It was Monday 18th, a week before Christmas day and I was set to resume my workout regime after a week of abstinence. The reason for the abstinence I mentioned in a previous post but essentially it was to allow my muscles to recuperate after I had overworked them on our new elliptical trainer. Now that they had recuperated I was eager to resume exercising. Although I had been for a couple of short walks during the week in order to do some exercise I needed to get started again on the gym equipment. Maybe it was that I simply wasn’t tired enough but I found it very difficult to get to sleep on Sunday evening. I found myself tossing and turning throughout the night until eventually I fell asleep properly. However, it was by then 4.30 which meant I didn’t wake until almost 11.00 . E had gone out somewhere and probably wouldn’t be home until late in the afternoon. I dragged myself out of bed and dressed in my sportswear. After a short warm-up and a spell on the vibrating machine which helps loosen up the muscles I got on the treadmill and began my exercise. Half an hour later I mounted the elliptical trainer and began exercising on that, very slowly and only at a walking pace. I was determined not to do any strenuous exercise on the machine this first time after abstaining from using it. After about fifteen minutes I stopped. Maybe at the next visit I will begin to extend my time on it. Although I wasn’t too warm after my exercising I went into the garden to cool off anyway and as usual with me I am looking to see if there are any weeds which I can pull out when out there. This time I ended up sweeping leaves and putting them in the wheelie bin!. It was time to return indoors and change out of my sportswear and dress for the day. It was 1 o’clock. Time for lunch. I had it in mind to go for a walk but changed my mind, I would be going for a long walk the following day and didn’t want to overdo things by exercising too much. According to the weather forecast we were in for some fine weather for a few days which is always nice when going for walks.
At this time of year I was always busy working but this year all that has changed. Since my retirement back in April I have not done any electrical work to speak of, just a couple of very minor jobs and some of them were at home anyway. From around September until the week preceding Christmas I was kept busy doing electrical work with little time for myself. I was used to the pressure but then again I worked better under pressure, still do. However over the last few weeks I have had very little work to do, certainly no contract work and what I have been doing at home wasn’t that taxing. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am glad the pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and that now I can please myself what I do and when I do it. It is simply that it feels a little strange having all this freedom. I have been occupying myself outside of any domestic jobs I do by taking walks and exercising more on what equipment we have accumulated over the last few years. I am currently getting to grips with the new elliptical trainer we purchased a week or so back. Having not used one before it certainly felt strange when making the first attempt! I am more used to the treadmill, that is my muscles are more used to it.
With the elliptical trainer however those muscles are exercised in a different way and other muscles not exercised much when running or even walking have to adjust too. I wake up in the mornings with a kind of joy in my heart knowing I haven’t any reason to rush into the day so in a way that too feels strange, though I am getting used to it. To be honest I rarely lie in bed for long once I am awake and half the time I have something in mind I want to do anyway. I never thought of it before but having one’s remaining years free to one’s self is often not appreciated until the time it arrives. I’ll try to make the most of them.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Phew! Or that was the week that was! I’ve had the busiest week at work for a long time. I have been so tired each night that I have retired earlier than usual and have been able to get to sleep very easily. I have woken up more refreshed after a good night’s rest and ready to start over again. This is the way it used to be when I was younger but in those days I worked much harder, now I find it much harder to work! I do pretty well for my age and I know for certain that I would leave many my age looking as if they are standing still. I think many folk let themselves go once they reach a certain age and don’t look after their physical fitness as perhaps they once did. Illness aside, there is no reason not to keep one’s self as fit as possible. It doesn’t take much to don a pair of shoes and go for a walk for instance and if you are serious about keeping fit this way well there are plenty of outlets where you can purchase suitable footwear and clothing to be as adventurous as you want. Walking is a good way to keep fit and it need not be strenuous either. You just go at a pace you feel comfortable with as go as far as you are able. Your stamina will slowly build as with any regular exercise and you begin to enjoy it as opposed to endure it! Working as hard as I have this week has left me too tired to exercise in other ways as much I normally do and that doesn’t really matter, it’s all a question of balance. I still manage to get on the treadmill nevertheless. There is of course the danger in overdoing things, both at work and at play so one has to be careful in these matters. No sooner than I’d done my last job for the week I received a request to do a small job on Monday morning! That is the way it goes sometimes. I was working for a lovely lady on Friday and we got on together very well. She took a great interest I what I was doing and she even gave me a helping hand where she could occasionally. On receiving that request she exclaimed ‘That’s the problem when you are self-employed and advertise, you have to make time for yourself otherwise your life is not your own’. How right she is! If I feel I am doing too much I do take the time out and offset my schedule to accommodate a work-free day when it suits me. To be perfectly honest I did not think that I would still be working at my age, not because I didn’t want to but more because I didn’t think I would be capable. I am glad I was wrong. My working life can be stressful if I allow it to be so I try to keep a lid on things. Now it is the weekend and I am planning to relax more………well, after I’ve been on the treadmill.