Krissie: I am going to move, dammit

Photo on 7-1-14 at 8.51 AM #2 You can probably even see from my pictures I’m feeling happier.
But I digress. Not, I don’t mean moving from Vermont, though I want to do that. I mean I need to move my body. We need Barb Samuel here again to give us some inspiration. There have been enough reputable studies that have shown exercises is as effective, and sometimes more effective, than anti-depressants. I have lots of friends who can’t take the meds (including my husband and son) and exercise really helps. One reason Richie got so down this winter was because he didn’t have a treadmill (I found a used one for his birthday in March – he got me a used but fabulous dishwasher for mine. So romantic!) And Tim’s working on David’s organic vegetable farm, hauling ass and veggies and even getting to drive the tractor. He’s just realized that he used anger to control his anxiety, which makes a lot of sense. He’s got massive social anxiety, and when he gets pissed it makes the anxiety disappear. So he spends his life getting pissed. He’s gotta find a therapist.

But I digress. I love going swimming, but for July I’m going to be too damned busy to go. I have my own pool but it’s too shallow, I’ve got yoga tapes that I’ve been determined to do for … maybe six weeks.

So here’s my plan. I need to do what I can to up my stamina for the play.
1. Look up exercises I can do in a shallow pool (too shallow for water walking)
2. Look up exercises I can do with the 2 lb. weights I bought (Richie said reps).
3. Go to the pool when I have a free day, even though I’ll have a thousand other things to catch up on.
4. Run the dvd
a. find the remote control or program a replacement one (which I have on hand)
b. clear a space on the bedroom floor and put the yoga mat down.
c. Watch the dvd
d. Move to the dvd.

Maybe I should watch before I clear the space and put the mat down. I also have a Richard Simmons sitting to the oldies that I’ve never done, and that would be fun. I need to do this. I need more energy. And it’ll help keep depression away.
I wish to god I could go for walks. Maybe I can do short ones to begin with. After all, I’m not bone on bone yet and they say exercise improves pain with arthritis.

So that’s my exercise plan. Sounds like surfing on the computer and watching DVDs — about my style. But I’m determined to do more, move it up a notch. I’ll report back.

The weight is being stubborn but then I get tired and stuff. I need to make sure there are only good things in the house.

Hmmm .. I think I’ll go make a smoothie.

Barbara: Functional Fitness, English Edition

Last week, I had to make a fast trip back to the UK to support my beloved CR in the settling of his mother’s affairs, including her house. There was a funeral, too, of course, but funeralsthe abandoned abbey at Battle don’t seem to always require a lot of physical strength.

What did require stamina was two 12-hour flights (including lay-overs) in less than six days. It also took a lot of strength and stamina to unload and unpack and sort through all the things that were in the house.  It was not unduly cluttered or overwhelming, only the simple, sweet, ordinary flat of a retired woman with many pictures and plants and kitchen gadgets.   We had to bring down the detrius of two childhoods from the attic, which involved a ladder and passing things through a hole in the roof.  The days whooshed by, packing, sorting, packing, walking up to the village for a meal, walking up to the village to get more trash bags, walking around Cranbrook to buy a shirt (because….uh…someone might have washed a lipstick with her beloved’s white funeral shirt). One day we took a lunch break and drove to Battle (the site of the famous Battle of 1066, which really did change history) because it was only a few minutes drive and I’d never been there.  (“What?” said The Brother when I tried to puzzle out where the battleground was after realizing a church by the lawyer’s office was Norman, “you’ve never been there? It’s right by the tip (that would be the dump. I think). I’ve been driving there three times a day. Let’s just have a break and have lunch there.”)

So we did, and it was muddy but fresh and not raining, so we all got some fresh air and a bowl of soup and a tromp around an ancient battleground.

At times like this, I am grateful for the ordinary routine of ordinary exercise. Not to burn off fat or get a six-pack or give me a great ass.  No, just walking the dog every day to keep my body functioning.  Swimming sometimes to keep the shoulders loose and arms with enough muscle to be useful.  Lots of gardening (oh, does spring ever seem further away than in February??) to keep the body flexible and ordinary sorts of muscles working smoothly and strongly.

That ordinary sort of exercise, the sort I’ve been urging here so much, meant that it was possible to do all that flying, hauling suitcases and adjusting to jet lag, work really hard for several days, do all that was required for life.  I could simply do it.

A sudden upheaval of any kind is an extreme example, of course, but it’s also realistic.  Things happen in all of our lives that require ordinary, daily fitness. But functional fitness is important in all aspects of our lives.  You can not only show up when there is an emergency, but you can do things on your own to keep yourself moving and independent long into ancientness. You can carry a bag of cat litter or a bag of soil, shovel snow (at least light snow) and clean windows and pick up a child.

Regular routines create regular fitness.  How are you doing at building those ordinary routines into your life?  If you’re still struggling, what’s standing in your way?  Maybe it’s a mental block, maybe a physical one. 

Barbara: The delirious pleasure of a new skill

I’ve been promising to talk about my swimming journey since I started here, and I’m going to do that in a minute, but first a moment of illumination.

Collaroy Pool, Northern Beaches, Sydney by Sacha Fernandez

I can’t even remember when I first started getting in a pool. My father was a big, powerful swimmer and loved taking us to the local pools. I took swimming lessons at the Y when I was about five, I guess, but even then, I didn’t like to put my face in the water. When I was about seven or eight, I dove in a pool, cracked my head on the bottom and passed out.  My dad was watching and snatched me up before I drowned (no doubt the lifeguard would have done so in any event), but it scared the living daylights out of me.  Nothing could persuade me to put my face in the water again.

In tenth grade in Colorado, children are required to learn to swim. I dutifully learned every stroke—back, side, breast—but they couldn’t get me to breathe in the water for freestyle. No way.

Thus it remained for decades. I loved swimming, with my kids, on my own. I’m a strong swimmer, too, thanks to all the muscles from gardening.  It’s relaxing and enjoyable and easy.  I can swim back and forth for hours—back, side, breast.

Three years ago, I decided enough was enough. I was going to learn how to swim a proper free-style. I would take lessons and figure it out and practice until I got better, and then, eventually, I would be able to swim a mile without stopping. Even if it took a decade.

I hired a teacher, who was all of seventeen. She could not understand what I meant when I said I didn’t know how to breathe in the water. Continue reading

Barbara: Taking Care

I finally managed to log 10,000 steps today—the first time in almost a week.  It’s been frigidly cold and icy, which means two things: I have not been walking my IMG_5979darling dog at all. He’s had two major knee surgeries, and I can slip on stakes for my shoes, but he doesn’t understand that ice can make you fall down.

Plus, eh, it was windy. Bitter wind, down to 12 degrees….icy roads and walks. No.

I also haven’t been out much, since I chose to buy a Mini instead of something sensible last year.  How often do I need it? How often do I love my Mini? (All the freaking time, every minute I’m in it, and sometimes when I just catch a glimpse of somebody else’s Mini.)  We got out to tai chi Saturday (and yes, Mary Stella, it’s Taoist) which felt great, and I paddled around in the water while Christopher Robin swam laps the other day.

Here’s the thing: my knees were not hurting this morning. That’s quite a surprise. Have I had it wrong all this time? Is all the exercise hurting me, not helping?  After I walked, my hips and knees were both bugging me, but it was also a lot of snow, which is uneven, and the odd bit of ice, so I was careful and tense.

I don’t know. I’ve decided to go with super easy exercise, daily, for awhile and see how that feels. Still aiming for my 10K steps (I’ve been averaging about 4K) per day, but only swimming, walking, tai chi for maybe a month.  Just to see….

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  What are your plans for feasting, enjoying, but also taking care of yourself?  I give myself the pleasure of really feasting on the day, though it’s better than it used to be because I don’t eat any of the meat products and that means a lot less fat by the end of the day.  I do love pie, and asked my sister to bring pecan. But I’ll get a walk in early in the day, and on Friday, I’ll get to the gym for a swim or something.  We’ll eat oatmeal for breakfast every day to limit fats & sugars, and I’ll probably make of a pot lentil soup with veggies to have for lunches. Since I am vegetarian and my son (who is staying for 5 days) is a vegan, we don’t have the turkey leftovers, so I can get back to “normal” eating fairly quickly.  (I will say, however, that of all meat things, I miss roast turkey the most.  Both on the day and the turkey sandwiches the next couple of days.  My mouth is watering, just thinking of it….)

What’s up with you? What’s your plan for Thanksgiving?  I’m so grateful to know you all, to share this space with you….big hugs all around. 

Move It Wednesdays, Barbara: Listening to the BODY, not the mind

photo-81Two weeks ago on Saturday, I was really in the mood to blow off some stress with hard physical exercise. It was a long work week. We walked the dog a couple of miles, as is our Saturday morning habit.  We had plans to attend an introduction to Tai Chi in the afternoon, but that would be mellow and a little behind on my step count, so I went to Zumba.  It was a great, great class.  My favorite teacher.  A vigorous routine. And in the end, as a cool down song, we danced to Royals, my current favorite song (song of the book for Book 2 in my NA series), using a lot of Nia* steps, though I was probably the only one in the class who knew it and knows that the teacher used to be a Nia teacher at the Y.  I was sweaty and happy at the end, although I’d sort of ignored my knees a bit and had a feeling I’d pay.  My spirit soared, my mind was calm.

Within an hour, my knees said, “What the eff?” I sat in my favorite chair and iced them, as I often do. It usually calms them down. Continue reading

Barbara: Consistency, how’s it going on your wellness front(s)?  Some of you have friended me on FitBit and I think maybe a couple of others might have asked but I didn’t know who you were.  If so, send me an email to that same address and I’ll friend you.

I’m feeling happy about this little tool.  I’ve been slowly adding more steps to the weekly total, though not always every day is up there. I’m still clocking in around 9K per day, average, which is great, but I’d like to crack ten most days.  All that means is that I’m showing up for that dog walk every day, day in and day out.  I do the whole walk every day, too, instead of sometimes taking the short cut.  It adds up.  The other day I went to Zumba and got a hella lot of steps for the class (over 6K!).  FitBit is helping increase my consistency.

It also means I’m not beating myself for not being all things to all people and following Every Single Rule Exactly Right.   Continue reading