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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • That's What I Think: Adding banjo improves exercise

  • Working out, if you can describe what I do as that, has become a real pleasure at Vessell’s Fitness Center.
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  • Working out, if you can describe what I do as that, has become a real pleasure at Vessell’s Fitness Center.
    My doctor in the spring of 2013 told me that my health was good. All the numbers from my blood test were within parameters. My heart sounded good.
    “You just need to take off a bunch of that weight,” he said. “It isn’t good for your heart, and it increases the chance of stroke.”
    Although I have been exercising sporadically for years, he told me to get serious about it. He recommended that I do 15 minutes on the treadmill, 15 minutes on the recumbent bicycle and 15 minutes on the elliptical walking machine five times a week.
    Well, there’s no way I can do that five times a week with my work schedule, so I worked on doing it three times a week.
    I also became more careful in what I ate. Refusing to count calories or go on a diet, I tried to eat more wholesome food, i.e. food that was more like what came out of the ground rather than something that was “processed.”
    Because ham and beans and cornbread are my favorite combination, I have been eating a lot of beans. I like the taste and they are easy to cook. My preferred method is the slow cooker.
    I eat a lot of vegetables, but I also eat meat. I eat what I want to, even cake and pie, but I don’t eat much of the stuff with sugar in it. When I say I eat a lot of beans and other vegetables, the emphasis is on the words “lot of.”
    Well, between the Fourth of July and Christmas of last year, I lost 35 pounds. Fat as I was, though, you probably couldn’t tell it. And you can’t really tell it now.
    So far this year, I have kept up the same exercise routine, but I added some of the weight training on the Nautilus equipment, done from a seated position with back support in most cases. That makes an old man feel safe.
    I have not lost a pound so far this year, but I have punched two holes in my belt to take up the slack. I like that about as much as I like the lower numbers on the scales.
    Although I like the rigor and vigor of my so-called workouts, it can get pretty boring on the cardio machines. I usually read, and right now I am reading “Comanche Moon,” by Larry McMurtry, a mighty fine western writer, mighty fine.
    Sometimes I also put on earphones and listen to the Cardinals baseball games, occasionally glancing up from my book to watch.
    Page 2 of 2 - Recently, Vessell’s changed their TV package, and they added some music channels. I have been listening to bluegrass music while walking, cycling and pretending to ski. Listening to that high lonesome sound makes the 40-45 minutes of cardio work go by fast.
    The banjo music is just another reason for me not to get outside and “run,” which is what my little brother recommends. He and his wife live outside Springfield, and they run all the time. They are both quite slender, about as big around as my shin and calf.
    My cousin in Savannah, Georgia, also recommends getting outside to run. He isn’t slender, but he’s getting that way.
    I suppose there is value in getting outside to run, but I think I’ll just stick with the indoor cardio room and the Cardinals games and banjo music. They’re all working for me.

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