Recently, I looked in the mirror and thought “Hmmm, my legs are getting thinner (yay)”. Then I realised it was because my muscle mass was decreasing. I’ve been told that this happens as you get older – something I’m not looking forward to!
But in all seriousness, the following are my truisms:
- Exercise is very important for my mental health
- Weight-bearing exercise is important as I get older
- I still need to work on my knee and leg strength following an ACL reconstruction mid 2019
I thought I’d share some of the equipment I have and activities I do to exercise on, and from, the boat. I’ve had a lot of physio as well as one-to-one sessions with personal trainers, so the activities I do are not new to me. ** Please note, it’s important to see your health professional before you embark on any exercise program.**
Suspension trainer (like a TRX)
This trainer users your own body weight and gravity as resistance to build strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core and joint stability. Since I have very good body weight, these exercises are perfect for me. There are lots of exercises on YouTube and I’m currently following a beginner one.
These pics show where I attach it.
The great thing about these is they’re easy to store, inexpensive, safe – dropping a resistance band on your foot won’t hurt it like a kettlebell will.
I’ve got a set of four bands, which range from light to extra heavy, and I use them to do specific leg exercises that help with my ACL rehab. I also find the longer band is great for stretching.
The therapy roller shown here also helps when muscles are tight after all my exercise!
I bought some guided mobility exercises that I can do on the boat, and while I still struggle to keep up and there’s some I can’t do, I feel great afterwards.
There’s also a 10-minute video that is a great warm-up or when I’m short for time. You couldn’t imagine this would happen, since I gave up work late 2019, and yet the days seem to pass very quickly!
I’m saving the best activity for last…kayaking. I’ve been kayaking for a long time and have completed a couple of fund-raising marathons of 111km that you paddle overnight. The first was 2013 in a single 5.8m fibreglass Horizon Challenger, the second in 2017 in a double Mirage that was 7.3m long and a really big boat (AKA “The Big Bastard”). We sold this kayak shortly after the event. Both times I kayaked the marathon with a good friend – Mike P.
Prior to moving aboard Poseidon, I also sold the Horizon Challenger kayak since I had nowhere to store it on board. Instead, I bought a shorter, plastic sit-on-top and it’s perfect – easy to get on/off, strong, UV resistant, tracks well, incredibly stable and Australian made. I don’t paddle anywhere near the distances I used to, but I can still have a good workout and get to see areas not accessible in our boat or on foot. In fact, I used this kayak when I took photos in my recent blog post Brooklyn’s Boat Boneyard.
Therefore, with this equipment, and some dumbbells and hand strengtheners not shown, I can do something different every day to help stay fit and strong. I admit that some days I struggle with motivating myself, but I’m getting better at this. I remind myself that even if I just do something for 15 minutes, it’s better than doing nothing at all.
Well, I’m off to do some exercise!