I realised the other day that lockdown put a massive crimp on my routine of trying to walk between 6000-10000 steps a day as a baseline level of exercise. Like many of us at the height of it all I was too worried to really leave the house barring some careful walking around the estate and as a result there is certainly a bit of extra meat on my bones at the moment
Going back to work as a front line library bod certainly underlined how fitness had dropped off as I was shattered at the end of each day at first.
Fortunately my most recent blood checks for managing my diabetes have come back with levels being fine, but between that and having managed to finally heal from whatever I did to the nerves and muscles in my leg over the lockdown, I’ve been doing my best to start back on being more active.
My first big walk was a couple of days ago, and my legs and hips certainly complained about it the next day, but even if its just a small walk round the block to get me out of the flat I’m determined to do it. If nothing else its good for my mental health to get out and feel the wind and hear the outside world. I’m lucky to have a lot of green spaces and the river Thames within walking distance, so I’m doing myself a disservice not to explore them.
I’ve been a little lacksadaisical about exercising regularly in lockdown, and so this week has seen a concerted effort to at the very least get my step count back up by going on walks round the block – about thirty-forty minutes depending on pace – with Lady M.
Today my body has decided to register its protest by twinging at the base of my spine across my hips; so I am currently sitting carefully, reading and writing while I let a hot water bottle ease the spasmed muscles. Later, I shall slowly shuffle to the shops to get some painkillers, and a few minor groceries – and count that as today’s exercise.
Back to the walking tomorrow when everything is a bit more sensible. A pity really, because it looks really nice out there at the moment. On the plus side, I’ve been getting some nice snaps on the phone as I’ve been walking about – so that’s another reason to keep doing it as there really are some hidden gems locally.
Whether it’s local plantlife, or views across the horizon, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re right on the edge of London, just where the countryside starts to open up into parklands,woods, and farming but still also relatively urban. It makes finding signs of spring both easy, but also easy to overlook because it rarely takes the form of woodland clearings covered in snowdrops and daffodils. Instead there is blossom on trees and bushes, thick verdant foliage, and the sound of birdsong – all of which do surprisingly well at pushing out past concrete and asphalt – albeit sometimes quite discretely.
Right, I can feel my muscles easing – so I shall change to go out, and try not to look like my spine is fused.
Well of course there was going to be a price to pay for all the recent gallivanting around and claiming to have a life that I’ve been doing recently. Today I paid that price by going back to Body Balance classes for the first time since the horrible winter cold took root at the beginning of December.
It will come as no surprise to hear that I am now lying in bed with every limb aching in protest – which is why I won’t say it, because I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well it went.
The only really noticeable deterioration has come in the balance sections, where my ankles decided they didn’t really want to cooperate. On the plus side my upper body strength seemed to be enough to allow me to get into a Crow Pose for approximately two seconds.
Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that either.
So, that happened. I now don’t feel bad for relaunching back into the general debauchery of #Tuesdays like we did this week. I think it was the first time we’ve had pretty much everyone there for ages.
The usual suspects of the Ladies M, Lady G and myself were joined by Lady P and Sirs D and S in a rowdily good natured assemblage determined as ever to bestow salt-laced wisdom on current events.
Sir S was waylaid by the landlord and his son, and pressed with many fine Irish Whiskeys in return for operatic snippets; presents were distributed to those who had not otherwise received them; stories were discussed; and the band tried to make themselves heard.
And never more so now that I’ve started playing Poke Mongo (oh alright, Pokémon Go if you’re going to be boring about it). Today for example I’ve walked some 18000 steps straight after my weekly yoga/Pilates/body balance class and it’s only the intake of large glasses of gin that I’ve just finished that has me not caring too much about how tirehoI suddenly am.
For your information, a couple of fingers of Hendricks Gin, with three or four fingers of Robinson’s Apple and Pear Fruit and Barley, a generous top up of Tesco tonic water with cucumber and a plug or two of coconut water in a tall glass makes a lovely Sunday post-exercise antidote. All credit goes to Lady M for the recipe.
I’ll save the moody introspection that’s rattling around my brain for later posts. For now, go enjoy your Sunday and try mixing it up with your gin if that’s something that appeals…
Despite it being hot enough that I swear I saw a pigeon melt earlier today, I haven’t disappeared into the ether. Life’s just been hectic between work and personal stuff. Proper blogging will continue to happen, especially now I have a bit of time off.
On the work side of things I’ve been busy setting up the library for this year’s Big Friendly Read – which is inspired by the work of Roald Dahl. I’ve assembled a number of displays to encourage children to read six books over the summer break. Photos will follow, probably next week. I’ve also been leveraging my old business analysis skills to help out with a wide ranging review of the restructure review that the library service went through recently. For the most part I’ve been engaged in deriving quantified data from the reams of interviews and survey questions answered by staff. Not a lot I can say on that front, but it’s been a fascinating exercise even if there are few surprises.
The gaming sessions are continuing, despite a spate of tech issues and the occasional week where real life has intervened. I shall get the game write-ups completed sooner or later…
Oh, and then there’s this strange game where we poke Mongo. He seems not to mind, and Lady M and I have enjoyed some late night walks recently in the cooling night air. We’ve met and grinned at an interesting selection of people of all ages, and it’s not doing our general health any harm. Next week sees my diabetic review, so I’m in hope that the enhanced fitness regime will be reflected in the results.
Other than that, we’re just bumbling along, flirting and teasing a few people, checking in on those who are close to us, missing others who have grown apart, redecorating the flat and trying to be kind to each other. Here’s to a good summer now it’s here.
It’s a tough old lark this trying to get healthier and lose some weight thing. Having dragged Lady M into coming along to the gym, she got her revenge by convincing me to join her in a Body Balance class. These 45 minute classes combine Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga and hit most of the main muscle groups, focusing on balance and core strength (he says, reading off the label).
What better way to spend a Sunday lunchtime? Tying myself in knots, discovering that I’m far more flexible than I reckoned on, and have a knee that’s still surprisingly weak ten years after surgery. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. Okay, eating would be a better way to spend Sunday lunchtime, I’ll grant you that, but it did mean that when we got home I felt no guilt about setting up open sandwiches topped with smoked grilled back bacon and slices of black pudding fried in butter.
I have no shame.
What the lesson also taught me was precisely which muscles I haven’t been using in a while – because the first half of this week has been spent walking around feeling like someone has stapled the top thigh muscles to my legs with iron spikes. Yesterday was the first day I could get out of a chair without wincing. I celebrated by going back to the gym.
I know it’s going to be worth it – in fact I already know it is worth it because my resting bpm has already fallen significantly and a bit of weight loss has started too. I’ll try not to bore you all with it in huge detail, promise.
I joined our local gym a few weeks ago, driven by doctors’ nagging and a growing dissatisfaction with my general health and appearance. I’m pleased to report that the combination of near-daily 30-45 minute cardio-heavy sessions and a renewed focus on logging at least 10,000 steps a day is paying off. Weight is starting to shift, and a routine is starting to suggest itself.
That said, I did overdo things the other day by throwing some weights into the mix – for the first time in maybe nine or ten years. Although I thought I’d been reasonable in my starting weight selections, the pain in my upper arms the last couple of days would suggest an over-extension or two. If it wasn’t so painful I’d no doubt find it as funny as Lady M does.
Speaking of the redoubtable Lady, she too has taken the plunge today and joined up too. She’s booked into a yoga/Pilate’s/body balance session already. I shall limit myself to the gym while she attends her class. Anyone wishing to talk to us afterwards may find themselves trying not to laugh at our synchronised groaning.