A Friend’s Response to My Summer Exercise Challenge

Thanks to my dear friend, Shelley, a fellow blogger, for submitting this humorous response to my earlier posts:

exercise challenge

I remember when……my siblings and I were self-proclaimed masters of the art of hoola-hooping! Not only could we rock the hoop back and forth around our waists, but we could rock, swirl, and twirl it just as well with other limbs, and on other body parts. Oh, yeah!

I remember when…..I could keep that hoola-hoop twirling around my waist for endless minutes. It was easy. But the show didn’t end at my waist. I could swirl the hoop on my hand held above my head, or in circles on my hand extended to the side of my body. I could swirl the hoop around my neck, steer it down past my shoulder and chest, to finally rest on my little tiny waist. I could also, with one leg extended some distance from the other, twirl that hoop around one leg. This wasn’t exercise; it was just a fun outdoor activity that we all enjoyed.

I remember when……jumping rope or “skipping”, was a favorite thing to do with my friends at recess, or with my siblings in our large backyard. I could skip fast; I could skip slow; I could skip over the rope on one leg; I could skip, bend down quickly to touch the ground and be back up in time to continue skipping without missing a beat; I could skip, then “run out” and run back in without the rope hitting me or I would be “out” and have to wait on the side line as I watched my other friends take their turns in that skipping game.

So with those fond memories in mind, on what was an extraordinarily hot day last week when I didn’t go into my office, I decided to follow Jen’s suggestion to do two fun summer exercises that would help to keep my brain active; hoola-hoop and jump rope! My brain, after all, will love me for the extra effort I’m taking to help it stay alert and alive longer.

I scrounge around in my grandson’s toy boxes and find several jump ropes. Yay! Next, I take a dusty hoola-hoop that is hanging peacefully on its hook in the garage and bring it into the house. Getting dressed, I mused how easy this would be. I couldn’t wait to call Jennifer to brag about my successful brain workout from these 2 “light” exercises.

First up! The pink & white candy stripe hoola-hoop. Forget about the one hand twirling over the head or anything else. Let’s get right to the waist. A waist that sadly, is no longer tiny. A waist, that somehow on its very own, (unbelievable, but true), over the last several decades has lost its curves, and has grown wider and thicker. With my two hands firmly gripping the opposite sides of the hoop, I hold it in place encircling my waist area, spread my feet slightly apart, and BAM – I’m off to the races!

My first attempt is nothing short of cringe worthy. My body movement, rather than looking and feeling like a fluid first step move to lead into a continuing circular motion, seems instead, to jerk and lurch forward awkwardly. It was pathetic, but it was my first attempt and I would not be discouraged. I’d keep going. Moving my waist in a simple rhythmic circular motion to keep the hoola-hoop in place was supposed to be fairly easy. Why then, did it feel as if all fluidity had taken a temporary leave of absence from my body, and the miserable hoop chose instead to just spiral downward and drop unceremoniously to the floor at my feet. Same result after every single attempt. Not good!

Have I lost my natural rhythm? After all, I can still do a decent dance with moderately decent gyrating moves to my favorite soca songs. And I can still cut the rug with some mean salsa moves; both of these dances require extensive use & movement of my hip. So what’s the problem?

Minutes later after some laboring and panting, I eventually manage to keep the hoop going around my waist for some short periods. Eventually though, it fell to the floor just one time too many, and I simply hiss my teeth and kick it away. I’m done.

Moving right along! Jump rope! I pick it up and get into position. This will be much easier than the hoola-hoop. Ready. Go!! With the first swing of the rope over my head, I manage to successfully jump over it, but step on it as it came back down towards my feet. I’m improving, I thought – after several attempts – if only in my mind and not in reality. I manage to successfully jump for a total of 10 consecutive times before the rhythm breaks.

Now, with a noticeably increased heartbeat and panting, I set a goal to complete 50 consecutive jumps before calling it a day.  I can do this.  Finally, just as I begin to settle into a nice rhythm, alas, I hear my left knee make a clicking sound on jump #20. Oops! The troubled arthritic left knee is sending me a message. Should I ignore it and keep going? I try, but my intuition tells me to stop so as to avoid any potential emergency knee problems, especially as I was alone at the house. Was I looking for a reason to give up? Maybe……and I did!

Although I didn’t feel like a total failure, the memories of my hoola-hoop and jump rope skills from my younger years quickly recede into the memory bank box and quietly close the door behind them. Oh, well! I tried. But wait! There’s one other brain activity to complete. It’s the POWER OF MUSIC! Move over hoola-hoop and jump rope. It’s time to SING!!!

For well over a week now, I have been singing – constantly and consistently. I read the Power of Music post the night before I went to bed. Strangely and surprisingly, the next morning I woke up singing.  Now, I sing lustily in the shower. I sing while getting dressed for work. I sing as I eat my oatmeal breakfast.  Once, I almost choked on the orange juice; I was trying to drink and sing at the same time. But it’s all good.

My body appears to fill up with new energy as I sing loudly in the car driving to work. I don’t care if anyone hears me through the closed windows.  For the most part, the notes are melodic, but at times, they are pathetic. Some are off key; some soprano notes escape from my lips like a shrill scream; others come out in varying questionable sounds, but it doesn’t matter. I keep on singing. I can feel my brain thanking me. If only singing could shrink my thick waist back to its former size of yester-years!

What I failed to accomplish with the hoola-hoop and the jump rope, I certainly made up with SINGING! I hope that my brain will reward me points for trying, and extra points and cookies for the added elective of singing. Ultimately though, I hope the reward will indeed result in an automatic extension on my brain’s life and health!

I’m ready for the next brain game!

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