She’s a retired personal trainer. My wonderful, loving, considerate, patient human who tops off my meals with little pieces of cheese, brushes my coat and who I really like is a retired PERSONAL TRAINER! “Let’s go for a walk,” she says. “We need the exercise,” she says. “Gotta keep our weight down, bods in shape.” I’m eight-years-old and my last owner was sedentary. I like a casual walk as much as the next guy, but she worked for years as a PERSONAL TRAINER. Walking with this old girl is a whole different animal.
Our routes are super nice. Towering pines, thick shrubs, winding trails in one direction, tall beach grass, sand and crashing waves in another. Lots of good peeing and pooping spots, too, and she exhibits a great deal of patience when I stop. But the rest of the time we’re moving. I am thankful for small favors. She’s no spring chicken anymore. While she once RAN six miles a day, arthritis in her back and knees has changed her workout routine to less miles and walking, but walking with a former runner isn’t just schlepping along. The old girl’s pace is fast. I’m good for the first mile, staying in front, eagerly pulling on my leash. By the start of mile two I’m plodding along beside her and near the end I’m starting to drag. But I came up with a spectacular idea. To save myself and tap into both the sympathetic and competitive sides of my trainer person, as we close in on the end of mile two I shift from dragging to plopping my fluffy rump down on the pavement. She turns around, takes pity on my sad little face, to which I’ve added a drooping tongue, and finishes her workout carting me in her arms. She takes great delight in hefting fifteen extra pounds. Panting now she tells me she’s burning more calories, building more muscle, bettering her fitness level. I knew she’d come to that conclusion. We finish our walk. She plants a kiss on top of my head, tells me it was a good three miles, gives me water before she takes a drink herself. I knew she’d do that, she’s such a mush. “You’re a good walking buddy,” she says. I’m glad when I can help.
I am an aging woman. Well, all of us are aging, but I’ve just recently started paying attention to being part of the group. I’ve been a young thinker my whole life and thanks in part to genetics look a bit younger than my years. Not that these things are bad, it’s just that owning up to the aging process is a new concept for me. I’ve been a grandma for many years, but not in an old, crotchety way. I walk every day, lift weights, occasionally do some yoga and never feel the least bit grandma-ish. Will admit becoming a great-grandmother a few years ago was a jolting experience, but I pulled through lightly seasoned with a touch of gray, a little irritable bowel and manageable arthritis. So before I start drooling out the side of my mouth, let’s talk about this aging thing.
In truth, aging is a bloody challenge. I’m up for it, but sometimes find it a pain in the rump, literally today because my left sciatic nerve is aching. And here’s where my annoyance kicks in. “You’re in great shape, keep up the exercise,” my doctor advises. And I’m out there walking rain or shine almost every day and like I said lifting weights as well, but if I push this aging bod a tad too much it comes back to haunt me in the form of pain. Now I wouldn’t mind the sore muscles if I saw some light at the end of the tunnel, like my exercise routine bringing cholesterol numbers down. “Eat more fiber,” the doc says. So this carbo junkie buys a machine that grinds fruit, veggies and nuts to a pulp and starts having healthy, fibrous shakes for breakfast. It isn’t long before this morning meal is followed by spending the afternoon in the bathroom. With the grinding machine tucked to the back of a rarely opened cabinet, I get into oatmeal for breakfast. Let me tell you oatmeal, no matter what favorite goodie I put in it, isn’t a New York bagel slathered with cream cheese. Moving on from grumbling, this morning, instead of standing over the sink to eat my yummy bowl of mush, I sat at the dining room table. This way I was able to plop my screaming sciatic rear on the heating pad while I ate. About halfway through my ordeal, Dusty plopped in my lap. I offered him the oatmeal that was stuck to the side of my bowl. He lapped happily, licked my face and curled into peaceful sleep - my little Dusty always so appreciative of the smallest tidbit. Since I always grow some through my association with animals, I’ll try letting this oatmeal thing grow on me. Maybe my cholesterol numbers will shrink in the process. No matter what, like little Dusty I’ll take time to appreciate the gift of today, the joy of the moment, the unappetizing food.
And will you look at the time. After some weight training we’re heading out for today’s walk.
You should know my personal trainer has written a popular book on safe exercise for folks with diabetes, heart disease and COPD. One of the chapters even has a blurb about a dog. She can’t help herself, always includes a critter in her writing. You can find it on her Books Page.
Best wishes and stay tuned for more Aging in Good Spirits posts from DUSTY and THIS OLD GIRL.