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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Walking, Biking & Lawn mowing

What do all three have in common? GREAT exercise!

I know some people hate any kind of exercise that actually works up a sweat, gets the heart racing, requires serious exertion...but I've always enjoyed it. Really.

When I was in my teens, I loved to bike, practically lived on my bike except when bad weather prevented it. During my 20s/30s, I always enjoyed a variety of activities for getting exercise. I usually walked, gardened, biked and did an exercise routine of Calisthenics, stretching, bending, etc. at least five times a week. I'd love to say I was so dedicated because I wanted to be healthy, but in fact, I wanted to stay slim.

Or at least that was what I told myself, and it worked. I weigh the same today as I did in high school.

However, eventually when I couldn't exercise, I'd miss it terribly. Nothing compares to the great feeling of your body getting a thorough workout; there is a deep relaxation that comes afterward, a sense of total calm.

In my 40s I started jogging/running, and did that for several years till I developed knee problems. I used an indoor Nordic Track ski machine for a few years, continued biking, using a stationary bike in bad weather. I did that up until about a year ago when I was diagnosed with back problems. I could still ride my bike, but not on hills; it hurt my back. Unfortunately where I was living then was a hilly area, so I just stopped biking.

I had already started walking my dogs daily. And walking is good exercise, but it still can't compare to a long brisk bike ride. I missed the biking!

Now that I'm back where I lived for 25 years, I have access to a park with a perfect biking path. I can ride to the park, and get in a good long bike ride almost daily.

As for the lawn mowing, I could never have mowed the huge yard where I last lived. Serious up/down slopes, tons of weed-eating around a chain link fence, curbs, etc. Plus, the Zoysia grass was a pain to take care of -- temperamental and thick. I even tried a riding mower, which I loathed. And I hated dealing with gas, ugh!

My yard now is modest-size, smallish and I am able to mow it with the Neuton Battery lawn mower. No bother with gas, and somewhat lightweight. Yet it IS good exercise, a real workout too. It was more difficult at first, but as the muscles in my upper arms and shoulders developed from the task, it has gotten progressively easier.

I do some gardening too, mostly vegetable gardening in the summer months. Yet I have to use caution in not hurting my back or knees due to bending/stooping for ground work. It's not really easy or pleasant, but I like the fresh veggies.

So this is a blog post in praise of exercise. I dread the day when I can no longer get serious, healthy exercise due to aging issues, but hope I have more years for activities I've come to love and need.

My only advice to those younger and able to exercise is find an activity you really enjoy -- otherwise you will never stick with it. If you're a gregarious person, there's lots of gyms, sports, groups to join for exercise. Or if you are somewhat solitary like myself and prefer being alone for workouts, there's biking, walking, hiking, gardening, etc.

I'll end with a few random pictures around here.

My antique British-made bicycle, a rare Raleigh Sports bike, love the ride!

Tomatoes/okra in my garden, looking wilted due to heat and lack of rain lately

Rambo rolling around in the yard -- he loves that!

In the stray cat post I had a picture of the limping cat, SorePaw; this is his litter mate. You can see by his expression he has no intention of being domesticated! LOL

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