Member Blog - Where Has the Summer Gone?

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I am writing this in the snatches of time that I can steal in-between babysitting our grandkids (a one-year-old and his four-year-old sister) and trying to run our business. Two years ago, when we chose to remodel our “domestic compound” and move our studio from downtown Cockeysville back to our home, I was anticipating slowing down and trundling my way into retirement over the next five years. Needless to say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

I’m not complaining. Well, maybe I’m grumbling just a bit, since it is still difficult to get to the gym regularly. When we were in C’ville, I could leave the studio, go to the gym three or four times a week and then head home. Now, when the kids go home (which happens to be to the house next door in our “compound on the hill”), I am exhausted. Just give me a tasty cocktail to drink and let me cook dinner and then put me in front of a 54” TV for Game of Thrones.

How’s that for the beginning of an article about fitness? Just what you expected to read, right?

If you can learn anything from my situation, let the takeaway be this… do what you can and don’t beat yourself up too badly if you are not reaching your own expectations. My mother has always had the neatest (aka, cleanest) house I know; in fact she still does. But, now that she is in her nineties, if she doesn’t vacuum her already clean living room for a day, she just says, “It will be there tomorrow.” Hakuna Matata, in other words. (If you don’t have little ones in your life, that’s a Lion King reference.) She has learned to live with the less than perfect. As an aside, someday, I just hope that my house will look as nice as hers in its messy state.


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Instead of kicking myself for not sweating in the gym, I try to look at what I can do within the parameters I am working with. For instance, I can stretch my hamstrings when I brush my teeth. My electric toothbrush provides a perfect two-minute timer that I use as I prop my legs on the countertop and “feel the burn” in my hamstrings. (I do this before Mrs. Commish has awoken so that there won’t be any ‘splaining to do; what happens on my counter stays on my counter.)  Before getting out of the shower, I will do a minimum of 15 deep knee bends with my arms fully extended over my head. This engages the core somewhat and helps to keep my legs strong. Got to have a good foundation to play golf, after all.

Then there is the yard work. We have a few acres to maintain and it all can’t be cut with my tractor. The slopes are too steep so I have to push a mower up and down some hills. Here again I use a method that has a built-in timer. This year we bought a battery-powered mower. The rechargeable batteries last just about 45 minutes before they need to be recharged. I love this feature because it gives me a great excuse to stop for the evening and prepare to plop down in front of the TV with a clear conscience.

When the really deep stuff needs to be cut, I fire up our DR Field and Brush Mower. Believe me, several times a season that really works up a sweat going through deep and thick weeds. Instead of complaining that I have to cut the 30” crap, I now look forward to it as I know it will not only make me sweat out about 5 pounds, but I can’t think of a better upper body workout then manhandling that brush cutter.

Although I know that all of this is really “make do” for not getting to Brick Bodies very regularly, I have one last thing that I have recently incorporated into my regimen. I dug out my old Schwinn stationary bike and put it in our media room. Twenty to thirty minutes of pedaling in the morning while I watch the news and I don’t feel like I am missing something when the kids come over and the TV has the Disney Channel on it for the rest of the day. Hakuna Matata!

Now I need a little help from you. The various things that I am doing seem to keep my knees lubricated and pain-free, but when I kneel on them to play with the grandkids, they suddenly feel very bony and let me know that this is something they do not want me to do. Is there an exercise that will make my knees feel like they were 20-something again?

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