We live at the very edge of the hills around here. Never high. No way mountainous. But definitely hilly. No flat bits really. Yet being on the edge, just a few moments later you can find yourself in the flat lands. Mile after mile of exercise heaven. No slopes….
When life opens up again for me I should really jog here, not in those pesky hills.
I did that age thing today. I was doing my daily workout. It was going well. Really well. Towards the end I started messing about. Doing some serious exercise moves. Lifting some silly weights. Really pushing myself. Pushing my body like it’s still was 25…
It’s most certainly is not these days.
It’s the wrong side of 50. Well definitely the wrong side in terms of physique. It feels a few too many days like ‘I’ve used this body up now, can I have a new one please’. Yet I still push it. There are reasons but sometimes it does feel like I just forget my age. Still think I’m a lot younger. When the penny does drop sometimes it does hit home.
With exercise, age has changed me. I am definitely a little slower at running. I have to push way to hard to get close to the times I would get 30 years ago. A little more injury prone. But then I’m actually stronger now. Never lifted heavier or done more reps. It’s not about limiting myself, it’s more about making adjustments. Changing the balance.
Here’s the thing, being older can be good in some ways. I wish I knew a fraction about life when I was 25 that I do now. I certainly know the value of time and the importance in trying to live life to the full. For the first time I truly understand who I am and what is truly important to me. I would hope I’m a better, more rounded person. I can still dream, dream well. I just need to get better at sometimes being a little more realistic with those dreams, certainly as the years hopefully wrack up. Dream and aspire definitely yes but maybe some things need to get assigned to pipe dream status, leave them for other people to fulfill.
This happened the other day. Have you had those moments in life when you think you are on top of things. In the zone. Finally mastering life. When in fact you have just walked off the edge. Living a complete nightmare. From hero to zero in an instant…..
I was out in the back garden. Working out on the patio. I had completed my weights and kettlebell routine. Smashed through 20 minutes CrossFit. Seemingly on top of my game. Unusually feeling good. Feeling so good I decided to enrich the soul with a few minutes of Tai Chi. I was at one with nature. Feeling the Chi surge round my body. Stress levels plummeting. Performing beautifully the ‘Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg’ move. AND SUDDENLY a manly cough behind me.
“Excuse me mate where do you want your parcel leaving”
I could see the smirk on the delivery guy stood 3 yards behind me. How long had he been stood there. The shame. The butt of jokes in the pub tonight (good job they are closed). Stress levels through the roof.
Don’t say I never give you new features. First there was bereavement and autism. Then came parenting. Then virtual trips to Switzerland and world exercise bike tours. Then helpful baking tips. Poking fun at the government came next. Then muppet guides.
I hear you. You want more. OK
Brace yourself people. Don your comfy shirts and brightly coloured tight leggings. It’s time for your first Yoga Guide. Today I’m going to start with transitioning into the Warrior Pose. To add to the difficulty (as I am an elite athlete) I will be doing it dressed up as a Star Wars Clone Trooper.
Find a comfortable position. That is difficult dressed up in tight plastic battle gear, so I will just fall to the ground in a heap.
Now transition into a lotus pose or as close as you can comfortably manage.
Now with the grace of a charging Bison, extend you legs while keeping your head in line with your heart which is in line with your buttocks. Brace your thighs as you transition into the warrior pose.
If you are new to yoga or are a lego figure then you will probably find that the use of support blocks will help with stability.
Now hold. Your body, legs and joints will be screaming for mercy. Remember it’s good for you. Count to 10.
Now release the hold. See how good that feels.
Look at the pure delight on my face as I realise just how good my body now feels.
So hopefully you found that most useful. Remember I am an expert so don’t expect to be as good as me straight away. Stick with it and over many months you might end up not feeling so inferior to me.
Please let me know if you would like any other yoga or fitness activity explained to you.
It’s hot in Yorkshire. Very hot for us. 🥵 86F (30C). That’s officially beyond Yorkshire’s Safe Operating Temperature. Law and Order will break down. The Ferrets will start to get unusually frisky. The Rhubard will go on strike. Cricketers might even have to unbutton their top shirt buttons. Those rather fetching knitted handkerchief hats will need to be donned….
In Yorkshire we have two expressions for this type of unusual weather.
It’s crackin’ t flags ……. translates to – it’s so hot the the paving stones are starting to crack.
It was too hot for my outside weights and kettlebell session. I definitely left a water trail marking out where my exercises took me. A nice run through a cool forest would have been ever so nice. The photo was from August 2019. Seems like a lifetime ago. Almost seems like a different world. A lot of things have changed for the worse. Some new really bad things have hit. Yes some life stuff has remained unchanged. And here is the crucial thing. A few things, some new stuff have definitely been an absolute blessing. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff but actually some wonderful things have happened. My Life is better because of those things.
So in 2020 when some days life seems unduly bad, I need to remember the good stuff. Yes life can and still will be tough. BUT it can also still be exceptionally beautiful. It can be a wonderful life.
If only sitting with a nettle tea and looking at a beautiful flower was classed as exercise….
Who invented yoga? Really! Who invented that medieval form of torture. I want words with them. The glossy brochures are so enticing.
Wonderful for posture
A pick me up for the soul
Strengthens the mind
Recover your flexibility
Builds strength and a strong heart
Anyone can do it
Feel your anxiety ebb away
So what actually is the reality. What happens when YOGA meets a Yorkshire Bloke who is trying to figure out if he is Man or MUPPET….
So the iPad was fired up. A random yoga app was selected. The advanced 50 minute session selected. Surely being an experienced runner, CrossFit, weights, climbing, cycling superhero must count for something. For a start having an instructor who speaks in English would help. Whispering terms like Chaturanga Dandasana and Shalabhasana is just going to get a blank look in Yorkshire. Secondly can we not have an instructor who has the flexibility of Elastigirl. I’m not getting in those positions EVER, not even with scaffolding and a construction team.
50 minutes of basically hearing my body crack and creak. What are the official yoga terms for ‘that pigging hurts’, ‘are you kidding me’, ‘oh no I’m falling over’, and ‘I’m stuck’. Elastigirl, you try relaxing in the plank position when a dog is washing your face and the cat is scratching your heel. And while I’m on with it, Elastigirl my heel has never been designed to touch the back of my head – strangely my backbone makes that a physical impossibility. Lying on my back with my feet in the air might be doing something for my posterior but it’s playing havoc with my acid reflux. Where’s the warning to not get too close to glass windows when you try to balance on one leg while trying to get into the Superman flying position. It’s so far been beyond me to get into one position without farting…. Yes I can hold that press-up position for as long as you want but do you know the agony I’m in trying to hold a position which is basically me tied up in a knot. In fact most of the positions I’ve been instructed to hold while relaxing have quickly deteriorated into violent twitching and shaking episodes.
So yes I want serious words with the person who invented yoga. Tomorrow I’m going back to CrossFit training and weights. Those will now feel like an absolute delight. All that’s to yoga.
Well that was the heatwave then. Early morning haze cleared and blue skies appeared. Yes it was hot but very windy. Apparent we got to 30C (86F). Could get use to this. Winds are so much nicer when it’s dry and hot weather. Not so much fun when they are wizzing up your inside trouser legs carrying freezing cold rain. But today it was so nice that we actually managed to eat outside.
“Dad we must do this again. Maybe next year…
I suspect he’s seen the forecast then. Eating outside was fun but it did require many pit stops for Hawklad to go inside and wash himself. Those pesky flies.
Just a few hours later the clouds rolled in. We kept the wind but the heat quickly went away.
And this is Yorkshire, 6 hours into the heatwave and this is the scene. Cool, windy and very wet. What was the point of watering the plants….
Does it class as a heatwave when it only lasts a few hours. So it’s 7pm, it’s summer and we have the house lights on. Captain Chaos is refusing to venture out. For once he is a sensible chap. The not sensible one is me. I’m due to be exercising outside in 12 hours. Lovely.
****12 hours came and yes it was still like this. I was cold and wet. But I’m told there is nothing like exercising outside. REALLY……
“Dad the government is telling everyone to goon a diet. Boris apparently is going on one, bet that Cummings told him to do that.
Like everything else my money is on our so called Leader delegating his dieting to someone else. He’s far too busy having time off for things like that.
“Dad your on a diet….”
And with those words from Hawklad, I’m on a diet. I’ve been on this temporary fasting diet for a while now but it’s been an effort. I just haven’t been able to get the food alternatives that my body will accept. So I’ve been forced into eating and drinking far too much soya (soy) 🙄…. Basically my body and face balloon up with the stuff. Not helpful when your trying to look like your losing weight. But hopefully I’ve managed to get hold of a few more nicer foods this time. So here goes. Going to combine my partial fasting diet with a significantly healthier food range. It helps as my garden has finally decided to yield some vegetables. Just got to find them amongst the weeds.
But dieting is only part of it. Need to do something with exercise as well. I am working out each day and pushing myself. But I’m missing the long runs. They are just not happening due to circumstances. So I need a challenge. I had this initial idea of trying to build up to run a garden marathon. Others have done this. I’ve managed 50 minutes of running round our small garden. But I was so dizzy and cheesed off after that, the prospect of 4 hours worth of that is just a complete nonstarter. Lets not forget the epic route map from that.
So here’s Plan B. At the end of August I want to build up to a mega exercise bike marathon. Let’s see how far I can get on the bike in 4 straight hours. But to ensure it’s not just a gentle peddle session, I’m going to dig out the old HR sports watch. 4 hours with the BP somewhere near 150. That sounds like a challenge which I can do in the garden. Watch it rain and watch the bike collapse again….
Ok Boris for once I’m going to listen to you. I’m going to lose some weight. Are you?
One of those weather days. Kinda sunny, kinda cloudy, kinda windy, kinda warm, kinda chilly, kinda dry and kinda wet. I guess it’s a kinda Yorkshire day. Rather excitingly I walked to that Tree today and back. Keep it quiet, Hawklad doesn’t know. He was too busy watching a Sherlock episode. It was funny as I had just finished my fitness programme for the morning. Definitely slightly out of breath. Probably not the best time to try and sing The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music. Probably better trying to sing in the more deeper tones of four fine Yorkshire born Rock front men, Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company), David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) or Joe Elliot (Def Leppard). Better off probably dressing like them as well, rather than Julie Andrews. That would kinda make more sense.
I’ve now got this bizarre thought in my head. Monty Python skipping over that hill, signing that song about The Alps, all in a deep Yorkshire accent while wearing wellies and a knitted handkerchiefs on their heads. That’s kinda disturbing.
Changing the subject rapidly. I was doing today’s workout outside in the garden when that Tree caught my eye. I thought about it being months since I ventured there. I decided it was kinda time to revisit there. Sit a few minutes under the branches. Well I did. That’s where I noticed that I was slightly out of breath. But I kinda have an excuse. It was straight after my workout. A slightly longer one.
I have this silly little ritual. Every year I add on one more minute to my exercise sessions. The thinking is that yes that’s one year older but my body is coping with one more minute of workout than it did last year – so I must still be improving. Rather than getting older I’m getting fitter. Kinda getting better, still improving. Well that’s the thinking anyway….. Kinda makes sense to me.
This morning’s workout was cold, breezy and often damp. It’s odd. If I had been running across the fields, I would quite enjoy those conditions. It makes me feel so alive, help blow the cobwebs away. But when I’m restricted to the garden. When I’m trying to do push-ups and throw a kettlebell about – it’s not fun, not fun at all.
So why do I do it?
The obvious reason is fitness. Another key reason is that I need to stay as fit as I can (for as long as I can) for our Son. When he wants a game of football, I don’t want to be found wanting. He doesn’t have friends in the village to pass that responsibility on to.
But there is another reason for being cold and wet while trying to lift weights above my head. It’s very like my Dad and gardening….
Dad left this world many years ago. In the end it was a blessing as he was clearly in pain. The things he enjoyed doing were now beyond him. One of which was gardening. He would spend hours outside or in his greenhouse. Regardless of the weather he would be gardening. I can see him in the pouring rain, clearly cold and very wet finding some plant related task to complete. He would go out stressed and clearly not happy with life. A few hours later he would return relaxed and smiling. Yes he would often rush to the fire to try and warm up, but he was in a much better place than he had been.
Dad clearly struggled with his life. Pretty sure with depression. He suffered in silence. Talking about the D word was just not the thing to be done in those days. One of the few things that worked for him was gardening. It was his release. The thing that could help release the demons. His medicine. That’s why he went out in all weathers.
Exercise is my release. Whether that’s trail running, hill walking, weight lifting, cycling, CrossFit…. that’s my medicine. Sometimes activities like climbing have to stop, but they get replaced. It’s my daily release. It’s an anchor to help maintain life balance. People likeThe Rockhave talked about this better than I ever will. We are all different. What works for me may not work for you. I guess we all have to find our thing, that activity which becomes the anchor. Maybe that is sport, maybe it’s writing, or music or knitting or cooking or gardening. Whatever it is, we need to find it. We then need to find the time to do it. That’s why tomorrow morning, whatever the weather is like, you will find me outside, running round the garden. Yes it might look odd but it makes perfect sense to me.
Running past this monumental feels like a daily privilege. Must admit running anywhere these days is a privilege.
The last two years brought injury after injury. Clearly doing the same thing over and over again was not working. Finally the penny dropped. But it did take the doctor warning me that actually I might have to PERMANENTLY STOP running and working out for common sense to finally take hold. Change was needed. A new exercise approach was put in place. Alternate Home CrossFit days with a day of running or cycling. No same exercise on two consecutive days. Sunday is a gentle exercise bike session and yoga. No pre exercise stretching warmup. If an exercise is causing the body pain stop it for a few days. If the exercise hurts again stop for a few weeks. If it hurts again then ditch the exercise. THATS IT. So far it’s working (touch wood). Four months of uninterrupted, mostly pain free exercise.
Our sons Aspergers journey continues. It’s a journey without a map. Who knows where it may lead. But I do have a gut feeling. The health professionals have talked about the possibility of our son becoming increasingly ill at ease with social interactions. Although from the age of 5 he has always struggled with this 2019 certainly has seen this intensify. Increasingly he just wants to spend his time in the safety of his home realm.
Although he seeks isolation from the outside world he struggles to be on his own. In our one parent, one child, mad pets kinda world that in practice means he struggles to be without me. With the advice from his health experts we have tried to gradually change things up to help with this. But it hasn’t worked. We tried things like him staying on his own at the house while I took the dog for a quick walk. Even though I would tell him the route. Stay in the village. Talk to him on the phone while I walked. The brief periods of solitude would throw him into a nervous meltdown. Any longer than 10 minutes and he would have to come looking for me. The only thing it achieved was to spike his anxiety levels. We decided to abandon the changes.
Whether this is Aspergers or whether it’s to do with losing his mum or both – who knows. But currently as a single parent I have to make the necessary adjustments to work around these constraints. One of which is that when he’s not at school my exercise programme is tied to the house or garden. Hence that rather puzzled look I got on Saturday. A group of walkers giving this rather odd looking chap a puzzled look. Even standing to watch for a few seconds. In the pouring cold rain why is a man in his garden dressed in shirts and a T-shirt jumping on and off an exercise bike to throw a 20lb kettlebell about.
It’s because I’m a single parent who can’t leave the house who has found a way to keep himself fit while not breaking his body. At least allow me that.