Category Archives: Fitness

Attention Span

While I was standing next to my car last week, filling up the tank, I realized that the screen embedded in the fueling station didn’t just have some pop-up ads showing but an actual video stream of a basketball game. TV.

At my gym, there is a speaker OUTSIDE that plays music as you are approaching/departing the building. Equipment like bikes and treadmills all have individual tv screens and for the weight-lifting machine there are big screens hanging from the ceiling.  There is even a TV in the locker room.  In most airports you can’t find a space that doesn’t have something blaring at you. With everyone glued to their phones these days, it seems a waste of electricity.

It made me think that we have become a society with such a limited attention span that we need 24/7 entertainment. There are several folks here at my office who use earbuds all the time – even when they are away from their desks and I often see people walking along, looking like they are talking to themselves, but of course they are on their phones.

In college I had a professor who had memorized all of Paradise Lost by John Milton.  Today he’d have it downloaded to his phone so he could access it whenever he wanted!

What the largest thing you have memorized?

February Adventure

Today’s post comes from cynthiainmahtowa.

The First of February 2018 was a beautiful, sunny, crispy -10 F day. There was enough snow to snowshoe and I hadn’t been in the woods since I couldn’t remember when…years before my hip surgery. It was a Thursday, and Sunday afternoon our book club was meeting at my house to discuss “A River Runs Through It” by Norman McLean. As our group often does off- book things like skiing, hiking, canoeing, I thought it would be fun for people to ski or snowshoe down the Moose Horn River that meanders through my land.

But first to check it out.  Friend Daina and her Corgi, Jack, were willing to go through the woods, to the marsh and over the river with me. When we got to the marsh, however, Daina was afraid Jack would go through the ice and not be able to get out so she decided to take him home. I decided to travel on.

When I got to the river, I ventured on to the ice for about half a dozen steps when the ice gave out under me.  Suddenly, I was up to my armpits in ice-cold water. I don’t know how deep it was, my metal and rubber snowshoes wouldn’t let me get my feet under me.  Alas, I thought, “This is how I die.”

Though somehow I must not have believed that because I was hanging on to my Icelandic wool hat that I love and was NOT going to let it go! After a brief struggle, I floated myself over to the side of the river where there appeared to be a solid snow covered something. When I got to the embankment I saw a block of ice below me that I managed to get my snowshoes on.  With my one pole (I had hiking poles with me) I managed to pull myself back onto the ice, get standing up, pick up my other pole that I had left on top of the ice and headed back home.

Fortunately, I had on my polyester down parka and nylon ski pants. So I was not weighted down with water-soaked clothing. The worst was the water in my boots. I figured if I kept moving as fast as I could, I wouldn’t succumb to hypothermia. I was about 15 minutes through the woods and up the pasture from the house. At the power easement I considered going back on the road so someone would see me, but it was farther and open and the wind was bitter.

With some difficulty I got myself over the wire fencing and into the pasture. Halfway to the house, I saw Daina coming down to meet me. She, being brilliant in emergencies – and having experienced her husband’s hypothermia a few years ago – took over. She helped me into the house, out of my Sorel-like boots of man-made materials with frozen laces, my wet clothes and into the shower…then into bed with three or four layers of blankets, mugs of hot tea, chicken soup and liquid jello.

I never shivered, though in bed it felt like my deep core wanted to shake. But the adrenalin was coursing through my body the rest of the day and I was fully warmed up in time to feed my animals that evening…and before the day was over I cleaned and re-organized my cupboard of mugs.

I don’t know what the experience has done to my psyche, but looking back there seems to be a sense of appreciation and direction and confidence and generosity that I didn’t have before.

And when I got kicked in the thigh by Derby Horse the following Friday, the resulting hematoma didn’t seem like much of a big deal.

What was your scariest “adventure”?

Storming the Bastille

I have had problems with insomnia since I was a child.  My current sleep pattern is to fall asleep easily, then wake up at about 3:00 am and not get to back to sleep until just before my alarm goes off at 6:30.

I know all the “sleep hygiene” and cognitive tricks for good sleep, but they often don’t work for me. I was gratified to read a recent New Yorker article on insomnia which described insomniacs’ cortisol levels  as so high as to look as though they are getting ready to storm the Bastille.

I know that anxiety and worry trigger the sympathetic nervous system to pump out high levels of chemicals which hinder sleep.  My anxiety and worry are all work related,  and I am hopeful that they will reduce over the next couple of weeks.  Until then, I think I will see if memorizing the lyrics to the Marseilles and repeating them over and over when I wake up at 3:00 will lull me to sleep once more.

How do you deal with insomnia? What puts you to sleep? What keeps you awake?

Self Regulation

Last March I went to the doctor for my annual checkup and he informed me that my cholesterol  and blood sugar levels were too high. He asked me to come back in six months for a recheck.   I spent the summer working in the garden and changing my diet only a little. I  went back to  the doctor in September, and he said my cholesterol had dropped 50 points to a normal level, and my blood sugar was in the normal range.  I was surprised as well as dismayed, since that meant that I had to maintain my current level of activity and continue to watch my food intake.

The elevators at my work have been out of commission for three weeks, and won’t be in operation for another two weeks.  I work on the 4th floor of my building. I know that I will need to continue to walk the stairs all winter once the elevator is repaired.  I hate to exercise, but I hate the thought of poor health even more.

How do you motivate yourself for good health choices?  What should you do for better health, and how will you accomplish it?  How do you maintain your health?

Enforced Activity

Here are the facts:

I work in a six story, former men’s dormitory on the campus of a small North Dakota college.  The building was constructed in 1965. For some reason, there were a large number of men enrolling in college then.

There are two stairwells on the east and west sides of the building, and one elevator on the south side of the building.  It is an Otis elevator.

My office is on the fourth floor. My play therapy room is on the fifth floor. Our agency occupies the basement and the first five floors of the building. There is an educational training cooperative on the sixth floor.

The Otis corporation decided recently that the elevator, the 1965 original, must be completely replaced. This includes the elevator car and all the workings that pull the elevator up and down.  Doing this will take eight weeks. The educational cooperative has moved to other digs until November 1. My agency has no choice but to stay where we are and walk the stairs.

I am out of shape.  I always take the elevator. We must accompany all our clients from the first floor to our offices.

Well, we have no elevator now, and I am doing stairs like crazy. I am exhausted. We have made arrangements that the halt and the lame will receive services on first floor.  Everyone else must trudge up the stairs to where they need to go. I anticipate that my blood sugar and cholesterol  will decrease through the elevator revamp.

How do you keep in shape?

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Today’s post comes to us from Crystal Bay.

At 74, I’ve been experiencing increasing physical weakness. A year ago, my three kids did a one-by-one intervention on me to get me to move and gain some physical strength for my upcoming trip to Africa. I still can’t believe that my first trip away from Minnesota was to Africa! It’d been years since I’d even walk to my mailbox. I’d pick it up when I drove past it a couple of times a week. They were very adamant that my excursion to Africa would deplete me because I was so physically weak. Finally, I took them seriously.

I agreed with them even though they’d tried for years to get me to do something – anything- to gain physical strength. Finally, between them and my upcoming Africa trip, I joined a gym and began working out five days a week. I started doing what’s called “TRX”, a class of around a dozen or more mostly older people which involves using long straps with handles. Each day, we work out every muscle group for about 45 minutes. We talk the whole time which makes it a guaranteed daily social experience. Going to a gym solo would never work for me. Hell, I won’t go to a restaurant or a movie by myself! For me, everything has to be a social experience. What fun would it be to go to a movie without someone with whom to share it afterwards? Or go to a restaurant without chatting while eating?
I am stronger now and have some sinewy muscles. One day, I took a picture to text to my kids, but the pictures showed sagging skin beneath my new biceps so I deleted them. Still, I can’t deny that I have more strength and stamina now than I have in years. This class has people from 20 to 96 and is so doable. Most of all, I enjoy the camaraderie of people I’ve come to know.
These daily classes also get me out of the cottage and away from my obsessive opinion posting. Truth be told, until this daily routine, my lifestyle would be perfect for a nursing home resident (a thought I’ve had many times). I still go when I don’t feel like it after a whole year. My kids are very pleased. And, in a small way, I’m proud of myself.
Describe your favorite fantasy fitness regimen!