Category Archives: exercise

Family reconnections

On Sunday my cousin Fiona arrived for a short visit to ours. Fiona is my only older cousin and previously we had seen each other at weddings and funerals. Also when I was working in Berkshire many years ago and attending college reunions I would pop by when driving back east. This year she has taken on a fund raising challenge for St Mungos and their work with the homeless. She and Fizz her two year old collie are aiming to walk 1000 miles.

As part of the challenge she has tackled her technophobia for a good cause and she and Fizz have a Facebook account to share their walking adventures. She had come to Dorset to explore our area and add some different miles to their record.

It has been wonderful over the last two days to get to know each other better than we have ever done before. Anne and I have had lots of time to chat with Fiona and of course to admire Fizz.

On Monday Fiona, Fizz and I tackled part of the SW coast path. The view planned would offer great views from the Isle of Wight to the east and the Isle of Portland to the west.

Yep, sea mist spoilt the view, which I still pointed what lay out there, even if we couldn’t see it. ( some of my art showed what had been missed later). A mild day and good for walking. We did an eight mile walk from ours, along the Houns Tout ridge and then down the steps to above Chapmans Pool. Fizz coped very well with both the steps and the slow humans.

Then around the valley bottom to Hill Bottom and up onto the cliff path out to St Aldhelms Point. The valley of steps led to suffering for Fiona and I, Fizz just ran back and forward between us.

We visited the chapel on the headland where Fizz took advantage of the cool stone floor to relax for a rest. Photo opportunities outside the chapel then on past the Coastwatch post and the radar memorial (WW2 site of extensive radar development work).

We explored the old quarries at Winspit and made our way eastwards. Fizz was happy to pose by some drystone walls which will provide more art pieces at a later date. We continued to Dancing Ledge and walked down to the ledge above the pool where we watched a coasteering group jumping in then regrouping.

Then a long slow slog up the hill and over at Spyway Barn to reach Langton (Matravers) and a well event drink with Anne, then fish and chips on the seafront at Swanage.

On our return home Fizz enjoyed a well deserved rest.

Tuesday saw me cycling off to work for my boat shift. Later I was visited by Anne, Fiona and Fizz. They had a walk by the river Frome where Fizz kept disappearing in the reeds apparently; they visited the Purbeck Artisan Yard and provide food for lunch which as was delayed in eating as I had a sudden rush of customers. Fizz spent some time with me while the ladies visited the town, he was very popular with customers and passers by alike. A meal out last night with Fizz resting.

Today we are going to head into Swanage this morning and meet up with Charlie before Fiona and Fizz return to Sussex. It has been great to spend time together and get to know each other so much better, shame it has taken to our 50s but there we are. We will be visiting Sussex next that’s for sure.

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Freeletics return and health plans

Last week I did a Comeback week that included exercises never set before – I was surprised to be set clapping push ups when I struggle with push ups. Whatever, I completed the week and now should be doing week Seven, I find at present I am lacking in energy and then fear I can not complete sets well enough.

Also for June we have decided that Anne and I both want to lose some weight so a diet will kick in that means cutting out the cakes and tubes with the lid that pops. So over the summer I hope that diet and exercise can combine to give me more energy and a slimmer middle especially. I am posting about this then I hope it can be a positive reminder.

Last Autumn I reduced my antidepressant dosage and had considered reducing it again this summer, at present that plan may go on hold as having some lower reactions to events, but an aspect to be reviewed up until the end of October as a possibility. I acknowledge that antidepressants are part of my life and have been for over 17 years, but reducing my dosage would be a sense of moving on.

Around the Freeletics commitment I am now back to working at my boat job with Wareham Boat Hire, shifts will become increasingly physical as the season moves towards the school holidays. I have also cycled one way, one and three quarter ways to work and back with Anne collecting me and the fat tyre or cyclo cross bike. The intention this season is to cycle more often and my Hartland / Middlebere route is 9 miles each way.

Continue to follow for progress, I look forward to being able to do sets of burpees without crawling through them etc..

Freeletics recovery break

No, I haven’t given up. I got to week six and did four workouts in the first week of a fortnight away in Canada but long walks in the day me at my energy levels could not sustain workouts as well. So I made the decision to take a week out and I admit this week so far jet lag etc means I have not restarted yet but will be doing even if my completion of task may be less efficient.

I admit the programme is suiting me but admitting to myself I had to take a rest after going from no workouts to six weeks at four a week was catching up with me. Jet lag and jumping straight back into work shifts and art events mean I will need to monitor how I am coping but week seven will be blogged about soon.

Canada trip will also make a show in some posts too.

Freeletics week four

The saga continues, yes I am still going. This week has seen me knock a significant 8 seconds off my pb for 200m and 4 seconds off my 800m time. I know from many previous years of running that this pb pattern will not always happen. Also it will be interesting to see how times vary as the footpath / track dries out as we go towards summer.

The drills are adding new exercises each week. I am terrible at burpees etc, I can not sit up for the sit-ups. Pushups are done with a new arm position but so far easier to do but in small quantities. I am feeling that gradually I am adding greater flexibility and my cardio fitness is improving.

I do feel sorry for anyone passing out front garden when I am exercising on the front step and so far have managed to avoid people walking on he track, the sight of me lumbering along may distress.

Was it a good idea for me?

Yes, as I have a structure, I am exercising four days a week consistently and have rest days too. I now look ahead to check clips on new techniques so I will know what I am aiming for. I am not trying extension exercises but nor am I doing easier exercises either. I am being introduced to a range of drills I would not come up with or do on my own even though I essentially train on my own each time.

While doing this I have also gone out rowing and my new squat practice helped in the boat. I have cycled 18 miles and only tired in the last two miles so I am adding my own extras too. I have even started to modify diet slightly and I already have worn a shirt to go out for a meal that previously wouldn’t do up. When I get to 12 weeks and the end of this particular programme I will post photos of me at the start and after 12 weeks, you have been warned.

Freeletics training

So I am onto week 3, this week Friday will see me trying to run 1500m “like an athlete”, a sluggish one. I am enjoying the challenge of the exercises four times a week. Sessions are usually between 20 and 30 minutes.

My flexibility is improving and I have even started a new Pinterest board for stretching exercises to start using to work on my shoulders and neck which have caused sleep disruption for several nights recently. I am also aware of the need to loosen my hips and as my core starts to develop to add more strength for sit ups especially.

The runs have so far been mainly on the Houns Track path and so far I have been lucky not to scare any walkers as I attempt to “sprint” 200 or 400m and “run like an athlete” for 800m.

Some of the exercises are becoming easier to correct form and technique and I am keeping up the pace on most things.

No photos as I said last time, Anne took some pre Freeletics pics on day one and we will do a second set when I complete the first 12 week programme.Admittedly less eating of treats would accelerate any change but I am not ready for that yet!

Rigorous training starts

Since the post I just posted I have invested in a year’s coaching from an online app called “Freeletics” had looked at it a number of times when it was advertised on Facebook and Instagram.

I am walking more, I have used both my bikes already but I need to improve my fitness, size of midriff and flexibility. I used to have a great exercise ethic when I was younger where I would exercise, often to the point of addiction and keep very fit. Age has slowed that and I have widened as I like my food but the exercise drive has dwindled hence previous posts.

So I have invested in this app to get me out and exercising. In week one I have done four workouts. Each has involved warming up and cooling down exercises. I have already challenged my breathing, flexibility and core strength. I have completed a number of exercises that following instructions drives me one more than I can do for myself. I have also done two 400m runs and an 800m one.

A positive start, I am not going to publish the weekly photos of my shape until I complete my first 12 week programme.

As there is a rest day between each workout I have held off doing other activities this week but will add those in so I am out walking, cycling, kayaking etc in addition to the workouts.

Please follow my progress and see what my “stickability” is.

Changes in plans

Plans are meant to be flexible aren’t they?

So 2019 started with an old Andy habit – want to show something is happening – make a spreadsheet / logbook. I did this to show I was exercising more, Anne questioned why I needed a spreadsheet for that and to be honest she was right so that method has gone.

In January post-beach huts event I found myself fighting germs that had not been “allowed” to kick in during the event. Fitness dropped as previous posts said. I have pulled back from training at the rowing club as others are training towards the Scillies in May and are getting fitter and fitter, the gap between us kept growing so own exercise was needed.

Anne and I are doing a few more walks locally – recent examples are parking in Worth (Matravers) village car park and walking down to Winspit, exploring the old quarrying area then walking onto Seacombe on the South West Coast path and then back to the ‘Square and Compass’ for a pasty and some live music.

Pictures above show climbers and other walkers visiting Winspit.

After walks or cycle rides or even kayak trips I use ArcGIS Explorer to measure the rough distance covered, it is also good for sharing with others about routes to take.

The next walk was along ‘Houns Tout’ and as it was a calm day, we descended the steps towards’ Chapmans Pool’ then returned up the valley towards Kingston.

We have had a sunset walk along ‘Houns Tout’ and saw no one on our way to the bench at the end where we watched the waves and sun going down. We only saw one couple on the way back too.

We have just changed phone contracts and invested in Huawei P20 Pro cameras each with a Leica linked camera which hopefully will show in the quality of pictures taken.

We have also had a few walks in and around Swanage including a sunny morning sat at the end of the pier which led to some sketching time. It was good to stop and rest at the pier shelter.

The recent mild weather also inspired me to be out on my other bicycle, not the fat bike but the cyclocross one. I had seen and heard about the bike track through Rempstone forest but it was an area I had driven along the edge of but not explored. For some reason my phone app did not record the distance correctly, the map shown is from ‘Explorer’ again.

An incomplete circuit because I tried to do too much, this is not new as people who have exercised with me know only too well, but I do like to push the boundaries. So a descent down Kingston hill which I am gaining confidence on, through Corfe village and onto Norden and the road across Hartland and Middlebere. Then I left the road and took the bridleway / National cycle route 2 that cuts across to a Studland in the east. Loose sand sections would have suited the fat tyres better. Lots of stopping to unfasten and refasten gates. The scenery was great I saw a few other people out on foot and bikes. A chance to see Poole Harbour from the southern shore.

At Studland I cycled up towards the village and then took the road past the Pig at the beach hotel, and the Banks Arms, the road was busy with cars and pedestrians. I made my way out to Old Harry Rocks then cycled up until fatigue kicked in and had to walk for a while across Ballard Down. The views appeared hazy but the coastal landforms were still clear.

A picture at the triangulation pillar and then I descended some of the bridleway into Swanage, it became too steep and risky for me so I dismounted and walked. A break in Swanage and an ice cream. Then I set off for home. Langton (Matravers) hill was a slow process with many stops at the side to rest, I refused to dismount. Then once just past Burngate I realised I was wiped out, a phone call and my friendly bike taxi came and collected me.

All in all a positive difference and more exercise – enough?

See next post…

Fatbike ride 2

So I bought a secondhand Calibre Dune fatbike at the weekend. Today I had decided to go out in the day for my second ride. I had some ideas for a route but how much I did would depend on my fitness.

I live up on a ridge called Houns Tout – I descended through my local village Kingston and took the bridleway past Blashenwell Farm. A rock track where care was needed in places. The lower slope then runs onto Corfe Common and is more undulating. I cycled through the village of Corfe Castle and turned uphill under one of the bridges carrying the Swanage Heritage Railway. Soon I turned off to start the climb up onto the Purbeck Ridge (chalk). I cycled about half the slope which is probably better than I was expecting. I walked the second half until I reached the direction stone. I turned back to ride to the tumulus on East Hill above Corfe Castle. I took some photos on my phone to help with a current piece of art.

Then I cycled eastwards along the ridge. in a couple of places I had to dismount for the slope as well as opening and shutting gates.

I reached the end of the ridge above Ulwell and took a picture before descending.

Descending needed care and attention with small pebbles and rock steps aĺl passed without incident. I continued into Swanage and a refreshment stop at Java Independent Coffee House, a personal favourite.

After my Apricot and Marzipan toasted scone (yummy) and peppermint tea it was time to set off back upto Kingston. This time I would be following the southern Purbeck ridge (limestone). I started on the road then went onto “The Priests Way”. Very muddy in places and lots of gates. I worked my way up feom Swanage behind Langton Matravers and Acton and on towards Worth Matravers. Tiredness was setting in so rather than taking the hillier option from Worth that I had cycled on Sunday. I returned to the top road that runs from Langton to Kingston past several local stone businesses. In Kingston I cycled very slowly by now back up through the village and back along the Houns Tout track that passes our house.

In total 16.4 miles covered and I have rested since except for cleaning the Dune.

In 2019 I want to gradually increase the distances covered and the pace I ride at. Some rides will be more road bases and will use my trail /cross bike. An encouraging start to the year.

Exercise – week three

Germs have dominated week two and also affected week 3. We have got out for some gentle walks in the open air at Durlston and Studland Bay. Walking and being outside has always been good for my mental wellbeing and it offers the chance to look about us at our great surroundings here in Purbeck.

Today I travelled up to Fleet, Hampshire to look at a second hand fatbike, but only 6 months old. It was all that I was expecting, so once home a quick lunch and then out for a first ride.

I set off from home and stayed offroad for the first 4.5 miles. The return journey included more road but despite 4.0 inch tyres the low gearing made it easy to ride. I got wet and muddy and had a great time.

In total an 8 mile ride and there will be more like this soon too.

A good way of feeling relaxed – Alpaca walks

Today, Anne took up her birthday gift of an Alpaca walk, she had to cancel back into November due to very strong winds and rain. Today we went to a local centre at Longthorne Farm, just north of Monkey World in Dorset.

We were to walk with Harry and William and Anne was to lead Harry. These two young males get on famously apparently. We were given lots of facts about Alpacas which I admit I generally let roll past me. Very calm animals with “teddy bear”like coats. We were allowed to stroke their necks. William was fairly “talkative” throughout the walk. The biggest noise was the tanks passing to their training grounds, the Alpacas took it into their stride as for them it must be a familiar sound.

When an Alpaca decides it wants to eat, drink, scratch you stop with them, a mind of their own but no mean spiritedness at all. We got to feed them in our return too. When we left I felt incredibly at ease and we will be back again.

Stopping in the cool stream and having a drink.

Time for a group photo.

Harry.

Harry allowed Anne to stroke his head, William wasn’t keen although he allowed his ears to be stroked.

William.

Feeding for two.

Harry demonstrating how Alpacas settle similarly to a camel.

I have had allergy issues with horses at sanctuaries before that meant I couldn’t visit. The Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic and I had no trouble being around them.

A big thank you from us both to Longthorne, Farm.