Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Trends in footwear

May 5, 2010

Trend alert! What will you be wearing on your feet this summer? Okay, so you’ve dragged out and assessed your last year’s summer shoe assortment. How dreary is it? Any of them downright smelly? Let me guess … Some shoes never did fit right, or were clunky, or impractical, or were just something, because you never wore them. Are you gonna get rid of a few pairs? Buy some new replacements for the new summer you?

When walking the mall, shopping for shoes, you might want to be mindful of, um, how much your thighs are jiggling underneath your shorts and whether you should spring for a pair of FitFlops. Because, hey! They tone and tighten your legs with every step! And they have eye-catching details like sequins and patent leather. Shop to it!

Then there’s these OKA b. shoes and sandals that were suggested in Parade Magazine as a gift for Mother’s Day. They are antimicrobial, (Really? Is that possible with anything outside of a bubble?) slip-resistant (pertinent if you wear one), and recyclable (As wall insulation?). Okay so they are made of poly vinyl chloride – which is made from salt and fossil fuel, which, well, we have plenty of that floating around now don’t we? Anyway, Soothing massage beads comfort your feet with every step. (Now your feet jiggle too?) And they’re washable – you can wash most styles on the top rack in the dishwasher. (Next to the glasses. Except then you might not want to use the glasses.)

Additionally, to avoid becoming a total fitness flop, you might consider the Skecher’s shape-ups for women and men. And let them work their magic – all you do is put them on and, well, walk, I suppose. They purportedly improve posture, strengthen the back, firm the buttocks muscles, tone and firm the thigh muscles, firm the calf muscles, improve blood circulation, tighten abdominal muscles, reduce knee joint stress, smooth out neck wrinkles, and eliminate multiple chins. Okay so I added the bit about the neck wrinkles and chins. What would be the point of toning all that other stuff when mostly what I look at in the mirror is my sagging face, excess chin(s) and crinkly neck? These shape-ups are all well and good, but is there some contraption I can wear on my head to produce a face lift while I watch, say, an instant download from Netflix?

Another shoe option would be one of the fine selections from Merrell. They’re super feet-friendly, and come in unique styles. You can actually walk reasonable distances in them, from my experience. That’s why when I found a pair in my size at a super sale price last winter I snatched it up. I was sure I’d be wearing them come spring. Here you see them:

The beauty of these shoes is that when you put them on they compel you to go bowling – Great! – because bowling involves exercise! Except, I don’t bowl. Even if these shoes do save me a few bucks shoe-rental fee at the bowling alley, I believe I will never advance ten feet beyond my bedroom with them on. They ruin your posture as you walk in them, staring at your feet. I think I’ve pinpointed the ‘something’ that keeps me from wearing these shoes. It’s called “extreme ugliness.” Even my inner 15-year-old has branded them butt ugly.

That about wraps up my blog on trends in footwear. Oh, except I do have a pair of slippers that might interest you. The beauty of these lies in their facility for multitasking. You can accomplish so many things at once while wearing them:

First, you have to curl your toes to keep them on, which strengthens your feet and stretches your heel cords. Second, you can glide them along smooth floor surfaces to exercise your legs and improve balance, while trapping dust bunnies. And thirdly, and most importantly, at the same time you are exercising and cleaning the house, you can yak on your cell phone to your heart’s content – to your BFF, or sister, or whomever you like.

If and when you soil the dust mops on the bottoms you can just rip them off and toss them in the wash. This builds hand strength and works the tendons and muscles up to you armpits.

So what are you waiting for? Shop it up.

Work it out. Buy a pair shape-ups. Or FitFlops. Or footsie dust mops.

Or wear stilettos. Keeping upright on them is a whole body experience.

Me? I’m going to chase after dust bunnies in those slipper genies when I’m at home. And keep my cell phone charged.

And I might take up bowling. Either that, or get rid of those Merrell’s.

Try to keep myself from becoming an unfit fop.

Yes You Can! (hurt yourself doing leg lifts)

September 15, 2009

I’m starting up again where I left off, uh, five months ago, trying to do regular workouts to strengthen my body. Trying to, I say. Yeah, even the process of getting started can be pretty ‘trying’.

First you have to come up with an exercise plan. One obvious option is to join a gym. I joined our local Apple Club a couple of years ago – all gung-ho at first, but I tired of it really fast, and suddenly it was sheer drudgery. I had signed up for a year membership that I couldn’t get out of short of leaving the country or killing myself. They automatically withdrew the money from our checking account every month and I automatically chanted at the Apple Club building as I drove by, “NA-NA-NA-NA-BOO-BOO, I’M-NOT-GO-ING-IN-THERE-YOU-BUM-HOLES, EVEN-IF-I-DID-PAY!” and they totally didn’t care of course. They had my money and I had the satisfaction of totally blowing them off and doing something fun, like shopping.

Alas, so here I am again, facing my flabbier-than-ever, wrinkling, weakling, wussie body. I must DO something! Firm myself up! Maybe join a gym and this time hire a personal trainer. Because I pretty much wander in a fog in workout rooms (I found out) amidst a sea of exercise equipment and mangled weight lifting machines created to find, bend and stretch every obscure atrophied muscle in the human body. Hey! I could hurt myself here.

So last week I checked out the local ‘Y’. For 400 bucks I could purchase a six-month membership and 8 sessions with a personal trainer. Oh, and a fitness assessment for another 25 bucks, because how else could my trainer know that I can only lift 5-lb free weights?

Are you kidding? I am not going to be humiliated with a fitness assessment. Your fitness level should be your own private business, as should your sex life, closet habits, life-sucking compulsions, or in this case, the complete lack of compulsion thereof. It takes courage enough to face up to your abject wussiness without having to subject your girating flab to the scrutiny of a fit and muscled personal trainer likely 20-40 years your junior.

So the gym is out. Except maybe if you are single, or interested in being single, and social, and appear athletic and/or at least semi-kickass in your workout attire. Then the gym could be a ‘maybe’.

Plus, when you check the gym out and tally up the cost and get that figure in your head just to reject it, then you suddenly realize you just saved yourself over 400 dollars. Go shopping!

And move on to … Living room option. Ours is armed with reams of fitness articles I have collected and crammed into notebooks over the past five years, along with stretchy bands, an exercise ball, and a few hand weights. Hey, I would have jumped with gusto on the exercise bandwagon three years ago – had tummy tuck jeans with stretch lycra not been invented.

But, miracle of miracles … I got started! I pulled together my own individualized fitness plan. You know, first you warm up for ten minutes, maybe do a little bouncing or tilting on the ball, some body-bending and then you run around the house till your breath feels a tad puffy. Then you do the strength training – one day upper body, next day lower body, third day core, then back to upper body, etc … Then you cool down – doing lots of stretches and hugging yourself with positive – “I’m so wonderfully getting fit” – “Aren’t I a dynamo!” – affirmations.

I did do GREAT on the first day: Upper body. Lifting those 5-lb weights over my head (even though the directions suggested, uh, 8-12 lb. The 8-pound ones nearly collapsed in on my head on the third lift). I hugged myself profusely after my 45-minute workout, awash in dynamo positivity.

Second day: Fantastic! Lower body workout to the max! I plucked exercises off several different sheets from my notebook and performed them with super-human enthusiasm. But what the heck. They were just leg lifts. No weights even. You can lift your leg in about dozen different directions and I did them all – full count. I felt great! On a roll, man!

Third day: What the … getting out of bed my legs collapsed under me. My leg muscles were KILLING me. Geez! I have to descend 14 steps downstairs to the kitchen to get to my morning coffee? … Here I go … “Ouch!”, “OOO!”, “EEECH!”, “ARGH!”, “AAAG!”, “WHOOO!”, “YIPES!”, … “WHEY DOGGIE, CAN’T DO STAIRS!”

For the past three days my chant has been, “DON’T TOUCH THE LEGS!” to every living thing or shadow that moves in my vicinity. I can tell you, a ‘lap dog’ in this situation is a living nightmare.

Three days later: My legs are finally functional enough to enable me to get back on the exercise ball. Guess I’m starting over. SLOWLY.

Every exercise plan in my notebook starts out with, “Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.” In my case, with all my issues surrounding ‘exercise’ do you suppose they are suggesting a psychiatrist?

The Cream Puff Pom Pom Exerciser

March 16, 2009

I should be writing about my exercising since that is what I am supposed to be doing every day for my back. It’s not much, just about a fifteen-minute routine of press-ups, pelvic curls, crunches, Russian twists, leg lifts, wall squats, a veritable smorgasbord. Stretches of all sorts are good too, deep fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Not to forget to mention the “I-HATE-you” exercise where you start out face down, stomach on the ball, feet pressed against a wall. On “I” you lift your chest and head upward until your torso feels like it might snap off at your waist, that’s the cue to yell “HATE,” and then back down again on ‘you.’ Repeat “I HATE you” twenty times to your therapist or anyone within earshot (except not at your husband when it’s before dinner and he’s trying to watch ‘Jeopardy’ or the news, I found out) until you feel really great that you survived the whole thing without snapping in half.

Okay so I am not an exercise buff. Although I have exercised enough to graduate from physical therapy, on account of I showed up for 14 therapy sessions over a period of about eight weeks. I promised my physical therapist upon my relapse, er … release, that I would do my exercises regularly. Luckily she doesn’t live with me, albeit she is haunting me in my sleep.

I do actually exercise, especially if my back or butt is killing me or I feel too stiff to get out of my chair, or if I just happen to be on my back on the carpet in front of the flat-screen T.V. and I think to do some pelvic lifts while I’m there.

I day dream a lot about exercising, like when I’m driving in my car toward the mall and I think, “Oh, when I get home after shopping and errands, if it’s not too late, I will exercise before I get started making dinner.” My ‘virtual’ exercise plan is quite a good one, way imaginative and ambitious, I swear I can nearly stretch my head and extremities up to the ceiling.

If I could only figure out how to make myself exercise in my sleep dreams I’d wake up feeling athletic and a habitual exerciser, I’m pretty sure, and I would, as a matter of extension, just keep on exercising throughout my day. Not a bad plan! I mean …uh… too bad for this plan, since my subconscious mind seems hellbent to conjure up mental garbage in my sleep, utterly worthless in regards to enhancing my conscious life. Darn it! Because I think exercising in my sleep could be a real boon.

And if I had been in sports as a kid, that might have been a help too. Well, I probably would have hated it then, but maybe it would be better for me now. I did go out for cheerleader and got on the squad for, um, a year in High School. I bragged about that to my husband trying to impress him with my athleticism in response to his telling me he did ‘track.’ He informed me quite matter-of-factly that cheerleading is not a ‘sport.’ Well, I gleefully corrected him on that a few weeks ago with the appearance of this news article in the press: … about cheerleading being declared a contact sport in Wisconsin, to which he responded, “Not you – forty years ago.” Okay so I admit, back then we did jumps and cartwheels and a lot of yelling and stuff – I guess cheerleading has evolved some in four decades. One thing I can say, though, I’m still a pretty good yeller, having maintained this skill throughout my 28 years as a wife and mother (just kidding).

And I’m still pretty much a cream puff pom pom exerciser. But, yeah, I’m gonna exercise, at least, that’s my plan.

My First Blog!

January 2, 2009

Blah, blah, blah, blah, I’m starting this and I have to get over the anxiety of starting something new.  Writing a first blog entry.  Hey, I’m 55 years old and it took me 2 tries to log on for my first entry, not bad.  Okay, with help from my 26-year-old son standing by my side, giving pointers and repeating things, cupping his hand over his mouth to surpress his laugh.  But I want kudos, credit, aren’t I just the cat’s meow because starting a blog was my New Year’s Resolution.   And today is January 1st.  So far, so good.

I have a second New Year’s resolution that I think would be bad luck to mention, as it can’t be accomplished sitting at the computer, and to be truthful I haven’t really done it enough to call it “accomplished” today.  I started this morning.  I donned the outfit, loosely fitting yet stylish, cobalt blue velour jogging set, good color for me.  The top has  kind of a ‘juniors’ look, fitted at the waist with a yoked front, sporting dainty pleats which enhance my tiny yet ‘location-in transition’ breasts. I moved the furniture in our den and unfurled a full-body yoga pad in front of the TV.  I was down on the pad and trying to relax into a kinesthetically correct starting position, intending to ‘begin’  leg lifts and stretches to the best of my ability. Then our puppy, Rudy, bounced into the act.  I found myself thrashing violently at my face and the dog to keep him from assaulting me with a sloppy tongue three times too large for his body and long enough to penetrate unimaginable depths and crevices  if allowed open access to my oral cavity.  I leaped up.  All told, I may have completed a stretch on each leg and additionally, in my back and up each side.

Well, there we go.  My first blog.  I’ve had about 300 distractions since my exercise in starting a floor exercise and I may get back to it today.  The yoga pad is still there, just as I laid it down.  It’s a comfort to know that, although I seem to be in a state of constant flux,  some things in the universe stay completely still.

Time to jet off now and get  the New Year’s Day dinner on the table. Can pulling a lasagne out of the oven count as some kind of arm stretch?