Saturday, July 1, 2017

Life, Liberty and Pursuit of a Perfect Plank

It is hard to believe that this is the first day of the second half of 2017. And it takes us right into a long holiday weekend (five days for some folks!) culminating in the 241st anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. So Happy Birthday to these free and independent United States of America and long may we enjoy "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (I will try to link here a Townhall.com column of mine on the significance of the Fourth of July for our lives and others worldwide.) https://townhall.com/columnists/robertholland/2017/06/29/will-the-fireworks-of-the-fourth-ignite-a-spark-of-comprehension-n2347895

Here's hoping, too, that July has started well, and that the second half of 2017 will be good to us all.

When I started this blog four years ago, I intended to post just about every day. Lately, it's been more like once a month. That primarily is because of a stepped-up schedule of free-lance writing that remains in demand -- which is certainly a blessing, given that I went into semi-retirement without a golden parachute. Today I will try to catch up as well as look ahead. I will try not to wait til August 1 before squeezing in timely blogposts.

Steadfastdawgwalker is recreational and maybe even therapeutic. Accordingly, I leave politics out of my personal blog. I have chronicled my journey through my senior years with my walking dawgs and of course the rest of my family. Viewed hopefully, writing about overcoming physical challenges (such as a repaired heart and replaced knee) has helped some readers who may happen along. I know the mental exercise necessary in writing has helped me.

In fact, one of my lessons so far is that we need mental as well as physical exercise as we age. Writing for work as well as for recreation helps me keep my mind focused. Walking every day with my loyal dawgs helps with that, too, as well as providing a modicum of physical exercise. Lately, I have found that I needed to supplement dawgwalking with a fitness class led by an awesome instructor who is specially trained in helping seniors maintain or recover fitness. Sarah found on her own that I am an old newspaperman with a blog, so if she is reading this, I want her to know that she is the best fitness instructor that I have had in my seven-decade fitness quest. (And yes I have been in a good number of such classes, even step aerobics at a YMCA, believe it or not).

In addition to working hard at Sarah's direction, we also smile and laugh -- and that is therapeutic as well. In cardiac rehab after my heart surgery in Northern Virginia, laughter of all our patients and nurses helped with recovery almost as much as the treadmills, exercise bikes, and free weights. I try to do my part now in Senior Fitness by wearing silly t-shirts discovered on Amazon. One recent one was, "Planking Is the Answer. Who Cares What the Question Is!" I knew nothing about planking when I started class in February. Now I know it is the culminating challenge in most of our sessions -- the most physically demanding, with the most beneficial effect on the "core" (stomach, back, and butt, basically). We joke about it a lot and beg to get out of it, knowing that we won't and shouldn't.  (I will try to link a YouTube video here that explains planking for beginners. If it doesn't work, you can google it.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASdvN_XEl_c

At the last session before the July 4 break, I held a plank for a full minute, during which Sarah encouraged me by saying, "Come on, Bob, you can blog all afternoon about doing this!"

So I am! And I can hardly wait to model my newest silly t-shirt when we resume exercise class after the Fourth of July break.  I am keeping it a secret today (hint, though, it has something to do with a Krispy Kreme shop opening in our neighborhood in July).

                                    © Robert Gray Holland  2017


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