Monday, January 1, 2018

The Essential First Walk of a New Year


We grumble about Facebook's ways occasionally, but FB is wonderful for keeping us connected with our fondest memories. Today as I began to take stock on New Year's Day 2018, I found in my FB feed a steadfastdawgwalker blogpost of New Year's Day 2014. I am reposting it below, after these current reflections.

In sum, the more things change, the more they stay the same, as the French say:

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Talking about calling an audible, I was tempted to do so today in the face of tough weather for walking (temps below freezing, wind chills in the teens). A reluctant Ellie dawg, a senior canine we rescued two years ago, wasn't the problem. She is ready to walk any time, day or night. This time I was the reluctant one. Nevertheless, I put on my prime dawgwalking coat (a Washington Redskins special dating practically from the Sammy Baugh era), and we headed over to the track encircling the International Drive complex of ballfields, which was of course completely deserted.

The wind was so sharp that it made simple breathing a task. It occurred to me a time or two that maybe this wasn't the best weather or locale for an old guy with a mended heart to be taking on; however, maybe the superb fitness classes from 2017 helped me persevere. (Thank you, Sarah, my personal trainer.) Ellie, of course, had no problem given that she is the Junkyard Dawg and had chewed the cover off a baseball for amusement before we went outdoors. We had found the baseball on a much-warmer jaunt around this ballpark course (which is one of the pleasures of walking there -- baseballs and softballs are always around, to be discovered as though they were Easter eggs).

Anyway, back home, we watched another big bowl-game win for the South Carolina Gamecocks, this time over Michigan. Four years ago, it was Wisconsin -- another Big-10 power -- they took down. I watched that game while pedaling an exercise bike at the neighborhood workout room.While I haven't visited there yet today (given that the endurance walk may have been survival test enough), I am thinking that it would be a good idea to add at least two workout-room workouts a week to my twice-a-week core fitness classes and of course the daily dawgwalking. Such a schedule (combined with a change to sensible snacking) could help me meet my goal of losing 10 pounds before my next cardiologist's visit in June. (Yes, that is my New Year's Resolution.)

Continuity in life can be a good thing. Thank you Facebook for reminding me. And for me at least, there is no better way to start a New Year than with a good walk with a companionable dog. Even when wintry weather poses a challenge.

                                         © Robert Gray Holland  (2018)

What follows is my New Year's Day blogpost from 2014.

Taking a Spin Into the New Year

Sometimes you have to call an audible. I had planned to begin the new year the same way I ended the old one -- with a nice walk with Sadie the Superdawg. Problem is, Superdawg wore herself out between the long walk yesterday and trying to keep up with our house guest for the past week, 3-year-old yellow lab Dasher the Wonder Dog. When I asked if she wanted to go on our walk, she stirred only a little from her nap, looked at me as though I was crazy, and promptly went back to sleep.

Desperately needing some exercise, I turned to the neighborhood workout room. I could have walked, but a walk never seems the same unless Sadie girl is accompanying me. An extended spin on the exercise bike turned out to be pleasant, especially since I controlled the remote and kept the overhead TV tuned to the South Carolina/Wisconsin bowl game. Great win for the Gamecocks!

An exercise bike is my best friend in the workout room. Treadmills or elliptical machines are hard on those of us folks who have back, knee, or other orthopedic challenges. The exercise bike is just right. You can get a good burn by spinning 7 miles or more, without putting yourself on the disabled list in the process. When I did my cardiac rehab nine years ago, I begged the nurses to reduce my required minutes on the treadmill and add them to my exercise biking. One favorite nurse would let me do that. (She even gave me back rubs while I pedaled -- totally spoiled this old survivor!)

At various times, I have owned exercise bikes, but I find fitting them comfortably into the household to be a problem. Grandkids tend to climb on them, risking injury. The machine is clunky to move about, and not really aesthetically pleasing. Not least among the drawbacks, purchasing a durable one with some pleasing bells  and whistles can set you back at least $700 to $800. When we lived in Blue Ridge, I had a basic one in the basement -- and so it was out of the way, but so much so that I rarely used it. I suppose in the event of a tornado warning, I could have ridden it until diving for cover.

Here on the coast, we have no basements because of the water table; however, I am fortunate to have a workout room (and outdoor pool) as part of our HOA arrangement. So I don't really need an exercise bike at home, because I have one just two blocks away. Since it looks like my señior Superdawg is going to need occasional rest breaks, I no doubt will be using the exercise bike all the more in this New Year. Even on the days we do walk (and I hope that will be most every day), the bike can help me supplement the walking and step up my fitness quest.

                                             © Robert G. Holland  2014

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