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Moving body leads to a healthier life

  • Written by Derek Johnson, Sports Writer

Sandy Laurence wishes more people felt as good as she does on a daily basis. She yearns to share what she knows.   

As a track and field coach at Woodinville High, along with years of experience in competitive sports and studying nutrition, Laurence has stockpiled wisdom. Her wisdom centers on competing at a high level while getting the most out of one’s body.  

"I love how I feel at the end of a good workout," she said. "And I love that I get to see things that I think other people don’t get to see on a long run — especially early in the morning or late in the evening. Sometimes in the evening I’ll get to see birds come home to roost. Maybe I’ll hear certain bird calls that I know I don’t hear during the day. You see the little creatures trying to find their ways home. If I see something interesting, I stop."

In the manic rush of modern day society, people often feel overwhelmed and stressed out. They feel they lack the time and willpower to commit to an exercise program. But Laurence urges patience and common sense. 

"If I were to boil everything down to a bottom line sentence, anytime when you’re training over 10 seconds, you’re training your body to create more mitochondria," she said, referring to the membrane-enclosed structures that generate most of a cell’s energy supply in our bodies. "And you’re training to create more muscle fiber contraction proteins. Those don’t take very long to make.

"But people don’t have enough patience to do it," she said. "So they’ll go out and run 6-8 miles on the first day, and then they’re so sore they can’t sit down on the toilet. So they say, `See, this is horrible! Anything that hurts this bad has to be bad for you.’ But you wouldn’t eat a whole chocolate cake, or else you would be sick and probably wouldn’t do it again for a very, very long time. It’s the same principle at work here."

What advise does she give to out-of-shape people wishing to boost their health and vitality?

"You have to begin with one minute," she said. "If I train someone who is sedentary, I send them out the very first week to run just three minutes.

"The next week you get to go five, and then six. By the end of a month, you’re running thirty minutes a day. It’s really a very simple equation, but most people don’t know it.

"Every hour, no matter what you’re doing, stand up and get out of breath for 20 seconds. No matter what your fitness level, you can get out of breath for 20 seconds. I don’t mean horribly out of breath where you’re panting and wheezing. But walk up and down the stairs two times. Stand in place and move your arms very fast. If you can’t stand up and you’re handicapped, sit in your chair and wiggle your arms and legs very fast. Whatever you can do, whatever it takes, do it for 20-30 seconds 10 times a day.

"Boom! You’ve just moved," she said. "You’ve just started to change your cellular structure. And you will get more fit. You will feel better."

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