My physical therapist scolded me last week. She caught me stopping one of my exercises before the timer ended. It wasn’t that I had depleted my muscle, I just found it uncomfortable to continue. Her other client in the room had the opposite issue, as her tendency was to overdo it. Our therapist suggested we meet somewhere in the middle, and then we both would be better off. This would be a great introduction to an essay on finding balance, but for me it was another indicator that I needed to jump back on the fitness bandwagon.
Over the years I’ve jumped on and fallen off that ride several times. I am giving myself credit for still desiring to give it another go. The quality of your life is so impacted by your health. My father lost his to cigarettes and I’ve seen others loose it to obesity or inactivity. I’ve got cub scouts to keep up with and hikes with my family to take. Even at age 58 it’s time to make a plan, and employ those tools and apps I have on my wrist and phone.
As a youth, the word fitness wasn’t even a part of my vocabulary. I didn’t participate in athletics other than bowling, and gyms outside of school were a novelty. I was a fan of Jack LaLanne’s exercise TV show, but I didn’t do much beyond watching it. My movement came from playing outside and working around the home. We didn’t have the stationary distractions of computers, internet, DVDs, or video games. There was TV, though, and I watched it way too much. As for the diet part of fitness, our garden contributed to most of our meals. My mom rarely made casseroles and never cooked from a box.
When I left home to attend college, my education was more than just academics. As a freshman in the ROTC program I was introduced to running. My leader told me they would be administering an army fitness test, and suggested that I take it. He explained what it entailed, including a one mile run in combat boots. That didn’t sound too tough, those thoughts coming from someone who had never run 100 yards in her life. I didn’t run 100 yards without stopping the day of the test either, but I did cross the finish line. I took up running the very next week, but never picked up any speed. I always dreaded those army fitness tests, just barely passing the run portion, but I did always pass.
All four years of college I lived in the dorms and had a meal ticket. The cafeteria was all you could eat, and offered donuts for breakfast every morning and dessert with every lunch and dinner. I put on ten pounds my first semester, and took a scale back with me after Christmas. It was then I realized how food affected my health; well, actually I was thinking of my appearance.
There was a time when I was in pretty good shape. My first 5K I placed 253 out of 254, with one contestant dropping out after a quarter mile. I took great pride in finishing. In 1984 and again in 1985 my laboratory entered a team in the Mule Mountain Marathon. I claimed without shame the downhill five mile leg of the race. No prizes for my speed, but I never stopped during the race.
Those days are gone and it would be nice to have a more fit physique, but what I really want now is the ability to be physically active and to not ache. Since I’m publicly boarding the fitness wagon, I need to decide on a plan. Time to make a list!
The MyFitnessPal app is already downloaded on my phone, but was hidden in the apps storage folder. Out of sight, out of mind…Oops. I’ve moved it to the front of my phone. My plan includes a 1,200 calorie diet with dessert only once a week. More than that and my weight starts climbing. It really stinks when you grow older and your metabolism changes.
Stretching and Strengthening
My physical therapist has provided me with a regimen of stretches and exercises. I also have a home video they recommended several months ago – Pilates for Buff Bones. Time to break the seal on the case and check it out. We do have a fitness room in our house with all kinds of dumbbells, benches, balls, and stretch cords. Jeff is always looking for a workout partner, and offering to be my personal trainer.
Wait!!! This is all starting to feel overwhelming and not fun. I’m going to need a more strict routine, and self-discipline. I’ll have to be up early, which means I have to go to bed earlier. In other words, my life needs an overhaul. Yikes! Attitude check, Barbara. You know you like this type of order in your life, you’ve just grown a bit lazy. Your joints will stop aching if you get rid of the sugar; strengthening those back and butt muscles will allow your spine to stay aligned; stamina will let you hike with your family. Why are you baulking at a few changes? Quit complaining and finish making the list.
I never liked running and my physical therapist says it would not be good for me. Yes! Swimming is my favorite exercise, but a few years ago I had a reaction to the chemicals in the pool. My eyes were nearly swollen shut. Don’t worry, I won’t share that scary photo. I could find a salt water pool, but it’s a lot of logistics for me to feel safe in the water with my heart problem. So scratch swimming off the list. Bummer. I do have an awesome beach cruiser bicycle, but my therapist says walking is better.
I like walking. I already wear a Fitbit and walk daily, just not enough. Time to start meeting my goal of 10,000 steps, five days a week.
My plan is not anything new. It’s actually been honed over many years of effort and failure. It just needed a catalyst, so thanks Cindy. Hopefully I can stay on the bandwagon this time, and make it to the finish line in great shape. Anyone want to join me?
Jeff’s really excited for me to make this post and start these life changes. He’s my number one supporter, and will probably drag me across the finish line if necessary. Help!
P.S. I finished off the ice cream in the freezer last night so I won’t have to worry about that temptation.
P.P.S. These are the kind of people that I live with. Fitness is definitely a word in their vocabulary.
Timothy’s definition of strength training.