December 4, 2022 · 8:05 am
To say that I have been busy over the last few years would be a huge understatement.
Buying a house, selling a house, packing, moving, unpacking, tying up loose ends before retiring, all while a worldwide pandemic was raging was tough.
When I retired, the first few months were spent clearing what I call “the backlog of backlogs”, tending to appointments and in-person shopping that I could not complete during the pandemic restrictions.
It was only after rejigging my retirement routine a few dozen times that I finally found time to catch my breath. That was when clarity started setting in.
I started noticing the finer details of the flora and fauna around our rural property. I found that my ability to remember names, dates and details was improving. Ideas for my writing would actually stick around for a while and not go “poof” if I didn’t write them down immediately.
But one day, after my morning shower, as I was applying my anti-perspirant, my new-found clarity turned to horror when I noticed the tissue in the triceps area flopping around. When did that happen? Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, stories
Tagged as age, aging, arms, commitment, exercise, fitness, flabby, gym, habits, muscle, muscles, program, sport, sports, time, tone, working out, workout
August 1, 2021 · 8:24 am
Even though I am not what you might call a sport enthusiast, I definitely enjoy watching the Olympics.
Over the years, I have watched a wide range of Olympic events, including some that I admit I probably would not have watched had they not been under the Olympic banner. This year, between the CBC network’s curated coverage, supplemented by so many streaming opportunities for specific events, it made it so easy (and maybe a little addictive) to follow the action.
The variety reminds me a little of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” that I used to watch as a kid (back when we only had 12 channels). The packaging of that show appealed to this curious young mind as it was a veritable smorgasbord of sporting events to discover. If I was more athletically inclined, who knows what inspiration could have been sparked later in life.
Unfortunately, my weak eye-hand coordination, my lack of overall coordination, my lack of physical stature and the lasting trauma of dodgeball in my pre-teens, prevented me from pursuing a career in sports.
Even after the Covid-19 lockdowns, it’s not like I was running out of viewing options, given the long list of binge-worthy streaming programming I had accumulated over the years. The Olympic coverage remained an enjoyable change of pace that I looked forward to.
Plus, as a recent retiree, watching the Olympics seemed even more special and more symbolic to me, as I could take in more coverage than I usually would have back in my working days. This year, the Olympics were an additional reminder of my new found freedom from the “9 to 5”.
Why do I watch the Olympics? Continue reading →
Filed under Health and Wellness, pop culture, Running, TV
Tagged as athletes, athletics, countries, elite, exercise, fit, fitness, goals, inspiration, inspire, olympic, olympics, world
November 8, 2020 · 9:10 am
At Ivy the Wonder Cat’s veterinary check-up two years ago, the vet said that she was within an acceptable range for an adult indoor cat, but to ensure that she didn’t take on more weight. At that time, we put in place a few strategies to keep her on track.
Before our move to the country, when things were calm, normal and on a regular routine, her calorie count was pretty consistent without me needing to monitor her intake.
However, there has been so much commotion over the last year between renovations, staging, selling, packing, boarding, relocating, living among boxes, unpacking and more renovations, it was challenging to keep to the structure and certainty that this cat needed to thrive.
Given that she was on the streets for nine months before she was brought to a shelter, it should come as no surprise if this cat eats for survival in times of disruption. So she gained a little.
When the stress of the move had passed and Ivy was feeling more like her usual self, our new vet recommended that we start looking at measures to bring her weight down.
The vet recommended that we moderate and measure her food intake in an effort to reduce her calories, and to switch her to a prescribed food that should make her feel more satiated. Sold!
The part that was a little tricky was the recommendation to play with her more, to give her more exercise. Engaging a six-year-old indoor cat in longer play sessions is easier said than done. I can’t tell you how many times we started playing a game together, only to find myself playing alone when I realized that she had already walked away after approximately 42 seconds.
Over the span of a few weeks, I pulled out every favourite toy that I knew she enjoyed, only to find that she was over it pretty quickly. So much for the exercise part of the program. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats
Tagged as cat, cat care, Cats, control, exercise, fit, fitness, flea, indoor cat, leash, outdoors, pet care, prevention, secure, tick, training, vet, walk, walking, weight
January 12, 2020 · 8:50 am
It seems like just yesterday, I had a stomach made of steel. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I had a pretty fast metabolism and could eat anything and everything, any day, any time.
Where I used to be able to pack away large quantities of food and still remain technically underweight, today, a handful of potato chips is enough to have me retaining water like a sponge.
But the tide can turn from time to time. For me, all it takes is the return to a regular exercise regimen, like the one I have successfully incorporated into my routine last year.
When that happens, not only does my metabolic rate go up, but it’s like revisiting my teens and 20s all over again as I seem to be hungry… ALL THE TIME!
While logically, it should just be a case of finding an extra snack or two to tide me over until the next meal, it’s a little more complicated than that.
As much as you would think I could take advantage of the situation to indulge myself in the goodies I only consume in moderation (since I’m not technically underweight anymore), in reality, I don’t crave them when I work out regularly. The empty calories leave me hungry and wanting something else soon thereafter.
I tend to crave healthier snacks that sustain me better. If I don’t, I get so hungry that my arrival home is like a scene from “Animal Planet”, as I demolish leftover roast chicken like a lion devouring its prey. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, food, Health and Wellness, Humour, Running
Tagged as diet, embarrassed, embarrassing, exercise, fitness, funny, humor, humour, hunger, hungry, hydration, life, moments, noise, noises, nutrition, observational humour, rumbling, stomach, water, working out
October 7, 2018 · 8:45 am
1- Music can pick up a listener’s mood when they’re feeling down.
2- Music can help a listener to relax when they’re feeling wound up.
3- Music can help set the mood for any activity.
4- In the morning, the right song can help set the pace for the whole day.
5- The right music can make traffic jams more bearable.
6- The right background music can make a movie a masterpiece.
7- A game show would not be as much fun if it didn’t have the right background music.
8- A horror movie would not be as enjoyable without the appropriate background music.
9- Music is a great conversation starter.
10- Music makes people want to move.
11- Music makes exercise more fun. Continue reading →
Filed under Lists, music, pop culture
Tagged as appreciation, art, artist, celebration, classical, composer, emotions, feelings, fitness, inspiration, instrument, jazz, joy, love, music, musical, passion, pop, relaxation, singer, song, songs, tradition
July 8, 2018 · 8:04 am
I was walking down the street one evening after work, when I caught myself. I was walking at a brisk pace.
What’s wrong with walking at a brisk pace? Nothing if you are running late or have a long list of things to do and only a little time to accomplish them.
But I wasn’t late nor did I have a long list of things to do. But I was still on autopilot, at a pace more typical of “The Busy People’s Walk”. The brisk pace seems to be the norm these days, even when there’s no reason for it.
While it might be great for my cardio, it’s not exactly conducive to stopping and smelling the roses along the way.
I laughed to myself and thought, “Slow down! Enjoy the moment!” At the same time, it evoked childhood memories from when my Dad used to tell me (in French) “T’es pas au feu”, meaning “You’re not on fire”, whenever I was unnecessarily rushing through something.
Funny enough, even after consciously slowing myself down, somehow my walking speed started creeping up again and I had to remind myself that I am, in fact, not on fire and could enjoy a more leisurely pace. I slowed myself down again.
The question is… why? Has my auto-pilot always been stuck in rush mode? Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Inspiring, mental health
Tagged as appreciation, auto-pilot, body, brisk, enjoyment, fitness, gratitude, in the moment, joy, leisure, leisurely, pace, priorities, relax, relaxation, rushing, simple pleasures, slow down, stress, stress management, subconscious, time, walk, walking
April 22, 2018 · 8:52 am
I admire those people who say they are going for a “quick run”.
They are those phenomenal runners who stack up personal best after personal best, while barely breaking out in a sweat, who can simultaneously update their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds with professional-grade photos of wildlife, beautiful scenery and gorgeous skies.
They can carry on a conversation without ever being out of breath. And they look so graceful, from the beginning to the end of the run, like gazelles out for a joyful dash through the savannahs.
They inspire me! I love them and I am incredibly jealous of them.
Meanwhile you can find me at the back of the pack, fiddling with something or other, or holding a part of my anatomy that’s complaining, wondering why a 3 kilometer run takes me an hour… or two.
Here they are, my top 10 reasons why going for a quick run is impossible (for me). Continue reading →
Filed under Running
Tagged as conditions, earphone, exercises, fitness, food, gels, headphone, hydration, music, planning, playlist, playlists, preparation, quick run, regimen, routine, run, runner, running, Seinfeld, spring running, stretching, wallet, water, weather, wires, workout
April 12, 2017 · 6:54 am
10- Slow down the pace
To me there is nothing better than just chilling, listening to classical music, sipping coffee and enjoying the peaceful silence of a holiday morning when everything is closed. Monday to Friday is always so busy. The extra day in a long weekend is for me, an extra chance to recharge.
9- Give the cat some extra attention… when she is looking for it
Usually by mid-day Monday on a long weekend, Miss Ivy is a little sick of having me around, but I’m certain she appreciates the bonus time to play and spend time together.
8- Indulge a little
While I generally stick to a healthy eating plan, a long weekend is a nice opportunity to break up the routine and maybe have a “cheat day”… especially if the long weekend includes a major holiday that involves feasting.
Usually, I read before going to bed. But whenever the opportunity arises to chill and read in the morning or the middle of the day is a serendipitous pleasure every time. Long weekends seem to offer that freedom of extra time to slow down the pace and check out a good book. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, Inspiring, Lists, Misc blogs, Writing
Tagged as barbecue, books, brunch, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, dinner, Easter, family, Family Day, feast, fitness, friends, holiday, holidays, Independence Day, inner peace, Labor Day, Labour Day, long weekend, Memorial Day, naps, reading, recharge, relax, relaxation, sleep, Thanksgiving, Veteran's Day, Victoria Day
March 19, 2017 · 8:23 am
I have always admired those runners who are able to look out the window at the most adverse weather conditions and still be able to pick out the perfect layers of clothing, lace up their shoes and go for a run with a smile on their face. They are my heroes!
I will admit that I tried it for a couple of winters, and when properly dressed for it, it wasn’t too bad. In fact, on a sunny, crisp winter day, a nice run can definitely raise the spirits after long stretches of grey winter skies.
But when Mother Nature delivers long stretches of snowy day after snowy day, and it has been weeks since I have even seen a sidewalk, it is all too easy for my discipline to be hiding on the couch under a pillow and blankie, thumb stuck on the remote, leaving a trail of sodium-reduced potato chip crumbs wherever it goes.
However, when March rolls around, it is no exaggeration to say that I can’t wait to get out of the house. The excitement and desire to return to the running trails builds with each passing day.
But when it comes to those first runs of the season, I have learned that managing one’s expectations is incredibly important.
After being away from it for several months, I tend to over-romanticize the running experience, accentuating the positive, musing about beautiful spring runs on flat, bare sidewalks, the fresh spring air, the sun shining, and the birds cheering me on. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Inspiring, Running
Tagged as allergies, cardio, discipline, endurance, enjoyment, exercise, expectations, fitness, fun, funny, humor, humour, ice, progress, run, runner, running, snow, spring, spring running, strength, stretching, training, weather, winter, winter running, winter weather
January 29, 2017 · 8:01 am
If you ask any weekend warrior, I am pretty certain that most will have a story or two about an injury sustained while practicing their favourite sport. I am proud to say that I am no different.
In my journey as a runner, I have been no stranger to shin splints, knee issues, “IT Band” irritation, plantar fasciitis, lost toe nails and bleeding nipples. I sometimes ask myself why I do it, but the answer is clear. Aside from the occasional occupational hazards of the sport, when I am in top running form, I feel so much better and I enjoy the multiple benefits associated with it.
But the oddest running injury I have encountered to date has to be when I injured my eye.
How did I do that? It wasn’t easy.
Picture it… Ottawa, July 2015… a beautiful summer day, as I was coming home from work and the running trails were yelling “André, it’s a beautiful day. Why don’t you come out for a run?” My body responded, “Yes, indeed! Could it be a more perfect day? The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the temperature is perfect for running, the humidity is low and an ever-so gentle breeze will keep me cool. Absolutely. I’d be a fool not to.” You can’t bottle that kind of enthusiasm!
Faster than a Broadway actor in a one-man-show, I changed from my work clothes to my running clothes, filled the cat’s bowl with her favourite dinner, laced up my shoes, picked my perfect musical playlist and went for my neighbourhood run.
When the weather is flawless and mind, body and soul are in perfect alignment, a run can be a beautiful thing. It was phenomenal! Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Running
Tagged as contact lenses, eye, eye care, eyes, fitness, funny, funny stories, glasses, healing, health, hydration, injuries, injury, irritation, lubrication, run, runner, running, sleep, strange, weekend warrior, weird