I aim to swim three days a week as my out-of-saddle exercise [Spring Fitness]. However, a forecast of 71o for this evening is making me reluctant to dip my toes – much less the rest of me – into the outdoor pool. I know it will not be heated sufficiently. Nothing short of the whirlpool sauna ever is.

Plus, I should be doing more. One decent use of this enforced no-riding period would be to get in shape. Then I could get on and be ready to go. It would be ridiculous to start riding and then have to get fit at the same time.

What to do?

Swimming, exercise machines, other gym work – Driving to a workout seems a waste of resources. Then again, so is a horse show, which I would go to in a heartbeat.

Running – Popular with riders. Stop me if I’ve told you this one. At Rolex one year, I wanted to get a soundbite from David O’Connor. He said he was in a hurry but he could talk if I wanted to run back to the barn with him. He said run. I heard jog. He took off at a pace that left me standing still, notebook pages waving in the breeze. So, is running particularly suited to riding or just an adaptable exercise that one can do anywhere, anytime, with a low bar to entry?

Biking – Go with hubby on the weekends. Mostly leg power, unless one is willing to push one’s self into aerobic exercise. I’ll let you imagine how often that happens.

Karate – Plays to my strengths: tightness, control, legwork. I’ve even got the kiai down. I learned all about the value of sound helping strength when I worked at a bookstore and had to lift heavy box of books. OTOH, shouldn’t I be working on my weak areas?

Aikido – A more flowing marital art. All that dropping and rolling would be good fall protection. However, all that d&r is based on the ability to do a backwards somersault. I don’t roll. I am too stiff and tight through the back. Instead of curving into a ball and rolling over my shoulder onto my feet, I slam flat on my back and lie there like a distressed turtle.

Yoga – Way too motionless. Part of a firefighter’s turn-out gear is a PASS device (Personal Alert Safety System), a little black box attached to the airpack straps that goes off if the individual does not move for 30 seconds. If the person continues not to move the noise increases up the decibel scale to earshattering. Useful when one is looking for a downed FF. Less useful when one is standing around on air waiting to go into a training exercise. It is common to see folks having to shake their device every so often to shut it up. In that situation, my PASS never goes off. Never. I cannot be still for 30 seconds. Yoga is out.

Tai Chi – Yoga in motion. Again why drive to a class when I have Claire Hooten’s marvelous DVD, complete with reverse view? Two things I lack, a big enough living room & motivation. Add (very small) freeweights and stretching to the list of things I could do at home if only I was motivated.

Pilates – is, or was, the hot new thing for riders. Took one class. More accurately, started one class. All the exercises seem to me to be a variation on the sit-up. If you can’t do a sit-up, the rest of the exercises are moot.

Yes, I can’t even do one sit up. I am that out of shape. But more than that, I have baffled sports advisors and physical therapists with my inability to achieve even a baby, beginner sit-tup. Without a tiny start, I have no base from which to improve. I suspect it has to with my back, as above.

How do you crosstrain? What do you recommend?
Gratuitous Kitten Pic

Cat & mouse games in the 21st century.

5 thoughts on “Crosstraining

  1. I always suggest people do something they like and they’ll have better odds of sticking with it. For strength, nothing beats good old free weights. All you need is a simple full-body routine that takes no more than 40 minutes to complete start to finish. And if you’re creative you can come up with real-life substitutes for weights and train at home. If you want to combine cardio with strength training you might want to try Crossfit. Google it and find someplace nearby, but be forewarned: it’s not a picnic. For cardio (alone) you can’t beat Zumba for fun and exercise. You get to dance, laugh (at yourself) and it’s pretty addictive. I’m normally not a group exercise person, but Zumba attracts men and women of all ages and abilities. It’s a ton of fun and has kind of become the aerobics class for the middle aged. Plus, you get the added perk of making exercise “friends” who will help hold you to the schedule! Depending on your level of fitness Zumba is no picnic at first, but you can progress at your own pace. Walking, of course, is highly underrated. You can always get out and walk … I mean really work up to a brisk pace …. 4-5 days a week. Shoot for 40 minutes, then add 10 minutes every week until you’re up to an hour. Listen to music or books on tape if need be. Really, if I could buy only one piece of equipment (and I have a full gym in my home) I’d invest in a good treadmill. IMO, a good treadmill is indispensable. I have an elliptical and spin bike, but the treadmill is my mainstay. One last thing: I’ve done just about every form of exercise known, including several types of full contact MA and I have to say that Yoga is not the mammy-pamby activity one thinks. There are several forms, including a couple that will kick your butt to Kingdom Come and back!

    PS. What do I do now? A little of everything except the MA. I developed severe elbow and trocanter (hip) tendonitis from too much striking and kicking.

  2. the hardest thing is to get motivated. i have a lot of exercise equipment but almost never use it. i need to get motivated……

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