Tag Archives: Physical exercise

Men’s Health – Their Greatest Threats

25 Apr Wheel-chaired Man (sxc.hu ba1969)

Today’s post is devoted just for men but women should read it too.  I’ve noticed recently that my male readership has increased steadily and so I want to address health issues that men specifically find challenging.

It’s no secret that men don’t live as long as women. I think part of the reason for that is that men don’t take care of themselves as well as women do. I’ve been witness to this countless times with my own father, my son, my husband (ex), men I’ve dated, through social networking, and just in general.

I remember my dad saying that when he finally went to see a doctor, the doctor was shocked that my dad hadn’t had a physical in 20 years!

A past boyfriend of mine told me that he fell over the balcony of his two-story house, landed on his back, and never went to the doctor!

Another past boyfriend had symptoms of depression but never followed up with a health professional. He was a counselor prior to his current job.

My son told me he had growths on his hands that he let go for too long. He doesn’t believe they are warts.  He still hasn’t seen a doctor.

My ex-husband quit smoking countless times. He IS a doctor!

So men, you can see you are not alone in not seeking out help for your health issues. We women would like to see you live as long as we do. The way to do that is to pay more attention to your body. Seek medical help when you need it and even when you don’t, in the form of a preventative checkup or procedure.

I’ve written more here. Start now to take better care of yourself.

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Exercise: I Talk the Talk and I Walk the Walk

8 Oct sxc.hu createsima - Rainbow Image

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post about exercising. I’m sure you won’t be surprised at what I’m about to tell you. (Although it surprised me!)

I was acknowledged for doing the most workouts at my health club for the month of August.

Marcy at top of the list

Marcy at the Top of the List

See my name at the top of the list?

I wasn’t aiming to claim the most visits and I wasn’t keeping track even though some members at the club don’t believe me. A new doctor I had been seeing recommended I workout AT LEAST 5 times a week! To me, this translated into doing more than 5 times a week so I was at the club everyday it was open: 6 days a week. I did that for 2 1/2 weeks straight and I didn’t take the 7th day off when I was home!

How was it? It was exhausting! Are they serious? What senior citizen can continually exercise at that pace? Maybe if they didn’t put much effort into their workouts but my workouts aren’t like that. I put my all into it. I’m known at my club as the person who works out the hardest. Really, it’s more of a social club for a lot of the members. I hope their social friends visit them when they’re in the hospital recovering from illnesses due to their lack of exercise!

So, there has to be a balance here. It should be taken into account how seriously you exercise! Plus, I don’t exercise for 30 minutes. I figure since I’m there, I’m going to exercise until I’m tired and that is usually 50 minutes and, depending on which gym I’ve been going to and the equipment they have, as long as 1 hr and 15 minutes. I think doctors need to ask their patients about this. Or, maybe I need to volunteer this information the next time at my appointment since I seem to be stereotyped: Senior = Sedentary.

MY GOALS

I’ve been working on increasing my upper body strength in the past few months and the effort shows. My biceps have increased .25% while I’ve slowly continued to lose weight. I’m still using the caloriecount website and I don’t know if I can ever do without it! I am seriously hooked on it because it has been so beneficial to me!

The reason I’ve been working on my upper body strength is that women in general, are known to have poor upper body strength and I’ve always wanted to do a chin up. So far, I can master a chin up half way. This is a new goal for me. I like to challenge myself and I am always seeking new exercise goals to keep things interesting and to have something to achieve.

Since April of this year, I put together a warm-up routine for myself that I do now every time I exercise. It is about 6 minutes long and involves a variety of arm movements but also leg and ab movements too. I am crediting this routine for healing my shoulder issues that had dragged on for over 2 years! I will write up and post the routine in a future post. You may want to try it. If it worked for me, it may work for you.

Recently, I saw a 75-year-old female body builder on TV. She was lean and didn’t look anywhere near 75! She was inspirational! I was telling one of the gals at my club about her and I said that the body builder was my idol to which she replied, “You’re MY idol!” I got a kick out of that. Hey, that’s OK with me. That’s what this blog is all about:  talking the talk AND walking the walk; reaching that goal at the end of the rainbow!

sxc.hu/cempey - Colorful Rainbow Shot

sxc.hu/cempey – Rainbow Gold Goal!

 

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Signs of Spring: Wet Rains, Weeds, and Wandering Plants

25 May Columbine Flower

My garden is looking pretty and I’ve pulled a lot of weeds to get it to look that way!

Irises

Irises

We’ve had a lot of rain – like every other day. We’ve also had a roller coaster ride of temperatures, from low 40’s to mid-80’s.  It keeps going up and down!

First Rose of Spring

First Rose of Spring

When it’s cool, I make sure I get out in the backyard and get to work!

Flowering Thyme2

Flowering Thyme

I’ve had to mow the lawn weekly, unlike last spring/summer when we had the drought and I didn’t have to mow at all!

Boxwood

Boxwood

My neighbor’s lawn service shaved my Columbine flowers to the quick last summer but fortunately they came back full bloom. A resilient flower that mimics a resilient town in Colorado. When they spread out some more, I will transplant some to the front yard.

Columbine Flower

Columbine Flower

Half of the seeds I sowed in my vegetable garden died due to frost. FROST! In MAY! So, I went out yesterday and planted more seeds. My Cilantro survived though and it’s the first time I planted Cilantro.  Let’s hope there are no more frosts!

I have plants growing in my front yard also. Two of them,  I don’t know where they came from. One looks like a fir tree and it’s about 4 inches tall.  When it gets a little bigger, I’ll transplant it to my backyard. The other plant is a common spider plant. I transplanted it indoors last summer and the plant died. So, I was shocked to see another spider plant out front in the same spot where I removed the first one! The more I think I know about plants, the more they surprise me.

If you’re not growing a garden, you’re missing a lot of fun, good exercise, and Vitamin D.  It’s never too late to get started.

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Horseback Riding: Good for Your Health?

1 Oct Mike riding a pony at a friend's house

 

I think It’s safe to say that most of us realize that riding a horse can be a risky sport. They are large animals and can pack a powerful blow. Plus, we are all familiar with what happened to Christopher Reeves (Superman).

I’ve been horseback riding several times in my life and I have my own terrifying experience to tell. Fortunately, I kept my head about me. Looking back, it all seemed like reflex reaction because I didn’t have time to think.

I was on a date with some of my date’s friends. We decided to go horseback riding at a public park. I don’t recall what park but this was when I was living in New York.

My horse kept lagging behind. The guide kept telling me to kick my horse. I was doing the best I could with those instructions but my horse didn’t seem to care. He was unresponsive. He seemed tired or sick. He wanted to go back to the stalls.  The group had to wait periodically for my horse and me to catch up.

Apparently, one of the  “friends” in our little group was getting tired of my horse lagging behind.This friend positioned his horse behind mine and I just assumed he thought that would help my horse move along. I had no idea he was going to crack my horse on the rear, scaring it half to death not to mention me, leading to the following events.

My horse reared,

Rearing horse

you know, like in the movie Zorro where the horse stands up on its hind legs clawing the air with its front hooves? I was still sitting upright but now my horse’s neck was up against my chest! Call it reflex or call it instinct but it caused me to grab on to his mane. Then, off we were like a shot!

We galloped like the wind as the saying goes and now I was facing down on the horse’s neck, just like a jockey in the Kentucky Derby! I worried that the horse would think I was egging him on in this position but I didn’t know what else to do. I was holding on to this horse for dear life! It could have been an exhilarating experience if the horse stayed on the trail. However, he decided to go down a slope  heading for the trees. In my mind, I can still feel the tree leaves and branches whistling past the top of my head, sometimes hitting their mark. Eventually, he slowly came to a stop. I had been saying, “whoa, whoa,” the whole time. I never pulled on the reins to stop him. Maybe in my subconscious I was remembering what my mother told me about my grandfather’s horse.

They say if you fall off a horse, you should get back on right away. (Probably because if you don’t, you never will again out of fear.) Well, I wasn’t thrown and I didn’t fall off. The trail guide didn’t ask me if I was ok. Clearly, I wasn’t. I was shaking. So, I was still on this horse and we continued lagging behind everyone else until the guide took us back to the stalls when the ride was completed! Truthfully, I don’t remember any more than that. I was probably angry but I was too exhausted for an argument. I didn’t get on another horse until 25 years later, and that experience was much better, with a mare that I really liked.

I have always had a love of horses. When my parents would ask me what I wanted for Christmas when I was a kid, I’d always say, “A pony!” My mother would say, “Where would we put it?” I had a ready answer, “In a stable.” I had no idea about stable costs, or the upkeep of a horse, or even the illnesses that afflicted horses. I didn’t learn those things until I was in my 40’s when I subscribed to a horse magazine. That subscription really opened my eyes.

So, thereafter I was happy to admire them from afar. I watched horse races on TV. I visited The Kentucky Horse Park. It’s a lovely place with a beautiful statue of Secretariat, my favorite race horse. I’m also a fan of dressage and horse jumping.

Kentucky Derby with friends

I went to the Kentucky Derby twice.

I went to the Belmont Race Track many years ago when I lived in New York.                     

And I’ve been to other smaller horse tracks to watch the races.

I went to a rodeo in Indiana. I think the event was held at Market Square Arena which has been imploded since then. 

Rodeo in Indiana

Rodeo in Indiana

 

I had planned to go to a dude ranch where you could work and vacation but my job interfered with those plans and I missed that opportunity.

So, it was a natural step for me to introduce my son to horses. In this photo, you can see that he had no fear. He looks like a natural if you ask me but unfortunately my love for horses didn’t transfer over to him, at least not that I know of. However, he is into many other sports and at one time had been a personal trainer at the local YMCA. Those of you who follow my blog shouldn’t be too surprised at that! My adventure with horses isn’t over yet. I can feel it in my bones! (Which are still intact and I intend for them to stay that way.)

Me and my son at a friend’s home

 

What Motivates People to Exercise?

13 Sep sxc.hu/ mckenna71- Swim Suit

When I went to my health club to work out Friday, I was just finishing up and headed for the floor mats to do some core work. Since they put out new, thicker mats, I was standing there admiring them when a little old lady walked over to me.

“They moved everything around,” she complained. The staff had rearranged all the equipment and spread everything out. Frankly, I liked it.

“It’s safer this way. We have more room,” I said. She introduced herself. Her name is Sally. I noticed that she was wearing a beautiful ring with a topaz stone. I asked if she was a November baby. She looked surprised and said, “yes!” I told her that I was a November baby too and had recognized her topaz stone. Sally asked what day I was born and I told her November 6. She said she was born November 11. She said the man she was just talking to was born November 8. (It must have been November Day at the gym.) Then she joked that she was older than me, 80 years old. I said that I think about getting older and wonder if I will be able to continue exercising when I’m 80. Sally said, “It’s up to you.”

Well, if it’s up to me then I’ll be exercising until I breathe my last breath!

What motivates someone like Sally to exercise at age 80? What motivates anyone? TJ of TJ’s Garden and I were chatting about that recently. In this article you will find out what motivates me and some hints to motivate you too.

Do visions of the Grim Reaper in the distance motivate you to exercise?

Or is it that swim suit number that you’ve eyed recently? For me, I love to cook/bake and my exercise habit counterbalances my love of eating habit.

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Hints to Make Yourself Exercise

1. Get on the scale. There’s nothing like seeing those numbers creep up on the scale to make you watch your diet or push you out the door to exercise.

2. Look in a full-length mirror. Do you like what you see in your reflection? If the answer is no, then you know you have to get your butt in gear and go work out.

3. Go shopping for jeans. If you pick out four pairs of jeans to try on in your size and you can’t zip any of them up, you know you have to exercise.

4. Help somebody else. The benefit of helping somebody else to lose weight or to go exercise has double benefits: it encourages the person you are helping and it reinforces the good advice you’re giving in your own mind.

5. Positive affirmations. When you force yourself to go work out (like today, I was really dragging it) and then succeed in doing a good workout, give yourself a pat on the back. Say positive things to yourself. Or, say positive things out loud (when nobody is around). It’s not hokey to say, “Great job! Especially when you were really having a tough time motivating yourself! I’m proud of you!”

6. Sit down, bend over, and try to tie your shoelace. If your stomach is in the way, you need to go work out. It’s easier to tie a shoelace when your gut isn’t in the way. Make shoelace tying easy on yourself; you’ll be glad you did.

7. Ask yourself, How much do I like myself? If you like yourself, you will treat your body well. You know the poem: How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways: 1. I love thee for taking such good care of thy body!

8. Lie to yourself. When you are on your way to the gym, tell yourself that you are only going to work out for 10 minutes. (I do this all the time.) Once you complete the 10 minutes, you start to feel better so then you say to yourself, “OK, I’m only gonna do 10 minutes more and that’s it. That’s enough.” When you’re done with those 10 minutes, then you can either stop or say that you might as well do 10 minutes more, it won’t kill you. There are days when I have this conversation in my head and I end up doing 45 minutes on the elliptical machine! I not only feel very proud of myself but I feel physically good too. So will you!

9. Compete with yourself. I always go for burning 400 calories on the elliptical machine. It doesn’t matter if I start slowly or how many miles I do. I just want to get to that 400 calorie mark. You can start at a lower number, of course. Just try to do more each time. You want to beat your old record.

10. Hire a Personal Trainer. You can learn a lot from a trainer in a short amount of time. See if the trainer will train two of you at a time: you and a girlfriend. The friend can help motivate you too.

Here are more ways that I motivate myself. Click the link, you won’t regret it.

What motivates you to exercise?

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Exercise: the Doorway to Injuries?

7 Sep Advil

I often participate in exercise with gusto. Sometimes I take on a home project with the same enthusiasm. Home projects can be as good a workout as an hour at the gym.

Four-Hour Exercise Workout

For 15 years I’ve put up with wood folding doors that hide my washer and dryer where one side didn’t shut properly. Yesterday, the left side panel decided it had had enough and came out of the track from the above door jamb.  I thought this would be a simple fix. I had no idea it would be a four-hour exercise workout.

I looked for the easy solutions first: pushing the door back onto the track. That didn’t work. Tightening the screws at the top of the door that attached it to the track. That worked for a couple of seconds. Unhinging the hinges from the doors, studying the difference between the two doors, reattaching the hinges… nothing worked. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what was causing the door to not close properly.

Take a Break From Exercise

Finally, it hit me. I looked on top of the door and I knew then that one of the screws was stripped. (Thanks to me having seen the This Old House episode recently with the stripped door screw.) This meant that I had to take the entire door down which was made of two heavy panels. I unscrewed the hinges (again) and laid the panel with the stripped screw on the floor. By this time, my neck was hurting from always looking up. My shoulder was hurting from straining to screw and unscrew screws. So, I took a break.

Home Exercise Equipment Was Never Like This

I had my step ladder out and my Phillips screwdriver and a Flathead screwdriver.

Flathead Screwdriver

I had a large flashlight out because my hall light is out and I need an electrician for that problem. When I came back from my break and made holes in the door panel the old-fashioned way, with elbow grease, I realized that putting up the door and screwing together the two panels at the hinges was not going to be possible from standing on the outside of the doors. At least that’s what I thought at the time. I decided to climb on top of the washer and dryer. This was no small feat for a 5’8″ 170 lb person in such a cramped space, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I was a locomotive barreling down the track intent on getting the door back onto its own track by hook or by crook.

If The Foot Doesn’t Fit We Must Acquit

I was able to position myself on top of my dryer but I couldn’t squeeze my right foot inside the door. No matter, I was able to push the door panel into the slot with its new screw and new position that fit better against the door jamb than ever before! I had to climb down to get the other door panel to re-attach the hinges. This meant that I had to climb up on the washer and dryer again. Before I climbed up for the second time, I decided to shut the washer door which I had previously left open. I could have easily fallen in the first time. Wouldn’t that have been a sight! Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get out! (When I used to do kickboxing at home, my son would say he didn’t want to think about it because he pictured me falling and breaking a leg or something. Good thing he didn’t see me yesterday with my doors!)

Exercising at The Gym Pays Off

If I didn’t exercise at the gym, I’d never be able to lift these door panels. They were heavy and awkward because they were so long. I had a heck of a time trying to screw the hinges back in. The only positive in all this was that none of the screws were in so tight that I couldn’t get them out, even after all the years they were in there. It took some long arm reaching around the outside of the panel to get the panels to meet so I could re-attach the hinges. Lucky for me I have long arms.

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A Mystery is Afoot

After four hours of intense labor the job was complete. The door glided evenly with no resistance. The doors met in the center without buckling. Somehow I found the energy to make dinner.  I even cooked some chicken so that I could eat it tonight. I had my dinner, washed the dishes, and thought I must have stepped wrong somehow because my right foot started to hurt. The more I was on it, the more it hurt until the pain was getting to be too much. I still had to take a shower. I took my shower and that didn’t help my foot. I knew it was time for my frozen peas in the freezer. I save a bag of frozen peas to put on injuries to help reduce swelling. By this time it was 9:00 pm and I decided the best place for me was in bed with my peas; peas on my foot and not under my mattress for I was not feeling like a princess at this point. I was feeling more like her scullery maid.

I have no idea what I did to hurt my foot. This foot had suffered many previous injuries. It has an arthritic toe and metatarsalgia. It’s had a sprained ankle and plantar fasciitis. It has been viewed by many a doctor. I’ve been wearing an orthotic in the shoe of this foot for about two years. Clearly I shouldn’t have been climbing aboard washers, dryers, or lifting heavy doors for that matter. But who’s going to stop me?

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning

I took two Advil and I kept my frozen peas on my foot for an hour while I lay in bed watching the TV. I wondered in a half doze how long this injury was going to last. Days? Weeks, Months? I thanked my lucky stars for going grocery shopping earlier in the day, pre-door hanging. I wondered if I would be able to sleep because I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t find a comfortable position. After an hour the pain subsided to my surprise. I set aside the peas and turned off the TV and quickly fell asleep. Around 2:00 am I awoke and fearfully set out to the bathroom. My foot hardly hurt. Was I dreaming? I got back to bed and fell asleep.

I stayed in bed until 10:00 am today not looking forward to putting any weight on my foot. I got dressed and walked to the kitchen. The pain was gone. I couldn’t believe it. How could that be possible? I haven’t exerted myself at all today and I’m not tempted to “try out” my foot to see what it can do.  Sitting at the computer is the perfect place for me.

Exercise and the  R.I.C.E Method

R.I.C.E. is a mnemonic to help you to remember how to treat soft tissue injuries.

R – Rest, get off your feet, don’t use the injured part.

I – Put ice on the injury. A bag of frozen peas works best; keep it in the freezer for immediate use.

C – Compression. Alternate compression with ice. For my injury, the bag of peas with my comforter on top was all the compression I could handle.

E – Elevate the injured part. Ideally, it should be elevated above your heart.

I’ve used the R.I.C.E. method before for injuries but typically didn’t have access to ice immediately when the injury occurred. This time was the exception. Apparently, timing of the R.I.C.E. method is of the essence! I’ve often used ice for times when I get  cooking burns and splatters and that works incredibly well for me. Ice may be another miracle worker.

I hope my story helps you to remember to use the R.I.C.E. method for soft tissue injuries. Thanks to Susan T’s Kitchen for her request for a post on sports injuries.

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Exercise – What Is Your Favorite Way to Exercise?

28 Aug Hand weights

Yoga Pose

When I first started going to a health club, I took every exercise class that was available. I enjoyed learning step routines, Pilates, circuit training, Yoga, toning with weights and toning with stretch bands, abdominal workouts on a ball or a weighted ball or using a kettle bell. And there was always the track for walking or running. My favorite though was and still is kickboxing. Kickboxing can get your heart rate up. It’s a great cardio workout. If you combine the kickboxing moves with weights or use weighted gloves, you get the double bonus of cardio and strength training.

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Jump rope

Home Gym

Over time, I purchased exercise clothing such as the correct shoes, running pants, stretch bicycle shorts which I wore for exercise classes, a gym bag, a lock for my locker, a steel water bottle to replace the now defunct plastic water bottle, weights, stretch bands, resistance tubes, ankle and wrist weights, jump ropes, glove weights, exercise balls, mats, exercise DVDs, and workout music tapes for my exercise routine at home when I couldn’t get to the health club. Whew!

Mat & exercise ball

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New Exercise Classes

Exercise classes are always evolving. Today there are Zumba classes and it has become very popular. Cycling classes are popular too.  Recently, my health club added a kickboxing class but it is a separate class from the classes that are included in your signup package. They charge $70 for the kickboxing class! In my previous gym memberships at other clubs, kickboxing was always included. The Parks Department offers kickboxing classes for free and those classes are packed!

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Senior Citizen Classes

Water aerobics classes are popular with the older generation and are sometimes referred to as Aqua classes or Arthritis Aqua classes.

Aqua Class

 

Low Impact – High Intensity

These days I go for the low impact exercise. That’s not so easy to find. If you like to work out at home with exercise DVDs, many of them require a lot of jumping which is high impact. The older you are, the more risky this type of exercise is for you. After thoroughly searching countless exercise DVDs, I found two that are low impact but get my heart rate up. Learn more here.

What is your favorite exercise?

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Did You Remember to Put Everything into Your Gym Bag?

26 Jun sxc.hu tijmen - blue lock

There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at the gym realizing you forgot something. Like, socks, your lock, or something essential. Something that you can’t do without. So, after you rushed to get there you now have to turn around and head home. Here’s help. If you wear these socks in the photo, you may really need help!

Obstacles to Exercising

24 Jun sxc.hu/ mzacha - Obstacles

 What obstacle is preventing you from exercising? Is it your five kids? Do you live out in the sticks? Are you 95-years young? Is every minute of your 24-hour day filled? Sometimes we put obstacles in our path to good health. We can learn to remove those obstacles with a new perspective and embrace healthy these  solutions.

 

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Thinking About Signing Up At a Gym?

24 Jun sxc.hu/ Lotus Head

Do you know what to look for when you sign up at a gym?

I’ve had memberships at three health clubs over the course of many years. For me, the most important thing is proximity to my home. If a gym is too far away, there is less likelihood that I  (or you) will go. So, it’s best if there is more than one to choose from since there are other important variables involved in choosing a gym.

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