Friday Five: 5 Ways to Walk Indoors

Happy Friday, everyone! (**UPDATE: Day 5 walk DONE! see photos at end!)

Hey, remember the other day when some of you (no names!) were all upset because you couldn’t go outside and walk for more than a few minutes without your fingers and toes falling off? ‘Cause you’re all, y’know, snowflakes?

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Well, for those of you who are still knee-deep in snow, ice, or whatever it is that happens outside my warm, comfy Southern California bubble, here are some ideas to keep you walking!

1. Treadmill – by far the most popular. If you belong to a gym, and the roads are clear, you could always just hop into your Humvee, crank up the heater, and drive there. [Note to self: insert plug for Anytime Fitness Chatsworth here!]  Unfortunately, for a lot of people, the roads AREN’T clear. Not a problem if you’re rich, right? ‘Cause you’ve already got one at home. But not everyone’s rich.

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And good treadmills are expensive. However, if you keep your eyes and ears open,

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you might be able to get one cheap, or free! Just look for a neighbor, friend and/or relative who lost a lot of weight in the not-too-distant past, but has recently started to pile on the pounds again. Chances are they’ve got some kind of exercise equipment in the basement, doubling as a clothes hanger.

Now that they’ve lost their will to stay in shape, they’re probably sick of looking at it. A few discreet questions, a little faux sympathy, and heck, they’ll probably pay YOU to haul it away! Score!

2. DVDs/Videos – Yeah, a home treadmill is nice, but if you don’t have one, and you can’t get out of the house today, well, it’s kind of a moot point, isn’t it? Not to worry! Most of us (by which I mean, those of us who are around/over 60, which I assume is my target audience, given the blog title) still have a DVD player around, or even (gasp) a VHS player!

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So check your bookshelves and your videocassette drawers to see if you have any of those awesome Leslie Sansone walking workouts!

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They … [voice whispers offstage] Huh? Oh really? OK, well, I guess you could also get them online, via YouTube or Amazon or one of them newfangled digital thingamabobs. If you want to be all modern and everything.

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Anyway, whatever format you can find them in, her workouts are actually a lot of fun, and you can get the same workout as a brisk walk outdoors. It’s worth a shot!

3. The Laura Ingalls Wilder “Long Winter” method — You all remember Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family, right? Well, here I’m talking about the real one, not the blow-dried ’70s TV version.

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The REAL Ingalls family had the bad luck to be living in De Smet, South Dakota during what’s now called the Great Blizzard of 1888. You can read all about it in her book, “The Long Winter,” available at all fine bookstores and non-“woke” libraries.

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Anyway, while Laura, Mary, and Carrie were stuck indoors, Pa and Ma made sure they got plenty of exercise – Pa by playing his fiddle and marching them around the cabin, and Ma by making them sweep the floors, clean the stove, and oh, just generally doing everything she was too tired to do herself. What a great time they had!

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So if you have any kids around the house, make them do some exercise while you sit and watch. You’ll all feel great afterwards!

4. Mall walking — Again, this is only for people that aren’t completely snowed in and have a reliable vehicle of some sort.

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You can walk around for hours and hours, eating and drinking, stuffing your face, maxing out all your credit cards … it’s great! And it counts as exercise, too! (Although that stuff you got at the food court might cancel out some of the calories you’re working off.) Still, it’s worth a try, and who knows, maybe you can get some groovy new tunes to add to your mix tape while you’re there, too!

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5. Get a dog. Dogs don’t understand “It’s raining outside, you’ll have to wait.” If you don’t take them outside for even a *short* walk, you’ll regret it. Maybe not now, but later, especially when Fido gets desperate and poops in your laundry hamper.

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Trust me, bundle up and walk the dog. If you don’t have one, you can TRY walking the cat. It’s a long shot, though.

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Maybe you could just walk your IMAGINARY pet.

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Oh, all right, all right – if it’s THAT bad, stay inside, build a fire in the fireplace, toast some marshmallows, make some hot chocolate, and relax! I hereby absolve you from having to walk, at least till the icicles on your eyebrows start melting.

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Stay warm, everyone – see you Monday!

**DAY 5 Walk done! Since the weather’s dried out (marginally!) I was originally gonna drive to some faraway, exotic place (like, I dunno, Pacoima or Simi Valley) and do a walk in a completely different locale, but at the last minute decided to do yet another Reseda walk. Just put on my walkin’ shoes (Skechers!) and headed out. And once I got out there, it was nice. It’s ALWAYS nice, once you get started. So just GO!

 

 

Friday Five: My 5 rules for the gym, in no particular order

Well, howdy and happy Friday, everyone! This has been a different week, exercise-wise. Mostly, because the weather was a little cooler (i.e., 80s and 90s instead of 90s and 100s!), I walked every day, and enjoyed it, for the most part (although the last 50 yards are always the hardest!).

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Still, I did make it to the gym yesterday — 24 Hour Fitness this time, rather than Anytime Fitness Chatsworth, because — well, pool! I keep telling them at Anytime Fitness, put in a Slip ‘N Slide, but for some reason, they won’t. Insurance reasons, prob’ly.

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Anyway, while I was floating in the beautiful blue sparkling water, flicking away the bugs and other debris, I came up with my Five Simple Rules for Enjoying the Gym, in no particular order:

  1. People in the sauna tend to sweat, a lot. Every gym I’ve been to with a sauna seems to attract a lot of men with hairy chests and gold chains, going back and forth between the sauna and the hot tub. Back and forth…dripping with sweat and trailing chest hairs wherever they go. Trust me, when you see people in the sauna, skip the hot tub and just take a hot bath when you get home.
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  2. In my experience, the only people who take a close, personal interest in the details of your workout are (a) trainers who want to upsell you an expensive training package, and (b) perverts who want to show you their package. Either way, Nancy Reagan was right: Just say no!
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  3. If you pick up a set of weights from the free weight rack, and you realize as you’re picking them up that you miscalculated and they’re too heavy, but you’re embarrassed to put them back because there are really genuine-looking, grunting weightlifters watching you — well, don’t worry about it. They’re not watching you. They’re watching themselves in the mirror behind you. Just set your weights back on the rack, quietly, and tiptoe away.
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  4. No one cares whether you actually exercise at the gym or not. Once you’ve checked in at the front desk, you’re on your own. You can spend an hour sweating like a maniac or you can catch up on some zzz’s. It’s your call.
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  5. If you think no one’s peed in that beautiful blue sparkling pool, you’re swimming in a fool’s paradise.
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Hopefully these rules will save you some troubles when you hit the gym today. Or you could, y’know, just take a walk.

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That’s it — enjoy your weekend! See ya Monday for the Weigh-In!

Weekly Weigh-in: On Fluctuations and Freakouts!

(sigh) OK, let’s get right to it, shall we, ’cause this is one o’them “teachable moments” y’all’ve heard tell about. Ready? Let’s go!

Today’s Weight:  198.0
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And what was last week’s weight? Let’s see … oh yeah … 194.8. Which means since last week — a mere seven days — I’ve GAINED 3.2 pounds!

Oh no!! Could it be my diet is at fault??

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Er, no. While I have to admit I was tempted to have a minor freakout at the number on the scale this morning, I realized that it wasn’t really as bad as it might seem. Here’s my rationale:

  1. I’ve been sticking close to my basic daily calorie allowance every day. Sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower, but on average, I’m okay.
  2. I’ve been going out on long walks, not every day but every other day. And since the weather’s warmer, I’m drinking more water than usual.
  3. Ipso facto ergo sum: the extra weight’s probably water, hun! (I know that doesn’t quite rhyme, but gimme a break, I haven’t had my coffee yet!)

This may well be just one of those dreaded “weight loss plateaus,” where you’re doing EVERYTHING right, but the scale doesn’t seem to agree. If you haven’t already, really, you NEED to bookmark this great blog, aworkoutroutine.com/blog, which talks you through all this stuff:

Problem is, most dieters (and I include myself, the last few times I’ve tried this!) get panicky when the scales don’t change, and after a while, they decide, “Aw, I give up! This diet isn’t working! Exercise is for suckers!”

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And they head straight for the nearest KFC, order the Big Giant Fried Chicken O’Death (with Mac & Cheese AND Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, puhleese!), and go back to the way of life which led them TO the diet in the first place!

And guess what happens next? Yeah — you veteran dieters are nodding. We know this all too well, right? As Flora, a Weight Watchers leader, once put it (at one of the few meetings I actually sat all the way through), “All those pounds will come back, and this time they’ll bring their little friends!”

 

Hey, if it happened to Doctor Who, it can happen to anybody!

So, I REFUSE to freak out and make any radical changes to either my diet or my exercise plan. I *will*, however, make the following (re)commitments for the week ahead, and see if that makes any difference next Monday:

  1. Be more diligent about writing down my food calories. I’ve allowed myself to get a little lax in the past few weeks, sometimes just keeping a running total in my head. Writing everything down, even those 15-calorie Ricola cough drops, may seem overly nitpicky, but that way I can be closer to 100% sure I’m in compliance with my daily calorie allotment.
  2. Go to the gym at least twice this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, walking outdoors is more fun, exercising outdoors is more fun … I’m the one who always says that stuff, right? Still, going to the gym is good because you’re less likely to be distracted by interesting stuff along the trail (SQUIRREL!) and lose your exercise mojo. Plus, it’s gonna be super hot this week (yay!) so I’ll get to enjoy that sweet, sweet air conditioning.
  3. Weigh every day, check the averages. Again, from aworkoutroutine.com:

…if you weigh yourself every day and then take the AVERAGE at the end of the week (and base your decisions on THAT weekly number)… then you’ll have the most accurate figure you could possibly get. Doing it this way actually serves to eliminate the potential of daily weight fluctuations throwing things off. (from How Often Should You Weigh Yourself & When Is the Best Time?)

So — MAJOR BLOG FORMAT CHANGE! ALERT THE MEDIA!! — starting today, I’m going to post my morning weigh-in EVERY DAY!!

Wow — bet you didn’t see that coming! Guess what — neither did I! But ya know, it seems plausible, so I’m gonna try it for at least this coming week. (If it gets to be too much of a hassle, I’ll pretend I never said it, like people used to do in pre-Twitter times.)

Man, sounds like the week ahead is gonna be hard … I better get that coffee going! OK (deep breath) … see you TOMORROW then!

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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: Five Reasons to Quit Your Gym Membership (well … maybe!)

Happy Friday, everyone! As promised, here’s my unvarnished list of five reasons why I keep wondering if I should just quit my gym membership.

  1. Expense. Granted, I belong to one of the cheapie big-box gyms (24 Hour Fitness), so my monthly payment isn’t that much – only around $35 a month. Still, I’m on kind of a fixed income these days, what with my job being “outsourced” a few years ago. My primary source of extra spending money right now is freelance transcription, which doesn’t pay that much, but at least it keeps me home, where I’m less likely to overspend. Still, every penny counts!
  2. Clothes. Confession: I wear a skirt almost all the time, except when I’m on a bike or in the pool. The skirts I tend to favor are long, comfy, soft, and most importantly, have nice, roomy POCKETS. I guess you’d call them “cargo skirts,” although they weren’t called that when I originally started buying them or their equivalents, back in the previous century. This all goes back to when I was working full-time in downtown L.A., and had to putter around the office, carrying card keys and actual keys and change for the snack machine, which I visited a LOT, which is partly why I’m dieting today. Now I pretty much live in my comfy skirts, and having to change out of them into quote-unquote “workout clothes” is just a big fat pain in the butt.
  3. Parking. Every! single! location! of my fitness club has a big, crowded parking lot which you have to deal with before you can even get NEAR the actual exercise equipment. Now that I’ve lost a bit of weight and am a bit more mobile, I’m following the classic “passive exercise” advice about parking farther away and walking the extra distance. But ya know, sometimes I just find myself thinking, “Why not just park in the WAY less crowded parking lot at that beautiful, tree-lined PARK a couple of miles down the road, the one with the attractive dirt trails, and just WALK – in my nice, comfy skirt?” And more and more often, I find myself doing just that.

    So*, more and more, I find myself not wanting to even get into the car to make the drive to the gym. The closest location to me is at least a 20-minute drive, and has the absolute WORST parking of all their locations. It’s tempting to just stay home, which brings me to:
  4. Agoraphobia. It’s mild, but I do have kind of an aversion to large crowds. And gyms tend to have lots of people in them. Not so much right now, but give it a few weeks – all those New Year’s resolutions tend to fill up those prime treadmill spots for at least a couple of months.
  5. Non-Gym Exercise. As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot more walking, at least every other day, for my regular exercise. In addition, last week I dragged my abandoned, but still quite functional, Electra Townie Cruiser bike out of the garage, where it’s been waiting patiently for the past few years, gathering cobwebs and desiccated spider corpses; took it up to our local bike shop; and had it all fixed up, spandy new and purty as a picture! After my husband helped me adjust the leopard print saddle – very picturesque and exquisitely uncomfortable – I’ve had three short but increasingly delightful rides around our neighborhood, and am really looking forward to the next one. Plus, I’ve got a whole bunch of free weights (well, they weren’t really free, but they were cheap, nyuk nyuk!) scattered around the back yard, to take care of those underarm wings we fat middle-aged ladies seem to sprout.

So – there you go. My five best arguments for quitting my gym membership.

Still, there are some good reasons for keeping it active, and next Friday, I’ll give you those.

Meanwhile, what do YOU think? Do you belong to a gym? Do you use it, or just keep it in reserve in case you can’t think of anything else to do, or there’s nothing new on Netflix? Let me know!

(*by the way, if you’re also a freelance transcriber, you’re probably shouting at me, “Hey! Never start a sentence with ‘and,’ ‘but,’ or ‘so’! That’s … that’s just so wrong!!” And you’re right. But I did it anyway. So there.)