Showing posts from February, 2013

Here's What Helped Me

I can't get the images from my mind: Anna on the floor in a cobra pose, Joseph hanging from the bar, arms locked out, knees together, slowly raising up and down. --Here's what helped me, Amy. --This is what the therapist had me do. I work in a service field. When I clock in for my shift, I agree to stand at the service of others, whether by instructing them on exercise form or by keeping clean the equipment they'll use. This is where my deep joy in my work derives: I use what I know to make you feel better. When I hurt my elbow, I'd talk about it here and there to members at the gym. People would check in with me, ask how I was feeling, offer earnest sympathy. Yet few of these folks suffered the same injury, so conversations often ended at sorry . But when I walked around on a shift last week with an involuntary grimace on my face, and I told anyone who asked that I threw out my lower back, the help came. Low back pain is a common complaint, and what I found wa

INTERVIEW: Lou Schuler on aging and exercise

Lou Schuler is witty, smart, and one of my favorite fitness writers. He and Alwyn Cosgrove are co-authors on The New Rules of Lifting series, and one of their recent titles, T he New Rules of Lifting for Life , hit me where I am. Lou agreed to talk with me again here, as our last interview was such a good time . Lou, I found your book right when I was kicking myself for taking up boxing at the not-so-tender age of 40. You say the gym brings out the teenager in all of us, and I've got the MRI scans to prove it. Is there a way that our spunk and fight can be balanced with the realities of aging? Our mistakes make us wise. My biggest mistake is that I started playing basketball in my mid 30s. By the time I finally quit playing, in my mid 40s, I couldn't even run or jump anymore. I had to walk up and down the court. Now, in my mid 50s, I think my hardest-earned skill is my ability to limit the damage when I tweak something, or when I'm under the weather. Ta

Riding with Simon, through Wisconsin, for Theo

Let me tell you about the night I learned about this ride. I dragged the kids to a local running shop, on a school night, to attend a meeting run by JDRF. The idea was my husband, Greg, would run a marathon and raise money for the organization. I had an inkling I might want to ride, too; my family jokes that I only take up sports beginning with B (bench pressing, boxing...biking). The enthusiasm in the room was infectious, so much so that when we were leaving and I asked the kids what they thought, Simon, age 12, said, "I want to do it." Let's back up for a minute. This is a kid who reads books. A lot of books. He draws comics, too, and cracks a lot of jokes. But sweating, my friend, he does not do. No sports, no physical activity of his own accord. The kids is barely passing PE. And yet he wanted to ride. I didn't want to spoil the moment, so I just nodded my head. The next day he asked if we would do it. Airfare, fundraising, went swirling in my head. I s

I Am Not Here To Amuse You

In an introduction to Aristotle’s Poetics , Joe Sachs addresses the idea of catharsis, commonly understood as a release or purging of repressed emotions, and compares it to a sense of wonder one is left with at the conclusion of a tragedy. He writes, “What is characteristic of wonder is the sudden loss of the sense that we understand what is going on. What it knocks away are all our habitual assumptions and opinions.” This appears to be a positive outcome: We leave the theatre with our perspectives challenged, our eyes wet with tears. But Sachs goes on to say this: “But it does not follow that the poet [i.e. playwright] has taught us anything. His impact is on our feelings, and we can recover our usual habits of judging as soon as those feelings wear off… The state of wonder holds in abeyance for an extended moment the natural flow of our opinions. That is an amazing gift that the world or a poet can sometimes give us, but if anything is to come of it, it will have to be our own