Tag Archives: Exercise

Winter River Walk

During a bout of winter flu, I became one with my family room sofa. Hubby couldn’t tell the difference between us — except that the sofa looked livelier.

Between his patients and me, my doctor husband had been doing care 24/7. When I eventually felt better, he couldn’t wait to get out of the house. “Would you like to take a walk?”

“Sure,” I said. So what, if my brain waves were still AWOL? Enough of the four walls, even if The Weather Channel declared that it was 25 degrees, but felt like -25.

My only exercise had consisted of visits to the fridge (“Stuff a fever, stuff a cold”), so I needed benches where I could rest atrophied limbs. Hubby didn’t want to drive far. Where to go for the nature walk we craved?

We ended up at a nearby town park. Bundled like Nanook and Nanette of the North, we strolled across a pedestrian bridge that spanned icy, silver-blue water. The river flowed, mirroring black-limbed trees, some still draped with fall’s russet finery. Snow patches sparkled in the sunlight. A deep quiet had settled over much of its hibernating shores.

Those whose winter vistas include oceans and beaches might consider the river view akin to an arctic Hades. But on this chilly, sunshiny day, the sharp air tasted like heaven.

Despite possessing wings, clumps of geese and ducks had not succumbed to the siren call of the balmy South.

Perhaps feathered relatives, perching on beach pier posts, shook their heads about their kin’s staying in Indiana.

“Must have made a wrong turn,” one goose told its mate. “Your family never could find their way out of a chicken coop.”

However, the river ducks and geese acted as if they liked it, despite swimming against the current. I had never seen waterfowl swim sideways before.

Maybe they couldn’t find their way out of a chicken coop.

They all quacked and honked at us: “You own a warm house with central heat and a fireplace, yet you’re freezing to death out here. And you think we’re stupid?”

They had a point. Above feathered rants and raves, I heard the family room sofa calling me, and Hubby agreed our winter river walk should end.

I returned to the sofa a little longer. The river community also will remain largely subdued. But an undercurrent of life, stronger than the river’s, flows through the dormant shores. And through me.

Who knows? Maybe even my brain waves will return.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Can you remember a favorite river walk?

To Watch the Clock or Not?

While riding our exercise bike, I pondered the importance of clocks — mostly because after achieving sufficient torture minutes, I could get off. And reward myself with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Usually, though, I’m not a clock-watcher; my devout, free-spirited parents lauded flexibility as a key virtue. Keeping track of time? Not so much. Church services they led not only seemed to go on forever, they actually did.

So, when my second-grade teacher instructed our class about telling time, I didn’t see the point. Besides, if the big hand was on two, plain as day, why did she insist it read 10 minutes after the hour? Why should insignificant dots between the numbers dictate the operation of the universe?

Given that cosmic view, I didn’t own my first wristwatch until eighth grade.

My husband received his as a kindergartner. Perhaps his family operated like normal people?

Liam, our time-loving toddler, is now 10 and still watches clocks.

Decades later, our toddler grandson, Liam, exhibited that “normal” behavior tenfold. Every visit.

LIAM: Grandma, want pretty “numbers-clock.”

GRANDMA: If you wear my watch, you must give it back before I leave.

LIAM: (nodding vigorously) I will.

(Grandma doubles the band around his tiny wrist.)

LIAM: (caressing the watch) My numbers-clock.

At least, I escaped the mugging Liam’s library storyteller suffered when he refused to give up his numbers-clock.

While most North Americans don’t go to that extreme, other cultures do puzzle about our clock fetish. The Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels, captured that viewpoint perfectly in describing Gulliver’s pocket watch as a god he worshipped: “He assured us … that he seldom did anything without consulting it. He called it his oracle and said it pointed out the time for every action of his life.”

Centuries later, I find this true, even at night. Do you, too, play peekaboo during the wee hours with merciless numbers that scare away sleep?

Cell phones, rather than clocks, often rule both nights and days. Still, I consult my watchless wrist. That failing, I consult my phone — after I find it.

Perhaps a residue of freedom from time survives, as demonstrated in our living room. Two clocks reside there, neither of which works. As dusty décor, they read 1:57 and 3:01, respectively. This annoys Liam, no longer a mugger, but still a clock-watcher at 10.

The first is my husband’s great-great-grandfather’s mantel clock, with its ornate brass lions, rings and trims. But I like the other best, a modest crystal clock Hubby gave me for Christmas long ago.

A note accompanied it: “My love for you is timeless.”

Clock-watcher or not, exercise-bike rider or chocolate-eating slacker, I have time for that.

Anytime.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: When do you watch the clock?

Lifetime Fitness Awareness

Three little words.

We’ve all heard them: word trios that drop on our heads like clusters of miniature anvils.

  • You are overdrawn.
  • The IRS called.
  • What’s our deductible?
  • Congratulations! It’s quadruplets.

But the three words on my adult college registration eclipsed them all.

Dress for exercise.

Dress for exercise?

“Lifetime Fitness Awareness is required for everybody,” my college adviser insisted.

“But I’m already aware,” I whined. “My knees crack and I injured my back reading the newspaper. Why should I throw away perfectly good money to find out what I already know — my abs of steel are flabs I conceal.”

She gave me a sympathetic look, but said nothing.

At the first session, I felt encouraged. Our instructor, a Nice Young Man (over-50 translation for hunk), prayed at the beginning of class for health and well-being. A Christian college has its advantages; I could use Divine help, especially since one glance told me I was at least 10 years older than any of my co-sufferers.

He prayed, his voice full of compassion.

Then he proceeded to kill me.

“Okay, everybody, let’s hit the weight room!”

Weight rooms exist for football players. Olympic medalists. Japanese wrestlers in loincloths.

I don’t even like to swimsuit shop.

As we filed into the weight room, young men with biceps the size of hams gave us polite smiles as each hoisted half a house above his head.

I stared at a machine.

It smirked back. Deep in its shiny metal innards, it knew the truth: to me, heaven presents no mystery, compared to the incomprehensible operation of any and all machines.

I refused to be defeated by a lower species. I grasped the machine’s cold, skeletal limbs and yanked them toward my chest. The machine fought back, but with grim determination, I conquered my opponent. I had nearly completed a whole set when the instructor interrupted me.

Would I please stop wrestling with the equipment rack?

He stuck close after that, introducing me one by one to various torture devices:  machines that

  • bent my biceps,
  • pulled my pectorals
  • decreased my height
  • reversed my elbow direction.

“Can you believe it?” I asked my adviser later, after describing my brush with death by machinery. “We spent the last class session talking about managing stress. I’ll tell you about stress. Taking ‘Slow Execution 101.’”

My adviser looked up from her schedule of classes. “You’re mistaken,” she said. “That course is required next semester.”

What exercise horror stories are you trying to forget?

 

 

This Was for My Health?

DCF 1.0

We’ve all heard word trios that drop on our heads like clusters of miniature anvils. You are overdrawn. The IRS called. What’s our deductible?

But the three words on my adult college registration eclipsed them all.

Dress for exercise. Dress for exercise?

“Lifetime Physical Awareness is required for everybody,” my college adviser insisted.

“But I’m already aware,” I whined. “My knees crack and I injured my back reading the newspaper. Why should I throw away perfectly good money to find out what I already know?—my abs of steel are flabs I conceal.

“I refuse to play soccer with 18-year-olds.” I crossed my arms. “Those people think varicose veins are a new rock band.”

I couldn’t change her mind.

At first, I felt encouraged. Our instructor, a Nice Young Man (over-50 translation for Hunk), prayed for our health and well-being. A Christian college has its advantages; I could use divine help, especially since one glance told me I was at least ten years older than any of my co-sufferers.

He prayed, his voice full of understanding and compassion.

Then he proceeded to kill me.

“Okay, let’s hit the weight room!”

I stared at one of the machines.

It smirked back at me. Deep in its shiny metal innards, it knew the truth: to me, heaven presents no mystery, compared to the incomprehensible operation of any and all machines. But I refused to be defeated by a lower species. I grasped the machine’s cold, skeletal limbs and yanked them toward my chest. The machine fought back, but with grim determination, I conquered my opponent.

I had nearly completed a whole set when the instructor interrupted me. Would I please stop wrestling with the equipment rack?

He stuck close to me after that, introducing me one by one to various torture devices:  machines that bent my biceps, pulled my pectorals, decreased my height, reversed my elbow direction. I lay on the floor panting, my tongue hanging out.

“Can you believe it?” I asked my adviser later, after describing my brush with death by machinery. “To top it all off, we spent the last class session talking about managing stress. I’ll tell you about stress. Taking ‘Slow Execution 101.’”

My adviser looked up from her schedule of classes. “You’re mistaken,” she said. “That course is required next semester.”