You’re Never Too Old (or Out of Shape) To Start

thI don’t know if it was climbing the cliffs at Devil’s Lake or swimming laps at the local pool or wild sex on the beach, but I’ve been knocked out the last few days with one granddaddy of a pain across the small of my back that’s gone from explosive shots  to a single shooting pain up one gluteus maximus.

Actually, it wasn’t mountain climbing or Olympic swimming or wild anything. I don’t really know how I threw my back out of wack. But now that I’m older, it takes longer to get it back into shape.

And that scares me.

It scares me because it shows that I’ve got less and less time to make my body right. That at any time a bad back can turn into sciatica or spinal compression fractures or ankylosing spondylitis.

I know that there are people who live with pain all their lives. I suppose most of what I’ve lived with I’ve lived with. You know? But when you introduce something new into your spectrum of experience it opens the door to more possibilities. Possibilities of more pain, uncomfortableness, sleeplessness, and more.

Back to the back pain.

This is a real eye-opener for me. I know my front carries extra baggage that pulls on my back, and I’m starting to take care of that. I’m starting to walk more, but I say that every year, and peter our about a month in. I am at the age where anything can and will happen if I don’t start paying attention to what I eat and drink and how I move.

And that’s the fact, Jack.

I know I can’t turn back the hands of time, but I can certainly strengthen the hands I have. It’s never too late to start stretching more, walking more, slowing down more. Maybe that’s an old-lady thing, but it’s a smart thing, too. It’s one thing to fight cancer. Been there, done that. But it’s another to let your body fall down the weakness well and not do a thing to pull yourself back up.

Like some kind of commercial, I am here to tell you to PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY. No matter what age. It’s so easy for a rash to turn into psoriasis, a scar into an infection, a limp into arthritis. It may be that one will turn into the other anyway, but it’s much smarter to take care of these things up front. Stretch before you pull a muscle. Clean before it gets infected. Eat healthy instead of fatty.

I have always been one to put off taking care of myself last. Kids, husband, my cat — everyone but me. Now that I’m older I’m starting to feel the effects of everyone else first. And it’s time to pay attention to the only one who is going to be with me through the very end.

The good thing is that getting in shape now will enable me to climb those cliffs or swim those laps or…

Well, you know all the things you can do when you’re not achin’ and painin’….

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Ride My See Saw…er…Bike

xx_unicorn_riding_bicycle_cartoon_postcards-r8ffff6016b194370a9974d4be49ee33e_vgbaq_8byvr_512The other night I found out that riding a bicycle is not the same as riding a bicycle.

Silly me.

I haven’t been on a bike in a couple of years — maybe now or then, but more like waaay back then. Well, last weekend we went camping at a beautiful campground in Door County, Wisconsin. My grandson brought his bike, and I did, too. I had started a health kick the week before (fodder for another blog, no doubt), so why not get the exercise thing going too?

I road like a pro through the campground, down to the lake, around the “O” (the campsite circle) right behind my GB. Kept up with him, too. I was very proud. Came home, continued to eat better, walked during morning and afternoon breaks, feeling better and better. So I pulled out my bike last night and took a little ride up and down my little country road.

This was where real bicycling comes in.

If you have ever seen a Teletubbie riding a bicycle, this was a mirror image. The road has low hills — I mean, not the North Carolina kind — these are the barely-noticable-hardly-upgrade road.

I might as well have been riding up the North Carolina kind.

I huffed and puffed and whined my way past my house, my breath coming hard and shallow. What was up with that? What about all the walking I’ve been doing? The bike riding at the campground? I’ve even given up ice cream before bed!

As you all know, retraining a life-time of bad habits takes a lot longer than the perverbial three weeks. I am a believer that it’s never too late to change your path. I’m not giving up good food — I’m just eating less of it. Trash food (like chips and dip) even less. I figure I’m 63 and, Goddess willing, I’d like to see 73. And 83. Hell — even 93!

So back to bike riding. I must say it felt good to feel the burn, the weak knees, the pounding in my chest. It showed that I was still alive and kicking — or, rather, peddling. I am taking tonight off, though. A little weak in the thigh, perhaps. But the decision to change my ways is still strong. I’d like to think of myself more as of a unicorn riding a bike…proud, steady, perhaps a bit awkward, but always moving forward.

Like my desire to write.

I’ve managed to put a little of me in my main character in my novels. She’s middle-aged, witty, astral, and outspoken. She’s also a little thicker than most willowy leading ladies. My men like a little meat on their paramours.

I guarantee, though, she doesn’t ride a bicycle.

 

7 Activities to Keep your A.D.D. Busy

circle-back-oI find that I’m always on my way to talk about one thing when I get turn around and talk about something else. I usually attribute this to my adult-onset A.D.D. Not making fun of the condition; just acknowledging that I have most of the symptoms.

I am learning to work with my short attention span. Sometimes it’s waving my arms like an orchestra conductor, forcing myself to slow down and breathe; other times it’s doing the whirling dervish, looking for the TV flipper that I just set down somewhere. There are other odd things that contribute to my upsidedownness — hubby working a different shift, too many dogs underfoot, having to sit still eight hours a day in front of a computer screen. The winter blues are hitting all of us full force, too. Tired of below zero, slush and piles of snow, boring browns and blacks as wardrobe colors.

What’s a feisty granny to do when she’s lost her zest?

I’ve come up with a list of activities that will combine my inability to sit still with my desire to nap half the time. See if you can identify with any of them.

1.  Multitask.  Now, most of you already do that. But if you orchestrate your movements, you can flow from one room to another, putting things away, running a dust rag across the TV on the way to the bathroom where you pick up dirty towels, drop the towels in front of the washer as you continue towards the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, taking a clean glass to your bathroom where you stop on the way to fold a couple of shirts in the laundry basket. By the end of the night you’ll have cleaned several rooms and burned off a few hundred calories!

2.  Exercise Class. It’s never too soon to start an exercise regime. I’m not much of a class person, but I have an elliptical downstairs that I can move right in front of the TV. Maybe one day I’ll be able to watch all of Gone With the Wind on the thing.

3.  Writing.  Now, I know you wonder, “How can sitting and writing in the evening help with my antsy pantsyness?” Well, no one writes quite like me. I know Stephen King hides himself in a room for eight hours a day, others have great studies, library desks, even a comfy chair in a quiet corner. Not me. Half the time I’m plopped onto my favorite corner of the sofa, TV going on in the background (mostly Sirius radio), laundry rollin’ in the dryer, flash drives and laptop and spiral notebooks and my phone all within reach, a glass of milk, (sometimes a cookie), and a blanket for the chill. It’s amazing what I can get done with I just sit. What also helps is that I have ten things I want to do and only a couple hours a night to do it.

4.  Be a Granny. Although this task is usually delegated to weekends, there is never a slow, dull moment when I get together with the world’s cutest 4-year-old. Often there are other grandparents around too, so we all can take a breather when duty calls. But I find trying to keep up — and ahead — of him, especially mentally, is the perfect outlet for my whirling dervish moments.

5.  Research. I know when I say that word you think of  putting together 30 references on the bottom of a 50 page research paper on the life of a paramecium. But that’s not true. No matter what your hobby/career/dream, there is always something you can learn from. Learn about. Some take notes; some have great memories. When people say you can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader, that’s true. Even if it’s Yahoo headlines. But your curiosity should take you places that inspire you. Surrealistic artists, wire sculptors, quilting patterns. Ancient ruins. Alien ruins. You can learn from them all.

6.  Organize. Yes, I know that’s akin to cleaning, something many of us are allergic to. But especially now that winter is thinking about leaving, what better time to rearrange your closet or jewelry box or kitchen cabinets. It’s funny, but organization does bring a slowing of the heartbeat and the feeling of accomplishment. After all, how many bracelets or blue shirts can one have?

7. Music. This is my final go-to when I find I can’t slow down. A piano sonata by Beethoven can work wonders. So can smooth jazz or even a visit to the New Age station. No words, no pounding beat (I leave that for Saturday mornings). Just a steady rhythm, a mysterious melody, to a beat that slows down your racing pulse and forces you to relax. Dim lights help, too. Incense. Candles. Just don’t fall asleep and burn your house down.

We all have hobbies/careers/passions that make our blood boil and our ideas clamor to see the light of day. We have busy days, meetings, conferences, data entry and countless other responsibilities. If you are retired, there is still a list a mile long of things you want/need to get done. And the last thing you want to do during the evening or on weekends is to keep running at that breakneck pace.

Yet your love of your craft won’t let you rest, either.

Your best bet is to channel your energy into a positive force to be reckoned with. You may find yourself writing down thoughts for your next story as you mix cookie dough while watching “The Walking Dead” in the background, but, hey! Isn’t that what life is all about?

Get ‘er done!