If the collapse on a trail that I’d hiked at least twice before in my previous life (before cancer) wasn’t enough to convince me I was in bad physical shape, the emergency room, overnight hospital stay and exhaustive stress tests last July, certainly did. As if all that wasn’t enough, the nearly constant media bombardment–that the loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is in part caused by reduced physical activity–started to slowly sink in. Knowing how stubborn I am, the family dug in too,
bullying, lecturing, uh . . . gently pushing me to get a physical trainer to design a fitness program that would work for me, factoring in all my physical limitations and age . I finally took advantage of the physical training program the Huntsman provides for free for all their cancer patients–former and current–because apparently the gym time I’d been halfheartedly putting in for nearly a year after chemo hadn’t gotten me to the fitness level I wanted to be. Thank goodness stubbornness works in more than one direction.
The beautiful yo-yo weather (the day before it had snowed all day) was putting the spring back in our steps around here, so when our daughter invited her father to come along with her and the kids for a bike ride, I heard myself saying to Hubby if he’d air up my tires I might come along too. Well. After a series of failures that included a hard fall in our daughter’s driveway, they were still able to talk me into coming along. As long as I can take some reading material along in case I changed my mind, I’d go I said. Hubby loaded the bikes onto the back of the Honda and off we all headed to a flat road with little traffic out near Salt Lake Airport, just off Interstate 80. It’s an access road that takes you to the marina and a social club, and the scenery is really special as long as you like water birds of all kinds, blue skies, blue lakes, and salt flats you can practically walk on. That’s the whole story of how Hubby and I–weeks away from birthday #70–came to be out this weekend on a bicycle.
Several times I came this close to giving up. My balance was shot to hell. The seat was too high. The gears were set wrong. I hadn’t been on a bicycle since I was in my early fifties in Las Vegas. Patiently Hubby tested and made all the necessary adjustments. Finally, when my legs could reach out and touch the pavement any time I felt vulnerable or needed to stop, I decide to have a go at it. I was really nervous every time a car or another biker approached and my fingers inched close to the brake gear, but I gradually got used to it. I knew I could stop anytime I wanted and probably wouldn’t kill myself doing it. I only went into a near-panic once–when that damn motorcycle passed me in the same lane I was in without going around me. I decided I should have pinned a sign on my back like a driving instructor puts on the windshield for student drivers. Beware! Old lady bicycling for the first time in more than 15 years!
Getting back to all the hype about the new approach to aging, this study and that, plus my noticeably increased stamina and agility, I doubt that I’ve done enough to significantly reset my biologic clock. I decided that early the next morning when I woke up feeling young and rested after a good night’s sleep, pleased as punch with myself for not giving up on the bicycle thing but feeling pretty stiff. When I started to get out of bed I wasn’t sure if I could even lift my head because of my sore neck muscles due to tension I guess, or the fall on the driveway. Today I’m almost back to normal. Reversing my biologic clock? Not sure. I only know for awhile there I felt more like I had been born in the days of this contraption. If I had though, I guess I wouldn’t have even had to peddle. Hubby would have done all the work and I could’ve just sat there looking pretty!
I wish I had taken my camera along to capture this momentous occasion, but I plumb forgot–another age related phenomena that may also be reversed as long as we stay physically and mentally active. Bonafide photographs of all of us would have been so much nicer, and you would have proof instead of having to take my word for it. On second thought, I was holding on so tight to the handle bars I’m not sure how I would have managed a camera anyhow. Instead, my gratitude goes to the Flickr Commons Collection for these vintage prints, presented under the fair use “no known restrictions” designation.
I think you are very brave and inspiring! Bravo to you! 🙂
Welcome to Wintersong, Alexandra. Thanks for the nice comment, but if you come to know me, you may decide “crazy” might be more apt. But I appreciate the encouragement.
I hope this comment isn’t too weird. My mouse is acting up and I can’t go buy a new one.
As to exercise, I’m hopeless. Every time I think about starting a program, something like my latest health debacle hits.
I do think that you and hubby would look cute on that bike!
Looks like mousey came through for you this time, Kay. Next time try “nice Mousey, pretty Mousey”; just kidding. I know how annoying the mouses can be!
Oh I’m so proud of you … and envious. You are a brave woman!!!
Don’t be too envious, Edna. I fear I may have set a precedent! Now I’ll no longer have the choice I’m sure. And brave? Nah, try crazy. 😳
When I feel the need of exercise, I go to stay with Elly. Buffy and the stairs in their house give me more than enough exercise, here at home I take my camera for a walk.
I love the second image and would love one of those contraptions. Do they come with a Toyboy? 😉
Buffy is a dog I presume. Dogs can be good exercise, it’s true. I used to walk 5 miles a day (in Las Vegas) while we were tending our daughter’s Australian husky. I also nearly wore the pads off my feet traipsing around on those concrete trails! I thought that contraption was pretty special, too. What do y’think the contraption from today will be 100 years from now?
I do like it when all of me feels sharper after half an hour in the pool in the mornings. I can think clearer, I walk stronger, but boy am I fatter since I stopped being able to walk all I wan ted. So glad I am not alone out there on the mean streets. Your exercise incourages me. Thanks………
I loved bike riding in Chicago (flatland), but quit when I moved to New Jersey (hills and flaky drivers). Pittsburgh has better drivers, more hills. I don’t even know if I could do it anymore.
Happy exercise to you. I have to get back to it.
It really does feel good to do it, although I must say I’d love to not have other vehicles like automobiles and motorcycles using the same road. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to make it around my own neighborhood either. Too many hills and curves and no bike lanes. Some lucky people in some countries have bike lanes near the sidewalks with the parking spaces nearest the traffic so as to avoid direct connection with traffic. That’s what I really need to be comfortable on a bike.