Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting into a Routine

This unseasonably warm weather is making me grumpy. I should live in Washington or Oregon, where it's cool, rainy, and overcast all the time.  Motivate me, O G-d to just walk and take my big walking stick for balance help, also to make me look ferocious. Stray and loose dogs don't bother me, but stray and loose children goes. Goal: easy warm up this time....10-15 minutes which includes an unfriendly hill. I don't recommend this is for an unstable Parkinsonian, which I occasionally am. This is one time it's good to have company and imperative to have a cell phone and a stick or cane or a walker.  A safer alternative is walking or marching in place indoors.  If falling is still a worry there, you might hold on to a stationary object OR do the same motions while seated.
 I clocked a 33 minute workout that included pedaling with legs and arms at varying intensities.  I took my walking stick and used it to align my arms for stretching, then used resistance bands for barbell curl type raises.  One of my exercise books has instructions for "easing" the aging, arthritic body from a chair to the floor for leg raises and lower body rotations.  THUD. No, that won't work.  My physical therapist told me she feels way better if I do exercises I can do on my bed. It's not firm enough for some, but bent-knee leg raises and lateral leg raises can much more safely be done on a bed, so that getting TO the floor doesn't result in being removed from the floor.

What fascinated me most today was learning about face and larynx exercises and vocal cord routines. When I was in college, the late, great Helena Rubenstein said all women should keep their neck and facial skin tight by doing at least 1-2 sets of these daily:

  • Look up at the ceiling or sky. Put your head back as far as you can.  
  • Pull your lower jaw towards your upper so you feel neck muscles tighten.
  • Open and close your mouth 10 times.
  • Good time to put moisturizer on--or give yourself a facial [yes, guys, they make them for you too].
Forty-five years ago it was I learned this little trick.  Has it worked?  A little? Perhaps, but now I realize Helena and I were ahead of our time.  Some people who develop routines for us recommend having a repertoire of facial expressions--sad, angry, laughing.  Like chicken soup, it may not cure what we dread, but it doesn't hurt.
Then there are vocalizations we should practice when we can.  A great singer suggested this, but you will need to understand cat behavior.  At the time I started doing this, I had no idea what awaited me, but I wanted to try some exercises  to warm up my untrained singing voice. "What sounds besides speech can you do?" she asked?  "Imitate something. You have a good speaking voice. Make sounds that aren't talking or singing."  Without thinking, I caterwauled.  First, I sounded like one tomcat, but, then, I raised my voice and introduced a second cat into the fight.   I have read suggestions for audible yawning and saying "aaah" while keeping a hand on the throat--fingers spread--to visualize opening the throat and feeling it.  Given my Hebrew name--Ariel or Lion--I have chosen roaring.  Sometimes it starts as a squeak and ends as a squeak and coughing fit.  But roaring practice is now part of my routine.

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