Saturday, 22 April 2017

Circuit training green-style

Yes, the title is a play on words. 
Words are My Thing now that I am working to extract the IT from my DNA, no mean feat after forty years working with technology but I am making progress. Some days I do not even think about cyber security and malware and complex code written to steal an identity, the contents of a bank account, a digital life.

Working on the mind, and working on the body.
In the nine years since I returned to the corporate cage my body has aged considerably. Cancer aside, all of that time sitting at a desk has not been good for me and added to the stresses, well, I am not fit and healthy. 

Time to address that.

And where better than the Green Gym outside my house?  

So most morning (and some afternoons, depending on who is around and how much I care to exercise in public and surrounded by over-friendly dogs), I step out in my now-customary black trousers and white T-shirt, and enjoy my exercise al fresco.

Starting with the old wooden bench which is a perfect height on which to step up and down, thus working the muscles that support my knees which are, after years of skiing and riding, quite without cartilage and which were, four years ago, threatened with replacement. I am keen to hang onto my body parts for as long as possible so I work on my leg muscles a lot.

Moving on to the sundial. It was built and decorated by the people of Drayton to celebrate the new millennium. During the summer evenings the local youths often hang out here, as  can be witnessed by the empty beer bottles, cigarette ends and general rubbish that they leave behind. I usually arrive armed with a carrier bag and while others are tutting and shaking their heads and complaining, I set to work to tidy it up. And then I do my calf stretches on the wall, while checking out the horses and ponies in the neighbouring field.

And on to bench presses...
Unless one of the local chaps is sitting on the bench, in which case I usually stop, sit and chat with him because socialising is an exercise that is good for everyone and he always teaches me something new, or shares with me some story from his long and well-lived life.

This is followed by another old bench. This one is by the pond so as I stretch my hamstrings and do some step-ups, I can check out the year's tadpoles and look for newts and even, as I once did, gaze with awful fascination at a large leech hanging out in the water.

And if that piece of gym equipment were ever to be occupied, there is another one nearby.

I love ballet.
Not to do it, you understand, although I surely would if I could, but to watch with wonder and admiration the fitness of the dancers and how supple and toned they are. And so I do a few exercises at the barre and have, in a box in the conservatory where I am storing my belongings as I pack for my return to France, a ballet barre of my own to be installed when I move back. But it won't be as nice as this one, I think.

Pausing to smell the flowers...

And onto the running track.
It is not long, my running track because I am still working on strengthening my heart and lungs after the tumour treatment which, in the course of killing cancer cells, clobbered my heart somewhat and reduced it to 50% capacity. So I run slowly along the track.

If you look closely you can see the nearby cycle track.
In truth it's the road to Sutton Courtney but it's popular with pedallers at the weekend.

And onto the next running track where the dog is usually ahead of me and waiting.

And to the bench for a five minute meditation, sometimes ten minutes, if that feels right. Often interrupted by the chap who has the allotment closest to the fence who likes to take a break from digging and chat. And here to so some leg raises which are really good for arthritic knees.

The dog also meditates...
His ancestors are from Tibet.

A shortcut through the organic food hall where, in summer, I am often handed a lettuce and a few vegetables, this happens to me wherever I go, not sure why, I certainly do not look as if I need feeding up.  

To the almost parallel bars, where I stretch out and consider trying to push myself up by my arms but wisely decide I am not ready for that yet. Note the notice board on the telegraph post and the old pump that reminds me that we all age, some of us more decoratively than others!

And so, back to the green and a cool-down as I walk under the walnut trees and back home,
It took me a while to get used to people seeing me working out in public like this. And as luck would have it, it's usually the more serious-minded, less fun-loving locals who catch me at it, but I have learned not to care what people think of me as long as I am kind, decent and honest so...

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