We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Photo: I look in pretty good shape for a country boy, don't I?
Mrs. BD decided that my lazy middle-aged, sedentary-working ass needed a trainer. Well, I happily do outdoor work all I can on weekends, but there is church, theater, museum, music performances, etc...
In long-past years, I would routinely swim a mile a day racing friends, or run 5-20 miles. As I say, middle-aged lazy ass now. It's crazy, isn't it? In America, many people pay for physical exertion while, mostly, the whole world prays for work with no lifting. I love sort-of mindless physical work like ditch-digging or log splitting or chain-sawing. Mental work fatigues me.
How in this world can physical labor be a luxury good? Anybody, no matter how impaired; every person can do at least useful simple physical work and I am not talking about Steven Hawking who works 10 hrs/day.
I haven't even been playing tennis regularly since the organizer of our group died (dropped dead on the tennis court, which I said he would have always wanted, but not right then. I feel the same way, but one would feel bad to interrupt a good doubles game that way).
Anyway, Mrs. BD gave me 20 beginning sessions for Christmas with this young trainer she uses, quite inexpensive, in a hole-in-the-wall gym (not Equinox). (For presents, our family goes more for the experiential than the material.) 5 am sessions, fine with me. Get it done before work. An Ohio farm lad. He is good, cheerful, not a body-beautiful type and with just the right amount of sadism to laugh when you feel pain. He asked me what my tolerance for aching muscles was. I honestly told him that I love the feeling of physical fatigue and ache - bring it on - and only hate mental ache and worry.
Naturally, he asked me my goals. I said maintaining and improving strength, fitness, and endurance in middle age. I have no weight problem or physical problems (thus far). I can ski all day and hike up hills all day, do manual labor all day, but I do tire. My many sibs are all exercise nuts, wiry, a bit too skinny, hard-bodied, and far more fit than I am.
For no good reason I can see, Mrs. BD wants me alive so she made me get a physical and an echo stress test before starting. I avoid "physicals" like the plague, and figure every 5-7 years is just barely tolerable. Anyway, I went. Passed. I quickly found out why she wanted that. This guy said I won't need too much aerobics for a while because his fitness training plan for me will be highly aerobically stressful in itself. He does not allow rest periods and claims any endurance improvement will come from that. It's called "boot camp." Whew!
Trainer said my weight is fine, but I am soft, with some signs of age and muscle loss. Gee, thanks - but I knew that. He wants to build muscle weight and eliminate soft weight so it comes out about even. He said quit carbs and eat a hard-boiled egg, or a small plain yoghurt, or one slice of meat or 2 of cheese after hard work-outs as breakfast, to inject a little protein in the bloodstream. Nothing more. Said that was plenty for a guy doing a hard morning workout since I have mostly sitting or just walking afterwards. I guess I can handle that, altho I never have eaten any breakfast except coffee since I was a teen and do not like to eat in the morning. 2 coffees and a smoke is a perfect breakfast.
I am not a big eater at all but I am known to nibble. I can appreciate fine food but I don't need it - a small sandwich or a small bowl of soup for supper is plenty for me. I am not a carb addict other than mashed taters (in a lifetime of Dunkin Donuts, I have almost never bought one of their pastries - maybe one a year at most).
I'll confess it's a good, luxurious feeling to put part of your well-being in the hands of an expert.
He could come dig post holes for me. I was only going to charge half the gym rate.
I am glad I was never into running. Cousin loved to run. Set records for his HS. At age 46 came in second in his age group in a marathon. My brother did cross country in HS as well. Both are headed for hip replacements. Doc says he sees a lot of it from people that did a lot of running.
There is a lot to be said for sitting on your dead ass. Over the long sweep of history, how long have people been able to do that, get fat and live a long life?
I ran my entire life until the time injury stopped me. Luckily not a serious injury. I miss running, greatest excercise in the world. I ran 3-9 miles 6 days a week for 30 plus years as an adult (obviously as a child we all run in sports and play). 71 now and hips and knees are good. I have two friends who never excercised except to mow the lawn or clean the house and both have had multiple replacements. I'm just not sure that using your muscles for their intended purpose is what causes joints to wear out. I also have a friend who never ran until he turned 55. He began running and went right to marathons and ultra-marathons. He ran 100 mile marathons on weekends all summer. He is 80 now, doesn't run anymore but hips and knees still intact. I will leave in three days to spend a month hiking in our national parks, sometimes to 10,000' or so. I expect to climb my favorite 10,000' plus mountain in August. No big deal really the trail is usually crowded with yuppies and housewifes so anyone in shape can do it. I am also planning on a couple of segment hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer. Maybe, if I can put the trip together, we will go to France in September and day hike some trails in the alps. My advice is to excercise daily but stick to things you will enjoy and run if you enjoy it and never overdo the excercise. That is; resist that human trait to excel, break records, exceed expectations. Almost sounds counter-intuitive but I believe that seductive trend is what causes injuries and long term problems. Stay within your ability and reach your reasonable goals gradually and easily. Don't overdo it.
Get a digital pedometer for 20 bucks and walk a minimum 10,000 steps a day, preferably spaced throughout the day. 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day will not compensate for a sedentary life, as being sedentary for even one hour triggers the inflammatory process, and the most cutting edge research is linking chronic inflammation to everything from heart disease to cancer to Alzheimer's. 10,000 steps will give you all the benefit of any amount of exercise, with none of the downside, e.g., joint degeneration or sudden death after a marathon.
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