Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

My first day of spring was great. I managed to spend a good chunk of it outdoors. I went for a ride on the motorcycle, walked and later in the evening went cycling.

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

When I left home I intended to go for a short ride to Guysborough for milk and gas but on the way home I decided to keep going on Route 16. The kilometers quickly accumulated and before long I found myself in Half Island Cove. From there I figured it would be just as well to circle around through Port Felix and on home. Only a little further along I could feel the air growing cooler. Fog. I could see a fog bank in the distance above the trees. Lower Whitehead was completely engulfed. By this time I was cold. Usually I like fog but I hadn’t dressed well enough and decided it would be better to keep on heading home.

I made only one stop. I couldn’t resist the rotting ice you see in the little lake above. Normally I don’t ride around on my motorcycle for the sake of riding around but I made an exception on this very fine first day of spring.

Later, Carol and I walked and a little later, once it was dark, I took the bicycle out. The thermometer indicated fourteen degrees at 9 pm. The air felt warm. The clear sky was perfect for star gazing when I stopped where there were no home or street lights.

I played tennis a little while ago – the earliest ever for us. I wore shorts and a T-shirt and worked up a sweat. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to cycle again later tonight. There may only be a few of these nice days and I do not intend to take them for granted. I hope you are finding lots of ways to take advantage too.

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Shed, Port Bickerton

I have not had the best of luck with weather during the last, almost year, since beginning this blog. A very wet spring eventually lead into some (too few) decent days through the summer then as fall colors began their annual display a wind storm decimated the canopy. Winter has been mild without much snow. Without snow or ice winter photography is limited and because photography is limited I’m not motivated to explore or go very far from home. Without photos I find myself reluctant to post but because I don’t want too much time to go by without registering some life here I thought I would re-iterate a point I’ve made a few times before: short repetitive outings are essential to remaining active.

The idea of practice applies to nearly everything. When it comes to an active lifestyle it means doing activities that don’t require too much time so they can be easily incorporated into each day. If you want to be good at something then you practice the necessary skills. If you want to truly excel then you practice more and more, each individual will determine their own goals. Sometimes practice will build strength and stamina as well as skills. It seems, however, the concept of practice often has a pejorative connotation. For many practice equates with boredom and repetition. Procrastination or other excuses largely boil down to the same thing which is to consider practice as a separate aspect of an activity or sport. (more…)

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A typical view of the TCT near Salmon River Lake

A few days ago Olivia (youngest daughter) and I went skiing. My current agenda is to try going to places I have not skied before which is a change from my usual impulse to ski on Donahue Lake. Olivia was not interested in dealing with hills so the safest bet was a section of the Trans Canada Trail.

Brook running beside the TCT

We drove to Salmon River Lake, parked (safely) on the side of the road where we could easily access the trail. As we were getting our gear out of the car three snowmobiles went past. They had come from Guysborough Intervale – a route made possible once several lakes freeze. It was nice to see others out enjoying the afternoon, and nicer still when the noise of their machines faded away.

Olivia skiing near Salmon River Lake

Once we were clamped into our skis and moving on the trail another consequence of the snowmobiles quickly made itself known: slushy crud. Each of us ended up with gobs of ice on our skis. This rendered our forward progress painstakingly slow. I didn’t even realize the cause of this poor performance right away. I thought it seemed odd that we were not able to glide when conditions were so favorable. When I finally clued in I used my wax scraper to clear both pairs of skis. Olivia had clumps like small fists on both skis.


The section of trail we were on ended up not being especially flat. We encountered several inclines that were tricky to descend. I thought this added nice variety while Olivia would have preferred the trail to remain flat. The trail is closely lined by trees on each side. Unfortunately we ran out of time and had to turn just as we came to an interesting area where the trail borders a few lakes.

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I was nosing around on the Rivendell Bicycle site and came across a video describing the value of daily exercise. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out by clicking the link above. There are some impressive statistics along with general recommendations for improving your health. I like that he labels television as a chronic disease.


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Carol and I loaded the car with gear, drove five kilometers, parked at Spank’s Bridge and skied a section of the Trans Canada Trail. We went as far as Cook’s Cove then re-traced our way back to the car. The old rail bed is ideal though the trail in the other direction, from Spank’s Bridge to Ogden, is currently closed as a result of maintenance. If more snow falls and fills in the ruts then it should also be fine.

Skiing on the TCT near Cook's Cove

I didn’t think it would be wise to do too much on our first outing. Carol hasn’t been on her skis for several years and I wasn’t really out much last year either. I anticipated there being a few muscles that might be less than thrilled by the workout so going easy seemed the best bet. Carol said it was more fun than she remembered though she couldn’t actually remember the last time she went. I’m not sure what caused the negative impression but replacing it with something positive will go a long way toward seeing her back on her skis more regularly.  (more…)

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If a malevolent banker decided to revise the current financial charter governing my mortgage and take all my belongings I would, of course, be a little bit sad. I wouldn’t be able to ride my bike or paddle my kayak, wouldn’t be able to snowshoe or ski, I wouldn’t even have a camera or computer to use. Yet, assuming I could retain some of my clothing, I would be able to appear in public, as usual, and walk.

A walk, or walking, is utterly basic and absolutely low cost. You need almost nothing except clothing to do it. There are almost no risks. There are no particular skills required, no special equipment. And to top it off it’s one of the most pleasant activities there is. If I owned nothing but the clothes on my back and shoes/boots on my feet I would be able to keep on walking. I am not a person who likes to tell anyone what to do, so I’m going to pull up short of telling you to try walking if you haven’t already done so, but for me there simply isn’t anything that compares.

Walking in winter is different than at other times of the year but there will always be an excuse not to do it if you’re prone to looking for excuses. It rains half the time, there are bugs when it’s warm, if it’s not raining then it will be too hot, or it will be too windy or you’ll be too tired in the evening and/or won’t go when it’s dark. (more…)

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Common advice given to beginner bike commuters by veterans is, basically, not to bite off more than you can chew. Begin with modest intentions. It is essential to have good experiences to reinforce what you’re trying to do. Each rider needs to establish a basic comfort zone.

The same applies to being active in the winter in general. In winter go out when conditions are reasonably hospitable and stay close to home so you can retreat indoors if you become cold. You must seek positive reinforcement through having good experiences. As your experience increases gradually stay out longer and go further afield. Do not set yourself up for failure by trying to grit your way through unnecessary hardship – it is not a competition.

Trial and error learning is the best (only?) way to approach it. I have a thermometer mounted on the side of the house which I consult before any outing. If you don’t have one consider getting one. It will help reduce the guesswork involved.

The challenge is to keep nudging yourself. If you can comfortably walk one kilometer at minus five with no wind, bundle up a little more when the temperature is minus ten but don’t go so far, turn halfway on your regular route and come back. When you get back to the driveway you can decide to repeat the distance for a full kilometer or retreat to the house to get warm. If it’s windy try the same thing, push yourself a little but bail out before the experience becomes negative. The same goes for distance, work up from one to two to three or more kilometers.

Five kilometers (the Lundy sign) is just about ideal for me/us. It takes an hour or so. An hour of zero cost stress relief and fresh air. A busy day might mean “going to Eldred’s” – our neighbor’s driveway is one kilometer from ours, or another compromise is the Hangar Road, which is about halfway between Eldred’s driveway and the Lundy sign. You can measure distances with your car. It helps if you quantify what you’re doing by keeping track.

I never get bored. Walking the same stretch of road over and over provides familiarity which in turn helps to strengthen the routine.

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