Prefer working out outdoors

My local area experiences serious weather fluctuations.

  • We often have snow accumulated on the ground on halloween as well as Easter.

The Winter cold lingers for approximately 8 months, with temperatures often dipping below freezing. It’s not unusual for us to face temperatures down to twenty-five below zero. The wind chill makes it downright dangerous to spend much time outdoors. We expect the Spring and fall seasons to be rainy, muddy and chilly. Summer doesn’t last long but it’s common to experience temperatures in the upper eighties with excessive humidity. Whenever I have the opportunity, I prefer to handle my daily workout outdoors. I enjoy running, riding my bike or unrolling my yoga mat on the back deck. I like to lift weights and complete my ab crunches, lunges and squats outdoors. I am energized by the feeling of the sun on my skin. I am more motivated when I’m breathing fresh air. I’ve purchased all sorts of clothing specifically designed to offset weather extremes. I have gear that is lightweight yet manages to retain body heat. I have other outfits that wick away moisture. Unfortunately, I’m still kept indoors the majority of the year. I’ve had to set up a workout space in the house. I’ve spent considerable amounts of money on a treadmill, stationary bike, weight bench, free weights, resistance bands, jump rope and a series of kettlebells. I appreciate having the luxury of the thermostat. I can control the temperature and I’m not affected by rain, wind and humidity. I don’t worry about icy pavement. I’ve thoroughly outfitted my home gym. However, I just don’t enjoy the workout as much when I’m forced inside. I am not as happy working out. It’s more difficult to push myself.

Cross fit gym

Getting back in the habit of working out

As a kid, I was deeply involved in team athletic sports. My mom and dad signed me up for soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, softball and basketball. I stayed with these athletic teams throughout school. I eventually joined the track and cross-country teams when I was a junior. I was busy attending practices, games and weekend tournaments. I was decent enough in volleyball to continue competing throughout college. The practices, conditioning and physical expectations at the collegiate level were much higher. I was in peak physical condition. There was no worrying over counting calories. I ate very healthy and maintained a healthy weight. I worked my muscles regularly and was strong and fit. Following graduation, I entered the workforce and my lifestyle changed completely. I was all of a sudden focused on work tasks, overtime and the hope for promotions. For my job, I spend a lot of time at my desk and reading on a laptop monitor. It didn’t take all that long before I put on some extra weight. I started experiencing some aches and pains. I’d get so sore by the conclusion of the day, that I had difficulty sleeping at night. My productivity and mood were negatively affected. I knew that I needed to make some positive changes. I realized that my health and fitness levels needed to become a focus. It wasn’t easy to get going. Setting an alarm so early and forcing myself out of bed in the morning was awful. However, soon after I started working out prior work, I noticed a major improvement in how I felt. I all of a sudden had more energy and was in a happier mind frame. I dropped the extra weight and improved strength as well as stamina. I began sleeping more soundly at night. I now think of my morning workout as a necessary part of my daily routine. It’s just like brushing my teeth or washing my hair. It’s a task that is essential to my well-being.

Workout program

Trying to be physically active while traveling

I get some funny looks while I’m contorting my body into various positions in the middle of an airport terminal or bus station, but I don’t mind

I do a great deal of traveling, for my job and also for pleasure. I enjoy seeing new destinations and checking out the natural and man-made sites. I don’t enjoy actually traveling to reach the location. Traveling by car, bus, train or airplane is boring and uncomfortable. Sitting in a terminal for so much time is just awful. I tend to get a headache. I also feel sleepy, stiff, sore and deal with dehydration symptoms. I’ve learned that keeping active is the most effective way to combat the negative drawbacks of traveling. No matter when I’m scheduled to depart, I make a point to get in a strenuous workout beforehand. If I can spend an hour stretching, doing high impact aerobics and some strength training, I am more energized for the rest of the day. I feel it’s necessary to get my heart rate up and work up a decent sweat before spending endless time just sitting and being sedentary. As I’m traveling, I take every chance I get to stand up and walk around a bit. If I have time during a layover at an airport, I walk the terminal. I try to stride at a brisk pace and always choose the stairs rather than the escalator. I also take the opportunity to stretch my muscles. Even if I only have a brief amount of time and limited space, I make sure to rotate my wrists and ankles, tilty my head back and forth and reach down to touch my toes with straight legs. I perform a few lunges and squats and work out my shoulders. I get some funny looks while I’m contorting my body into various positions in the middle of an airport terminal or bus station, but I don’t mind. It helps to prevent being in agony later on. I have also realized that I need to drink extra amounts of water when traveling. It’s too easy to become dehydrated, which then leads to headaches.

Semi-private fitness training

Unusual solution for the exercise problem

I’ve been working as a part time farmhand for about six months now, and I love it! This is going to sound crazy to you, but hear me out and maybe you will learn something.

When I turned forty last year, it hit me pretty hard and I had what you would call a midlife crisis.

As the song says, I was middle aged and crazy, and got very obsessed with my appearance. The problem was that I wasn’t rich, so I couldn’t do typical midlife crisis stuff like buy a car or join up with a fancy gym. By working as a farmhand I get up at the crack of dawn, and then spend to two three hours engaged in intense exercise. You ever think back and realize you haven’t seen a lot of fat cowboys, that’s because life on the cattle farm is hard exercise. I get paid for it, too, so as my physical fitness keeps improving, and my muscles get stronger, I’m also earning a little more money for my pocket! Two evenings a week I still take yoga classes, and they are more important now than ever before. All this heavy lifting and hard labor wears me out, and yoga helps me find my center and soothe my aching muscles. I know this job won’t last forever, because while the exercise is great, eventually I am going to get tired of getting up so early. After that, maybe I will have enough money stashed away to pay for a fancy gym membership and a proper midlife crisis.

Cross fit gym

My girlfriend wants me to work out

I promised her that I would take exercise and nutrition more seriously going forward, but at the same time I couldn’t make a promise to go to the gym with her.

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to quit drinking alcohol. I realized I was headed towards an alcohol addiction and wanted to pump the breaks a bit. My girlfriend Sandy and I decided to quit together, and it was a horrible failure. Whenever Sandy said “hey, I think it’s okay to have one drink tonight,” I would agree and have one with her. Whenever one of us got weak, the other one caved in to temptation right along with the other! Because of this, I am very reluctant to get into an exercise program with my new girlfriend Olive. She is very gung ho about this new gym she joined, and wanted me to join with her so we could “take this journey together.” Those were her exact words, and she didn’t like it when I explained that supported her physical fitness goals, but that I had to set my own goals. I promised her that I would take exercise and nutrition more seriously going forward, but at the same time I couldn’t make a promise to go to the gym with her. I explained that if we did that, any time I didn’t want to go to the gym with her it would be an issue, and she would end up feeling like I was holding her back. It took a couple of days, but Olive finally came to understand my point of view, so in return I promised to go to the gym with her once in a while. A good relationship is built on compromise.

 

Health and wellness

Have you ever heard of Goat Yoga?

Adjusting to small town life has been difficult, but I guess that is exactly why I came out here. Having lived in the big city for so long, that was all I knew. I was getting older, balder, fatter, and not getting any happier. When I saw a chance to get a job in this small town, some hundred miles away from the city, I impulsively went for it. I needed a total change of scenery, a fresh start in a whole new place, and that is what I got. There isn’t as much to do out here, and the town is so small the only gym they have is a converted machine shop behind the junkyard. Now I might not have gone to the gym as often as I should back in the city, but I still went once or twice a month. Admittedly, when I went to the gym it was never because I felt like it, I was just trying to assuage the guilt I felt for continuing to pay for the gym membership. But now that I was out here, I suddenly wished I had that old gym. I doubt the machine shop offered yoga classes, or crossfit training, although if I’m being honest I don’t have the energy for crossfit and never will. Oddly enough, outside the machine shop gym was a flier for a local goat farmer who was also a yoga teacher. She offered Goat Yoga classes, on her farm, where the little baby goats would climb on you as you posed. Sounds fun!

 

Workout classes

Getting my cousin into the gym with me

My cousin Matt has always had a bit of a weight problem.

I’m being kind here, because I love him, but when he was a kid he had a bit of a weight problem.

As he got older he got bigger ,and now he is nothing short of morbidly obese. I worry about him a lot, and want to help him make some changes in his lifestyle. At the same time, I can’t force him to care about that sort of thing, and he either has to want to lose weight, or I can’t help him. Every morning I take a long walk, so I’ve started stopping by Matt’s house to see if he wants a little exercise. If he can start with something small, like a walk around the block, maybe I can ease him into more and more exercise, or at least physical activity. One time I took him to the gym with me, but it wasn’t to work out. He had bad chest congestion, so I took him in as my guest to use the wet sauna they have at the gym. They actually have a wet sauna and a dry sauna, but more than anything I just wanted to show Matt the whole place. It was another way to try and coax him towards physical fitness, just by showing him the amenities this gym has to offer. He actually seemed kind of interested in the weight training room, but at the time he wasn’t up to trying it out, and he has never been back since.

 

Personal Fitness Trainer

Adding a ductless split system to older home

My house is extremely large and very old.

It includes approximately 3,000 square feet of living space.

However, it is divided into a lot of fairly small rooms. There is not enough supply and return vents to make the heating and cooling system totally effective. Those rooms that are exposed to afternoon sunlight tend to feel overheated. The bedrooms on the second floor are difficult to cool down in the summer. The living room tends to be chilly in the winter. With a single thermostat, it’s impossible to target specific areas. I looked into zoned control but the system is rather outdated and won’t accommodate this type of upgrade. I then researched the possibility of a ductless mini split system to supplement our centralized heating and cooling. A ductless system is extremely compact and can be installed without tearing into walls or ceiling. The HVAC contractor had the entire system implemented and operational within a single afternoon. We have an outdoor air compressor that is linked to eight separate indoor air handlers. The air handlers are lightweight, with a slim profile and mounted up high on an exterior wall. Each one features an independent thermostat, which provides for zoned control. The temperature in the room can be personalized to preference or occupancy. Because the ductless system includes inverter technology, it can automatically adapt speed to changing conditions for consistent temperatures and outstanding energy efficiency. It costs very little to operate such a small system and yet it provides exceptional comfort, dehumidification and air filtration. I like the ability to adjust temperature settings through an app on my smartphone.

 

 

Geothermal heat pump

Installing a dehumidifier

In the area where I live, central air conditioning isn’t enough. There’s simply too much humidity in the air. The damp conditions make the air feel warmer and horribly sticky. It causes issues with mold, mildew and bacterial growth. The damp and hot conditions are the perfect habitat for dust mites, cockroaches and centipedes. The moisture can cause wood to swell and warp. There’s all sorts of concerns with air quality and the resulting health problems, such as aggravated symptoms of allergies and asthma and respiratory infection. Even modern air conditioners aren’t designed to combat such high humidity. Lowering the thermostat setting simply puts greater strain on components. The system runs for longer cycles, experiences wear and tear and leads to higher energy bills. Over-cooling the house doesn’t solve the problem of too much humidity. I tried portable dehumidifiers and wasn’t happy. The portable units weren’t effective and yet required constant maintenance. I then consulted with a local HVAC contractor and asked for recommendations. He installed a whole-home dehumidifier that installed right into the air handler. It pulls humidity out of the air as it passes through the cooling system. I was downright amazed by the improvement. I’ve been able to raise the thermostat setting significantly and yet the house feels cooler and is way more comfortable. My whole family sleeps better at night. We don’t suffer as many headaches or congestion and feel more productive during the day. The savings on my energy bills will quickly recover the investment into the dehumidifier. I like that the air quality accessory runs almost silently and only requires annual maintenance.

Home services

Maintenance leads to buying a new air conditioner

I am rather handy and like to take care of household upgrades, maintenance and repair.

I have an extensive set of tools and am always working on some type of project.

I save a great deal of money by handling the tasks that would normally require a professional. For the first five years that we lived in our house, I saw to the upkeep of the air conditioner and furnace. We had no problems with the equipment. Every fall, I’d take the heating system apart and clean and adjust all of the components. In the spring, I’d turn my attention to the cooling unit. Then my wife read some article that recommended professional service for the air conditioner. It said that without the specialized cleaning and tuning of a licensed HVAC technician, there could be mold growth. The article warned that the air conditioner could be polluting the breathing air every time it started up. My wife insisted we hire professionals to service our air conditioner. I figured it was a waste of money but couldn’t hurt anything. The technician came to the house, took the air conditioner apart and spent about an hour working on it. After he left, the air conditioner ran for about 30 minutes before it quit and wouldn’t start back up. I looked it over but couldn’t get it running again. We had to call for repair and then the contractor told us the system needed to be replaced. We got a second opinion and were once again told that the damage to the unit was so severe that it was better to replace it.

 

 

Wifi thermostat