Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

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Daily exercise routine allows some to read while they ride

By MARTHA TOWNS

Most days of the week, I find myself over at the club on a recumbent bicycle for at least half an hour.

Depending on my speed, I can do five or six miles. Actually, I’m not sure I believe that, but that’s what the computer on our fancy new bikes says. I have a bike of my own in the garage but, since my riding on it consists of a lot of coasting and not a lot of speed, it would probably take me all day to ride even a mile or two.

I enjoy riding the recumbent bike because I can read at the same time. This seems like cheating to me but I figure as long as the legs are moving, I am getting some exercise. I’ve dropped a few pounds so I figure it’s working. At any rate, I feel better for doing it. Oh, I also stand on a thing that’s like half a rubber ball and requires great balance. Everyone in my age group needs to work on balance.

Ah, my age group. Earlier in the year, in a relatively grumpy period, I finally decided I was truly annoyed about being in my age group. I do not like having to check the box that says “over 65.” I’m at the point where it could say “way over 65.” Of course, being a reasonable woman, I realize that I am truly lucky to be the age I am and to be able to ride a bicycle and stand on a wobbly foundation. After some serious talking to, I think I have finally accepted that where I am is where I am and I should be happy about it.

I hate exercise, always have. I don’t think I was doing anything when I was young because why would I? Everything in the body worked and there was no reason to ask more than it was willing to give. Little did I know that the status quo would not last forever.

So I sit on the bike, Nook in hand and pedal away. For awhile I was listening to my iPod but finally finished all the books that it came with and, frankly, I don’t know how to add any more. The Nook has been a delight. I have learned how to archive books I’ve read and how not to touch it too hard. It still amazes me that I can have this small item that contains as many books as I want to have. It’s a wonder for traveling.

Every once in a while I glance up at the ever-present television sets that are on, there are three of them, and, like it or not, I learn something new every day. While we were away a few weeks ago, I was in a hotel fitness room and found a channel full of infomercials. I was convinced I needed a new cooking system and a set of glazed cookware that would enable me to throw out my extensive collection of plastic boxes. Fortunately I had nothing with me to write down the telephone numbers.

The book I finished lately is “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest Gaines. I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, one that I was loathe to put down. I even spent an extra 15 minutes on the bike one day. Finding a good book is one of my greatest pleasures and one of the reasons I have a hard time understanding why young people don’t seem to read books anymore.

I think my greatest fear is to be stranded some place without anything to read. When I find myself waiting for anything I absolutely have to read something even if it’s an old magazine. Any port in a storm, I always say.

This brings me to the approaching demise of our morning newspaper which will no longer arrive in our homes on a daily basis. While I am not happy about this, I am curious to see what a “premium print” newspaper looks like. Frankly, the part of the paper I care most about is the comics and I await what is going to happen to them, with no little trepidation.

As much as I am devoted to newspapers, I have found that I can live without them, for a few days at least, as happened last month when we were away. There’s something refreshing about not having to read a daily litany of misery for that’s what the news sometimes seems like. We hear about the public’s right to know, but I really wonder if we need to know everything.

So we hang on to what we have as long as we can, whether it’s the daily newspaper or our health. Much of what goes on in the world is way beyond our control but we can at least take care of ourselves.

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