Monday, August 21, 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

David Bowie says it better than I do...

Things change.  (Apparently, I am full of useful observations this week…)  What this means is that we are in a constant state of adaptation, at least when we stop jumping up and down in frustration about how everything is shifting, again.  When we can accept that change happens, we have a chance to see it as an opportunity.  We can embrace the change and learn new things.

Sometimes the change is an injury.  Sometimes it is just that we are older.  Positive changes like getting stronger or lighter can also create tumult, growth, and more change.

Let’s choose more growth.  Let’s choose to dance with change rather than fight with it.  If we all do it together, it will be more fun.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Try all the things!

In breaking news, we discover that all of us are different.  Shocking, I know.  This means that when it comes time to figure out how fitness is going to work, we each have to do our own math.  It’s all right; calculators are allowed.

One of the variables is how much structure we like.  Some of us want a class with a teacher.  Some of us would rather show up at the gym and see where the day takes us.  Maybe we do better working with a friend or a trainer.  Maybe we are the strong, silent type who prefers solo long distance running.

Another variable is what we need.  We all need cardio, weight training, and flexibility work, but the balance between those elements varies with our age, fitness level, preference, and present circumstances.  If we are training for a marathon, our needs are different than when we are coming off an injury.

Other variables might include how we approach nutrition, whether we’d rather be inside our outside, and whether to blast metal or get out the show tunes.  The good news is that we get to experiment.  Try all the things and see what works!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why we do it

One of the things I like about Pilates is that it makes me think about where my body is the rest of the time.  When we spend the time in Pilates lengthening our spines, keeping our hips square, and aligning our shoulders, it’s good practice for regular life.

We don’t (most of us) work out for the sheer love of sweat.  We do it to make the other things we do work better.  Weight training gives us the strength to attack the feng shui problem in the living room by moving all the furniture around.  Pilates helps us use good body mechanics at work.  Cardio improves our mood after traffic.

When we have fun doing the workout, too, that’s bonus!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Workout: A few tweaks

We all have favorite versions of exercises, but sometimes we need to vary the style.  I get stuck on bent over rows, so this week we’re doing bench rows with kickbacks to encourage ourselves to work asymmetrical exercises from time to time.  We’re taking our friend the squat and adding the overhead option to make it more challenging and giving our arms something to do during our lunges with the curls.  Four rounds.  Have fun!

1 min cardio

bench row/kickback
overhead squat
plyojacks/jacks/mod jacks
lateral raise
lunge to curl
pretty princesses

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Book Report: The Technological Society

When I was a junior in high school, I concluded that the purpose of the English curriculum was to make us all despondent and suicidal, the reading list including such cheerful works as Camus’s The Stranger and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.  For bonus points, in French that year I read Sartre’s Huis Clos (that’s No Exit for you non-French-taking folks) and a few other choice pieces of literature about doom, gloom, and sometimes murder.  I was reminded of this general French tendency to despair in reading Jacques Ellul’s book, The Technological Society and have come to the conclusion that many French writers’ books should come with a pack of Gauloises and as much red wine as necessary to dull the pain.

Not that the book was not worth reading.  Despite the fact that it was written in 1964, it has a lot of relevance to our current situation as creatures in a society driven by technology.  I can only imagine what Ellul would make of our Internet age.

His central argument is that technology (or technique, in his preferred usage) is the primary force in our societies.  It is no longer a tool that humans use to improve conditions.  Instead, it shapes people and society according to its own particular needs for maximum efficiency.  He contends that we are, essentially, helpless to combat this overwhelming force because there is no longer any place where one can truly go off the grid.

That first part is fairly convincing.  He musters a lot of good thinking and research to back up his contention that technology wins.  I’m not so sure about the second part where we can’t retake our souls from the machine.  I would like to think that we are not without hope.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

We Have Some Ironing to Do

This just in:  we are all getting older (unless we are magic or dead).  To keep from feeling like it, we should consider lifting weights.

As we age, our bodies lose muscle mass if we don’t encourage them to build more.  Less muscle mass translates into a lower metabolism, reduced strength, and, often, balance challenges.

Furthermore, weight-bearing exercise preserves our bone density.  We do not want to be fragile older people.  The statistics on mortality after hip fracture do not bring joy.

The stronger we are, the longer we will be able to be active and independent.  Pump now to go farther!