Monday, October 7, 2019

2 Years, a few more Aches n Pains, and an Attitude Change

A while back I wrote a post about slowing down.

The age-related kind of slowing down.

In that post I talked about going around the long way to use the slope to gain gradual access to the RV pad rather than just taking the single 20 to 24 inch step from ground to concrete which would save me some steps but challenge the leg muscles.

At the time I wrote it, in addition to still having Elmer's travel-trailer on the property, (Elmer can't use it anymore so we have since gifted it as housing for a couple women displaced by Hurricane Harvey and it is down on the coast somewhere now.)  I concluded that since I was aging this change in my routine was inevitable and acceptable.

That was a little over two years ago.

Since then, in addition to a couple of birthdays and the receipt of that coveted medicare card, I have also had a change of attitude.  (Those of you that have employer-supplied medical coverage may not see that little red, white, and blue card as something to be coveted, but those that retired early or are self-employed will know what I'm talking about.)

Oh, I acknowledge the inevitability of slowing down as the years pack on. I can clearly see that happening first hand.

15 years ago I could flick the glasses off your nose with my front-kick, side-kick, and back-kick, though with my - shall we call it, less than perfect control, I would have probably also busted said nose in the process.

Today I can still snap a front-kick to the region of your head, but, despite working on my kicks 5 or 6 days a week, every week, to the tune of 15 reps per leg per kick,* the best I can manage with a back-kick anymore is to bruise your sternum. And as for my side-kick, well I hope you haven't just eaten because that's probably going to land right around your belly-button.

*No, I'm not a bad-ass. Never have been. In fact the last time I was in a "real" fight was back when I was 17 and after the promise of an opening combo that put the other guy on his ass - temporarily - spectators quickly lost interest and wandered away muttering very hurtful things like 'fights like a girl'.

I do the kicks because they are good for keeping balance-skills sharp, my hip-joints open and flexible, (Well, as open and flexible as they're going to get anyway.) and are a decent core work-out, which also helps with balance and, well - you know, not falling down. (Underneath this fluffy layer of cuddleliness wrapped around my gut like grandma's down comforter I have killer abbs!)

But, while I accept the inevitability of slowing down, I have come to the realization that I don't have to help it along.

Just because it's a bit more work to make that high step onto the RV pad is no excuse for bypassing it. In fact, if my goal is to remain active as long as possible, which it is, then when something becomes difficult that's all the more reason to do it.

So now, not only have I started going out of my way several times during the day to make that long step up, or down,

I've also added a set of twenty squats between my laps and my warm-down. (If you want to believe that's me in the photo above, who am I to disabuse you?!) Deep, butt to heels, belly to thighs, full-range squats.

(Click here to see why we should all be doing squats.)

At first I sounded like a walrus in heat when trying to knock those suckers out. God-awful sounds loud enough to set off sympathy groans from the cows on the next ranch over!

But in a couple weeks, at an average of 4 times a week, taking 90 seconds to knock off 20 squats immediately after 45 minutes and 2.6 miles of brisk laps, immediately after 15 minutes of stretching, three different kinds of kicks, and 50 push-ups,** got easier.

** I read somewhere a while back that the ability to do 40 consecutive push-ups is an indicator of reasonable physical health for the aged. Being an overachiever I do 50. My thinking is that I will slow down at some point, but now I can slow down for a while and still stay at or above that target of 40.

Notice I said easier and not easy. The only way that 20th squat is ever going to be easy is if I regularly knock off 40 at a time, and there has to be a limit somewhere. . . But now I take that step at the RV pad without groaning, yelping, or even really noticing it, which translates directly into the ability to get up and over those boulders along the trail, which translates into enjoying being out and about in the back-country.

By the way, here's a nugget that the medicos and personal trainers don't want you to know.

Carrying extra weight in the form of fat is actually beneficial for your physical conditioning!

No, really!

Think about it.

Doing a push-up is the equivalent of bench-pressing about 63% of your body weight. (But the push-up is better for you because it also works your core harder than a bench-press)

For a set of 40 push-ups a 210 pounder lifts 5092 pounds while that smug little 170 pounder parading around in his form-fitting Lycra has lifted a measly 4284 pounds

It takes the average person roughly 2000 steps to cover a mile, give or take a hundred either way. That's 1000 steps per leg. For a 210 pound person that's 210,000 pounds per leg per mile. At the end of that same mile that skinny-ass little 170 pounder has fallen behind by 40,000 pounds per leg.

Who's the bad-ass now, you kale-swilling, carrot-nibbling punk!


  1. I will never forget randomly walking into the UPS room at our former employer and seeing you there in your skivvies doing your that i have gotten over the mental trauma from witnessing that, i can say that maybe it was really just the influence of the EMF fields on your joints that kept them from aching!

    1. Never forget? I had until you brought it up again. Sorry you had to suffer the trauma. Nobody, me included, should have to see that!

      You can see from the blog how I'm doing, how 'bout you?

    2. All good here! Working at the largest operated mining company now, and never looked back. Sad to say that both John C. And Ken D. Have both passed, greatful you got to retire early. It really was great to be able to learn from you, and will always cherish those days....keep ramblin, and i will keep reading!

    3. They were a good 30+ years for me as well, mostly anyway. An interesting job, though managing people was not my favorite thing. But at the time I had no idea just how much stress I was under while working that job, admittedly, much of it self-imposed. In fact I was two years into retirement before I fully understood the scope of that stress. I'm waaay behind on the technology nowadays, but it's nice to be out from under the pressure.

      I imagine that in some ways the new company and the old share some similarities. I assume you are managing the same sort of stuff there?