Sunday, May 22, 2011

Half birthday coming up

June is a significant month for me.  Our anniversary is the 16th, a day we thought might be our Jewish Wedding Day, but it's looking as if that will come a little later.  Then there's the 3rd.  My family--with birthdays clustered in December and early January, adopted Winnie the Pooh's invention of the half-birthday--something to bring festivity to summer and an excuse to make cake.  This half birthday I will be 64.5, and the Medicare supplemental policy solicitations are flying into the mailbox daily.  

But June 3rd is something even more important than cake (for sure) and a chance to ponder Medicare. It will be the 4th month anniversary of the day I started Fitness Boot Camp.

 Let me begin with a disclaimer. The image above isn't me. I would never wear that outfit, and my hair doesn't look like that. Nor will it ever.  But I do like the image, because it suggests motion, fluidity, grace, and balance--none of which I have. Oh, I do have motion and am relatively lucky to be able to still move well, but the other 3 left me a long time ago.

Those of us with Parkinson's have more incentive than most to JUST DO IT.  In the last few months, I have gotten stronger, lost 30 pounds, and my "fat jeans" come off without being unzipped first and are now in a pile to go to a thrift store.  I can get onto my exercise mat more easily, and getting up off of it was a piece of cake this morning [bad image--no cake allowed].  Yet I still force myself through this routine worrying about those annoying PD issues: falling, tripping over nothing, and getting off balance.   So there are a few tips I can offer others with PD.  Let me recommend, first, the absolute best diet and exercise log on the internet.  My Food Diary gives you all the tools to look up everything you eat and every exercise you perform, and it keeps track for you--a must if weight loss or maintenance and overall fitness are your goals.

My boot camp routine calls for core workouts--crunches for abs, leg raises, and--egad--push-ups (modified are OK).  I love my "floor exercises."  I move from exercise to exercise--1 set each--to maintain a cardio routine, but that is not my primary goal.  In addition to weight loss, my primary goal is strength and balance.

After 2-3 sets of these exercises, I get up and lift dumb bells. I will talk more about strength training next time, because I have come to realize how important strength --weights and resistance--are as we grow older. They may just be even more important than cardio workouts for us seniors. And I cannot forget stretching and flexibility, so we will visit those in the next few days.

My entire life since Feb 3rd, has been this fitness program. I have taught my English classes and tried to be a decent partner. But I have literally been in seclusion as I work fitness back into the life of a person who used to run, hike, eat right, and--oh, yes--fight fire.  Getting back in shape at age 60+ isn't easy, and now I have Parkinson's movement problems to challenge me.  So, as I get this together, I hope to share a good, solid exercise and overall healthy living program with my fellow Parkinsonians and anyone else who's interested.  But, first, I have to reclaim my mat.

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