Wednesday, October 29, 2014
My drivers' license expired recently. Actually, the TSA id checker noticed it and told me. I panicked for an instant, but he said that it was still good for his purposes for a year, however I'd better get it seen to when I got home.
I could have renewed it online. All I needed to do was pay the money and say that all my data was the same. My name, my address were still right. I hadn't changed my mind about organ donation. But my weight wasn't the same. It's 30 pounds less than the old license said. Call me vain, but I call it claiming a sort of semi-scale-victory.
I went down in person to the DMV, waited, filled out the forms, and had a new picture taken so that my new license reads 30 pounds less than the old one. This is my main id document and I am not that 30-extra-pound lady any more. It was worth it!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Magnificent as the Grand Canyon trip was, there were problems. They started with the best intentions in the world--breaking in new hiking shoes before I left. Good idea, right? Well, the good news was that I found out that those shoes were very bad for my knees and legs--they made lateral movement of my knees hurt. This was learned in time to pack an older pair of shoes that were kinder. But those strains hadn't healed by the time I spent many hours sitting on a plane. Once on the river, sitting in the raft for hours at a stretch did nothing to improve the situation. My knees got very stiff, and that compromised my agility. I often needed assistance getting in and out of the boat; walking in deep sand at the campsites was difficult.
This was an emotional blow. I am not used to being the clumsy old lady that needs help. I teach exercise, for crying out loud! I am supposed to be in the front showing everybody else what to do. The other people on the trip had never seen me in that role with happy knees. All they knew of me was the slow klutz.
And it got worse. After a hike on a steep rocky slope, my knees were very painful from the impact of descending. A couple of days on ibuprofin helped, but I never was able to regain my agility mojo.
Thank goodness I had a week afterwards to recuperate in a pool. Wonderful water always (so far) fixes me up, and I'm back in front of my water aerobics classes.
BUT. The memory of the experience sticks with me and I know that it can happen again (with worse consequences?) in the future if I don't change a few things and get my act together.
Number one on the list is to finish the weight loss I started. I have lost significant pounds and kept them off, but if the knees are going to last, there needs to be less mass making less impact with every step. To that end, I have reset my weight ticker to focus on the job ahead. To kick off that effort, I will be working on a Fit2Feast streak in November--some kind of exercise every day.
And number two will be to do more land exercise. The water is my first and greatest love, but there's no getting around the fact that we live in 100% gravity and not every surface is smooth and flat like a pool deck or floor. So some of that streak will be dry.
It feels good to be taking control--here's to success!
Saturday, October 25, 2014
I've just returned from an experience of a lifetime--rafting the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon. We went with a commercial guiding company (and were very glad we did), a group of friends of a central couple, almost all Alaskans. No boating mishaps, no involuntary swimmers, no flips or highsides. Just 16 days of the most astonishing geological beauty.
It really does change your perspective of time to see a mile-high stack of the aeons of time that preceded you. And tucked away from phones, electronics, and all the rest of the world, life is reduced to its basic elements--eating, sleeping, following the river ever onward.
I could have kept traveling on the river forever--loved both the wild rapids and the calm, quiet stretches between. Camping was a different story. Every night was spent on a riverside sand bank. With emphasis on the sand. Sand in your tent, sand in your bed, sand in your shoes, sand in your coffee, sand in your sunscreen, sand gritting between your teeth. I've never been so dirty in my life--washing in muddy river water (clothes and self) never got anything really clean. It was a thrill to get back to a bed that was up off the ground and to the miracles of modern plumbing!
But the inconveniences were a fair price to pay for the experience of visiting a secret world (I previously didn't know that the river is almost invisible from the canyon rim). And it was also great to see that humans have finally come to value such a unique wild place and to make the effort to keep it so.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Today's Spark email has a link to a big article on water exercise www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness
Hurrah! I say. The more people who discover the benefits of the water, the better!
However. Ahem. There are some mistakes and misinformation that I can't let pass when I'm a water aerobics teacher certified by the AEA www.aeawave.com/ for 10 years.
Cherry tomato--you don't have to get your hair wet if you do vertical exercise like water jogging or aerobics. Humid, yes. Wet, not unless you splash a lot.
Bouquet--you don't notice you're sweating. (So bring a water bottle to keep those flowers from wilting!)
Big bodacious bouquet--water is great for high BMI's and joint issues!
Rotten tomato--water exercise does in fact have a positive effect on bone density. Stress on the bones from hard-working muscles strengthens them. It's still a good idea to exercise in gravity for your bones.
Bouquet--leave your heart monitor at home. Scientists still cannot come up with a better way to measure aquatic exercise intensity than Rate of Perceived Exertion. If you feel like you are working hard, you are!
Huge bouquet--Yay for water aerobics! There's a wide range of possibilities and intensities. Pick what's right for you. And wear water shoes for traction on deck and in the pool, for extra resistance in the water, and for foot protection if you are diabetic!
Cherry tomato--start off your water walking/jogging session with a warmup slow walk or jog, and then speed up to intervals, endurance, etc. Get more out of it by doing some laps sideways and backwards!
Tomato--"just bicycling" your legs in the water is a perfectly ok movement alternative. In fact, changing up what your legs do: biking, skiing, walking, running is better than doing the same thing for the whole session.
Bouquet--treading water is a great, simple way to do water cardio. Just stay safe in the deep water.
Big sloppy beefsteak tomato--buoyant resistance is different from gravity resistance. Think about it. On land the work is to pull that iron up against gravity. In the water the work is pulling that foam DOWN and keeping it submerged. Aqua and land strength exercises are very complementary--for best results do both.
A little more tomato salad--take care with strength exercises in water. It is easy to hurt your shoulders or back with incorrect form or ill-advised exercises. Use extreme care and professional supervision with buoyancy that attaches to the lower body.
Bouquet--lap swimming is great! Minimal equipment required, you determine your own pace. Mix it up with some water-treading to strengthen the core.
So jump in the pool, move the way you like, and have fun!
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Why, indeed, at sixty-mumble years of age do I do this? It's a question I'm sure plenty of polite people wonder but don't ask. It's a question some nervy family members actually ask. It's a question I sometimes even ask myself. Here are some of my answers.
The class members. First and foremost. They are great people who are doing a great thing for themselves, and I love supporting that and making it the best possible experience.
The challenge of the class members. People come to water classes with all kinds of backgrounds and needs. I love trying to help them all get what they need in that hour, wildly variable though those needs may be. I once had an ultramarathoner in training for a 100-mile race and a prison guard pre-habbing for a double hip replacement in the same class. They both were regulars, so they both must have felt they were benefiting.
The challenge of the environment. I can come to the pool with some basic ideas of what I want to do in the class, but they can be drastically re-arranged depending on air and/or water temperature. One time when the water temperature was 90 degrees (that's like therapy pool heat) cardio work would have collapsed everyone with heat exhaustion. Instead, we had to have an hour of slow strength work and Ai Chi movement. Good thing I didn't have my heart set on killer intervals!
To demonstrate that you don't have to be young, skinny, cute, or athletic to be fit. Yes, the young, skinny, cute, and athletic teachers are fun to watch at the front of the class. But they can represent an unrealistic standard for the average person that just wants to lower their health risks or fit into smaller jeans. I feel like I can at least be living proof that exercise is for every body. And having been a lot fatter, having a touch of arthritis, having had the life experiences that come with a lot of years, I can better empathize with my class members and better guide their workouts.
The learning. I confess I have always been a nerd. And now I'm an exercise nerd. I love the continuing education classes we have to take to keep up certification. I adore attending international water aerobics conventions to see what's new, what's old-and-now-new-again, and to be a part of the collective energy of a group of people who are passionate about a shared interest. I love to keep variety in my classes.
First and last, it's the class members. It's such a boost to see people who manage to make exercise a habit grow in strength and endurance, to see them enjoy the social benefits of class, and to maintain their ability to do activities they love, whether as professional musicians, caregivers, teachers, or pet rescuers.
Another question that I sometimes ask myself is "How long can I keep doing this?" I see colleagues fall to injury, joint problems, life changes, and I wonder if 70 will be the end of the road. 75? Will I be leading the chair exercise class in the nursing home when I'm 95? The only answer I can come up with is "as long as I can. As long as people will let me. I love this. "
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