Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Conditioning Work

That's a picture of Spider and I the first winter I had him.  It was cold that year, and windy.  We were boarding at a place with an indoor, so work wasn't impossible.  It probably should have been, but I was a lot younger dumber then.

In the face of this year's arctic blast, I'm being more conservative.  Not that I really have a choice, since I don't have an indoor and everything's icy.  The unfortunate side effect of that is that I'm really not getting a lot of exercise lately.  Farm work generally keeps me pretty active, but I've been cooped up in the house for too long with this miserable weather.  I'm starting to feel sluggish and squishy.

I exercise every day.  Not because I'm one of those annoying super fit "gym" people, but because I have a bad back.  Daily pilates and yoga workouts are the only thing standing between me and a Rascal Mobility Scooter.  When I don't exercise, I get sciatica.  For everyone that's never had sciatic pain, it sort of feels like someone is trying to jam a steel rod down the back of your leg with no anasthetic.  I am not a fan of that, so I do my workout routines.  My routines are tailored to keep my lower back and abs fit, though.  I rely on the farm work and riding to strengthen and tone my legs, arms and upper back.  No outside activities = I turn squishy.

Of course, I live in the boonies.  There's no gym within a 30 mile radius.  I've practiced pilates and yoga for so many years that I can do it by myself no problem.  I've never taken any other sort of exercise classes, so I'm pretty lost there.  Well, I did take a belly dancing class once.  I thought it would be really good for developing strength and range of motion for riding.  And it is, for people who have rythm, talent and can follow simple instructions.  That's not really me.  It takes every brain cell I have just to remember how to breathe properly during pilates and yoga.  Wiggling my hips and arms around in a circle in time to music is way beyond my capabilities. 

Given my lack of talent for aerobic activity, I turned to the internet.  We have a Netflix subscription that allows us to get videos over the internet.  Perfect.  Except that most of the videos are way too complicated for me.  Seriously, I've spent most of my life learning to remain perfectly still on top of a large, moving animal while giving imperceptible cues.  And now I'm supposed to throw my arms and legs around spastically in time to music?  Does not compute.  I did eventually find a couple videos made for the aerobically challenged, though.  So, I've been doing those.

I really hope this weather breaks soon.  I'm not sure how much more "fitness for dummies" I can take.


  1. If this winter doesn't end soon we will all be out of shape and our horses will have declared themselves retired.

  2. This winter is starting to wear on me too. It will be over soon...at least that is what I keep telling myself as it is 0 degrees outside right now. Good for you for exercising every day. I have lost all motivation to get in shape. I was doing videos and need to get back into it. I do the 30 day shred with Jillian and it is very basic moves that anyone could do yet still effective. And there are 3 levels to make it more of a challange if wanted.

  3. That is a gorgeous picture of you and Spider!

    Can you elaborate on your solo yoga routine, how you organize it, when and how often? My yoga teacher moved away last fall. I've been less than motivated without her. Plus I'm having stabbing pains in my hip, usually driving and sitting related - does that sound like sciatica?

    I admire your motivation. I would have a very hard time the conditions you're dealing with :)

  4. I'm with you on this one, except that with my very bad knees, the kinds of aerobic exercises I can do is very limited. I would have been swimming once a week or so, but I got that bad cold right after Christmas and am just now getting over it.

    I was thinking that a WiiFit or similar active video system might be an option for the "exerciserly" challenged.

  5. Get yourself a Wii with the wii fit board, or a xbox 360 kinect. It is fantastic. We had cabin fever, my 9 yrs old son was going a loony toon. So Father Christmas brought us a xbox 360 ... here we go endless game of volley ball, tennis table, athletism.

    Some games are more target to train you at home. Read the review of every games. But it is worth the investment!

    You can do aerobic with HRT monitor, Taichi, yoga etc...

    Good luck with it

  6. I think we're all going a little crazy with cabin fever this year. My horses are on strike now that it's cold and wet everyday. I give you a lot of credit for getting the pilates and yoga done everyday. I'm not that motivated but I know how bad sciatica can be. Try having a disc in your spine laying on a nerve, I was basically crawling around on the floors for a month.

    Can't do the step aerobics anymore because of my knees but the Nordic track ski machine really works, I hate it but it works. You can watch TV while you're on it. I'm sure someone is selling one because they hate it too, the best part is it folds down and can be shoved under the bed. That might be an option for the aerobically challenged like you and me. Did I mention when I did the step videos I used to fall off the step.

  7. sorry, i am cracking up over here. you make me laugh. love that picture of you and spider. is that the one that steve thought summer thought she could recognize you in, and there was some sort of disagreement?


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