The “Saturday Some” — a new thing, kinda sorta

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you may have wondered what happened to my regular “Friday Five” post.

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Yeah … well, the long answer is, “It was sunny and bright, so I decided to go out for a long drive to a wonderful place I haven’t visited for quite a while,” and the short answer is, “I got lazy,” so feel free to take your pick.

Anyway, in lieu of the “Friday Five,” let me offer the very first “Saturday Some,” which is basically just a bunch of stuff I’m rambling about, off the top of my head. Plus memes! Lots and lots of memes!

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Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot more walking lately, and really enjoying it, too. Now that the weather’s getting nice and hot, though, I may have to go back to the gym and hop back on the treadmill. Which doesn’t particularly bother me. As I’ve said before, I do enjoy the video treadmills at Anytime Fitness (AF).

However, it does bother me in the sense that, given a choice, I’d MUCH rather do my walking outdoors. There are so many great places to walk in Southern California (yes, people actually DO walk in L.A.!) that I hate to give that up.

But once the temps start climbing up above, oh, 85 or so, it’s either the treadmill or the pool. And I do love me that 24 Hour Fitness pool, too, as you may recall!

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Still, it’ll probably be the AF treadmill more often than the pool, mainly because it’s much closer to home, and also right next door to a Ralphs. Which means I can do a couple of miles on the treadmill, then trundle over to the grocery store and do ANOTHER half-mile (I measured it!) in the store.

(And get cat treats, of course. That’s the main reason humans go to the store, according to certain purrsons.)

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Where was I? Oh, yeah, walking! And walking, although it probably doesn’t burn anywhere near as many calories as, say, kickboxing or weightlifting, if you do it every day … or every other day … or at least on a fairly regular basis, you’ll burn a few calories. Even if you can only walk around the block a couple of times, that’s some quality exercise there, my friend.

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More importantly, you’ll relax and enjoy life a little bit more. There’s just something about seeing the world at two or three miles an hour that makes everything else seem oh, so right. Except maybe your knees, if you have arthritis. Which I do. And I have to admit, my knees do get a bit sore the day after a really long, satisfying walk.

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Still, it’s the price I pay for staying in such fabulous shape! And we’ll find out how that translates into actual weight loss on Monday. Hope you’ll join me then! Meanwhile, have a GRRRREAT rest of your weekend!

(unused WordPress Daily Prompt: all of them! read here if you’re interested in some kinda “inside baseball” stuff!)

 

 

 

Friday Five: Yes, you CAN get in shape without a gym — here’s 5 ideas to try!

While it’s true I’ve been going to the gym a lot more lately, it’s NOT because I think going to the gym is the only — or even the best — place to exercise. Au contraire, Pierre! As a matter of fact, during this past week, I haven’t set foot in a gym, and yet I managed to get some perfectly cromulent exercise under my belt!

See, out here in sunny Southern California, we have this annual weather phenomenon known as “June gloom.” According to the always reliable Wikipedia entry:

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June Gloom is a Southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer.

It’s usually in June (duh!), but sometimes, like this year, it stretches its icky tentacles back into May. The City Council unanimously voted to rename it “May Grey” (though they continue to dispute the “Grey/Gray” spelling), and it seems to have become a more or less permanent fixture out here these past couple of years.

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However, as depressing as all those icky clouds may be, there’s always a silver lining, and that silver lining is that May Grey (Gray) and June Gloom (Glüm) are GREAT for outdoor exercisers! I’ve actually enjoyed bypassing the gym this past week, and ambled all around the achingly beautiful San Fernando Valley.

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Old Stagecoach Trail, Santa Susana Pass

And there’s lots of other stuff you could do outdoors, too, thus seguing neatly into my Friday Five list:

  1. Walking. (See above!) In case you didn’t already know, walking outdoors is my all-time fave exercise. Mainly because it’s so interesting — you can walk around the same area multiple times and see something different every time. Whereas on the treadmill, I’m pretty much seeing the same thing: a TV screen and a brick wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, given a choice, I’d prefer this — wouldn’t you?
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  2. Biking. Pull that rusty ol’ Schwinn out of the garage, wipe off the dust and spiderwebs, pump some air into the tires, and roll! More and more cities have dedicated bike paths, so if it’s been a while, you should be able to find someplace to practice without worrying about evil bike-hating drivers.

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    Don’t Shoot the (Bike) Messenger,” by Eben Weiss, Outside Magazine, 05/02/2018 

  3. Exercise with a friend, or perhaps just a casual acquaintance. I go to the Sepulveda Basin sometimes to do my walks. It’s a great place — basically a big giant neighborhood park on steroids. But even in the smaller neighborhood parks, there’s groups of people who work out together. Some groups do yoga or Tai Chi, others do more strenuous stuff.
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    The basic idea, I guess, is that if you’re embarrassed to move your body around in public, you’ll be slightly less embarrassed if a few other people are standing next to you doing the same thing. (Hmm, wonder if that’s how churches got started!)
  4. Get your game on. I’m definitely NOT a sports aficionado, but I understand there are people who enjoy throwing or hitting balls, aiming for things like nets or bases or goals or some such nonsense. Maybe you can find some other like-minded people who want to throw or hit things, gather them onto an appropriate field of some sort, and throw/hit some balls together. It may not be MY thing, but it’s definitely exercise, so go for it!
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  5. Swimming. I left this for last, because honestly, who wants to jump into an icky, ice-cold lake or, God forbid, ocean when it’s cloudy and gloomy? Still, there are a lot of nutty people out there who prefer the cheap showiness of nature to that beautiful, clean (or at least clean -LOOKING!) pool at the gym. So, if there’s some form of water near you that’s big enough to swim in, go for it! That’s definitely some good cardio there, if you don’t get eaten by sharks, which, as I understand from my TV viewing, happens quite a bit.
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So definitely, enjoy the outdoors before the temps zoom up into the stratosphere and we have to go back to the air-conditioned treadmills. Just watch out for the sharks!

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Unused WordPress Daily Post Prompt: Archaic

 

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, Road Trip edition, plus another (unpaid*) plug for Anytime Fitness!

Happy Monday, everyone! Hey, guess what? I’m getting ready to hit the road this morning for a technically unexplainable journey into the outer stratosphere!

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Well … okay, Arizona. Still, a road trip is a road trip, right, Dorothy? Anyway, before that, how’s about we hit the scales?

Ready? Here we go!

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Yippee-skip – not too shabby!

Anyway, as mentioned above, I’m about to hit the road (figuratively, please God!). Sadly, I won’t be able to visit one of the AZ locations of my new gym (Anytime Fitness in Chatsworth – hi guys!) while there, as my membership hasn’t hit the magic 30-day number yet. So I won’t be able to enjoy my treadmill walks/runs through the Grand Canyon, on the Pacific Coast Trail, through the wilds of Australia, or …

Wait, didn’t I tell you about that yet?

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Oh, sorry! OK, well, ‘member a couple of weeks ago, when I humble-bragged about how I’d joined a new gym (Anytime Fitness, hereinafter referred to as “Anytime” because I’m too lazy to write out the whole thing every single time) while still belonging to my old gym (24 Hour Fitness, hereinafter referred to as “24HrF” because again, lazy)?

Well, funny story! I joined Anytime because 24HrF no longer has any gyms in Arizona, and Anytime does. But (here’s the funny part) I can’t go there on this trip because I have to be a member for at least 30 days. And I ain’t.

Mind you, I’m NOT complaining! I already knew all this going in. I’m just sayin’, ya know … gosh golly gee willikers … I’ve come to really enjoy my twice/thrice visits to Anytime, so I’m really gonna miss it during the week ahead!

Besides the aforementioned videos on the machines (which, as I mentioned before, allow me to watch my beloved “Corner Gas”), they also have ANOTHER great feature for misanthropes and loners like myself: a studio where, if there aren’t any live classes going on, you can punch some buttons, shut the door, and have your very own private video workout!!!

Now I’ve done workout videos at home before, as I’m sure you have. My all-time fave, OF COURSE, is that beautiful soul, Richard Simmons (who, for those of you under 30, was basically the Huell Howser/Bob Ross of fitness)!

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Now, true, AF doesn’t have any Richard Simmons videos (whyyy noottt??). However, it DOES have something I don’t have in my living room: lots and lots of SPACE!!

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Yeah, that’s right, no more pushing the coffee table and the cats out of the way to move my bod! And there’s mats, weights, and stationary bikes inside – everything you need for whichever video you choose. I did a 15-minute cardio warm-up last Friday morning, then did 30 minutes on the treadmill — and this time NOT to a Corner Gas episode, but to a gorgeous walk on parts of the Pacific Coast Trail!

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By Bureau of Land Management – #conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover, May 15, BLM Part of Annual Pacific Crest Trail Kick-Off, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42087466

It was great! Not only did it feel good physically, it was just a heckuva lotta fun!

Now as I’ve said before, I’m STILL not ready to give up my venerable 24HrF membership … primarily because, once again:

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Yeah, once the temps start bumpin’ up over 100 every day, I’ll probably be rekindling that 24HrF love!

Even so, I still plan to go to Anytime at least twice a week. And at some point during the summer … perhaps as a reward WHEN (not if!) my weight goes below, let’s say 175 … I WILL be rewarding myself with a historic chili cheese dog at the historic Munch Box!

 

Meanwhile, I’m outta here! Enjoy your week, and I’ll see ya Friday!!

*(I’d settle for a lanyard!)

(Bonus unused Daily WordPress Prompt: flaunt!)

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Five ways to keep from gaining weight on that summer road trip!

Hey everyone — it’s that time of year! Everyone’s loading up the minivans and heading out onto the Great Open Road! But be careful — it’s way too easy to get all cramped up and sore in the car, when you’re strapped in and having nothing to do but watch the scenery. I get it — cows, man!

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Gary Larson, 1973

You really should try to move around when you can. Even if it’s a long way between rest areas, here are some great ways to stay flexible (and even burn a few calories), even on the longest road trip!

  1. Abdominal Contractions (in the car): Draw your belly button in toward your spine as you contract and hold your abdominals tight while you continue breathing. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, release, then repeat another one to two times. (Sparkpeople: Road Rules: 10 Exercises Designed for Long Trips)
  2. Calf and Toe Raises (in the car): Raise your heels as high as possible, putting your weight in the balls of your feet while contracting your calves, then rock back on your heels to stretch the shins. Repeat eight to 12 times to complete one set. Work towards completing three sets total. (Sparkpeople: Road Rules: 10 Exercises)
  3. Rock your oblique stomach muscles. Flex your lower and upper abdominal muscles and then raise your right hip as high as it will go. Hold for 3 seconds and then lower and repeat on the left side. Repeat 10 times on each side or until you feel muscle fatigue. (Wikihow, Exercise While Commuting)
  4. Do isometric exercises. Imagine you need to flex every single muscle in your body. Begin by wiggling your toes and then flex each muscle 1 at a time for 3 seconds, until you reach your arms, neck and top of your head. (Wikihow, Exercise While Commuting)
  5. Raise the roof: Sit tall, with your spine straight and your abdominals engaged. Extend both arms above your head and push your palms into the car ceiling. Hold for three seconds and release, bringing your arms back down to your sides. Repeat for one full minute. (Best Health Mag CA: The Best Workout for Road Trips)
  6. AND A BONUS TIP! Food: Of course, there are tons of convenience stores and fast food places along the road. I’ll do another post on those later, but for now, just remember that even in the wilderness of the junk food aisles, more and more places — even gas stations — have healthier options like string cheese, bananas, and even my beloved Buddig slices! Look around, you can always find *something* good. And when you can’t — well, just count the calories and do the best you can!
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And OF COURSE, whenever possible, get out of the car, st-r-e-t-ch, and WALK! You’ll burn some calories AND stay flexible, which is really important because if you’re like me and have arthritis, you’ll get all cramped up and sore in the car. That’s no way to spend a vacation from your problems, friends – that’s a way to invite MORE problems!

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Whatever you’re doing on YOUR vacation, enjoy it! See you Monday for one last weigh-in before the freeway!

(unused WordPress Daily Prompt: tide)

On becoming a Gym Rat

Wow. Well, I never thought this would happen, but as of this past Wednesday, I’ve actually got TWO gym memberships, simultaneously!

In addition to my on-again, off-again recurring 24 Hour Fitness membership (it’s all about the POOL, people!!), I’ve just signed up with Anytime Fitness for a year.

And THAT one, my friends, is all about …

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Yes, Anytime Fitness has beautiful new equipment. And yes, it’s in a super-convenient location: just down the street from the Ralph’s, the train depot, and of course, the chili cheese dog place.

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But what sold it for me was: THE TREADMILLS HAVE LITTLE VIDEO SCREENS ON THEM CONNECTED TO YOUTUBE!!

And YouTube is currently the only place I can watch my all-time favorite sitcom, “Canada’s Seinfeld” … er, “Corner Gas“!

So now, I can walk or cycle while enjoying the exploits of Brent, Lacey, Hank, Emma, Oscar, Davis, Karen, Wanda and, of course, Mayor Fitzy!

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Of course, they have no idea that was the main selling point. And unless they read my blog, they never will! Bwah hah hahhhh!!

Anyway, as I said, I’m not ready to give up on good ol’ 24 Hour Fitness just yet, because:

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Worst case scenario, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the view.

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(And that’s authentic!)

 

A different kind of Friday post

Well, it took me a little longer than usual to haul my a$$ out of bed this morning, so I’m temporarily abandoning the “Friday Five” format. Just for today, how’s about I tell you what my week has been like?

So far, so good. My weight is still hovering around the 200 mark, in spite of the fact that I’ve been indulging in all those yummy goodies that were forbidden during Lent. Some more so than others (Frigo Cheese Heads Light String Cheese, I’m lookin’ at YOU!). But overall, I’m keeping the calories more or less under control!

However, I regret to report that I’ve been temporarily sidelined from my favorite exercise, walking, for a while, due to a sore bunion and a meddlesome bone spur. But never fear! Did you know that taking a hot bath can burn as many calories as a leisurely walk? (Especially if you use the right soap!)

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And it was on Fox News, so you know it HAS to be true!

So anyway — between the long, leisurely, calorie-burning baths, and an increase in the number of weekly visits to the gym (which I still hate, but can tolerate), I figure I can hold my own till the Amazon drone drops my my new, comfy shoes onto the roof sometime next week.

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Meanwhile, I’m heading out today to enjoy the sunshine! Hope your weekend is a good ‘un. See you Monday for the weigh-in!

Friday Five: Take a hike, pal!

Let me set the scene for you:

1) it’s raining;
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2) my husband’s home from work with a terrible cold;
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3) the cats are extremely annoyed by all that water falling out of the sky;
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4) I’ve got a delicious pile of “Big Nate” books to enjoy;
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and
5) most important of all, my Friday Five blog post is overdue!!
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So as you can see, I’ve got a lot of very, very good reasons NOT to go for a walk today!

However — as I just told my husband, who’s arisen from his bed of pain to cough up the *other* lung — I might go out later anyway, if only to the library, a paltry half a mile. Even though it’s raining, I kinda sorta wanna DO it!

That’s what makes walking, as your primary and regular exercise, so appealing, so addictive, and so below the radar as far as some of the more active fitness gurus are concerned. Sure, they’ll concede that walking is “nice,” you know, good for the elderly and the senile. However, as a way to lose weight, they’re the first to point out that walking only burns a few calories compared to their OWN exercise of choice: hoisting a ’57 Buick above their heads.

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But let me tell you something that people who walk regularly — if not every day, at least a few days a week — learn pretty quickly: walking is ADDICTIVE! in a way that other, more calorie-burning exercises are not.

And don’t get me wrong — if you enjoy running, weight-lifting, swimming, cycling, etc., then Mazel Tov, I say! Go for it! However, for me, I just find it way easier to put on my comfy shoes, grab a water bottle, and saunter down the block towards whatever adventure may await me, than to do any of those other things.

Walking just seems way more “user-friendly,” if that makes sense. And even though, yeah, on an hourly basis, it does burn fewer calories than those other, more strenuous exercises, I just don’t really want to DO any of those other exercises for more than an hour or two at a time, if that. Whereas I DO want to walk for a long, long time, and every day, if possible! So, ipso facto ergo sum, over time, I’ll burn more calories long-term just walking than I will with any of those other, “better” exercises.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough for this blog/hike … and my hubby and kitties are clamoring for my attention … so I’ll just stop here and give you my unsolicited advice: if you’re looking for the best exercise, take a hike. Yes, even if it’s raining!

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Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: French Toast edition!

Wow, what a nice Saturday we had! As I explained Friday, my husband took me on a little private railroad car excursion on the Silver Splendor Dome Car, down to San Diego, where the weather was picture-perfect and we ambled nonchalantly along the waterfront, communing with the ocean, the ships, and the multiple henna tattoo stands.

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And as promised, on the train ride down, I had my one cup of CAFFEINATED coffee, y’all!

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Note the logo on the cup – “Currently Caffeinated” – so appropriate!

The rest of the trip I switched to decaf, but then when we were on the way back, I had a slip – oh noes! and had a glass of Diet Coke, and no, it wasn’t the caffeine-free version. And believe me, I paid the price next morning as I staggered around the house in a fog. So I’m either gonna have to stick to “no caffeine EVAH!” or use it medicinally, like one cup per day. Of course, the problem with that is I can never stick to “just one cup a day,” so it’s probably gonna have to be the stricter alternative.

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Sigh! Oh well, speaking of being in a fog, I really should get to the weigh-in, huh? Okay, let’s get to it toot-sweet!

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Look what’s on my plate!

And what was on MY plate (and my husband’s) for our brunch on the train was a delicious serving of French toast, sausages, and fresh* fruit (strawberries, melons, etc.), as well as real butter and maple syrup! (*okay, the fruit was probably frozen at first, but still, it was yummy!)

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This was definitely a SPECIAL special treat, since (a) I gave up high calorific breakfast foods when I started this diet and (b) um, remember all that stuff I wrote about Meatfare and Clean Monday? You know, Lent? But we decided to jump through a couple of self-created loopholes: “It’s Saturday,” and “it’s a special occasion.” Which, technically speaking, aren’t loopholes so much as they are rationalizations. But hey, whatever works!

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(And btw, we’re definitely not the only Christians who make these compromises: see here and here for some other amusing confessionals!)

So all in all, it was a very special day! And if you’re in Southern California, I definitely urge you to check out LA Rail and book your own private rail experience – it’s really a lot of fun! I’ll finish with a few more pictures from the trip … enjoy!

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The Silver Spendor (left) and a Pullman car (right) also run by LA Rail, waiting at the San Diego station

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John Caestecker, owner of this particular rail car – he and his family restored the whole thing themselves! Note the turquoise color on the walls – that was inspired by a blouse his wife Heidi was wearing!

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Hubby Steve at the beautiful Santa Fe train depot in San Diego!

Walking or Crossfit? A Southern belle ponders the choices!

Well, as promised, I’m gonna start morphin’ the ol’ blog format a little bit this week, just to shake things up a little bit. (When you work from home, you take your fun where you can.)

Anyway, I thought instead of trying to cobble together a list of five random things connected only by the snapping synapses of my KFC-greased brain, I’d just post five(ish) photos I took this week from various places that I walked.

I’m doing the walking just about every day now, and I have to tell you, if you’re looking for an exercise that’s easy to do AND makes you feel great, this is the one. It works on so many levels. Granted, as some fitness gurus will tell you, it doesn’t burn as many calories as, say, pushing heavy truck tires around a la Crossfit.

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On the other hand, the idea of pushing truck tires around makes me perspire, in a genteel Southern belle sort of way. “Frankly, my dear, if there’s a truck tire that needs to be pushed somewhere, I’ve got AAA on speed dial, thank you very much.”

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So that’s just not something I’m gonna do anytime soon, no matter HOW many calories it burns. But — the idea of putting on my waist pack/water bottle and just heading out the door, to see the sights here in the achingly beautiful San Fernando Valley (and points beyond), makes me strangely happy. It took a while to get to this point, but now, my day doesn’t feel complete if I haven’t walked SOMEWHERE for at least half an hour.

And if all you’re doing is pushing truck tires around a Crossfit track, you’ll never get to see nice horsies like this one:

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or read scathing political commentary on local bridges:

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or see the L.A. River in both its concrete

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and natural forms.

Yeah, walking beats Crossfit by several miles. If you disagree, feel free to sound off in the comments. But be aware — I’m in a feisty mood. Maybe that’s because it was stormy today — and STILL no measurable rainfall!

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Yeah, the drought goes on. But at least it was a nice, cool day to walk!

So — whaddya think? Walking or Crossfit? Or maybe something completely different? Let me know!

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(unused Pingback of the Day: Silhouette!)

Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in: Post-Hike edition!

Good morning, everyone, and happy Monday!

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Yes, it’s time once again for me to entertain you with the Rhymin’ Weekly Weigh-in, wherein all those years of judiciously studying the classic poetic works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Walt Whitman, and Edgar A. Guest finally pay off! Ready? Here we go!

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Lookin’ good (and if you’ve never seen that “Kids in the Hall” sketch, “My Pen,” well, here you go, and you can thank me later)!

As for the “hike” part of the title, yesterday my husband and I did a nice walk slash hike in the foothills of Chatsworth, California — not very long, but enough to remind me that (a) I do really like hiking and (b) it might be time to shop for some sturdier shoes, ’cause I was slippin’ and slidin’ on the rocks along the path at one point. But still, it was fun! Here are a couple of photos:

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Looking down at Chatsworth Park South, where there used to be a pond, way back in the 20th century, long long ago, etc.

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C’est moi!! In all my hiking glory! Note the comfy but slightly slippery Merrell Mary Janes on my tooties.

So it was a fun day. And every time I do one of these “big walks,” I say that the NEXT day I’m going to “rest” (i.e., not walk), but this morning I’m planning to walk up to the library, not a big walk but still not resting either.

You know what? Once you get started on doing an exercise you really enjoy, you’ll find yourself WANTING to do it, and looking for excuses! So don’t worry so much about which exercise burns more calories than others. The one you enjoy is the one that’s going to burn off the most calories, ’cause you’re gonna do it more often!

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