Friday, October 19, 2012
We are often warned by well intentioned people about a specific activity because of potential injury. Donít do X, Y or Z. It will hurt your (insert body part here).
Looking back at my history of injuries serious enough to require rest and/or rehabilitation, the activities most dangerous to me are eating out and food shopping.
In reverse chronological order:
July 2012: I tripped over a step while checking out the items on the restaurantís buffet. I landed awkwardly and twisted my left knee.
Result: 2 months of rehab exercises and no workouts.
April 2010: While grocery shopping, I caught sight of a half price sale on chocolate! I did a quick pivot and strained a ligament in my right knee.
Result: Ice, Advil and 2 weeks of not running.
May 2007: In a local supermarket I was buying a salad and bottle of water for lunch. I didnít have a cart for the 2 purchases and as I came around the corner of the aisle, I fell over shelving that the employees had left on the FLOOR. Nothing broken, but I got a 6Ē by 6Ē ugly purple bruise on my thigh and a lot of pain.
Result: 2 months of inactivity and a lot of Advil.
Note: The first thing the manager did was order his people to remove the shelving. I actually had to ask them for ice. No apology from the store, just a letter from their legal staff that any claim would require my submitting all my medical records for the last 10 years without any guarantee of confidentiality. Fortunately, I didnít have any expenses or miss work, but it did give me a new perspective about those who hire personal injury attorneys.
June 3, 2006: Our 39th wedding anniversary. We were coming out of the restaurant where we had dinner and were looking for the Cheesecake Factory for dessert when I tripped over a concrete planter on the sidewalk and fell face first, breaking my fall with my outstretched hands.
Result: 6 months of rehab for a frozen shoulder. At least I could still run.
OK, 3 of the 4 were my own fault. However, bizarre things happen to other people too. At our gym last week a woman tripped over the weights she left on the floor and fell into another woman. The 2nd woman broke her leg - another case of wrong place, wrong time.
Be careful out there!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
If I feel good, eat healthy and exercise, isnít that enough? No, not for me and looking around at the general population, not for a lot of other people either. Without some objective measure, itís way too easy to deceive myself.
The voice in my head says:
Compared to others, Iím not fat
Compared to others, Iím fit.
Compared to others, I donít eat a lot.
Compared to others, I eat healthy.
But Iím not the others and if I only depend on subjective measures, Iím going to be one of them Ė again! Society is giving me license to gain weight. Clothing manufacturers allow me to feel good about myself by calling my 38Ē inch hips ďsmall!Ē or in the case of one brand ďextra small.Ē Yeah, sure! It was their miracle fabrics that allowed me to gain 25 pounds and still fit into the same clothes. Who knew underwear could stretch like that?
My body knows what it needs, right?
Why does MY body think it needs so much sugar and salt?
Without a stopwatch my mind overestimates the distance Iíve run and underestimates the time elapsed. Without a food scale, I underestimate portion size. Without reading food labels, I underestimate calories, sugar and salt. Over time this has unfortunate consequences.
I do get a complete physical every year or two, but I can do a lot of damage in that time. A lot of chronic conditions can creep up on you with no early symptoms at all.
Fortunately, I have an objective measure to keep me honest. I have a scale. Itís great for maintenance. (Yes, I know it doesn't define my self worth and I'm aware of daily fluctuations) However, if the trend is up, up, up, I can't continue to lie to myself. Iím doing something wrong and I want to find out in time before itís hard to turn things around.
I want to make this weight loss journey a one-time trip and just stay at my destination permanently.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Many SP articles, blogs and threads involve workout music. At age 65 I have to admit that Iím not familiar with much of it. The last I remember being surrounded with popular music, my 3 kids were in high school (1983-1993). Soon afterwards technology allowed everyone to carry around their own personal soundtrack and tune out the world around them.
Other than stores that pipe in seasonal music, the only time Iím surrounded with sound is at the gym. Iíve discovered that I choose my aerobics class as much by the music favored by the instructor as for the moves she incorporates. When the music triggers an emotional response, Iím energized to put more effort into the activity. When the song reminds me of a time or place, Iím transported back there and a younger version of myself takes over. While ďlost in the sixtiesĒ the hour session just flies by. Of course, it helps not to look too closely in the mirror or the reality of how time has actually flown by disrupts the atmosphere. (I remember Jamie Lee Curtis in ďFreaky FridayĒ ĖďEEK, Iím the Crypt Keeper!Ē)
Note: This doesnít apply when running outdoors. There, as Iíve written in a previous blog, being alert and aware of my surroundings is more important than any boost from music. Be careful out there!
Monday, October 15, 2012
No, this isnít like one of those spam emails ďmeet sexy singles in your area.Ē But as I get older Iím coming face to face with the statistics of life expectancy. Sadly, Iím attending more funerals lately and have even begun to read the obituaries. People are showing up there who were born in MY decade and men outnumber women.
I see the gender gap all around me. On the river cruises and bus trips favored by senior citizens, there are many couples, but the solo travelers are overwhelmingly women. In the nursing homes I visit, itís unusual to see a man in the dining room or at any of the activities.
However, there are 2 areas where the balance is more even or actually tipped in the other direction. I live in an area popular with retirees and certain times of day are dominated by us old folks.
Looking around the gym one morning, I counted equal numbers of both genders. Women were the majority in the classes, but the men were there on treadmills, lifecycles, ellipticals and pumping iron. In the pool women gravitate toward water aerobics, but the men are well represented in the lap lanes.
Then thereís our local road races. The highest age groups are not equally defined. Women are grouped into age 65 and up, sometimes even 60 and up. Men, on the other hand, continue their 5 year grouping until 75 or 80 because there are just more of them. At one winter race (in bad weather I must add) there was a prize (a turkey) for the oldest participants in the race. I won as the oldest woman and I was only 61. The oldest man was 79!
My conclusion? Women may still outlive men, but those men that do beat the odds are out there working out and staying fit.
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