Monday, June 17, 2013

A Time-Out for Dog-Walking Doesn't Mean Shutting Down Exercise

The aging Superdawg has made a comeback, thank goodness, but unfortunately so too has the stifling humidity, so I am afraid to resume our walks together. She really crashed after a hot and humid walk last week -- so much so that she hardly ate anything for two days. I am not at all a morning person -- I would be a physical wreck myself if I tried to get up a 6 every morn to walk her then. So for now I'm just taking her in the backyard plenty and she gets exercise chasing squirrels who dare to intrude on the bird feeder.

When we get breaks from humidity, we will walk again -- and boy will we ever in the fall, our favorite season. By then the tourists will have departed, and we will have the oceanfront mostly to ourselves. That is our prime time for outdoor walking.

In the meantime, I have been doing these things for exercise:

1. The exercises my physical therapist instructed me to do the next six months following my "graduation" from official PT, post-total knee replacement. I take it as a good sign that these exertions seem easier to do every day. I need to keep icing the knee afterwards, as instructed. The swelling does seem to have subsided to the point that the bionic knee is only slightly larger than the natural knee.

2. Occasional mall-walking, because my Dear Wife does dearly love to go there. There is a Starbucks at mid-point, which makes a nice place for a break.

3. Visits to the community workout room, where they have installed two new exercise bikes, among other equipment. I have always done well with x-bikes, while hating treadmills. When I was in Cardiac Rehab eight years ago, I used to beg my favorite nurse to subtract treadmill time for me and add it to my exercise-bike time. Sometimes she either complied with that request or gave me back rubs while I was suffering on the treadmill. Yes, we had great fun in good old Cardiac Rehab.

4. Doing Mended Hearts visits to heart patients in the hospital. This usually is only one day every other week, but the walking is strenuous because it is a long haul from our base at Cardiac Rehab to the patients' rooms. In addition, I hate elevators, so I usually walk up a flight or two of stairs, thus further testing what my PT taught me about stair-climbing with a new knee. (It works well -- a lot better than pre-surgery.)

5. Housework: We don't have a maid or cleaning crew, so there are floors to be vacuumed or scrubbed, and furniture dusted. This is drudge exercise, to be sure, but you can burn calories in this unappreciated way.

6. One more thing I need to do, but have only been thinking about: Walking laps in the community pool. A trip to the pool seems so complicated: change, shower, swim or pool-jog, drive home, shower, change again. (and pack all the stuff you need at the pool -- towels, water, sunblock, snacks, etc.) Moreover, it is hard to go to a crowded pool when you are just a solitary old guy. But pool-walking probably would be the best exercise of all for my knee. Maybe my grandkids will want me to take them before long.

Addendum. Finally, there is (7) Walk after all when your wise old dog says the time is right. After I had written this post after dinner, old Sadie dog made it clear that she wanted to be put on the leash and walked. Well, why not? It was 7:30 and overcast, and a relatively cool breeze had started blowing. It was bearable, in other words, for an almost-summer day in South Carolina. She wouldn't go the neighborhood routes but she was quite content with me loading her in the car and taking her to the nice walking paths near the recreation center. So the Superdawg has reminded me that whatever else I do, don't give up on walking. Never, never give up.

We will keep up the walking blog even if at times we are mostly doing alternative forms of exercise. Walking is always there -- as close as the front door. And a lot of interesting birds and other critters are usually out and about. We'll keep an eye out for them.

© Robert G. Holland  2013

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