On my walk to work yesterday I came up with an idea. One of those ideas when you think "why didn't I think of this before?" Underneath the logo of The Healthy Knitter are 3 words: knit, walk, inspire. When I selected those 3 simple words I knew I wanted this blog to be a space of sharing stories and events related to knitting and health that would inspire those that read this blog. My realization yesterday was that this blog is a great way to build community. It's the perfect place to share all the great accomplishments (and struggles) related to health that other knitters are experiencing.
Eureka, I'm going to "interview" knitters and have them respond to a series of questions about health, fitness and knitting. Now, I'm not sure how frequently this will occur. I'd like to say I'll post an interview each week but it may be a little more or less. My hope is that I'll be able to share insights from fellow knitters; people I've met at knitting groups or on social media, some designers, friends, etc.
This week I'll begin by answering my own questions. I'd love it if you would provide some feedback after reading this first interview. Are there other questions I should have included? Do you know of someone that is inspiring that you'd like me to interview? Please send me feedback.
Interview #1 with "The Healthy Knitter".
When you think of the word “healthy” what comes to mind?
Health encompasses so many factors including movement, food, sleep, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Perhaps my focus on movement and food is related to my professional background and career but I wholeheartedly believe there is more to health than what we eat and how much we move. With that said, when I think of “health” I’m reminded of eating wholesome nutritious foods and staying physically active.
What’s your ideal “healthy” day look like?
Greek yogurt, granola and berries for breakfast, a long walk through the forest, knitting on the dock at the family cabin in Idaho, drinking a cup of coffee or tea, plus time to write and reflect. A simple dinner perhaps salmon, couscous and steamed asparagus with my family would make it a “10” in my book.
How do you incorporate physical activity into your day?
My answer to this question would depend on the season. Right now with winter weather in full force I have a couple different strategies. If the weather is decent (not perfect) I walk to work; the round-trip is close to 3 miles. When the weather is bad I’ll get to the gym for a walk on the treadmill and I’m working very hard to start some strength training. This has definitely fallen off my radar but as I get older I understand the importance of preserving muscle mass.
Do you have a time of year that you find it harder to be active?
I suppose the easy answer to this would be winter; weather can be a huge barrier for me. When I think about this a little more I think the hardest time is actually the last third of each semester. As a professor my work load always increases towards the end of the semester and it is a challenge to stay active.
What are your favorite foods?
I love simple foods, nothing fancy for me. In addition to the foods I listed above I must confess that I love cookies. Not all cookies, only those that are good for dunking in tea.
How do you incorporate knitting, a sedentary activity into an active lifestyle?
This is a hard one as I love to get lost in my knitting. I try to be mindful of how much I’m sitting/knitting and balance that with short breaks. I will sometimes play little games to make sure I’m not sitting for too long or avoiding other tasks that need completing. For example, I will let myself knit “x” number of rows and then I must fold the laundry. Another tactic has been knit during a tv show but during the commercial do lunges, wall-sits, or sit-ups. I call it "circuit knitting." It sounds silly but it really helps prevent me from becoming a permanent part of the sofa.
What’s your best strategy to being active?
My perspective has changed over the years for several reasons such as family, time, physical ailments, and my overall motivation. Right now I know that my best strategy has been moving into town and purchasing a home closer to work. I intentionally didn’t buy a parking permit so now I can't say “I don’t have time” or “the weather is not very nice.” I love walking to work. I know that this isn’t a strategy that works for all but when I think about how this can be applied to all it might look a little like this. Find a way to incorporate the activity into your daily routine.
What’s your favorite activity and why.
I love so many activities…walking, jogging, biking, hiking, skiing, yoga. Right now and I would have to put walking at the top of my list. It’s easy, fairly simple to do anywhere, allows time to let the mind wander and sort through all sorts of issues, and it’s not so taxing that I want to avoid it. For years I was a runner but really struggled with injuries. Several years ago I decided that I would “give up” on running and “be ok” with walking. That approach worked but I was still unsettled. Last year I began running again. My goal was to run a half-marathon in October but once I got to 10 miles a day in September my body hurt all the time. I wasn’t having much fun. It was then that I embraced walking as my favorite activity.
What’s your source of inspiration when it comes to being active?
I love being outside! I recently started taking a lot of photos with my iPhone and have found that to be very motivating… what will I see today? I like to post these photos on my Instagram account (@thehealthyknitter) I also find several knitters that are active to be very inspirational. At the top of my list would be Kate Davies as she walks a lot, her knitting is amazing, the photos of her surroundings (including walks) are phenomenal and her story about recovery from illness. Most inspiring is how she was able to turn a catastrophic situation into something beautiful. When I think of inspiring healthy knitters she definitely rises to the top of my list.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Oh, where do I begin. I love quotes but I'm really bad at recalling them. I have several sayings that I use at work and home. "Slow makes fast and fast makes slow" is one I'm well known for at work. At home I use the phrase "keep the peace" but not as much now that my children are older. Two of my favorite sayings specific to The Healthy Knitter are "knit one, walk two" and "may your body be as active as your needles." These bring a smile to my face.
May your day be filled with positive healthy choices and some nuturing knitting time.