|The waterfall rocks have sheltered the fern from frost, but not for long.|
I'm still marching along with Leslie in the morning; you'd think after ten months of 'Walk, walk, walk' I'd be somewhere other than home, wouldn't you? My pedometer tells me that coupled with the garden work and everyday activity plus Leslie's jaunts, I'm walking about 50 miles a week now. Just think, I could have walked to some place exotic, like Florida (I've never been there) and be halfway back. Instead, I'm wearing a hole in my rug in the living room. But that's fine with me, I'm not much of a fan of leaving the farm anyway.
And what do I do when I'm not cleaning, working on Aaargh, gardening, or exercising? In my quest for all things fitness-y, I've been trolling the web for any and all sorts of workouts to try to get this old body back to some semblance of 'fit'. Most of the exercise gurus out there all say the same thing, to get fit, you need to pump some serious iron. And what do the gurus recommend as the best place to pump said iron?
"Get thee to a gym."
Actually, I'd rather get me to a nunnery.
A gym. Me. Uh, no. Thanks, but no.
Though I'll have to admit to the same feeling about attending the exercise class at church at first, too. My friend Nancy invited me and I put it off for a long time. It's not that I didn't want to go; I so enjoy her company. I guess I felt it would break my day up too much to have to drive three miles twice a week for an hour-long class. I haven't worked outside the home for over 26 years and have gotten very used to my days being what they are. Weird and unstructured. Just like me. I'm set in my ways.
I always thought I'd just work out at home and not waste the gasoline and wear and tear on the car, but once I started going to the class, I found something more important than mere exercise. Camaraderie and Inspiration. Leslie often refers to her cast as her 'sisters in sweat'. There is something to be said for a group of people all exercising together. Our little core group increased to around 20-30 people a few months ago when the local 'Curves' franchise closed their doors and many of the former members decided to give the free 'Senior Exercise' class a try. I think most, if not all of the ladies are regulars now. Though I don't know all of them by name yet, their smiles are contagious and the moans and groans and giggles and guffaws as we all try to push ourselves down the path to fitness are what keeps me coming back.
I usually work out next to Nancy and the eldest member of our class, Arlene, who at 87 won two marathons this summer, competing with people much younger than herself. And then there's Mary, who perhaps hasn't had the easiest life, but has the sunniest disposition of anyone I've ever met. Our intrepid leader, Gloria, is an inspirational figure in so many ways, having recovered from a near-crippling car accident which would have left many people incapacitated, but she fought her way back from her injuries and puts a much-younger me to shame with her fitness level. Every person (yes, we even have two men!) in that group is special and I find myself looking forward to each and every class. A year ago, I would never have believed I'd be in an exercise class and liking it.
So why don't I think a gym membership for weight-lifting would be a good thing? Well, let's see.....for one, I'm cheap. I don't wanna pay for what I could do at home.
Two: I'm not that crazy about jocks. I'm sure there are very few of the stereotypical 'I pick things up and put them down' mentality running around in most gyms, but I remember high school Phy Ed all too well. I wasn't the last one picked for teams, but I sure as heck wasn't the first one, either. I wasn't a Popular Girl; I was an Invisible Girl. You may know the type, I did my best to get fair grades and stayed far out of the spotlight of Unnecessary Attention. I had the self-esteem of a gnat back then, but hey, we can't all be narcissistic big shots. (Oops, did I type that out loud? Sorry.) I had one goal in high school. To graduate.
Three: Spandex. It's in everything lately, isn't it? I swear it will turn up as an ingredient on a cereal box one day if it hasn't already. "Stretch your food dollar and expand your diet and nutrition goals with new 'Granola Expandola'!! Now with more added fiber, iron and Spandex!!"
I don't look good in Spandex because there's far too much of me. At my age, I shouldn't worry, though. There's not going to be any leering looks in my general direction checking this old unit out; that ship has done sailed. But what if my Spandex reaches its Spand-limit and explodes while I'm attempting to lift something? Not a pretty sight.
Four: Leg warmers? Work-out fashion Do or Don't?
Five: Ditto on Sweat Bands?
Six: Do I have to sanitize everything before I sit, squat, or row on, over or around it?
Seven: If by my mistake, a weight falls in the weight room will it make a sound?
Eight: If aforementioned weight falls on the foot of any aforementioned jocks could I be sued?
Nine: I'm going to stop with this list now because I'm tired and I don't want to be accused of having a Top Ten List. Might get me in trouble with Letterman's people.
So, since weight lifting seems to be the direction where all the gurus are pointing, today I started a weightlifting workout from a book. Though the author encourages joining a gym, I can modify many of the exercises from gym equipment to dumbbells. (I forgot to mention, Dumpster Diver Extraordinaire Carl found a set of dumbbells in duh, a dumpster......so I have a full set of them.) We're going to do some scrounging around for barbells, should just check a secondhand store or rummage sale for them. There's no room in our teeny house for a full home gym set up anyway and if I get the bright idea to swing a barbell around in the living room, a whole bunch of stained glass lamps could become mosaics in no time.
Leslie has an upper body workout on one of her walking videos that I started around the first of the month. She says, "If it gets too easy lifting your current weights, just add more weight to challenge yourself." So far, I'm pretty challenged, though I hate to admit it. I haven't upped my weights yet.
And I've only lowered a few pounds of my own on the freight scale under the kayak recently. But I'll be steering clear of the ol' freight scale for awhile now, we'll give this weight-lifting a go and see what happens. The gurus say the scale isn't always your friend because you don't necessarily lose 'scale weight' when you lift weights. That doesn't seem fair, does it?
The last time I was on my freight scale, I'd gained 36 pounds...oooooooohhhhhhhhh........that was a shocker. Then I turned on my flashlight and saw the heavy chains for pulling tractors were coiled up on the platform right behind me. Some people believe muscle weighs more than fat. I guess it does, but not so much you'd notice really.
But, standing there on the freight scale trying to get the weight arm thingie to balance, for awhile there I thought I'd gained a Whole Bunch of Muscle. (No, that's not what I thought I'd gained, believe me, I was sweating, the cold kind.) Oh, just chains.
Mental breakdown averted.
Maybe I do need a gym.