Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Total Gym

I used to be pretty strong.  But with growing older along with a host of difficult surgeries that made me a couch potato, I've resigned myself to accepting weakness and sore muscles and just general discomfort from being out of shape. 

Even putting on clothing and shoes has become a difficult problem because I'm so weak and stiff that I can hardly bend over without bracing myself.  Sleep is also difficult because my muscles and joints hurt constantly, and even more so when I lie down in bed.  The pain often wakes me up during the night and I end up sleeping in a chair.  Pills helped for a while but took a toll in other ways, so I cut them out.

I'm not one to visit fitness centers or walk the streets, so I dusted off the treadmill and tried it for a few days.  But the belt was worn, probably from sitting idle more so than being used, and finally broke.  I ordered and installed a replacement belt but the period between deciding whether to sell or toss the treadmill altogether took awhile, and when I finally installed the new belt was enough to lose my momentum and will-power.

Totally frustrated, I started to think of what I could do to improve 'me.'  After considerable research I realized that the machine I enjoyed most and seemed to get the most out of at the Knee Replacement Rehab Facility, was the Total Gym.  I always got off it thinking I felt better and really put out some effort that immediately converted into atrength, self-satisfaction, and even confidence.

So I took a look at the Total Gym.  Yes, the one endorsed by Chuck Norris.  This one...


I didn't give much thought to 'where' I would actually use it but I knew I needed to use it.  The surprise came when we opened it up and set it up.  It was huge, much too large to put in my office by the treadmill, or anywhere else inside the house for that matter.  The dining room would handle it but we would have to move the dining room furniture around to accommodate it.  So until we figured out where to put it, we put it on the back porch temporarily until we could figure out a solution.

Meanwhile, we used it a few times and liked it a lot.  It immediately began to improve the strength in my legs, the most important part of me I was concerned about.  But I had to be very careful because I am still recovering from back surgery only five weeks ago.  So the setting I used was as low as it would go and I only did eight pushes using my legs.  That would be like squatting about half way down and standing back up without bending my back.  As little as it was, it felt good doing it.

Meanwhile, Judy decided to see if we could put it in the garage.  Well, that's easier said than done because it's a two-car garage and we have a car and a truck in it, along with large woodworking equipment that takes up substantial space, namely a Radial Arm Saw and a Table Saw, both of which I use frequently.

After considerable maneuvering of cars and saws (Judy did all the work) it became clear that the two saws had to go or we had to come up with an acceptable Plan B.  I needed the saws if I planned to continue making sawdust but I needed the exercise if I planned to live longer. 

I finally decided to look more closely at a folding table saw that could do the cuts of both saws.  So off to Home Depot we go.  Sure enough, they have a folding Ryobi that can do the job and fit in a much smaller area. 

But now what to do with the Radial Arm Saw and Table Saw. 

I listed them on Craig's List for $100 each or $150 for both, along with a number of accessories.  That was a good price and I expected to get a few calls on it. 

Meanwhile, Judy called our yard man to see if he knew anyone who wanted the saws.  He was here early the next morning and wanted both in spite of the fact that he knew nothing about how to use them.  He also wants to buy the large pop-up tent in the attic.  He'll be here Saturday to pay for them.  And what he pays me will just about pay for the new folding table saw.

That problem solved, we can now use the Total Gym in the air conditioned garage year round, summer and winter.  It folds up quickly and easily and hardly takes up any room between workouts. 

So another problem solved and in about three weeks I should get the OK to do my workouts without restrictions. 

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