Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Working out

Healthcare and health insurance have been trending issues in my daily life this past month. Nothing like a little personal involvement to peak one's interest... knee injury, arthroscopy & now rehab. Physical therapy started this week and wow! Just saying, these focused exercises are letting me know that my hip and quadriceps (thigh) strengths have diminished, and surprisingly so. Although, I suspect there has been an insidious decline prior to my injury, even with the significant weight lifting I do on the job. Aging seems to sneak up on you and unless you are participating regularly in a total body workout, I think these subtle body & strength changes undermine your overall condition.

I am going to have to make a daily habit of therapeutic floor mat exercises to ensure I will have healthy & active senior years. Optimistic enthusiasm will not sustain the body. Let me quote a paragraph from my Paris travel journal, compiled in June 2012, because I think then, was my first realization of the negative effects of an American lifestyle. Yep, I mean the lack of simple regular walking.

Walking in the Tuileries
"At this point I am compelled to have a mini rant; as the world knows you are going to do a lot of walking in Paris, it’s a big city like New York or San Francisco but no one ever mentions the fact that you will be climbing enough stairs on a daily basis to essentially say you ascended the peak of Mt.Killamanjaro after a week here! There are stairs up and down the metro, in museums, most restaurants and department stores, every hotel, not to mention every single famous tourist site has a minimum of thirty steps and more likely one hundred or more. Now I can walk with the best, but had I known this I would have prepared with 45 minutes of daily Stairmaster, not even kidding. Val is pooping out before me and her thighs are thirty-five years younger! We have decided this is the reason French women can eat whatever they want and maintain model thin thighs and figures. We lazy Americans invented escalators and handicap ramps..."

As you can tell from the desperation in my rant, I was feeling the pain of untoned legs and I am active, by American standards. What an eye-opener! Purposeful brisk walking must be incorporated into daily activities. Part of the reason most Americans cannot do this is that they live in suburbia; not self-contained arrondissments, where convenient shops are located and efficient mass transit reduces the need for a car.

So today, bearing these debilitating facts in mind, I took a brisk half hour walk after my challenging physical therapy session. I practiced rehab therapist, Todd's recommendations and powered on inhaling some deep breaths of the cool air by the river. I didn't weeny out because it was sprinkling either. I was pooped when I got home but after icing my knee & drinking some water, I felt vibrant, even a bit younger.

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