Tag Archives: exercise

‘Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.’ Robert Maynard Hutchins.

Every once in a while it occurs to me that it might be time to shake up my exercise levels again.  Usually such a thought is sparked by one of those oh-no-don’t-tell-me-it’s-shrunk-again moments when I decide to try something on that I haven’t worn in a while‘Mmmmm . . . I don’t remember this being quite so snug the last time I put it on . . . and I don’t recall it showing off all those wobbly bits quite as much either . . .’  Sigh.

You might have gathered  that I am not really a fan of exercise per se.  I exercise because I ‘should’ (and obviously need to) but not because I enjoy it.  There have been periods in my life when I have done much more regular exercise than I do now (like going to the gym religiously 4-5 days a week) and periods when I have done a good deal less (like lazily lifting a glass of wine while watching exercise videos . . . ) but there have been very few times I can remember actually enjoying the exercise itself.  (I admit I have enjoyed the benefits of regular exercise but the actual bending and lifting and running—not so much.)

(Just quietly, I blame my parents.  Neither of them had the slightest interest in sports, or indeed exercise of any description at all that I noticed, and they obviously passed this apathy-gene down on to me.)

In spite of this I do force myself to be not entirely sedentary.   I walk the dogs every day (although the dogs are getting older and therefore slower and so I am too.  Getting slower I mean.  I’m definitely not getting any older).  I do a bit (a very little bit) of weight training every day (for the ol’ bingo arms) although how much I achieve often depends on whether the girls decide to ‘help’ me along with the process (lying on your back holding a barbell above your head while three little dogs lick the sweat from your eyes, ears and nose can be a tad distracting) and I also ride my (stationary) bike for around 30 minutes a day.  Granted I sometimes catch myself pedalling more slowly than perhaps I should because  the book I am reading at the same time is getting kind of interesting and I can’t read it quite as well if the pages keeping jumping up and down and . . .

. . . okay, yes, maybe I could stand to need to kick it up a notch.  I’ll sit down, make some decisions and draw up a new plan of attack.  I’ll do that.  Later.

But first I think I’ll join my Maudie for a quiet little nap.  Decisions are always so much easier after a nice little nap . . .


Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


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‘Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands—and then eat just one of the pieces.’ Judith Viorst.

Chocolate.  Mmmmmm . . .

Over the years I have done the old ‘I’ll-buy-myself-the-‘family block’-and-make-sure-I-only-have-a-small-piece-(or two)-after-dinner-and-it’ll-last-until-my-next-big-shop’ dance more than once.  It never ended well.

I would start with the very best of intentions.  I would eat one small piece of chocolate (slowly, slowly, savouring it, letting it melt in my mouth) and then another . . . and maybe just one more. Then I’d ‘be good’ and put the rest safely away and go do some reading, or work in the garden, or get out my sketchpad and pens and . . . nope . . . no good.   How could I possibly concentrate on anything else when there was chocolate in the house begging to be eaten?  It was beyond me.  I would invariably end up eating the whole block and then spend the rest of the day castigating myself (‘. . . this is the  very last time  . . .  I will not be buying any more . . .  no more . . . ever . . . ‘) while also madly trying to exercise my latest indiscretion away.  (Where was Dr Phil and his ‘How’s that working for you?’ when I needed him?)

Moderation does not come easily to me.  For some people it is perfectly sensible to have only one piece of cake, or one glass of wine, or to buy one pair of shoes at a time.  I am not one of those people.  I struggle against ‘wanting’ things all the time.  I want another sketchbook (although I still have a stack in my office that I haven’t used yet).  I want that lovely red sweater I saw on-line the other day (I already have a red sweater, although, in my defence, it’s not the same kind of red)  . . . and I want another puppy (sssshhhh, don’t tell the girls . . . )

I don’t need . . . but I want.

I am (slowly) getting better at wanting less.  Wanting less ‘things’ at least (although, puppies . . .  sigh . . . ) but I still struggle hugely when it come to food.   Especially sweet food like biscuits  . . . and cake . . . . and lollies . . . and chocolate.  I (usually) manage to keep these constant cravings at bayat home at least.  I just don’t keep any of those lovely sweet, sticky,  yummy things in my house.  Out of sight out of mind.  Right?  (Fair warning: if you come to visit me you will need to bring your own cookies with you.)   Most of time this strategy works . . .

. . . but not at Easter.  Easter eggs are my downfall.  The first Easter eggs appeared in our shops here right around New Year.  I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s just rude.  It’s pure commercialism and I am not going to buy into it.’  And I didn’t.  I made sure to quickly avert my eyes every time I came across them (or hot cross buns) in the supermarket aislesI was not going to get sucked in.  Not this year.  I felt all very virtuous and pleased with myself.

And then two weeks ago one of our college students presented me with a great big scrummy chocolate Easter Bunny.  He was gorgeous.  I took him home promising myself I would not touch him until much, much closer to Easter.  Who was I kidding?  I don’t think he even made it to tea-time.  Sigh.

Since then other lovely friends have also gifted me with all manner of glorious festive Eastery treats.  So that’s it.  I’m done for.  Chocolate coma, here I come . . . 

Happy Easter All!

This is an example of what can happen when Sally is let loose with her kiddie paints while on a chocolate high.
It got a little messy . . .


Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Uncategorized


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‘The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it.’ Joan Rivers.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I have been thinking lately that I should be doing a tad more more exercise . . .

It’s not that I am entirely sedentary.  I walk the dogs every day (except when it is over 35 degrees(C) outside because . . .  well that’s just silly . . . )

I ride my exercise bike every day (although, I admit, some days I ride further than others . . . )

I even do (a tiny bit) of weight training every day.  (Sometimes these sessions do get interrupted though, because any time I lie on my living room floor (regardless of whether I am hoisting a barbell or not) it seems to be an open invitation for the girls to play silly-buggers and lick my eyes, or tickle my feet or nip my ears, or, in Molly’s case, sit on my tummy and supervise from above.  Last week Maudie even came over and laid her ball, ever so gently, onto my right eye socket . . . )

Anyway,  I have been feeling that I possibly could . . . should. . . . maybe . . . kick it up a notch?

In the spirit of that thought, I decided that sketching my trainers might be a step (see what I did there?) in the right direction . . .

What do you think?



Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized


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“The only exercise I take is walking behind the coffins of friends who took exercise.” (Peter O’Toole)

Fortunately I have never had to follow the coffin of a friend of mine who died from taking exercise, but I do see where Peter was coming from.

I get up, walk the dogs, go to work, come home, walk the dogs—and that is the extent of my usual daily exercise.

However, for the last little while (oh, all right—since menopause took over my life) I had been feeling pretty crappy—lethargic, blobby, not sleeping well, etc etc., and after doing a bit of research it did seem that my best solution (apart from all kinds of medication) was to get more exercise. Sigh.

So, 3 months ago, as an act of final desperation, I joined the local gym.  And, me being me, I went in both feet first. I bought a 3 month membership and signed up with a personal trainer (‘PT’). I was very nervous when I went for my first ‘fitness test’, and, as it turns out, I had every reason to me.  I was weighed and measured (eek!), set up to do 600 strides on the elliptical trainer (mean, mean, mean!!), followed by sit-ups, push-ups (although, as I only managed ONE real push-up I am not sure I can count that in the plural), and shown how to use the weight training equipment.

By the end of the session I thought I had died and gone to heaven—and not in a good way.  I literally thought I was on my way off this earthly plane. My legs had the collywobbles, my heart was hammering, I was breathing so hard I had lost the ability to speak coherently, and my face was a colour that could only be described as ‘puce’ (a shade somewhat closer to purple than red—and NOT a good look on a Sally).

I gathered what was left of my dignity (which wasn’t much), thanked ‘PT’ (when I really just wanted to poke his eyes out), staggered down the stairs, trying to get my legs and breathing under control (and holding tightly on to the stair railing all the way) and fell into the car.  Then, gathering my belongings around me, I realized I had left my towel upstairs.  If my brain hadn’t been so starved of oxygen I would have thought to leave it there and pick it up next time, but in my hypoxia-addled state that never occurred to me and it took me several more minutes before I could force myself back up those stairs to retrieve it.

When I finally got home I was met by three over-excited, leaping, bouncing, pocket-rockets all ready to go for their afternoon walk. I am reliably informed by the neighbours that I did actually take the dogs for a walk that day, but I am still not sure how we (or rather, ‘I’) made it there and back.

The next day I could barely move my arms and legs in any kind of coordinated fashion—much to the hilarity of those at the office—and, swear to God, the day after that was even worse.  It would have been SO easy to drive straight past the gym on my home every day that next week, but I didn’t.  I devised a plan that seems to work for me.  I finish work, change into my exercise gear at the office and drive straight to the gym.  I do 30-40 minutes, go home, walk the dogs and then, and only then, do I fall in a heap. I know myself well enough to know that once I am home and have my fluffy slippers on nothing short of a nuclear event is going to get me out again.

So—now that I have you all suitably horrified by my early experiences—I am here to tell you that joining the gym has actually been the best thing I have done in ages.  My second fitness test last week showed that I am demonstrably stronger and fitter than I was 3 months ago. I have lost some weight and lost some centimetres around my middle.  Some of my ‘wobbly bits’ are a little less wobbly and I am definitely sleeping better (suck on that menopause). I even (usually) manage to come out of a training session with a face colour at least several shades down from that dreaded puce!  My knees (which were never much good to start with) might never be the same again, but in spite of that I have still been pleasantly surprised at how far I have come in such a short time.

Woody Allen once said ‘Eighty percent of success is showing up’, so I am going to test his theory and keep ‘showing up’ and see where it takes me.  Wish me luck . . .

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Posted by on September 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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