Saturday, 15 May 2010

Frugality and Fitness

I wrote yesterday about the climbing ladder into the loft. It dawned on me that I've been climbing another kind of ladder, this one maybe even slower, but that's OK.

I stumbled on this when reading The Simple Dollar. He, Trent Hamm, talked about this website. It sounded interesting so I downloaded the chart (it doesn't make a lot of sense on its own, so if you're interested, go visit the link):

Rung Bend Sit up Leg lift Push up Steps Count

1 2 3 4 2 105 1 30
2 3 4 5 3 140 1 65
3 4 6 6 3 170 2 20
4 6 7 8 4 200 2 50
5 7 9 9 5 225 3 0
6 8 10 10 6 255 3 30
7 10 11 12 7 280 3 55
8 12 13 14 8 305 4 5
9 14 15 16 9 325 4 25
10 16 16 18 11 350 4 50
11 18 18 20 12 370 4 70
12 20 20 22 13 390 5 15
13 23 21 25 15 405 5 30
14 25 23 27 16 425 5 50
15 28 25 30 18 440 5 65

I had a go last year sometime, but it fell through after not very long. I found the running, oddly enough, was what put me off. To put it bluntly, if I was going to run and do jumping jacks, I needed to be wearing a running bra; and if I had to change clothes to do something that was only going to take 15 minutes, I couldn't be bothered. As I already run something like 15-20 miles a week, I decided not to worry about that part, but to concentrate on the other exercises.

I have no noticable upper body strength! However, if I want to be able to carry the things I want and have the muscle to stand erect, shoulders back and all that, I need to get some.

I used to be the queen of stomach crunches; Bill remembers when I did about 200 a day. Then I got really obsessed with running, lost a bunch of weight and had no tummy to speak of. When I didn't have anything I needed to hold in, I lost my motivation to do all those crunches! So now I'm finding sit ups a bit of a challenge.

There has just about never been a time when I couldn't bend over a touch my toes, mainly because I have relatively short legs! Well, and flexibility seems to be my natural gift. I start each of my bends by stretching upwards and bending back just a bit (thankfully I have no back problems). I remember Bill talking about little old ladies who had lost the ability to fix their own hair: they couldn't reach and hold their arms up above their heads anymore. I don't want that to happen to me anytime soon!

The idea is to spend at least 4 days on each rung, more if needed. I've been averaging about 6-7 days on each, just to be sure I'm not pushing myself too hard. I can manage the bends easily enough, and the leg lifts and sit ups are do-able. It's the push-ups that hold me back! I wouldn't even swear that I have good form, but I'm pleased as anything to be 'up' to 4 of them; paltry I know, but definitely progress.

I can do all of the exercises in my PJ's, my jeans or my running kits, and it takes so little time that it's hardly any bother at all, but I feel really pleased with myself when I've done it. Almost best of all -- after feeling fitter -- is no gym membership, no special clothes or equipment....a frugal exercise if ever there was one!

1 comment:

Pauline Wiles said...

Thank you for sending me this link! What a cool idea. You're right, being able to do this in whatever clothes we happen to be wearing is vital. I've been going to a twice weekly lunchtime strength building class and am thrilled to now be able to do a few proper push-ups. I just wish all the crunches were helping as much around the middle!