and took photos of each other with our medals.

Post race - GO! St Louis half marathon

Conclusion

GO! St Louis events are always very well run, with good signage on the course and plenty of volunteers. They also provide a nice variety of finish food, with a little something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

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Equinox Half Marathon – 2017 St Louis – Race Review

Equinox Half Marathon t-shirt

Billed as the only nighttime half marathon in St Louis, the Equinox Half Marathon was a must run for me. The race took place on September 16, just one day after former police office Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder. That decision has sparked several days of protesting, with destruction of property and violence occurring after dark. While the decision was announced in downtown St Louis, the protesting occurred all over the city. However, the race organizers had worked with the Maryland Heights police and fire departments to ensure adequate race coverage. As I live in south St Louis city, my husband was very hesitant of me running.  Not so much worried about the race itself, but about me getting home. The judge in the decision lives in our neighborhood and protests were expected there the night of the race. Fortunately, protesters stayed away from both the race area and my neighborhood.

Check-In

The race originated from Westport Plaza, a unique multi-use area including hotels, restaurants, bars, theatres, and corporate offices. Check-in was to occur at a new entertainment spot called Westport Social. Not being familiar with Westport Social’s location within the plaza, I parked in the large open parking lot in front of the plaza. I saw others were parking there too and there was a truck selling various athletic apparel. Following the line of people took me to the back of the plaza. Check-in was set up outside of Westport Social within their outside seating area. The line was minimal and check-in consisted of several tables. The first stop was to obtain my bib. The half marathon and 5k had the same bib, no differentiation in wording or coloring.

The next stop was swag! Swag consisted of a hat, socks, pint glass and a bag full of coupons, including a free margarita at Fuzzy Taco and a free beer at Trainwreck Saloon with your pint glass and bib.

Equinox Half Marathon Race Swag

Course

The course consisted of two 6 mile loops in the Maryland Heights area. Beginning right in front of the plaza, we proceeded to run through the plaza and run along the back side, including the new World Wide Technology facility. We wrapped our way around Westport Plaza before heading east, running by O’Fallon Brewery’s new location. It had been many years since I was last at Westport Plaza and there were so many new buildings and companies and restaurants that had moved out there. Around Mile 1, we entered Edward Jones Blvd. From I-270, you can see 2 large Edward Jones buildings, but I didn’t realize how large their campus was off Dorsett. They have numerous single story buildings spotting the whole area.

Overall, the course was very well marked, with plenty of volunteers, police and firemen along the course to keep traffic away and tell you where to go. The only place that I got confused was heading back into Westport Plaza after my first loop. I could see people running towards me and I was far enough behind the person in front of me that I couldn’t see where they had turned. There was a volunteer at the intersection with a sign with arrows pointing which way to go, but they made no sense to me so I just yelled out to him as I approached.

It always amazes me how I never notice how hilly a road is while I’m driving. I would have never thought this section of St Louis would have been hilly, but I was wrong. There were long stretches of up-hill climbs. Which I love hills, so this was my opportunity to leave and pass people along the back end of the route. I tend to run negative splits during races, which just means that I tend to speed up as the race progresses. I follow the Galloway run-walk method, using 30 second run / walk intervals, but usually when I hit about the 10 mile mark during a half marathon, I start stretching out my run portions. But, no matter how long I run, I only walk for 30 seconds, which has been shown to be the most efficient recovery time.

Finish

Upon finishing, I was handed a medal. And it actually glowed in the dark! Very cool! Many of my friends from Big River Training Team were volunteering at the finish line handing out water and bananas. I stayed around with them until some of the last runners came in. It turned out to be a beautiful night after the sun went down and was able to cool off a little.

Equinox Half Marathon finish

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Charity Miles – Earn money for charity while you work out

Charity Miles is an organization that gives people the opportunity to direct corporate contributions to charities of their choice… simply by walking, running and biking! It adds extra motivation to know that as you are moving you are doing good!

Charity Miles tracks your distance, and large companies make contributions to the charity you selected.

Here’s how to join in on the fun:

  1. Download the Charity Miles app onto your smartphone. Available on both Apple & Android at charitymiles.org.
  2. Create a free account.
  3. Choose which charity you would like to support. You may change selections each time you log in.
  4. Select “Teams” and join the “Fueling Healthy Families” team!
  5. Start walking, running or biking!

One cool feature of the app I love is the availability to add a picture and share to social media what charity you are supporting. You also get to see what corporate partner is donating on your behalf.

Charity Miles Social Share

Some of the current charities:

Partnership for a Healthier America
– End childhood obesity

Stand Up To Cancer
– Fund cancer research

ASPCA
– Protect Animals

Alzheimer’s Association
– Support Alzheimer’s research

USO
– Support our service members

Team Red, White & Blue
– Enrich the lives of American veterans

Feeding America
– Fight hunger in America

ALS Association
– Fighting to treat and cure ALS

Save the Children
– Invest in children worldwide

Operation Smile
– Provide life-changing surgeries to children

Habitat for Humanity
– Provide housing to people worldwide

Girl Up
– Empower girls worldwide

(RED)
– Create the first AIDS-free generation

Sight For Kids
– Free eye exams and glasses for children

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
– Move towards a world free of MS

Wounded Warrior Project
– Honor and empower wounded warriors

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
– Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
– Cure and treat childhood cancer

American Diabetes Association
– Fight Diabetes

Charity: Water
– Provide clean and safe drinking water

National Park Foundation
– Protect our National parks

Shot@Life
– Provide vaccines to children worldwide

The Michael J. Fox Foundation
– Cure Parkinson’s Disease

Autism Speaks
– Support Autism research

Every Mother Counts
– Make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother

World Wildlife Fund
– Protect nature and wildlife

Girls On The Run
– Empowering girls through running

DoSomething.org
– Empower young people

The Nature Conservatory
– Protect nature and preserve life

The World Food Programme
– Fight hunger worldwide

Pencils of Promise
– Build schools worldwide

Special Olympics
– Empower athletes with intellectual disabilities

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
– Cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Team For Kids
– Get kids active

She’s the First
– Educate girls in low-income countries

Soles4Souls
– Provide shoes to fight poverty worldwide

Nothing But Nets
– Provide anti-malaria bednets

Back On My Feet
– Empower people experiencing homelessness

Achilles International
– Empower athletes with disabilities

The Ironman Foundation
– Get kids active

Vision Spring
– Provide eyeglasses to people worldwide

Foundation of the NSNA
– Support our future nurses

 

Which charity would you choose?

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GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway – 2017 Review

Run at the Raceway tank

Two 5ks in 2 days! That’s right, I participated in the Glo Run 5k on a Friday night, then the GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway on Saturday night. The GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway kicked off a week of racing themed events around the St. Louis metro area as a part of the “St. Louis Speed Festival”. Taking place at Gateway Motorsports Park, the night consisted of a 1 mile run, a 5k, and a Beer  Relay. I participated in just the 5k, but had many friends in the various events. There were even challenge medals for competing in multiple events that night.

Covering nearly 200 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the St Louis region, encompassing a ¼-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6- mile road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a new 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.

Check-in

I arrived at the racetrack as the National Anthem was playing before the 1 mile run, which started at 6pm. The 5k was to start at 7pm, with the beer relay to run in heats starting at 8:30pm. The check-in tent was easy to spot, with NO line! Registration included a racer tank in red, along with a chipped time bib. I immediately ran into some of my friends from Big River Training Team who were waiting for the 5k and beer relay. We also had friends volunteering at the finish line, so chatted with them a bit while we were all waiting.

Waiting for race time

The Course

The 5k began and finished on the drag strip and included a loop of the racing oval. While advertised that the run would take place at dusk under the lights of the race track, sunset is not until after 8pm, so it was still light for the 7pm 5k and no lights were on. A little disappointing. It was still very cool to run on the race track though and was a little unusual to run on such a high bank at the end of the oval. Being on an IndyCar and drag racing courses, the race was flat.

Finish Line

We finished on the drag strip where we started. There was an announcer saying each of our names as we approached the finish line. Upon crossing the finish line, we were handed a bottle of water. Turning the corner, there was a line up of sports drink, various pretzels (rods, sticks, traditional, nuggets), and bananas. We were then handed our medals.

With Medal

Conclusion

Participating in various GO! St Louis events before, they are all really well ran. I’d love if this race could be pushed back a little to actually run under the lights. A may have a slight obsession with night races now, with the Glo Run the night before and I just signed up for the Equinox half marathon, a night time race taking place at Westport Plaza in St Louis next month.

Interested in joining a future GO! St Louis event? Check out their website. They have all sorts of challenges you can sign up for by either racing multiple events in the same weekend or the same event at different race weekends. I completed the 5k Challenge last year, running three different 5ks – GO! St Louis in April, All American in June and GO! Halloween in October. I’ll be running the GO! Halloween half marathon this year.

Upcoming GO! St Louis events

  • October 22, 2017 – The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race
    • Half marathon, 10k, 5k, 1 mile
  • April 6-8, 2018 – GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend
    • Marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 7K, 5K run/walk, GO! St. Louis Read, Right & Run Marathon, children’s fun runs and a mature mile
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Glo Run St Louis – 2017 Review

Glo Run Start

The Glo Run St Louis was this past weekend and billed itself as a Run Through Luau. As a big supporter of the community, my employer (Wells Fargo Advisors) pays for race entries to selected races benefiting local charities. The Glo Run St Louis benefited Children’s Miracle Network and I was lucky enough to win one of the spots through the lottery.

Check-In

I decided to take my 5 year old son with me, as he loves glo sticks and anything glow in the dark. The race started at the Upper Muny parking lot in  Forest Park. We parked on the street at the entrance to the parking lot, so we’d have an easy exit from the park. Walking towards the check-in area, the first thing you notice is how long the lines are. I had received my bib number via email prior to the race and the lines were divided up by number, but the lines were so long you couldn’t make sure you were even in the correct line. Race day check in was the only option, so this is definitely an area for improvement.

My registration for the Chip Timed Run included a t-shirt, lei, 3 glo sticks, a flashlight, a bib and finisher medal. The initial long line was just for the bib and you had to go to separate tables for the remaining items. After collecting all our swag, we next jumped in line for body paint. My son opted for dots up the arms and face paint under the eyes. I followed suit with dots up my arms as well.

Aidan all decked out

Course

The Glo Run St Louis featured 5 on course neon luau themed zones:

  1. Giant Pineapples
  2. Black Lights Luau
  3. Luau Photo Op
  4. Dancing Luau Giants
  5. Arches of Luau

The race started at 8:10pm, just after sunset. As you can see, the course became dark and the flashlight came in handy to see in front of us. We started out running, but as you can expect with a 5 year old, we quickly resorted to walking and walked most of the course. Which was totally fine, as this race is definitely under the category of “Fun” races and had such fun photo ops. Of course, my son had to stop at each one for a picture.

Upon finishing the race, we were handed a bottle of water. As only the finishers who registered in the Chip Timed Run earned medals, we had to walk to another tent to pick ours up. They also had a table with granola bars and fruit snacks available to pick up. The whole night, they had a DJ playing music and a big dance party formed as people finished the race.

Aidan and his medal

Upcoming Events

The Glo Run has events all over the US with 3 races remaining in 2017 – Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Cedar Rapids. Learn more at The Glo Run.

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Tabata – My Favorite Workout – What Is It? 

What is Tabata?

Looking for a quick, high intensity workout? Tabata may be your answer. The gym at my office started offering Tabata classes last year, and they have grown to be my favorite. But what is Tabata?

What is Tabata?

Tabata training is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, featuring exercise intervals that last just 20 seconds. HIIT workouts have been one of the fastest growing trends in the exercise world, due to their calorie burning potential in a short time.

Each exercise in a given Tabata workout lasts only four minutes, but it’s likely to be one of the longest four minutes you’ve ever endured. The structure of the program is as follows:

  • Workout hard for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Complete 8 rounds

You push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. This is one set. You’ll complete eight sets of each exercise.

You can do pretty much any exercise you wish. You can do squats, push-ups, burpees or any other exercise that works your large muscle groups. My office gym even has Tabata classes with core and cardio focuses. The best part is that the total class lasts only 20 minutes!

How Tabata Works - Tabata is an Explosive and Efficient Workout

Source: eReplacementParts.com blog

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Shred10 Day #2

Thanks for following along with me to Day #2 of the 10 day Shred10. Let’s review the guidelines I’m following.

Shred10 guidelines

Breakfast

I finished off the Mango-chia overnight oatmeal that I had started on Day #1. Still delicious on Day #2. I’ll be trying out different variations of this recipe including strawberries and whatever fruit I can find fresh.

I also took my Juice Plus+ trio capsules, Juice Plus+ omega, and Doterra probiotic and TriEase.

Exercise

I made it to the gym today! My first time in weeks. I attended a 30 minute Strength class at my office gym. It included 3 groups of 4 exercises that we completed twice for 45 seconds per exercise. Having not been to class in awhile, I chose a lighter weight (8 pounds). The exercises ranged from bicep curls with an overhead press and tricep dip to various ab work like planks. Definitely a great work out!

Lunch

My weakness at work is when the Lulu Dim Sum truck comes to campus. I love their General Tso Chicken! I splurged, after just working out, and ordered the General Tso, but with green beans instead of rice. Even though I’m not perfect with the Shred10, I love how it makes me aware of my food choices. I chose a vegetable instead of a starch. I then spent my lunch hour googling the ingredients in General Tso, what is gluten free, and what is considered processed food.  The traditional General Tso sauce recipe includes sugar and soy sauce (which may or may not be gluten free). But I did learn that the chicken is battered in cornstarch, which is gluten free.

Snack/Dinner

I had several meetings this afternoon, leaving me to start my double shake at 4pm. I took a break when I got home from work and didn’t finish it off until 9pm. So, I missed that 6pm cutoff, but just didn’t feel hungry. Again, I had made my shake in the morning with just Dutch Chocolate Juice Plus+ Complete, unsweetened almond milk, and chia seeds. I throw everything in my shaker bottle, shake, and refrigerate until I’m ready to drink.

Sleep/Movement

I met the 7 hours of sleep goal, and fell a little short of my step goal, but I did get in that exercise as mentioned earlier.

Water

Fell much shorter on my water goal today. I do pretty well at work, but seem to stop drinking water when I get home. I have the same water bottle at work and home, so need to work on keeping it within arms reach, especially as I’m sitting at the computer working on my blog and social media posts.

Conclusion

Today was much tougher than Day #1. Having the accountability of this blog did make me choose a healthier option at lunch than I would have otherwise, but nearly every aspect will use some special attention tomorrow, especially as I am working from home and won’t get the movement around the office.

Shred10 Day #2 Tracker

Missed Day #1? Catch it here.

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Race 13.1 St Louis – Review

Race 13.1 T-shirt & medal

This past weekend I ran the half marathon at Race 13.1 St Louis. This is the 2nd year that this national race has been held in St Louis. Starting from Missouri Research Park in St Charles, this was the 1st race that I have ran in this area of St Louis. The course covered portions of the Katy Trail, Busch Greenway, and Hamburg Trail.

Pre-Race

To start the day, my alarm went off at 4:30am. I live about 40 minutes away from the race site and still needed to check in between 5:15-6:15am. With a high temperature of 69 degrees predicted for the day, I chose to wear a tank top and running shorts. Driving into the Reseach Park, there was plenty of close parking available. The race had a cap of 2,000 half marathon participants and 1,000 5k participants, but only 872 participants registered and only 753 finished. With these small numbers, I had no wait to pick up my bib and race t-shirt and then use a porta-potty. At packet pick up, I received a pre-printed race bib personalized with my first name and a race t-shirt. They also directed me to tables with safety pins, rubber bracelets, and temporary tattoos.

Pre Race 13.1 - Posing with my bib

Race Start

The half marathon started at 7:00am, with the 5k to start at 7:15am. Pace groups were available for the following half marathon times: 1:45 | 2:00 | 2:15 | 2:30 | 2:45 | 3:00. This made it easy to line up in an appropriate spot. But again, with the small race numbers, there was no starting corral congestion as so many big races have.

Race Course

The course started in the Research Park with paved roads for the first 1.5 miles. We then entered the Katy Trail, with crushed limestone and beautiful views of the Missouri River. We stayed on the Katy Trail through mile 6. Hydration stations were located about every 2 miles, but the first station at mile 2 had ran out of cups by the time I got there, but had gallons of water that you could use. All other stations had both water and Gatorade.

We left the Katy Trail for the Hamburg Trail through mile 10, also on crushed limestone. The overall race was pretty flat, except for mile 8, which had a steep incline. At mile 10, we entered Busch Greenway, a paved trail that ran near Highway 94, back to the Research Park. Up to mile 10, the trail had been pretty well covered by tree coverage, but opened up at mile 10 for a warm final 5k.

The race organizers had warned runners of muddy areas on the Katy Trail after the recent floodings, but the Katy seemed in great condition. There was light muddy areas on the Hamburg Trail, but nothing that impeded your progress or slowed you down.

Finish Line

There was great crowd support and cheering upon exiting the trail and entering the finish area. There was someone on a loud speaker cheering all the finishers and announcing runners as they crossed the finish line. After crossing the finish line, volunteers handed out race medals and wet cloth to help cool down. They had tables set up with bananas and granola bars and a beer tent available. Papa John’s was also there handing out pizza. As I was one of the later finishers, they offered me a full pizza as they still had a large stack to give away.

Conclusion

Race 13.1 was a great experience on a beautiful course! It’s a race that I will be adding to my annual “Must-Run Races”.

Race 13.1 T-shirt & medal

Upcoming Race 13.1 Races

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What Happens To The Body When It Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise

Exercising rocks

Many things happen to the body when it doesn’t get enough exercise. Unfortunately, it goes way beyond gaining weight. It’s important to remember that even a little bit of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Continue reading to learn more about the dangers of inactivity. No one is immune!

Energy Levels

Mitochondria are energy producing structures, which live in the cells of body tissues, organs and muscles. These amazing little structures need carbohydrates and oxygen to work properly. Since mitochondria are required for all bodily functions and movement, you definitely can’t live without them.

Mitochondria levels drop when your heart isn’t working at its full potential and your oxygen levels are diminished, due to lack of exercise. Fatigue occurs when energy production is slowed down and the body requires the same amount of energy to get work done.

Bone Issues

Bones love a workout, almost as much as they love calcium. The lack of weight-bearing exercise causes bones to lose density and the ability to properly store calcium. Less calcium in your bones means more of a mineral build up in organs such as your kidneys, the cause of kidney stones.

If the period of inactivity is long enough bones eventually began to weaken. This oftentimes results in osteoporosis, which leads to a much higher risk of painful bone fractures.

Muscle Problems

Just like bones, muscles benefit from a good workout. One of the first signs of being out of shape, due to inactivity, is loss of strength and muscle tone. When muscles are idle, blood flow slows down and the exchange of waste products and nutrients decreases. Less mitochondria results in lack of muscle coordination.

Without exercise, the “electrical” connection between your nerves and muscles is sporadic at best. How does this affect you? You’ll typically find it more difficult to move around with the agility that you once could. It can also mean decreased strength and an increased risk of muscle injury, because of shrinking muscle mass.

Heart-Related Difficulties

Whatever your age, it’s important to keep your heart as healthy as possible. Even though your heart muscle is different from your skeletal muscles, the same health-related principles apply. Without proper exercise, the heart muscle shrinks. This makes it difficult to adequately distribute blood throughout the body and causes the heart to work much harder to get the blood to where it actually needs to go, especially in your hands and feet.

Sluggish blood flow can lead to plaque formation in the blood vessels. This, in turn, sometimes causes high blood pressure, dizziness and circulation problems. All of these conditions are potentially dangerous if left untreated.

As you can see, inactivity causes havoc in and damage to your body. This is especially true for individuals who already deal with chronic conditions, because it typically only makes things worse.

In many cases, periods of inactivity are inevitable. But, the sooner you can participate in even a light exercise regimen, the better off your mind and your body will be.

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