Fitness Update

I continue to marvel at how many times my muscles can be sore. You would think that exercising several times per week over a period of months would eventually tend to get most of the muscles to a state where they would no longer react by making me ouchy. But, sadly, that’s not the case.

I suppose having the discomfort of muscle pain is one good way to get feedback from the body and to remind yourself that you really did do something that was beyond the ordinary day’s routine of sitting, standing, walking back and forth to the car, and perhaps climbing a stairway or two. Right now, I am fully aware that last night I did some substantial exercising.

My regular instructor, Erin Long, is vacationing some place south of here. Jackie Bercaw filled in for Erin last night. Jackie didn’t waste any time putting us in full workout mode. We started with a set of cardio exercises. We performed regular jumping jacks, an abbreviated form of the jumping jack with hands on hips, and the exercise where you lift yourself up on your toes and return to the floor with feet flat. I’m sorry, but if I knew the names of all this stuff I would certainly use them. At any rate, this set of exercises was done quickly. We started out with 8 of each, then 7 of each, and so on until we finished the set with 1 of each. This set was actually 1 exercise in a set of 4, and the 4 were done 3 times in repetition. I performed pretty well, but the jumping jacks caused me some intense pain in my right shoulder, where I’m having rotator cuff issues. Other exercises in the larger set were an “alligator” pushup, with one hand set as in a regular pushup and the other hand near the hip. These were pretty easy when my left hand was in the regular position, but much harder with my right hand in the regular position. I have no idea why. We used dumbbells in the other 2 exercises in the larger set. I used 10 pounders and 15 pounders. I looked for 12s but found none, so went with 15s. They were a challenge.

Another excellent exercise in another set consisted of placing one foot on a cloth on the floor and, with the other foot stationary, sliding the front foot on the cloth out and assuming a half crouch position. Ten times with each foot, 3 times in all, caused excellent discomfort in my quads and other muscles I didn’t know existed. Right now, I am experiencing discomfort nirvana.

Another very stressful exercise for me consisted of lying on my back and lifting my legs up straight ahead and off the floor about 12 inches. Jackie timed this exercise. Upon Jackie’s command, we spread our legs apart and held them this way until she gave us another signal and we raised our legs in the air for another period of time. This type of exercise causes my legs to shake uncontrollably. I’m not sure what causes that; perhaps a weak lower back. I don’t know if anyone else in the class has that problem. I know my legs are strong due to my biking, my elliptical trainer, and my daily walking, so if my back isn’t causing the shaking legs I don’t know what is.

By the end of the session, I was sweating profusely and my heart was thumping pretty good. We did the corpse mode of relaxation for a few minutes afterward, but it would have taken me a half hour to wind down after such a strenuous session. Thanks to Jackie for bringing me out of the stupor I was in much of the day yesterday after spending 4 days at home and sleeping more than my normal 5.5 hours per day.

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