Core muscles in progress, thanks to Yoga! Upon reflection, more work is needed on arms, legs, etc.

At Sundown this past Monday, Rosh Hashanah began. I learned about the Jewish New Year festival while researching Beyond Big-G City. If you read this book (and I dearly hope you did because it’s mine, mine, mine!) you may recall David Bernstein’s foster parents were charged with raising him in the Jewish tradition. Rosh Hashanah is a period of celebration- –


I loved the apple slices dipped in honey!


The traditional foods are fun, 9, and some follow a theme of making the New Year sweet. But Rosh Hashanah is also a time of reflection, for reviewing the past year and identifying what you can do better in the year to come. This being a religious holiday the emphasis is really meant to be on spiritual matters. My time of reflection pointed toward a different kind of reform.


Uh-oh. What are you going to make us do now?


It’s more what we’re not going to do, 9. Since the pandemic restrictions started I’ve fallen into a manic routine of exercise that I now realize may be impairing my health instead of improving it. I’m not giving myself enough time to rest and recover between sessions of Nordic Track, brisk walking, Pilates and Yoga. When I added swimming this summer it gradually became clear that I was literally wearing myself out.


I noticed you don’t have much energy on swimming days.


For a while I figured I was just going through a normal breaking-in period, Lily. And then. . .no one likes to admit they’re pushing themselves too hard, right? Taking time for reflection made me face up to the fact that my BMI (Body Mass Index) is 16.2. Since Bruce died in late 2018 I’ve dropped six pounds that I couldn’t really spare and haven’t gotten them back. A healthy BMI for a woman my height is 18.5; I’d have to gain 15 pounds to get there.


That sounds like a lot.


I think so, too. The last time I talked to my doctor about it she recommended I gain five pounds, and said that ten would be even better but having known me for many years she didn’t believe I’d go that far. Now, I’m ready to aim for the five.


Good! The first place we need to go is Bright’s for a caramel pecan ice cream cone.

Reflection: 9 might also enjoy Birthday Cake ice cream on a waffle cone at Bright’s!

Not so fast, 9! I’m not going to start eating a ton of fat and sugar. We’ll be eating more, yes, but it will be healthy stuff. More calorie-dense proteins than we usually have. More healthy carbs. Maybe a caramel pecan ice cream cone here and there, but it’s not going to be a lifestyle thing.




The other component is changing the way I exercise: some reduction in the amount and some changes in the activities. I’m going to start resistance training.


That sounds more like a social skill than a physical one.


I can understand your confusion, Lily. A simpler way to say it is weight training. Building muscle strength becomes increasingly important as I age. Some resistance training can be done by using the weight of my body, and I’m already getting some core muscle strength through Pilates and Yoga. I’d like try some exercises targeted for different areas- -arms, legs, that kind of stuff, maybe try working with free weights.


Please tell me we’re not going to look like one of those gross body-building guys.


That’s a promise I can keep, Lily. My goal is to develop more strength (instead of merely wearing myself out). And I’d like to get back to tap dancing. Exercise with a component of joy, right?


That’s where reflection has led me. Life’s too short to power on relentlessly, driven by the objective of, what, outrunning the pandemic? Fleeing bouts of loneliness and frustration that come from adhering to social distancing protocols?


Reflection and reform. Less exercise (I currently average 7 to 9 hours/week) and a different mix of exercise, looking toward a future that might one day include a dance class.


More food, more energy to put out into the world, and more healthy years to do this.


And hey, if anyone knows of an adult tap dancing class in Walla Walla, give me a shout!

Mom, the one who turned me into a tap maniac! She’s at the front of the line for “Chorus Line,” O’Meara Studio recital 1980s, when she close to my present age. A topic for reflection indeed. . .

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