For several days it’s been just too hot here to go for a walk. I vowed, after our ghastly winter in which it was just too cold and icy to walk, that this summer I would not complain about the heat if we were lucky enough to get some. So I’m not complaining about that.
But of course if I’m writing I am complaining about something, and todays topic is how sloth-like I’ve been feeling. Only for a few days, though. Last week I was so freaking ambitious it was scary. I moved furniture around in the basement. I cleaned the windows and curtains down there and vacuumed and dusted and even did a bit of painting. I washed light fixtures and cleaned and rearranged clutter and tried not to think about how the carpet should be burned and how gross the ceilings are. Then I imagined my grandchildren in the future reminiscing with each other about visiting and having to sleep in grandmas creepy old basement when they were young. After that I sighed a lot and told myself the experience would no doubt build character. Because just imagining the work involved in doing everything that needs doing is exhausting.
So, now that I’ve been sitting around for a few days resting and doing nothing except wondering what I should eat next, I’ve come up with a much better fitness plan.
I should mention my eye exam first, because I like to take a very meandering approach to getting to the point, but trust me, this is relevant. Visual acuity was way down in my left eye and intraocular pressure was up. My optometrist asked if my blood pressure was okay. Well, we had just driven downtown on a Monday, so it was certainly a possibility that it was elevated. He asked me to come back early Friday morning before drinking coffee to have the IOP rechecked. He also did a retina scan. That Wednesday I went to my doctor to have a possible plantar wart on my foot looked at (it’s a whole other story, I know, we think it’s just a callous although she did the liquid nitrogen treatment just in case) and my blood pressure readings were high enough for her to be concerned and suggest that I monitor it for a month and keep a record. First thing in the morning before coffee, last thing at night before bed. I am also checking fasting blood sugar readings daily, so I suppose you could say I’m currently keeping the worlds most boring diary.
Exercise for helping to control both these things is very important. The early rush hour trip back to the optometrist resulted in slightly less elevated IOP, normal enough retina scan, normal enough macula, check up in a year. I also have early cataracts. That’s pretty normal as well. What would be even more normal is having an optometrist close to home instead of smack dab in the middle of the city. And to give up all this “before coffee” nonsense.
But back to the exercise thing. Finally. I’ve lost a lot of weight since retiring and I don’t want it to creep back on due to lack of activity. I’m way more clued in about diet and nutrition and smarter choices, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a huge leap to develop the same kind of commitment to keeping my joints from seizing up.
Walking is still the best. Cutting the grass is equivalent to a walk. Now for the days when I can’t make myself put on shoes and go outside, I will do a 30 minute bean can workout. It’s actually a fifteen minute seniors low impact thing, but I’ve upgraded it slightly because I’m not ninety yet. I found it on YouTube. There are no doubt gazillions of these videos to peruse, but on this one I quite liked the nice young man (this is how seniors talk) who went through 10 different exercises, telling me how great I was doing before I even got off my butt to do anything.
He uses a chair in some of them for balance, does squats that don’t kill your knees, side to side steps that remind me of one of my random dance moves in high school, marching in place with swinging arms and high knee raises. Killer stuff. I changed the wall push ups to fridge push ups because I’d rather have greasy handprints there. Side to side twist and punch from the chin is exactly as much fun as it sounds. But the best part was using “weights” which were actually water bottles, for lifting and curling and pressing and whatever else you call messing around with heavy things in your hands.
I had to improvise with a can of black beans in one hand and a can of mixed beans in the other because I don’t have water bottles around when W isn’t home. Did I mention he’s gone fishing for the entire summer? And is also looking after some things for his elderly parents on the side. This is why the grass cutting here is all mine.
My preference in lieu of plastic water bottles is a refillable water container because there’s nothing wrong with our tap water. I can appreciate the convenience of bottled water when it’s necessary but I think it’s a silly wasteful gimmick we’ve gone way overboard with for the most part. I do have some bottles of Diet Pepsi in the cupboard but it’s probably not a great idea to shake those up for 30 minutes. But the good news is it gives me an excuse to drink a couple of them and then fill them up with water to use instead of canned goods because they hold 710 ml vs. 540. And could conceivably make a bigger impact on my shoulders. Which is where most people never think to concentrate when slimming down.
Anyway it will be a few days before the Pepsi bottles are ready because I try to limit my sodium and artificial sweetener intake, so it will be Bean workouts until then. The beauty of this series is there’s nothing bouncy or heart attack inducing. Always a plus. You do as many repetitions as you can of each one, and go through the routine twice. It was kind of fun! I think I might even be able to break out in a sweat if I try hard enough! I like the concentration on stretching and gentle movements, a combination of yoga and Tai Chi for the very lazy.
Now when I’m feeling like a slug and think a snack will perk me up, I will do as many fridge push ups as it takes to change my mind. Hey, it could work!
Okay, I gotta go and get started on one of those bottles. I love a project. Maybe one day I’ll graduate to real dumbbells. But then where’s the fun in that?
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