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  • Aerobic workout today, 30 minutes on the Gazelle, 15 with Mr. Phil Collins and Genesis, 15 (well, actually 18, I wanted to finish the song) with AC/DC. Reason for the switch? Tempo. Start out mellow, work up a slight sweat, then pump it up and finish strong. Since the Gazelle is a “low impact” machine, the only thing you really need to watch out for is over extending your legs, but that isn't really an option if you concentrate on what you are doing.

    Cool down was 15 minutes in the backyard with a cup of juice. Supposed to rain today, but not seeing it yet. I know the lawn could use it.

    You know, the reason I decided to post this is to encourage anyone considering “getting back in shape” to go for it. You don't have to be in perfect health or a teenager to reclaim your health. You do, however, need to know your limitations. They're the parts you have to work on the most.

    Here I am, 61 years old, and when I started this more than 40 pounds overweight (according to those pesky charts the doctors have). To top it off, I have High Blood Pressure (hereditary, folks, got nothing to do with my intake or my weight), no cartilage in my left shoulder, and about half the cartilage remaining on my big toes, the result of many years on steel decks. I'm also missing a gall bladder, to be 100% accurate, but I frankly don't know where that figures in.

    All that means that I have to be careful when I am working out. And I have realistic goals. I don't expect to look like a 20 year old again, thank God, and I have no illusions about any of this taking away the aches and pains of aging. There is some history of arthritis in my family, as well diabetes, so I am sure at some point I will have to deal with one or both of those. Or perhaps not. Up to the Lord when it comes down to it, and I am happy to leave it in his hands.

    But at the same time, there is no excuse for allowing yourself to be so out of shape that you invite or actually cause problems that will complicate the issue of your health. I knew better, I got lazy, and now I am paying for it with a demanding process that requires daily maintenance. A process I have dedicated myself to as a lifelong component of my days.

    Now some doctors will tell you that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times a week is enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I respectfully disagree. If you don't add the anaerobic portion of the exercises to the schedule, you are failing to build healthy, lean muscle mass that is so essential to burn calories. However, there is a reasonable substitution for anaerobic exercise (weight lifting). It's called Kinetic exercise.

    Kinetic exercise is simply using your body in a semi strenuous to strenuous activity, like basketball, handball, racquetball, football, or any other sport you choose to name. Basically it means getting together with some friends and playing a physical game for at least 30 minutes. Whatever you choose to do, bear in mind one specific guide: If it doesn't make you perspire, it isn't kinetic.

    And I can hear all the golfers out there moaning and objecting to that already. Look, boys and girls, any exercise has to raise your heart rate in order to be effective. Golf is a great activity, nothing wrong with it, and it certainly demands muscle control and coordination to play well. (You want an easy win, just include me in your foursome and I guarantee you will not only win, but laugh your behind off. I'm that bad.)

    Now, if you are a golfer who forgoes the cart and actually walks the course, there is a lot of aerobic benefit to what you are doing. Couple that with the demands of accuracy, and you certainly have a great aerobic activity that takes endurance (I've never known anyone to complete 18 holes in 30 minutes), but it isn't kinetic unless you don't stop. And whether you are playing alone or with others, you do stop from time to time to measure the course, find your bearings, or just take a breather.

    But if you want a true kinetic exercise, something that burns tons of calories and makes your muscles lean and strong, grab a racquet and head to the court. Combine two or three days of Kinetic activity with 3 days a week of aerobic activity, and I guarantee you will feel a remarkable difference.

    “But Fred, I don't have that kind of time.” Really? We are talking about 30-45 minutes a day, including the shower afterward. If you are out of shape and complaining, think about your day. Do you sit in front of the computer or the television doing recreational things instead of watching the educational channels or using Lumosity or another brain training site? Do you spend your time with crossword puzzles or recreational reading? I am positive there is a period of the day when you can sacrifice 30 minutes to maintain your health. And I am also positive it will become the best 30 minutes of your day.

    Diet also figures into this, but we'll leave that off now for a future entry.

    If you are thinking about getting back in shape, I have one last word of advice.

    No excuses. Just do it.

    I hope you all have a blessed day.

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