With an abundance of information and resources out there on staying fit, The Colt and Filly shop owner and fitness enthusiast Kacie Landley breaks it down and shares her thoughts on the importance of keeping active as a maker.
Hi makers! Kacie here, ready to tell you all about how to incorporate fitness in your maker life. I’m sure all of you have made some sort of New Year’s resolutions and/or goals to crush. Some of those may have included "be more active," and trying to avoid that February/March fit slackness that can hit at any moment. Believe me, I can relate. Life is hard sometimes, but I’m here to help with a little fitness inspo and encouragement to get you going.
As makers we spend a lot of time sitting, and while we are hammering out orders and new designs we are not doing a whole heck of a lot with the rest of our bodies. It's very important to incorporate a little more heart healthy movement into our daily lives. I classify working out as part of self-care. We all know the importance of keeping ourselves taken care of in order to take care of business in other areas of life. I always feel more energized after a good sweat sesh. I'm not sure what it is about putting down my yarn and focusing my energy and mind on training that brings me back stronger and better than when I left my yarn, but my hope is that it does the same for you. Let’s jump in!
A few of the muscles we aren’t using while we're doing our maker hustle are our glutes and hamstrings. We're always sitting on these bad boys. We need them to be in good condition because if they're weak, we end up compensating for that with positioning, which can cause back pain and/or shoulder pain. My favorite exercise is kettlebell swings, which is something similar to a traditional body weight squat. Kettlebell swings work a lot of muscles including your glutes and hamstrings.
To do KB swings use a kettlebell (a weight you are comfortable with): grip the kettlebell with both hands stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Go down into a normal squat position, keeping your weight on your heels - not your toes - while holding the kettlebell between your legs. As you come up from your squat, swing the kettle bell straight out in front of you. You most certainly can do basic body weight squats if you don’t have access to kettlebells. Do 5 sets of 10 reps. Simple enough, right? You can do this in your living room and get your kids involved too if you have them.
Another area that I seem to have soreness in after a long day of making are my hips. They always seem so tight, stiff and a bit out of alignment. A stretch I have found to relieve some of that soreness is called the pigeon stretch. To do the pigeon stretch, start with your right knee bent to a 90 degree angle on the ground in front of you. The left knee can be bent or extended behind you. Bring the left hip forward toward the right heel. Hold that stretch for a few breaths and then bring yourself back. Keep your chest, shoulders and head tall. Switch legs and do it again on the other hip. Do this as often as you need to and enjoy that great feeling afterward.
Let’s talk grip, and sore fingers and hands. Crocheting and knitting for prolonged periods of time can result in some ailments, such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, which all come from repetitive motion. These injuries are not specific to crocheters and knitters either; you can also get them from typing on your computer for a long time, golfing, hammering nails, folding clothes and pretty much basic living. To avoid these injuries it is very important to have outstanding grip. There are lots of tiny muscles and tendons in your hands and fingers that you can and should strengthen. One of the easiest ways to strengthen your grip is just by picking up weights using different grips. Kettlebells are amazing weights to use because they are so versatile. Pick up kettlebells with an overhand grip, and underhand grip. If you don’t have kettlebells, you can use full milk jugs. Do 5 sets of 8 reps using each underhand and overhand grips. Farmer's carry is another great way to strengthen your grip. Pick up a kettlebell, one in each hand and walk. When your hands get sore stop and put your weight down. Again, you can use anything: buckets of water, milk jugs, heavy grocery bags etc. Lastly, grab your kettle bell with the bell end up (the round ends), hold it close to your body with your arm bent, and walk in a straight line toe to heel. These are easy and simple exercises, but they work wonders.
I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was 19 years old. A big bummer when your adult life is just getting started and you love to crochet. I found that the more I used those fingers and hands the better I felt. It sounds kind of counterproductive, but it actually works. As you move a joint, your body will naturally release a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid that will reduce friction on your joints making them less sore. In a nutshell, if you don’t move you will get stiff and achy; the less you move the worse it will be. Working out has become part of a weekly routine that I try really hard to stick to. My weekly goal is to go to my gym, Tough Brother Training facility in Franklin, Ohio, three times a week for strength training. Sometimes, a lot more lately than I’d like, life happens and I can’t make it to the gym, but that doesn’t mean I’m not doing some exercises at home. It doesn’t have to be something super intense, but as long as you're moving you will thank yourself for it later. Something other than a cardio machine is great to keep your body toned and tuned and to keep you mentally interested. Movement is important for our muscles, organs, joints, mental health and overall physical health. Get those creative juices flowing and get moving.
So, why should you listen to me about all of this? Well, as I mentioned before I believe exercising makes your creative mind sharper. It also strengthens your muscles so your movements as a maker are more fluid and quicker which, in turn, will leave you able to make for longer periods of time before you tire out. My husband is a United States Navy veteran and he helped me to understand the importance of fitness, and encouraged me to take breaks from making to do something for my overall health. My brother also taught me some really great things. He is the owner, founder and trainer of Tough Brother Training facility (toughbrothertraining.com), a gym that combines power-lifting and sports training to create an experience like you’ve never had from any other gym. I have been training there now for almost two years. There are no words to explain what it has done for me in ALL areas of my life.
Keep moving, keep making,
The Colt and Filly
Kacie is the maker behind The Colt and Filly handmade knitwear and patterns inspired by a country way of life. She has always loved being a country girl, working with her horses and living life on a small midwestern farm. When Kacie was young during a long cold winter, she asked her paternal and maternal grandmothers to teach her to crochet and she was hooked. This hobby has blossomed into a way for Kacie to combine her love of horses, the farm life, her love of all things yarn, and the simple charm of living in the country.