The Kid Inside

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We all have that moment. That point in time when you are doing something that is so fun (regardless of how uncool you may look) that the little kid in you comes back up again. That’s what working out this week felt like to me!

This week, I continued the trend of exploring and walking around (as per usual), but I built upon it also with a formal exercise in the rio and some good ol’ fashioned volleyball! I must have played for about 2 hours before we went home.

Now I know what you are thinking…Volleyball is fun and all, but it doesn’t seem like that much of a workout. You obviously haven’t seen me play it then. I am diving, chasing, running, jumping hitting, you name it I’m doing it. My host mom here in Spain won’t let me do anything after I get back because I am  literally covered in the sand no matter how hard I try to wash it off.

Then there is the adult playground that I went to in the rio. Let me tell you, this was fantastic. I had been meaning to go to it for the past couple weeks, but when I finally went I was impressed. I experienced the awkward (and exciting) discovery of pieces of equipment and what they are used for. I did some escalating monkey bars, pull-up-ish things, and did several other exercises such as push-ups and ab exercises.

As excited as I am now, this was a hard week to get motivated to exercise. Several of my friends are leaving after this next Wednesday to go back to the  United States, so I wanted to just hang out with them. I missed volleyball one day so I could do the workout in the rio. As hard as it was, I am glad I did it, as it taught me how to persevere and stick to my plan.

This is my last official blog post for this group, thank you for reading cuinspain!

By the way, these pictures below are some that I took from the rio yesterday! The one on the left has several items like a balance beam and a flat wooden surface, as well as pull up spots. The middle one is the escalating monkey bars, where I also did some hanging ab crunches. Finally, the third one was something that I thought looked like a sitting down pull up (?) but I am pretty sure I was doing that one wrong! Nevertheless, I enjoyed it a bunch!

Hospital Intermutual de Levante

As a class, we were privileged to be able to see a public hospital here in Spain in action. We went as a group of pharmacy students (and me, their adopted nursing student) to particularly focus on how the rooms were set up as well as how their pharmacy worked here.

This particular hospital (Hospital Intermutual de Levante) seemed more geared towards rehabilitation for those who have had occupational accidents or orthopedic related operations.

Each room had two beds with an outside patio that connected to make a walkway on the outside of the building on all the floors (as you can see in the picture above). Upon entering, it seemed just like any other hospital room I had seen in the States. However, although each room had two beds, there was only one patient ever put in each room. The other bed was reserved for family members that would stay with the patient about 24/7. I found this cultural note to be fascinating, and insightful on the importance of family for the average Valencian/Spanish household.

After looking at the rooms, we were guided to the basement where the pharmacy was. We saw their storage area where they kept the medications, as well as the clean room where they prepared them for the hospital. There seemed to be slightly different regulations for their clean room  vs. a clean room in the states (lack of an anteroom here, permitted to store cardboard in the room here, etc.) but all in all, it seemed more familiar than foreign.

Afterwards, they described their pharmacy system for within the hospital that we were at. They use a pixis-based system, which is fairly similar to how medications are accessed in hospitals in the US (medical personnel in hospital use a source of identification to receive specific medications for a specific patient based on what has been prescribed for them in an electronic system), with the only observable difference being their operating hours. The pharmacy closes at 8, but all of the pixis deposits (there is one per floor unit) have enough for emergency situations that happen overnight.

This was understandable because, until the past year, there was only one pharmacist who ran the entire pharmacy. It seemed like a pretty ingenious operating system to only need to be run by one head pharmacist. However the pharmacists seemed to have much less clinical responsibility than in the states.  We also learned this week that even large hospitals in the city only have 4-5 pharmacists, most pharmacy graduates in Spain go into retail due to lack of jobs in the hospital. The pharmacist at this hospital was actively involved with the Spanish Hospital Pharmacists Association and she was particularly passionate about the pharmacy’s involvement with what they referred to as “sanitary products” which were what we would call sterile products. This particular hospital dispensed items like pacemakers and other sterile products from the pharmacy.

As a whole, I really enjoyed seeing this hospital, partially because I’m the red-headed stepchild of the group, and partially because I just love seeing how medical systems work in different places. I was impressed by their willingness to meet the cultural values of the people they served (family rooms), as well as their diligence to providing “productos sanitarios” in addition to medications to ensure the health of their patients.

Adventure Is Out There!!



Last week, I talked about how my walking around town instead of public transportation was a way I was attempting to informally get the exercise I needed while living my normal, 1-shower-a-day life. One of the things I just continued to fall in love with this past week as well was exploring. To discover old buildings and new paths to normal routes is one of my favorite things to do here!

Whether it be walking an 45min long rout to the Oceanografico (a Seaworld-esqe place here in Spain) or an hour plus of walking and jogging to the beach from my house, I seem to have a knack for adventuring. And by adventuring…I usually mean getting lost. Which usually winds up with me doing, MORE WALKING!! Although it isn’t going to the gym, I still typically come back to the house with sore legs (not just feet) because of how much I walked and moved around.

In addition to the other cardio exercise I did this week, I was also able to engage in some volleyball hitting around and soccer minigames for about 40 minutes or so with some friends. I didn’t expect it to be all that hard, but I definitely felt my muscles pounding afterwards!

As far as weaknesses in this past week go, I must admit that it was harder to accomplish than I believed it to be. Due to the midterms (after two weeks, LOADS to cover) and normal social outings  I go on that usually have me walking pretty far, it was pretty hard to find time to workout structuredly.I am starting to see that it is easier for me to rely on walking than to engage in weight training.

Next week training I plan to use the various machines in the Rio and continue my adventure there. Remember, Adventure is out there!



A Walk In the Park

Blog Picture 1For my health behavior change, I decided to choose exercising at least 3 times a week. I figured, like most of us, I could always exercise a bit more. It seemed like a relatively easy thing for me to do, a perceived “Walk in  the park”. Quick preview: it’s not; well at least not for me. I did one formal “planned” exercise where I put on running clothes, grabbed some headphones, and went running/jogging for about 45 minutes.

It was awesome; I was all sweaty, stinky, and manly and I felt like I had accomplished something. However, I ran (/jogged!) into the same problem I always bump into when I attempt routine exercise: the question of time placement.

You see, I enjoy doing a lot of things, and exploring my new-found home (Valencia, Spain for now!) by going to festivals, hanging out with people at cafes, or just generally exploring the city and getting a great view from an awesome tower are all things that I do just about every day here–minus maybe the festivals, that’s more like an every week thing here!

I have quickly discovered though that I don’t necessarily have to have a formal exercise every single time I count an exercise. For instance, I have many opportunities to take transit systems around the city (Bus, metro, tramvilla) or I can take about a 45-minute walk.

I frequently choose the walking method, partially because it’s free and I get to learn more about the layout of the city, but more importantly, because I can take a dedicated time to engage in a prolonged physical activity. And when I walk, it’s at a brisk pace that passes just about everyone else walking, weaving through traffic, and I genuinely work up a sweat by the time I get to my destination.

I have found that trying to find a block of time to dedicate to working out is quite difficult for me. It is much easier to work what I am doing into my schedule.

However, this  next week I am seeking to go beyond just a “walk in the park”, this week I will work on working out in the park and maintaining 3 formal workout days, in addition to the cardiovascular choices I have already been making. Stay tuned!