Tag Archives: Physical exercise

Busy little bee

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So what was I going to do on Monday? It was only a matter of a few months ago when I would be off somewhere doing an electrical job on a Monday morning. Now I can please myself but I have set myself a routine nevertheless, a routine to keep me in good health through exercising. Although I did exercise beforehand I had to fit that in between my work schedules, now it is the other way round, I exercise first then do whatever needs doing later. After getting dressed in my sport’s clothes I spent thirty minutes on the treadmill which I now do every second day and occasionally on other days. Likewise, if  I take a long walk, which I do also every second day, I still take short walks on other days too sometimes. I almost never take a long walk if I have spent time rigorously working out on the treadmill. The plan on Monday was to use the treadmill and perhaps take a short walk in the afternoon but things didn’t quite work out that way. Having changed into normal clothing for the rest of the day I decided to remove a faulty floodlight on the rear wall of the house and replace it with another further along the wall which too often was affected by the operation of the house boiler. Although it was distant from the exhaust of the boiler it would still be triggered to switch on sometimes so I thought it best to remove it altogether. There are still four remaining floodlights on the rear of the house which is adequate. I used an old ladder to do the work of removing the good floodlight but used one section of a much lighter aluminium ladder to do the rest of the work. The first ladder, which is constructed of galvanised steel, was far too heavy a ladder for general use and I wanted to be rid of it. I did that just after lunch. Another section of the same ladder is still hanging in the garage (see picture, it has yellow and white industrial bags stored on it)  and I will get rid of that next time I visit the tip. When the electrical work was finished I got the hacksaw and chopped the steel ladder into two pieces so that it would fit on top of the van. I fixed them to the roof rack and then filled the van with other items we were getting rid of, a gents bicycle (in good condition), an exercise bike (faulty), an old computer screen, two printers, an old electric drill and the tray from my neighbour’s faulty dishwasher. I took the gents cycle to The Salvation Army as it deserved a new owner being as it was in good condition. They took it from me.

A dishwasher containing clean dishes

A dishwasher containing clean dishes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was about to go indoors for lunch when my neighbour called and asked if I could disconnect her faulty dishwasher as she was getting a new one later in the week. I was dressed in my overalls so took the opportunity to do the job then. It took me ages to remove the old washer from beneath the worktop as she had an old carpet on the floor which couldn’t be removed. Finally I got it out and removed the cable, the drain hose and the water supply pipe. However the valve controlling the supply water was faulty and I had to replace it temporarily so the water supply to the house could be maintained. She would use a plumber to install the new appliance. I took the faulty machine outside ready for collection but I wanted to see if parts of the tray could be used as spares for our own dishwasher. Unfortunately they couldn’t so that’s how it ended up in the back of my van ready for the tip. By the time I had returned from disposing the items it was approaching four in the afternoon. I’d had enough for one day.

Shirley Anne

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Sore bottom and stuff

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It all seemed to happen at once on Thursday morning. I had retired to bed early on Wednesday night and was fast asleep by ten o’clock. Aside from being a little tired anyway I wanted to arise early in the morning so I could go into the cellar and exercise before breakfast. My new bike stand had arrived the previous afternoon and I wanted to see if it had been worth purchasing so it was the first piece of equipment I used. I didn’t spend too long peddling away and getting nowhere as the equipment intended and the main reason for that was I got a sore bottom after ten minutes. The problem lies with the seat. It is too hard on my nether regions so I either need to purchase something softer or modify it for comfort’s sake. Next I moved to the treadmill and spent thirty minutes working out on it. By the time I had finished my exercise routine E had come down for breakfast and she wanted to see the bike stand as she hadn’t taken a look the previous day. I ate breakfast and we both went downstairs to discuss things regarding the equipment we now have down there. E never used the treadmill until recently after years of my attempting to persuade her but now she has taken tentative steps to change that. It is her condition, spina-bifida, which has made it difficult for her to exercise but she is beginning to see the effort makes it worthwhile. She now spends a little time walking on the treadmill when she has the time. As for the bicycle, I doubt she will find that easy for at the moment she wouldn’t be able to get on it, even I find it difficult! We may have to manufacture or purchase a set of steps to make it easier to get on the bike. I went upstairs for a shower and to get dressed for the day. It was time to cast my vote in the local elections so I put on my walking boots and coat. After voting I decided I would go for a walk. While out on the walk I received a call from a guy who had asked me to do a small electrical job for him. He had called a few days earlier but had to cancel at that time. I arranged to go to his house as soon as my walk was over. I drove there at noon and was back home within the hour a little better off financially. When I arrived home the guy we were waiting for to complete the garage door installation was there and had begun work. The work was superficial, fitting the free  alarm we had been promised after we had purchased an extra nine years of guarantee cover and to fill in some gaps with silicone rubber. He was finished by one-thirty. After lunch E went shopping and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.

Shirley Anne

Exercise

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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

All about legs

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leggy legs

Leggy legs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well not entirely. I have always been an active person, that is one who is either exercising or working most of the time. As a child I, like many children then and even now, was involved in some sport or exercise of one kind or another. In my late teens I purchased a bicycle and rode for miles every day I could but then in my early twenties I learned to drive and after I purchased my first car my bicycling days became less frequent. I did ride occasionally however but took an interest in my mid-thirties in running. From that time until around ten years ago I continued to go for a run. I would never run less than four miles and more often it would be eight. I also ran sixteen miles regularly too. I never ran a marathon though but did runs up to twenty miles. I liked running more than any other form of exercise, even swimming which I loved too. The furthest I have ever swum in one go was about a half-mile. All these exercises did wonders for my legs, in shaping them and strengthening them, so much so that many people used to compliment me on my legs! Many women I meet tell me they are jealous of my legs but men have only ogled them! I suppose wearing heels helps too. My working life at this moment is slowing down and currently I am attempting to have a two-week break from it. Not publishing my advert for two weeks should help me but there is never a guarantee I won’t receive requests. We are again enjoying some fine, dry and sunny weather at the moment so on Friday (as I write this) I went for a short walk of around three miles. I hadn’t been out walking for several weeks because of a knee problem, my left knee to be precise which has always been weak relative to the other. I had been so busy working I didn’t much feel like going for walks anyway which helped me to rest the knee. The walk took me down  Rotten Row  (Southport) past the long flowerbeds which run the length of the road. I have taken to admiring plants and their varieties over the last couple of years as I have been getting more involved with gardening at home. I now do most of the gardening at home and E does very little because of her condition. It means more exercise for me which is always welcome and will be more so as my electrical work drops away. I have no plans to stop that work just yet but will wait and see what happens. I didn’t meet anyone I know whilst on my walk until I was almost back home when a younger woman approaching me from the opposite direction spoke as she we drew closer. She is around forty years of age, has long blonde hair and invariably wears black clothes with jewelry. I only know this as I have seen her at other times when out. She smiled to me and said, ‘You’ve got a lovely pair of legs. I wish I had them, they are so shapely’.  I didn’t know what to say at first but quipped, ‘Yes and they go all the way up to the top’. She smiled again and carried on walking. Now I don’t know the woman though I do recall having spoken with her once before. I continued on my way back home a couple of hundred metres away and thinking to myself, ‘What an odd thing for a stranger and especially another woman to say such a thing but what a nice comment too’. pics-947By the way those legs above are not mine though I think my legs are quite shapely too, especially when I am wearing heels. When out walking I wear flat-heeled shoes. My legs are shapely I think probably because of all those leg-exercising activities in my life.

Shirley Anne

A small thing but

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A landlubbers pain in the neck. Carelessness -...

A landlubbers pain in the neck. Carelessness – NARA – 535331 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quite often in life it is the small things which can cause the biggest problems. We tend to overlook the small things as insignificant but they can soon become large things which then demand our attention. The phrase ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ springs to mind. A small tear in a garment can lead to it being thrown away if it isn’t mended in time. Life is like that, everything is in decay but some things perish more easily don’t they? For some years now I have suffered with the occasional problem of having a trapped nerve in my neck. I might suddenly feel an ache in my back, arms or legs as I did a few weeks ago and wrote about it in a post. At first I used to simply bear the pain until it subsided and that often was for a couple of days. Then just as suddenly as the pains appeared they disappeared leaving me wondering the cause. One day I discovered that if I held my head in a certain position the pain would disappear and that led me to discover that doing neck exercises solved my pain problems. As I am over seventy years of age I am beginning to think the trapped nerve issue is simply age-related and that is probably true. In my younger days I never suffered this way, not even once. I awoke on Monday morning with a view to drive a few miles to an electrical job but as I dressed and ate breakfast I found I had problems with the muscles in my buttocks and lower back which made moving about very slow and painful. I did remember to do some neck exercises which eased the pain and in fact once I was moving about the pain seemed less of a problem. I am sure many of us could relate to feeling a little stiff when we get out of bed but I have found that as I have gotten older the problem is more frequent. Lying still on a bed for hours is going to promote stiffness so I suppose having a restless night in that respect isn’t such a bad thing after all. Anyway despite my exercising the pain still took some hours to subside. I did go to the job as it didn’t involve any form of strenuous work and I was back home after an hour or so. I spent the remainder of the day doing very little but wanting to move about so that I didn’t seize up completely! A bit like being between a rock and a hard place. Some choice eh?

Shirley Anne

Power to do

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Every machine requires some form of continuously applied energy in order for it to keep operating. Once that energy is depleted the machine stops. If subsequently the machine is left idle for too long it may not restart so easily, some machines will seize up if left too long. I was thinking about this as I took a mid-morning walk on Sunday. The weather was fine and sunny though the biting north wind let me know it was still winter nevertheless. As I set out from home I usually walk in a northerly direction most of the time so that wind was in my face. The only consolation was the fact that it wasn’t a strong wind. There were few people about even though it was after nine-thirty but I guess many folk would be taking it easy indoors. As I approached the town centre there were more people out in the streets and some were in the bars having breakfast. I saw nobody taking any form of useful exercise, those walking about were doing so at a snail’s pace but there was a cyclist or two in racing garb doing some serious peddling. I was walking toward the beach front where the wind was more noticeable but as by now

Mature woman power walking in residential environs

Mature woman power walking in residential environs

I was walking in a southerly direction it was at my back. By this time I was feeling quite warm for I had been putting some effort into my stride, power walking if you like. A young girl passed me by as she jogged in the same direction but by the time she had reached the far end of the sea front where pedestrians have either to cross the road and continue inland or take to the beach itself I was only a hundred metres or so behind her. Considering the distance we had both travelled and the fact I was probably fifty years her senior, I think I did remarkably well. Had I been running I suppose I might have even kept pace with her for a short time at least. It has been years since I did any outdoor running though I do cover some miles on my treadmill occasionally. At seventy years of age I am of the opinion that exercise is of great benefit but too much is probably not good. As I ‘power walked’ along the sea front a middle-aged man was running in the opposite direction and as he passed I could see the pained look on his face. It was as though he was enduring his exercise rather than enjoying it. Now I know that running is hard work but I also know that it is a pleasurable thing to do. I really enjoyed every minute of it whether it be cold, wet and windy or nice and sunny. Perhaps this guy’s pained expression was his way of letting us know that he was really enjoying his run. One great thing about taking exercise is that I don’t have to watch the calories so much, exercise burns them off. I therefore eat well so that my machine will keep on running and not seize up!

Shirley Anne

Slow but sure

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Slow, It Goes

Slow, It Goes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is mid-morning on Wednesday as I write down my thoughts. The pain in my back is slowly getting better, sometimes there is no pain at all then suddenly it lets me know I haven’t yet been completely healed. I continue with the exercises though I am beginning to think exercise of any kind at this moment will only serve to slow the healing process. It is a sobering thought to know that we can be incapacitated so easily if we are not careful. Being in a physically active occupation or simply being so active at home should make us more cautious and aware but sometimes we forget and we end up unable to perform even the simplest of tasks whilst healing. Often we don’t realise we have injured ourselves at the time and only realise something is wrong a day or two later. In that space of time between the injury and the realisation of it anything can happen to make things worse. I have just received a call from the guy in whose house I had been working on Thursday last week, the one with the heavy wooden ladder, he was bringing me up to date regarding his ordering of a replacement floodlight. I told him I was for the moment not available, explaining to him about my injury. He was very sympathetic and wished me a speedy recovery. He told me about the specific floodlight he has ordered, a remotely controlled unit and asked if I was able to check it out online. As it happened I had been sitting with my laptop and online when he called so I was able to search the site from which he had placed his order. It isn’t usual for people to ask me to check something online but this guy is practically online and on the telephone all the time in connection with his work. Ever wonder how car manufacturers source their vehicle lighting equipment? He works for a company who designs the lighting requirements and specifically the pricing of components down to the smallest parts for vehicles manufactured by the likes of Nissan and Toyota. Whilst I was there last week I noticed the pressure he was under from his boss to meet scheduled deadlines. I couldn’t work under that kind of pressure though I do work better when I am under pressure in line with my own work.

English: Full Steam Ahead Thoughts of escaping...

Full Steam Ahead Thoughts of escaping life in the slow lane as this steam traction engine heads north out of Pontefract towards the M62. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am available for work even now, should anyone ask, as long as it doesn’t require any form of lifting or moving of heavy objects. As for this guy’s floodlight, it will take a few days to arrive in response to his order and because he himself will be in Belgium until the middle of next week there is no immediate urgency. Hopefully I will be well recovered by the end of this week let alone the end of next week when he hopes I shall be able to accommodate. Such is life. I am planning to dine out today if I get no requests before lunchtime or two o’clock.

Shirley Anne

Oh to be young again!

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A Soldier (lying down) performs a bench press ...

A Soldier (lying down) performs a bench press with a spotter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me get one thing straight, I am quite happy being me and being the age that I am. I have no problems with that, I have enjoyed my life as far as I was able and when I look back over the years I know I could have made better decisions but of course it is easy to say things like that with hindsight isn’t it? I think I am quite fit for a person my age and well surpass many my age in being active to the same extent as I am. I put that down to having been active in one way or another all of my life. My occupation keeps me active though I do admit to not being as active as I once was, that is only natural, I cannot keep pace with those much younger than myself. I first noticed the slowing down process a few years ago when out walking and being overtaken by younger people out doing the same. Their pace was not something I considered fast but it was fast enough for them to leave me behind! I tried walking at the same speed and found I couldn’t but I was 60 years old! At least I was out walking and not sitting around on my butt. Last November E and I purchased a new bathroom suite and shower. They were stored in one of the garages on delivery and soon afterward we took some of it indoors and stored it in a spare room upstairs. Two items were too heavy and awkward for E and I to take indoors, one was the unit for the hand basin which is quite wide and the other was the cardboard covered glass panels for the shower. At that time our two sons took the bath indoors for us because we couldn’t have done that either. I could have managed with the assistance of one of them but as they were both at home at the time they did it for us. I am not sure when we will have reached the stage in the bathroom project whereby we will want to fit these things but we had to arrange to get them upstairs so that they would be to hand when we are ready for them. A couple of weeks ago we asked our sons if they could do it for us but it had to be at a time when they were both available. That day was Sunday last. I had thought it would take them twenty minutes to carry the two items upstairs together but once I opened the garage door the eldest son walked in, took a hold of the rather large package containing the heavy glass and promptly walked out and straight up the stairs with it in minutes. His younger brother grabbed hold of the large box containing the basin unit, which was difficult to hold because of its dimensions and weight, and he too was off like a shot and straight up the stairs with it. Neither of them stopped for a breather and neither of them were out of breath! I think I would have need a stop along the way. I can remember a time when I could have done the move myself but that was a long time ago. Later our eldest son followed me into the cellar to see if I had any metal of the type he required for a small project he has but alas I hadn’t. However I was able to give him a long length of timber that he also required. While we were down there he talked about exercise and weight-lifting in particular as he took a hold of the weights we have down there. There is a bench-press with weights standing alongside the treadmill that has been there for years and was used by both our sons when they lived at home. I of course didn’t! He found it very easy to lift those weights as according to him they were far below what he was used to at the gym. I believe him. He had a go on the treadmill whilst he chatted with us and I operated the control in steps of 1 mph to a top speed of 11 mph. the limit of the machine. He coped well and even asked me to increase the inclination! He reached a heartbeat of 143 beats per minute when I switched it down to a more respectable speed level. He got off and I got on and did 6 mph for a couple of minutes and my heartbeat level reached 133. I found it easy to run on the machine, not because I have been using it lately for I haven’t had the time but because I am generally fit. Nothing like as fit as in my youth though!

Shirley Anne

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The danger is

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Weight Gain 4000

Weight Gain 4000 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many years ago I was actually what you might call ‘underweight‘ for my age and when I started work that weight remained low due to the nature of the work and the amount I did each week. No matter what I ate I could never gain weight, which was a good thing. When I left my first employment after 14 years I began to work in a completely different environment and at a much more relaxed pace. It wasn’t that I wanted the slower and more laid back approach to work but the nature of the work made it so. I began to gain weight, nevertheless although my weight rose by a stone (14 lbs) it remained constant at that weight for many years. I never considered myself to be overweight at any time but I still struggled with my waistline. They say that extra weight is first put on around the waist and the waist is the last place it comes off when losing weight. I can well believe that. As we get older we also get slower though I must say that I find I haven’t slowed down as much as I thought I would. It is hardly noticeable but what I will say is that I tire more easily and do less. Now the danger is that gaining weight can become far easier now that I am older. I like my food but I have to watch the amount I am eating and of course the type of food too. Whilst I am active in doing something I find food less an interest but once I become inactive my stomach reminds me that I need to put food into it! I have to discipline myself, I really do because I find myself indulging too much if I am not careful. Now wouldn’t it be nice if food in general had less calorific value? No chance, the foods we like usually have the most calories don’t you find? I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and they probably make up most of my intake. Protein is my next highest intake and lastly carbohydrates of which I try to keep to a minimum. My greatest weakness is bread which is pretty much off my menu these days and ice-cream which I have to confess isn’t but I try to keep that to a minimum. I love fish so I eat plenty of it. I guess I am leading a fairly healthy life and I eat sensibly, pies, cakes and puddings I almost never eat now and I still get plenty of exercise whether it be working or taking some other form of exercise. Someone once told me that I would be the fittest person in the graveyard the way I exercise so. One thing is certain, I won’t die because I am overweight!

Shirley Anne

Almost forgotten?

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Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

 Extension leaders drilling in physical exercise in middies and bloomers, … 

With all the hard work I’ve been doing at home lately I’ve not really had the chance nor even felt like taking some exercise on the treadmill. I have been out on my bike a couple of times though and I have managed to take some exercise on the treadmill but not as much as I would like. I cannot overdo things however, that would be stupid. On Sunday morning after a nice extra lie in bed I dressed for some exercise on the treadmill and went straight to it. I surprise myself sometimes. Not thinking I would manage much I found the opposite to be true! As long as I don’t leave it too long between sessions on the treadmill I find I can pretty much take off where I left it. I found the same to be true when doing outdoor running too, often going far more than I’d anticipated. I suppose it is down to stamina. At the moment I am building up my stamina through hard work most of the time. Use it or lose it is the key phrase. Sitting on one’s butt and stuffing one’s face with food may be some people’s idea of living it up but it’s not mine much as I like doing those things sometimes. No, I discipline myself and try to do what is sensible, after all it is only myself who will suffer any consequences of a bad lifestyle. I think I am quite a fit person for my age, in fact I know I am. There are not many women my age who could do what I do physically speaking. I know many women my age who really look their age as they say and lack the stamina I have. Many are far too overweight and it is usually down to the way they have lived their lives. They have all sorts of physical ailments which a normal healthy person doesn’t have and they suffer as a result. I wonder why people choose to be they way they are, for it is a lifestyle choice. A week or so ago E and I were in a carvery having lunch, well dinner to be precise when we noticed a couple of, shall we say, ‘extra-large’ women. They were so large they had to sit  on the lounge furniture away from the main dining area. Now you would think they might have limited their meal to something small or even a salad but no, their meals looked twice the size of mine! On another occasion three rather large people came into the same carvery with a child, two women and one man. The women filled their plates to capacity and the man likewise but he left the table after finishing his meal and returned a couple of minutes later with another plate full of food! He even complained that he couldn’t have extra meat unless he paid for it! One can eat as much vegetables as one likes in these establishments but very few take up that offer, I mean isn’t one plate of food enough? Apparently not for some people though.

Shirley Anne

Strange aches and pains

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Get First Aid At Once^ Big Aches From Little I...

Get First Aid At Once^ Big Aches From Little Injuries Grow – NARA – 534135 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have often gotten aches and the occasional pain throughout my working life but they have always been caused by the exercising of my muscles when working and not because of an inherent health problem. I have taken these in my stride as they are part of a working life that is physically demanding and quite normal. Whatever we do physically places a strain on our muscles, which is right if taken in moderation. Sometimes we overdo things and usually pay the price a day or so later. I have always found that to be somewhat odd, that the pain through overtaxing ourselves follows many hours later and not immediately. However whilst I am used to these ‘normal’ pains I am finding other aches and pains befalling me which I am not used to. People tell me that it is due to age and perhaps they are right but I still have some doubts about that. For instance I have been getting some odd pains lately, cramps in some of my toes, a twinge around one of my elbows which comes and goes or has been lately at random times. I had one in my waist on the left-hand-side recently which appeared regularly every five minutes or thereabouts for about half an hour and then ceased. They all seem quite random and harmless but nevertheless annoying. I never notice such pains and twinges whilst I am exercising or working so perhaps they are brought about by inactivity. That could be true because I often get them when lying in bed before I go to sleep. I haven’t been awakened by pains so I assume they don’t manifest themselves whilst my muscles are in a totally relaxed state, as in sleep. Over the last two weeks I have been suffering with pain in my right upper arm muscles but it isn’t due to overworking them. I am finding it painful to raise my arm to any height or reach behind my back for any reason but I think I know what the problem is as I have had a similar problem within the past four years. A trapped nerve. The last time I suffered from a trapped nerve was about four years ago and it made walking difficult and painful. At that time I was finding it difficult to do my job too and one day had to be helped back to my feet from  the kneeling position I was in whilst working. That problem was caused by a nerve being trapped in my neck. This time it appears I have one in my upper arm. There is little that can be done other than having some physiotherapy, that is by moving my muscles (arms) in a certain way to promote self-healing. That was offered to me when I had the trapped nerve in my neck but by the time anyone could see me the problem disappeared by itself! I am thinking the same thing will happen this time, at any rate the pain has subsided quite a bit since it started but it hasn’t yet disappeared altogether. I look at it this way, there are far more people in the world with ailments far worse than mine. Mine are just an inconvenience whilst others have to suffer theirs all their lives.

Shirley Anne

I’m getting used to it.

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The Life and age of woman, stages of woman's l...

The Life and age of woman, stages of woman’s life from the cradle to the grave. New York : James Baillie, c1848.

I remember very well the day I became a teenager and the day I became an adult as it was recognised then, becoming of age as they say, 21 years old. Personally I think that date should still mark the beginning of real adulthood and not aged 18 but that is my opinion. As I grew older and the milestones in life were passed I gradually became accustomed to each new phase of my life. Nothing suddenly changed of course, everything changed quite subtly. As life goes on we don’t really notice the slow alterations to our way of thinking, our circumstances, our changing abilities and everything that is happening to us and around us. At aged 13 I became an outsider to those who were a couple of years my junior and when I reached the age of 21 I was positively out of the game to all I knew who were still teenagers. Once I reached 30 I was definitely over-the-hill on a slippery slope to old age according to those much younger than I. Of course I didn’t feel these things personally but I did notice the gradual change in interests and in capability. As we get older we become wiser and more efficient in what we do. It is called experience and it doesn’t just apply to our careers, it applies to everything we come across and have dealings with in life. Trying to keep up with the pace of life becomes more difficult though as we age and we find we cannot do the things we once were able to as quickly. That is simply the ageing process but we don’t notice it until we take up again something we once were good at doing. I noticed this in my work as an electrician. Though I can still do the same things, they take longer nowadays. Some things I have had to give up doing, like house rewires and large jobs because it takes too much out of me now at 67! Nobody wants a house rewire taking a couple of weeks to complete and I don’t want to be putting in ten consecutive eight-hour days to do it when once it took me only three with the help of an apprentice! We simply have to let things go and do what we are able. I went for a bicycle ride on Saturday morning as it was such a bright and sunny day. I haven’t been on my bike for a few weeks and hardly at all since September or October last year so I am unable to go too far being out of practice. I am still engaged in running on my treadmill and am well practised on that. I was taking it easy riding along at a comfortable pace and was being overtaken by young men on their machines. I watched them go by and thought to myself, ‘I could go that fast once’. Well of course I could have peddled much faster than I was doing but even so I could never match their speed, especially as there must have been forty-five or more years between us! Whilst out riding I saw an elderly lady, probably ten to fifteen years my senior riding along on her machine at a very respectable pace. I had to stop for a moment to answer my phone and I watched as she rode off into the distance. When I was nearing home, about a mile or so away, I saw this old lady again coming in the opposite direction seemingly effortlessly. Cycling is certainly a good form of exercise and she was proving it. I am getting used to being overtaken in many aspects of my life, it is called growing old gracefully but at the same time I am improving as I go and I am getting used to it.

Shirley Anne

More exercise and feeling better for it

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Get yourself Fit

When I’ve been ill or unable to exercise as happened late last year I have gained weight by being idle and most of the time didn’t feel at my best. A little exercise changes all of that and if done in the morning sets you up for the whole day. Until a few years ago I used to get up very early, most often at 02.30 and be ready to go out in all-weather to do a four or six-mile run after which I would return home and get ready to go to work! I am well-past doing that sort of thing now but I still like running, though now it is usually on my treadmill. For years I owned a bicycle too and spent many an hour riding around on it but always during the day or evening, never in the early hours of the morning! Running is very much different to cycling and in some respects not as good. Each exercise has its own benefits of course. As I have explained in other posts I am beginning to improve my exercise regime since my last period of inactivity caused by the accident I had and I am finding it less strenuous. I have noticed an improvement in the speed I can run and my stamina has improved quite a lot too. Exercise that leaves one a little breathless for a while makes sure the heart gets the exercise it needs too and with each period of exercise undertaken a greater feeling of well-being results. Whenever I do some rigorous exercise I can almost feel my arteries dilating and the blood rushing through them and that feeling lasts for hours after. People who likewise exercise this way will know what I am saying, it just makes you feel good all day. Apart from anything else it burns calories too which can’t be bad for my waistline! I’ve done quite a considerable amount of exercise over the last few weeks and after a long spell of inactivity I can tell you which I prefer!

Shirley Anne

You can have too much of a good thing

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English: Painting of Pheidippides.

English: Painting of Pheidippides. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too many marathons can kill, warn doctors
Doing too many marathons could kill you, doctors have said in a stark warning about the dangers of taking too much vigorous exercise.

By Stephen Adams – The Telegraph – Fri, Nov 30, 2012 10:19 GMT

Fitness fanatics should do “just one or a few” marathons or full-distance triathlons, say the cardiologists, because over-exerting the heart for years can lead to long-term damage.

There is now convincing evidence that repeatedly asking the heart to pump “massive” volumes of blood, for hours at a time, can lead to an array of problems, they say.

These include overstretching of the organ’s chambers, thickening of its walls and changes to electrical signalling. These could trigger potentially dangerous heart rhythm problems.
Running warning – marathon fans told to take it easy ©Rex

“In addition, long-term excessive exercise may accelerate aging in the heart, as evidenced by increased coronary artery calcification, diastolic ventricular dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening,” they write in the journal Heart.

Dr James O’Keefe and Carl Lavie, from St Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Baton Rouge, US, say the heart is only designed for “short bursts” of intense activity.

They cite the example of Micah True, the hero of the book Born to Run about ultra-endurance running.

He died in March, aged 58, on a 12-mile training run in New Mexico. He routinely ran a marathon a day, sometimes more.

They believe that decades of such exertion led him to develop Phidippides cardiomyopathy.

Named after the original runner, who died delivering news of the Greeks’ victory at Marathon, it is “the constellation of cardiac pathology that has been in observed in the hearts of some veteran extreme endurance athletes”.

They concluded that most people should limit vigorous exercise to 30 to 50 minutes a day.

“If one really wants to do a marathon or full-distance triathlon etc, it may be best to do just one or a few and then proceed to safer and healthier exercise patterns,” they advise.

No amount light to moderate exercise is harmful, they note.

“A routine of moderate physical activity will add life to your years, as well as years to your life.

“In contrast, running too fast, too far, and for too many years may speed one’s progress towards the finish line of life.”

Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Whether you’re taking part in an endurance event, watching your weight or staying healthy after a heart attack, it’s important to build up your activity levels gradually, especially if you’ve not exercised in a while.”

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So you see too much exercise can be bad for you. I have always maintained that too much running was bad for anyone and I limited the length and frequency of my routine mostly doing only four miles every second day or so, occasionally an eight mile run at the weekend. I did a couple of sixteen mile runs but they were rare and only once did I do a twenty-mile run. I have never run a marathon, never really wishing to. I remember years ago people asking me why I didn’t run marathons. My reply was that I hadn’t an axe to grind, I wasn’t out to prove a point. I think on reflection that was a good philosophy judging by the above article. I do believe in getting plenty of exercise though, it is far better to exercise than to vegetate which does the heart no good at all. I guess I have been fortunate to select an occupation that through the years has kept me quite active. I see many people visiting their local gymnasium to ‘work out’, possibly because many of them have desk jobs and don’t otherwise get the opportunity to exercise much. I can see the logic in their decision though I have never been one to ‘join a gym’ preferring to do it myself. For many years I have owned a bicycle and used it, went swimming when I could (I haven’t been for a swim for some years now) and of course running. As we get older it becomes more difficult to maintain a routine but we shouldn’t give up, just don’t overdo it!

Shirley Anne

Fighting back

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fitness (Photo credit: The Survival Woman)

Since my accident two months ago I had been suffering a little with my health, dull headaches and pain behind my eyes until a day or so ago. Things have improved for the better but through it all I had to continue working. One thing I had to forgo was heavy or strenuous exercise which meant no running on my treadmill allowing myself only to walk either on the machine or outdoors. I have been able to use my bicycle as I don’t ride at pace on it anyway, it isn’t built for that, being a road bike, not that I have ever ridden bikes at a pace anyway even when younger. I did like riding for miles though but these days I don’t go so far, probably ten miles being the furthest I would go. So I have had to limit what exercise I can take. Working hard during the week has kept me up and running as it were and I have been using some spare time to fit in a short walk or two either outdoors or on the treadmill. I am fighting back against the tide of inactivity for I know that too long sitting down doing nothing isn’t a good idea and it is harder to get back into some sort of exercise regime the longer it is put off. Then there is the weight problem to consider. Sitting down all day doesn’t burn much calories and weight gain soon overtakes us making it even more difficult to exercise and having to do more to compensate when we do. Over the last week or so I have been very busy at work, which I enjoy for it keeps me active but work alone isn’t enough as a form of exercise, better than nothing but more is required to stay fit and healthy. The body is a very complicated machine and like any machine it needs maintenance and preventative maintenance too! Lethargy may be all right when we are ill or if we have been working hard, physically hard that is but it is a dangerous partner to dance with. Bad habits tend to get a grip on us if we are not careful and the consequences can hard to put right unless we are prepared to do something about it. I do my best to keep on-track with my health and I am fighting back against everything that stands it the way.

Shirley Anne