Tag Archives: Exercise

April 27 – 20 Minute Gardening

by Letty Watt

Our weeds are flourishing in the garden. My eyes see the beauty of the Pansies, and then I grimace when I see the purple Henbit blowing in the breeze. Henbit first became my nemesis when we lived in Kansas, and our garden under the mailbox turned purple every year.

The mailman once explained to me that the pioneers enjoyed the Henbit for its food and beauty. I replied that I really did not plan to eat it any time soon. Shortly after that discussion Jack and I were driving down country roads on a warm spring day gazing at the shades of green growing crops when suddenly a massive field a purple exploded on the horizon. My jaw dropped in awe. Imagine the wagons of pioneers toping these purple hills of central Kansas in the spring.

However, I digress. I know that I tend to overdue projects and end up straining my back and hamstrings. I hit upon the idea of twenty-minute weed pulling this spring.

First, I assemble the supplies: a plastic table cloth for throwing weeds onto; gloves to protect my tender hands (from washing and cleaning the house with Clorox and water); digging tools; knee pad; plus set a timer on the phone for twenty minutes. In the beginning, I returned all items used to their place in the garage when I finished, but now I have found it saves time to keep them together in a bucket or wrapped in the cloth. Most importantly for me is to select a small area where I can make a difference visually, tending to the hidden weeds last.

Start the timer and dig away. Twenty minutes did not take me to the end of the entrance of our walkway, but I stayed with the timer and felt no pain afterward. The next patch can be weeded later in the day or another time.

In the next project, I discovered a most valuable lesson. Since I am not able to attend the Yoga and Tai Chi classes during this Covid-19 stay home stay safe time, I realized that I need to stretch every chance I get.

With the next twenty-minute gardening project I added several opportunities for stretching during the dig, and then plenty afterward. For a healthy back, allow at least ten minutes for back health when the twenty-minute timer rings.

The most relaxing stretch for me when I am on my hands and knees is to practice cat/cow, a yoga move. When I stand to move to another location I now bend at the hips to touch my toes and pretend that my back-end is up against a wall. It is a great stretch for the hamstrings which typically do not like to pull weeds.

Just imagine getting fit and healthy while weeding the garden, and staying home, healthy, and safe. The blooming flowers will thank you and so will your back.

Writing soothes Letty Watt’s soul and clears her mind. She began writing a weekly blog over five years ago, with the purpose of building a repertoire of stories for telling aloud, but things changed. Now she writes because stories hidden in the recesses of her mind are begging to get out into the world. Check out her blog, Literally Letty, at https://literallyletty.blogspot.com.

February 5 – Lab Rat

by Carol Ziel

Image by Charles Rondeau courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

Image by Charles Rondeau courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

The lab seemed innocuous enough, buried in the kind of industrial complex where Kinsey Malone would have been comfortable chasing bad guys. The bad guys I’m chasing are fifty extra pounds congregating under my chin, belly and behind. They took my body hostage while I was selling my soul to sweets and chips.  Kim Kardashian would be jealous of my derrière if it wasn’t balanced out by the equally large protuberance of my stomach .  If I could give birth, it would be equivalent to birthing a second grader. The lab is going to be my midwife. The fact that it is next to the Watering Hole dog spa doesn’t make it much friendlier, although I have developed a yearning for belly rubs. Those would be so much more pleasurable than the tortuous experience I anticipate. I am about to become a “Lab Rat”.

I have had continuous gym memberships for thirty years. Clearly automatic withdrawals from my bank account for dues have not automatically withdrawn my craving for carbs or toned my tushy. I have to get up close and personal with those metal monsters lined up like soldiers in assembly: row after row of treadmills, upright bikes, recumbent bikes, rowing machines, lat machines, thigh, leg and back machines. And the free weights. There is nothing free about those weights since I have always paid with aches and pains as varied as a roll of lifesavers, but hopefully they will save my life, or at least enable me to walk without wobbling and climb stairs without hanging onto a banister.

The first sign that I am in an alternative universe is the welcoming plaque: Metalheads Sign In. My Senior Sneaker sign up sheet is cozied up alongside of it, just as I will be cozying up next to muscle-bound, testosterone fueled titans in the weight rooms. Other missives papered the walls like the deeply inspirational No pain, no gain; If it hurts, keep working; When my body ‘shouts’ STOP, my mind ‘screams’ NEVER;  Pain is weakness leaving the body and my personal favorite You can’t flex fat so shut up and lift. It appears that what I thought was fat-flexing was fat-dimpling.

And so I’m committing my dumpling self to a relentless regimen of rigorously considering my exercise options. My daydreams of being Ms Senior America will be elaborate; they will be deliberate and specific. I will visualize a trim tummy, perfect pecs, and the legs of an exotic dancer. I will dedicate a journal for this journey. I will buy Velcro-strapped slip on gym shoes, and Lycra leggings in purple. I will buy a special alarm clock that will joyously launch me into my new morning routine. I will buy music to rev up my rhythms and distract me from the promised pain.

Or maybe I’ll just walk my dog.

Carol has been an SCN member for six years and is grateful to be nurtured by such wonderful women writers. She is also a gardener, grandmother, social worker, Quaker and Goddess-centered woman who primarily writes poetry but is branching out into more essay types of writing. More to be revealed.