A couple of months ago this writer decided that we needed to get our body into shape, one more time. We were once an active member of the local YMCA for about thirty years. A few years ago we stopped exercising and began to really enjoy evening ice cream and a movie. We are paying the price for our indulgence.
So a couple of months ago we started to formulate our plans for reentry into the world of exercise. Every evening, while eating our ice cream, we would think about the equipment we would need. We had to identify problems areas and set some goals. Our problem areas surfaced quickly – we weigh too much. Our cardio-pulmonary system looks like Baghdad. Our joints are crumbling under the weight of impoverished support; our skeletal system was long ago divorced by a totally irresponsible muscular system.
So we decided to build our own weight bench. This served two proposes, we could tinker in our garage and think about the science of weight lifting. We were on our way to renewed health. Weight benches are complicated engineering marvels. Sometimes we would have to sit in a lawn chair in our garage for hours at a time, drinking coffee, studying the design and function of my project. We were trying to imagine what two hundred pounds of weight would do to our frail body if the thing collapsed while we were laying on it.
Oh, and it had to be the right color. We chose maroon for the metal skeleton and a hunter green fabric to cover the padding on the bench. Color coordination is important for elderly exercise. Our weight lifting equipment now accommodates all necessary upper body work.
But what about the cardio stuff. We live four blocks from a beautiful hiking and biking trail that runs along our parkway system, right through the heart of town. Walking seemed the logical choice. We found our Nike running shoes in the back of the closet and got right in the truck to drive the route. Meticulously checking the odometer, we staked out two routes, a two mile trek, and a three mile marathon.
Four or five weeks ago we launched the long planned ‘program.’ we walked two miles. When we returned we were too tired to lift any weights – so we took a shower and took a nap. We had earned an extra portion of ice cream that night. The next day we had to return to the closet to find our cane to assist in walking around the house.
Surprisingly, we have remained faithful to our program. Stretching is more important than ever – but laying on the floor has awakened my sense of how often we need to vacuum the carpet. We walk at least four times each week – and that depends on how sore we am. Our regular route is now three miles, and we actually jog for about a hundred yards three times in that venture.
The weightlifting is starting to come around. There are fourteen different exercises in our three day a week routine. This routine always follows the walk. It feels to us like the walk warms us up, gets our blood flowing, invigorates us – and we are compelled to tackle the weights.
We can feel the strength building. Our expectation is that in two to three months we will be jogging the entire three miles – with one qualifier. We stepped on the scales this morning and we have not lost a single pound. This is a problem for jogging. We are carrying too much weight and if we try running too much we risk damaging the knees – and our ego.
We no longer eat ice cream. The ice cream has been replaced by an apple or an orange. Small life style steps, for sure. But It feels like we am stepping in the right direction.
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