Tag Archives: cats

Slugs on Hamster Wheels, Belly Flopping Corgis and Other Poster Creatures for Unselfconscious Exercise

Okay, so the video visual quality is not awesome.  But even before I saw it, the title had me giggling.  I mean “A Slug using a Running Wheel”?  Come On!  When I watched it, I laughed until tears came.  Because you know what?  That slug is not really worried about whether or not he is defying my expectations for fitness.  He’s not worried about what sort of gym clothes he should be wearing or where he will place in the all animal 5 meter sprint.  He’s just going about his business doing his thing.  He’s just cruisin’ along.

Some wonderful art from our friend at http://babbler-slimyslugfriends.blogspot.com/

And in doing my research for this blog post (by which I mean tootling around on Google this morning) I’ve learned that the humble slug is actually an athletic mascot!  Yes!  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Fighting Banana Slugs of U.C. Santa Cruz!


Seriously.  I want to go back to school for the express purpose of an Alma Mater with fighting Banana Slugs for a mascot.  For. Realz.

All of this reminded me of another delicious animal video on YouTube.  Check this one out:

Classic!  I love corgis and have a sweet corgi/chow chow mix at home.  (We’ve affectionately named him a chorgi!)  And I love this video.  While there is no question that this dog is out of contention for Olympic medals in high or even very low dive, there is also no question this dog is having a blast.  He’s not covered in existential angst.  He’s not worried whether the springer spaniel down the street is going to look better than him or make fun of him.  This little corgi is just having a blast and doing his thing!

dogsign1 copyAnd all of this has made me wonder.  Maybe we need some animal fitspiration in our lives.  Maybe instead of looking at photos of perfectly tan, hairless, glistening human bodies presumably in the process of working out, we should just watch some dogs and cats and chickens and dolphins frolicking, playing and having a great time.  Because when I’m looking for fitspiration, that’s what I want–examples of pure, unselfconscious, unadulterated fun!

What do you think?  Send me some links of some of  your favorite inspirational  exercising animals.


Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

Athletics and Allergies–Ahh-ahh-CHOO! (Now, with cat pictures!)

Ah, the fall.  It’s a time of crisp air, falling leaves and lots and lots of stuff to make your nose get all stuffed up.  I’ve noticed that my seasonal allergies are saying hello.  And I’ve also noticed a number of my students coming to class with nasal voices and balled-up tissues.  So I thought I’d talk a little bit about exercise and allergies.

Most of the time, it’s safe to exercise if you have allergies.  In fact many people feel better after they exercise.  However if you have severe asthma, exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced anaphylaxis, you should definitely consult a doctor for special recommendations concerning exercise.  And everybody should see a doctor before engaging on a new and rigorous exercise program.  But for most people with allergies, exercise is simply annoying and not dangerous.

That said, there is some stuff you can do to make exercising with allergies less traumatic and more fun.  Here’s some basic ideas:

1.  Manage Your Meds: The timing of your medications can really make a difference in your exercise routine.  First and foremost, make sure  you take your meds as directed.  If you take an antihistimine or nasal decongestant make sure  you do so at least an hour before your workout so it has a chance to kick in.  Be sure to know your medications.  Some medications will have an effect on your Resting Heart Rate (RHR).  Make  sure you know if your medicines fall into this category and be aware of your heart rate as you work out.  Finally, you need your medicines to help you at two times when it comes to working out.  It needs to make your nose as open as possible while you exercise, and it needs to help you sleep at night.  If you don’t sleep well, you won’t feel like working out the next day.  Also as a side note, if you receive allergy injections, you should avoid exercise an hour or two after you receive them.  Exercise can change the absorption rate of some injections and increase the risk of side effects.

2. Know Your Allergens:  If you can, it’s really good to know what your allergies are.  It makes a difference if you are allergic to pollen or mold or dust or animal dander or pollution.  Once you know what to avoid, you can then go about avoiding it.

Bugs or Bees: Make SURE you have your Epi pen with you.  It could save your life.  And don’t forget your fully charged cell phone.  You should also be extremely careful when exercising in the woods and may find it safer to stay on well marked and paved trails.

Pollen: If you are allergic to pollen you can probably still exercise outdoors.  You may wish to avoid outdoor exercise at peak times of the day which include 5AM-10AM and dusk.  You also may wish to use a dust mask or stay inside when pollen counts are highest.  Also be especially careful on hot, dry days as this makes the pollen blow around more.  Try to exercise away from areas with high concentrations of allergens like grassy areas or fields.  On dry, windy days,  you may want to wear wraparound sunglasses to help keep irritating allergens out of  your eyes.  When things get really bad, exercise inside.

Mold: Again, if you are allergic to mold you can still exercise outside.  You may wish to avoid exercising on particularly humid days.  Try also to exercise away from areas with high concentrations of allergens like lakes or ponds.  When things get really bad, exercise inside.

Dust Mites: You may find it easier to exercise indoors.  Whenever possible, avoid exercising on or near carpets.

Pollution: Pay attention to air quality days–on red flag days you may wish to just exercise inside.  Be careful not to exercise too close to traffic, roadways, factories or airports.  Keep an eye on smog levels.

3.  Be nice to your nose: It’s important to be able to breathe out of your nose when you work out.  Your nose warms and filters the air.  Breathing through your mouth when you exercise can irritate your throat or your lungs.  If medicine alone doesn’t do the trick, you might consider using a nasal saline spray (NOT A DECONGESTANT SPRAY which can be addictive and dangerous).  Some people find relief from using a neti pot.  And even making sure you blow your nose well before you step out can help.  Oh, and don’t forget to keep a few tissues in your pockets for your time out on the road.

4. Stay hydrated: If you suffer from allergies, it is especially important to drink lots of fluids.  Many allergy medicines have a dehydrating effect, and breathing through your mouth both irritates your throat and dehydrates you.  Be sure to bring fluids along when you work out, and drink plenty of fluids before and after you exercise.

5. Clean up afterwards:  If you’ve exercised somewhere that has a lot of allergens, it’s important to do everything you can to clean up after you’re done.  Make sure to shower (and wash your hair) and change your clothes afterwards.  I love enjoying an outdoor bonfire at night, but I’ve found that I’m pretty allergic to the smoke and ash.  That means no matter how tired I feel afterwards, I change my clothes, shower and wash my hair before I go to bed.  You may even find that rinsing your nose out with a saline nasal spray or a neti pot after your workout makes you feel a whole lot better.

Precautions aside, I find that the benefits of exercising with allergies far outweigh any discomfort from additional exposure to allergens.  But like anything else, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  So remember to take a few simple steps before you walk out the door!

And before you walk out the door of this blog post, it’s time to award our fifth and final free pedometer!  Kerri Danner, you’ve won!  Just send an email with your mailing address to me: jeanette at thefatchick dot com.



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Thursday Theater: Confirmation Bias

The video posted above is hilarious. I mean I LOL’d big time. But then I started thinking. I thought–what an amazing example of how our society filters information to confirm what we already believe. I mean nothing in the video is really proven. There’s no evidence that cats are better than dogs. And most of the stuff in the video is totally made up. The back story of the video is invented in a way that “proves” the central thesis of the filmmaker.

Sound familiar? I mean how often have we seen a video of a headless fatty shot from a low angle displayed in slow-motion? And how often is this video used to “prove” that there something wrong with bigger people? And how often are these videos accompanied by a completely manufactured back story that have no basis in actual fact?

So my little Chicklettes as funny as the “Scientific Proof that Cats are Better than Dogs” may be, I’d love for you to use it as a primer. Use it to learn how the media manipulates images to make us inferior or less than. How often are these images used to make us believe we have to run out and buy special products to change our lives? And please remember that clever use of Photoshop and editing software do not constitute “scientific proof”

The Fat Chick

4-Legged Stress Relievers

There is a lot of evidence out there that pets are a great way to relieve stress in our lives.  That’s not to say they are stress-free.  As anyone who has ever blotted desperately at Grandma’s hand tied-wool rug or stared despondently at the back of their once pristine leather sofa knows, pets can certainly be the cause of stress as well.  But there is more and more research linking pet ownership to lower incidence of heart disease, better stress management, lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.  One study indicates that people who owned cats were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack.

So my little chicklettes, here’s my prescription for stress relief: spend some time with some four legged critters.  If you already own them, spend a little more time loving on them.  And if you can’t own a pet, why not spend a little time volunteering at your local animal shelter?  There are lots and lots of wonderful dogs waiting for walkies.  And you get a 3-fer the price of one: exercise, stress relief and making the world a better place, all in one go!


The Fat Chick