Thursday, March 8, 2007

Keep movin'

Old age is the body slowing down; death is the ultimate lack of motion.

I was athletic as a kid, but, as an adult, developed an antipathy to exercise. Working for a living sucked my energy supply nearly dry. And who wanted additional activity as the work week blurred into weekends of more enervating stuff: cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping?

About five years ago, though, I bought a book that literally changed my life: 8 Minutes in the Morning by Jorge Cruise. It’s still popular and still in print.

Cruise was a minor fitness celeb until 8 Minutes elevated him to major guru status. The book itself is nothing out-of-the-ordinary – it’s solid and sensible with good organization, simple, do-able exercises, a fairly reasonable diet plan for losing two pounds a week, but, WOW, that brilliant premise.

I wonder how long he and co-author Tony Robbins (Yes, that Tony Robbins -- the master motivator) juggled numbers to come up with 8? Positively perfect! Not too long, not too little, but just right! And the idea of the morning routine works beautifully as well. Get your brief little exercise program out of the way and you are done for the day! None of this weaseling business that happens when you come home from work at night: “too busy,” “too tired,” “tomorrow,” “tomorrow,” “tomorrow….”

Five years later I still get up before breakfast, five mornings a week, and do my brief, little fitness workouts. These exercises have nothing to do, in my mind, with weight. I do them because (1) if I don’t, I don’t feel as good or vigorous during the rest of the day (Maybe it’s psychological? I don’t know. But perception is reality.) And (2) they are a habit.

It took me less than a month (about 3 weeks) to ingrain these exercises into my daily life. Five years later I'm still faithfully doing them.

The routines have changed over the years. Now I do three days of yoga, one day of “trunk work” (crunches, back extensions, wall squats, leg lifts – no lunges though; my knees are going). And one day a week I lift free weights. I started with two pound weights and, now, am up to ten pounds. But I’ve dropped lifting from two days a week to one because it takes my tired, old muscles that long to recover. Still, I have the buffest shoulders of any 65-year-old that I know!

On Saturdays, I clean house; on Sunday, weather or not, I and the old man and the dog head out to the weeds and chase rabbits. (The rabbits always win. We like to say everybody has a good time, and nobody gets hurt.)

And then, there’s the joy of walking….more about that next time…

My first issue of Weight Watchers Magazine arrived last week. What struck me was the endless number of full-page ads featuring sumptuous spreads of gooey treats and desserts (all allegedly non-fattening). But, excuse me. People are trying to lose weight here. And if I don't happen to have a quart of imitation, artificially inseminated, lo-fat, zero carb, Rocky Road ice milk in my freezer, I do have a half-gallon of genuine, full-octane Blue Bunny Burgundy Cherry Chocolate. Oh, woe!

My sis-in-law, Gloria, sent me a subscription to Eating Well Magazine at Xmas. It is by far the superior periodical: Great recipes, readable and interesting articles, and a focus on adjusting your lifestyle to become a healthier person, not just a thinner one. Highly recommended.

I was one pound short of my weight loss goal at the end of February, so I've stayed on the Ground Hog diet another week. My failure to lose was directly due to several days of pouty inattention to what I was eating, topped by a fine Tex-Mex dinner with friends where I overindulged a bit…well, actually, a lot. But I’m back on the wagon now.

E-ya later, darlings

Aunt Rose

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