The Bean Can Workout

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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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Sharing My World 15

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Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

Hugs are nice, but I rarely initiate them.  We were not a very huggy family when I was growing up.  I know I hugged my own kids, but probably not enough.  Very public displays of affection make me uncomfortable.  However, all that being said, if you want a hug from me, or think I need one of yours, please go ahead.  I will hug you back.  Sometimes there just aren’t words to express what a hug is able to say.

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

I’m going to go way out on a limb here, or way out into right field….because that would be my ideal place to eat ice cream, where no one can see me….and say fudge bars.  We buy big boxes of them to have in the freezer for when the grandchildren visit.  That’s a joke, because they visit us about every six boxes of fudge bars.  But because it’s just fudge bars, we can claim to never buy ice cream.  I like them because they are chocolate, eating one does not involve getting a spoon and a bowl dirty, and you can hide their little white wrappers at the bottom of the garbage can.  You could also use the wooden sticks for crafts later, if you washed them off and if they were not also hidden underneath all that garbage.

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

Of course I prefer exercising my mind, because it requires so little physical effort.  Except maybe for working out those frowning muscles in my face. I can also enjoy a fudge bar while I do it.  However, I have been performing a daily series of very non strenuous stretching maneuvers – I hesitate to call them exercises because they sure don’t feel like that – and can honestly say I feel better for it.  And almost look forward to doing it!  I am waking up muscles that nodded off years ago thinking I was done with them.  My neck and shoulders are less stiff.  My ankles feel stronger.  I’ve been up close and personal with my calves and thighs.  Yikes.

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

I’m more of a cat person I suppose, because I totally get how much they like to sleep and generally laze about and do whatever they please.  They entertain themselves and require little more from anyone besides food on demand and a clean litter box.  What a life.  I’m not fond of all that hair shedding though.  When we had cats there was hair in and on absolutely everything.  We kept the lint roller people in business.  I would visit my mom and dad and marvel at how hairless their home was, finally understanding why they preferred animals to live outside or in a barn.  We have no pets now.  It’s enough of a challenge to look after each other.  Plus neither of us sheds much.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a lovely quiet week.  I’ve been able to read and write and draw and play word games and watch movies.  Cats got nothing on me.  And we are almost to the middle of the dread month of January!  The temperature has gone up to -4 C today.  Not quite lawn chair weather, but getting there.  Oh, crap.  There’s a freezing rain warning.  And we’re out of fudge bars.  I need a hug.

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Gentle

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Snow is gently falling this morning and if there is any wind at all, it is gentle too.

My Saturday morning house is quiet and the January light reflects off the gently rotating hangy-things dangling across the kitchen window.

Yes, there does appear to be a photo in this slide show which doesn’t belong.  It is meant to show that beauty can be found on a cluttered kitchen counter.

I am about to begin session three of my gentle stretching of miscellaneous newly awakened muscles.

There are miles to go before I sleep.

Feel free to take all of this and shape it in to an epic piece of poetry.  My brain is currently tuned to the gentle setting and won’t cooperate.

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