Here comes the rectus abdominis – Exercising My Options 2 – AKA Press Your Advantage.

Some readers of this blog will be glad to know that I have returned to my twice weekly seniors’ exercise class at Kamloops’ Tournament Capital Centre (TCC). COVID and a scheduling conflict stalled my return to what had become an enjoyable routine. Well enjoyable might be a bit of a stretch (!) as I described my mixed emotions around exercise in a previous blog; I did however miss my afternoon constitutional, especially over Christmas, as my input outperformed my output if you know what I mean.

There are two differences with this new series of executable exertions. One is the schedule which has us meet up in the morning, a change which does suit me better. Given the icy road conditions I am unable to cycle over, but my chauffeurs are readily available in the mornings. The other difference is that I am the only male in the class. I wonder to myself “is it something I said? Or did?” Possibly I misread the qualifications for registration “Males please visit the weight room” (I certainly have negative memories from that form of workout)

Kamloops This Week

My other-gendered colleagues take me happily under their wing however, explaining how the new equipment (pictured above) works and is used. To date I have only broken one strap and slipped on one disk (which I guess is better than triggering a slipped disk!). A sharp-eyed colleague spotted my dropped hearing aid from the other side of the gym yesterday. Bravo and again I say, bravo. Sister you are indeed, beautiful!

Now I must correct an error from my last blog; I described my yellow-lined safe-space as three by four feet in dimensions. I don’t know what I was thinking or how I was figuring. but these allocated spaces are six by six feet. Believe me, it makes a difference as in this “Stronger Bones” class we leap higher, stretch further, puff harder and slither lower.

Funnily enough, our lovely instructor Cathy has arrived a little late the last few sessions. I don’t mind this at all as it shortens the class by a few minutes. I am able to read the large digital lock on the wall. As the numbers slowly progress I find myself wondering “how long O Lord?” It’s amazing that when photographing people, nature or miniature subjects I can lose myself in the  action, sometimes for hours at a time. This is not so with exercise. I find that five minutes passes as a long interval of time.

To keep things interesting Cathy occasionally names and describes the muscles we are discovering, including rectus abdominis. Body parts sound so much better in Latin I find – and yes, I did study Latin in a small boys’ school for five consecutive years. We never made it as far a body parts sadly.

Back to being a rounded human peg in a carefully defined yellow square hole. Cathy has us working on balance, never my strong point I must admit. I occasionally watch Olympic gymnasts on the balance beam leaping towards the ceiling hoping not to crash town on the hard beam, still hoping to enjoy the privilege of parenthood one day. To my mind, if some parts of my body are compromised I have enjoyed the privilege of unfettered bipedal travel from my earliest years. Why, oh why must we try to balance on a single leg? Cathy urges us upright and on, instructing us to select a spot on the floor and study it carefully. All I can do is wonder through a whispered breath, “who put that mark there?” Was it me, last week, when I deviously worked out in my street shoes? Oh dear.

I have however discovered a life rule in the process. When balancing on one foot, press your advantage. If I consciously press down harder, whether with the ball or my heel, I actually can balance, if only briefly. As a former bishop of mine once said, “there’s a sermon there.” In life, if you feel insecure, press your advantage. Practice, as the musician or the poet, the engineer of chef; speak or work or act from a firm foundation, and most likely you will prevail. Think about it.

One final observation. Our exercise is accompanied by cleverly assembled vocal tracks placed atop a metronomic rhythm section to help us stay on track and energized. Then, just yesterday, it happened! Country music! Now really. I must now request classical tracks, Vivaldi, Pavarotti, and John Williams, as a necessary balance to a most delightful and physically enhancing activity.

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