Cross with my trainer

I don’t know what it is but my trainer and I don’t seem to be getting along as we should. Despite efforts from myself nothing seems to be working right now. No, I am not talking about a personal trainer here for I think they are an unnecessary ‘extra’ for most people. Instruction is one thing but a little education regarding the use of exercise machines and how to keep fit in general serve much as good if not better. I am talking about my elliptical cross-trainer and how my body is reacting to my use of it. As with any equipment it is wise to follow the instructions and users guide to get the best out of it. It must be stated that any new exercise regime should be approached gently and any equipment used cautiously until we are used to them. Nice and easy at first and then building up gradually over a period of time will be of greater benefit and do less harm than if we rush into things. Naturally for those who are embarking on an exercise regime for the first time it is wise to get a health check beforehand. For myself, I have been exercising in one form or another for many years but still approach new things with caution. This has been the case with my cross-trainer. As for the treadmill, well I am well used to running so it isn’t a problem. The new exercise bike is also no problem as I have done much cycling in the past and still own a road bike. However, the cross-trainer and I don’t see eye to eye for sometimes after using it my upper leg muscles and buttocks suffer. I have always considered the type of exercise provided by the cross-trainer to be unnatural. It combines the exercises provided by a bicycle and a treadmill at the same time and even the ‘peddling’ action isn’t the same as a bicycle. So it needs a lot of getting used to and though I have had the machine for six months I still find on occasion my muscles object. Obviously it is down to myself to use it more wisely. Today, Tuesday, I went for a five-mile walk in the heat of the sunny morning. Tomorrow I will face the machine again and see if we cannot make up.

Shirley Anne

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Even E and I

I was up and about very early again on Wednesday morning and after breakfast by then seven forty-five I was out in the garden checking on the protection I had taken for some of the plants was still in place. I decided to strengthen that protection because of the weather forecast which informed us of an even colder night to follow. By the time I had returned indoors an hour later E came downstairs for her breakfast. We talked about taking a trip to the garden centre but actually didn’t set off until eleven-thirty as she wanted to wash her hair have a shower and get dressed! Whereas I get up and go to bed in the same day she gets up one day and goes to bed the next! She is what you might call a night person and never retires to bed before one o’clock in the morning unless she has an early appointment the next day. I’ve usually had a couple of hours sleep by then. It makes going anywhere together in the morning difficult at times. Anyway we did go out and whilst we were out I decided to take a trip to the decorating store and the electrical store after we had visited the garden centre. I needed more emulsion paint and some light bulbs to replace faulty ones. It was approaching two o’clock when we sat down to lunch and at the same time watch some tv. At three o’clock she and I went into the cellar and moved the Elliptical trainer into its new home….

Not bad for two ‘senior citizens’! Actually it wasn’t that difficult, it was just a matter of approaching it in the right way. Neither of us had to exert ourselves in any way because of the way we tackled it. Now it is in its new home E will find it much easier to mount when she uses it. I had painted the whole wall and that part of the ceiling above it to make it easier. Now it is out-of-the-way so to speak I can get on with decorating the rest of the room, when the mood takes me of course!

Shirley Anne

Suddenly

It was Thursday (18th) and it had been quite some days since I had last taken a walk of any distance outdoors. The reason for that had been the problem with my upper leg muscles combined with some very bad weather in the latter days. For a couple of days I had also been suffering with a mild cold too and pretty much didn’t feel like doing anything. I reluctantly left alone any exercising on the gym equipment for almost a week during this time but now I suddenly felt better and was eager to get out in the fresh air. Over the last couple of days I have been working out a little on the equipment though but now I wanted to take a walk. Thursday started off bright and sunny for the most part though there were some wintry showers of rain and hailstones. The wind had died down considerably too. None of that was going to stop me from getting outside for a while. There had been some very high tides in the previous days and the foreshore had noticeably changed, more sand and more piled-up seaweed lined the sea wall. If left it would compact and the existing grass would grow through it. I have no doubt that is what will happen. Slowly Nature is taking back control. Eventually I can see more dunes appearing for already some of the existing grass which stretches out to sea has formed into small mounds in places. I have seen this happening in other places only a quarter-mile south. I often think about what the coast will look like in say fifty or a hundred years from now. During my time living here in Southport, now approaching thirty years, I have seen a lot of changes along the seafront. I walked along the front for about a mile before turning back homeward though by that time I had covered two miles. I chose a more sheltered route on my return but still got caught in a shower of hail. My aching muscles have eased now and suddenly I feel much better. Nevertheless I shall be taking things a little easy for a while so I don’t do myself a mischief.

Shirley Anne

A step too far

Ever regretted having done something and paying the price for it later? I was browsing my dashboard here at Minkyweasel World and noticed a couple of readers had browsed and presumably read a post I had written two years ago in late December. You can read it here…(https://minkyweasel.com/2015/12/29/counting-the-cost/). At the time I was referring to the financial cost of Christmas and why people impose upon themselves the burden. Later in the post I talked about the real reason for Christmas. As often I re-read a previous article when someone else has taken an interest in it just to remind me of its content. Having re-read that article it reminded me of something that has happened to me a few times in my life, the penalty one pays after overdoing something. I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic but have over-indulged many a time in my past. I hasten to add here that I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in over five, or is it six years? There was a reason for my abstinence this last and final time though. I had never considered giving up the habit, I saw no reason to give it up completely. Whereas before I would ‘go on the wagon’ for a few years for one reason or another this last time was different. I was sitting at home seated quietly on the sofa and half-watching the television as I recall when I heard a loud voice speaking to me as if someone was standing close behind. Two words were spoken, ‘Stop drinking’, and then all went quiet again. I really thought that someone was standing behind me but I was alone in the room. My personal belief is that God was telling me to stop drinking. It wasn’t the first time God had spoken to me, there were two other occasions but they are another story. Many times I suffered from the after effects of drinking alcohol but repeatedly continued again once sober. I wasn’t addicted insomuch as I could take it or leave it, I wasn’t dependent upon it but perhaps had I not ceased I might well now be an alcoholic. Like many things in life there is often a price to be paid for our overindulgence. It is Tuesday 12 as  write this and I can hardly walk a step without feeling pain. In fact I have been finding it difficult to stand up from a seated or lying down position since yesterday morning, my upper leg muscles won’t lift my body. My condition is slowly improving but in the meantime I have to remain patient. The cause of the problem is my overindulging activity on the new Elliptical Trainer followed by a stint on the Treadmill! Put simply my leg muscles were not used to the type of exercise the Trainer gives and although I was cautious in using it I wasn’t cautious enough. Now I have to wait for restoration before I can resume my exercise regime. Naturally I will have to resume slowly else get myself into more mischief! One step too far…..something to be avoided.

Shirley Anne

Gymnasium!

I have been harping on about gym equipment recently and our re-arrangement and clean-up of what you might call our little gymnasium which is down in the cellar. It may be an unusual place to have it as it is actually in the room in which we have the house boiler and where we sometimes hang our laundry to dry when the weather is poor. The room does get warm of course but not so much as to prevent activity on the equipment we have. In any case we can always open the door leading out to the garden if it ever gets too warm which I think is very unlikely. I have always wished for a gymnasium at home and at one point, when the children were younger, I was going to have one in the garage in which E parks her car. At that time the other garage accommodated two vehicles but these days although the garage’s size hasn’t changed its contents have! We store apart from my van, ladders, scaffolding tower, cement mixer, mowers, wheelbarrow and many other things in there now. So the only alternative was to make use of the cellar rooms and only one of them was considered practical, the boiler room. Aside from the fact that the other rooms have a lower ceiling at around seven feet (2.133 metres) the boiler room ceiling is at eight feet (2.438 metres). When using barbells even that height is low but I personally don’t lift weights though if I did I would do it on the bench press. When standing on the treadmill there is plenty of head room and that’s why originally I moved it there. Now then, I have always wished to own an Elliptical Cross-Trainer as their use lowers impact stress on joints and enables many other muscles to be exercised at the same time. The problem with these machines is their cost. A cheaper machine isn’t worth the purchase for anyone serious about their exercising but some of the top-of-the-range machines are quite expensive and can reach £10,000 or more to buy. Something far less expensive would be better if I were to purchase one and preferably one on offer at an even lower price. So with that in mind I searched the Internet and found something suitable. It had many features and had been reduced in price from £1890 to £999 making it within the reach of what I was prepared to pay. I made the purchase and it will be here by the time you are reading this. The machine will probably benefit E insofar as it is easier for her to use and will give her the exercise opportunity she needs. Although she has started using the treadmill (for extremely slow walking) and the bicycle on its stand she will find the new machine to be better. The picture above shows the model I purchased. Our boiler room is turning out to be a proper little gymnasium! One thing I have yet to do is to install a power point where I wish to keep the Trainer for at the moment there aren’t any close-by.

Shirley Anne

Exercise

As my readers may know, I have always been keen on exercise. When young my preferences were for swimming and cycling but in later life, say my mid-thirties that changed to include running. I say running for in essence I ran too fast for it to be jogging. I figure jogging to be a warm-up exercise before running. However, that doesn’t mean jogging is in any way inferior, it isn’t and to be honest it is probably better. Too much running can lead to damaged knee joints and spinal problems whereas jogging is less damaging I feel. It is only necessary to raise the heart rate so far and for so long for it to be beneficial. Similarly walking at a quick pace is also great for the heart. I spent about twenty-one years running long distances but now my running is done on the treadmill and for much less a distance.

Years ago when my sons lived at home they liked to use the bench-press equipment. We didn’t own a treadmill at that time. They use their local gymnasium now where they have access to all types of equipment. Though the bench-press is still at home it is almost never used and certainly not by me. Having said that there are facilities on the bench for doing leg exercises if I wish to use them.

Next to the bench between it and the bicycle we have another leg exerciser. It is adjustable and is very effective in building up the leg muscles. Each footrest is pressed down alternately with the other and believe me it is hard-going. 

Finally there is the static bicycle frame which enables a road bike to be peddled indoors. For quite some time now I haven’t used the bike outdoors as all my outdoor exercising is done by going on long walks instead. Rather than let the bike stand in the garage unused I purchased the stand a week or so ago and it has been in use since.

It has the benefit of allowing the bike to be used outdoors if I want to. One piece of equipment I would like to have is the elliptical trainer but alas I never got around to buying one. Maybe one day if I live long enough! I used to say that if the weather was bad I could always exercise indoors, which I can but having purchased suitable outdoor clothing there isn’t an excuse not to go out walking now. Besides, I like walking in the rain knowing I am not going to get soaked through!

Shirley Anne