Dramatic Exercise/Movement Change

It has been almost three weeks since I escaped the heat and humidity of Minnesota. My health and ability to move has taken a dramatic upturn.

The day before I left I could not walk across the kitchen floor without my cane in my right hand and my left arm draped over my wife’s shoulder. And just to make things more exciting, I couldn’t talk. My doctor attributes this to the motor control portion of my neurological system being affected. The humidity and other toxin/molds in a humid environment exacerbate the problem.

So I left in our RV trailer and headed to Pinedale, Wyoming which over the last three years has proven to be a safe and healing place for me. There is loads of sunshine, minimal pollution and the dew point is usually in the 30s.

As you can see from the following graph, I wasn’t doing very good in the first place. (The peak around the end of April was during a vacation in Moab, another dry and sunny spot.) As the humidity increased in Minnesota, my ability to navigate the world decreased. I went from at least being able to walk, to shuffling around supported by my cane.

Once I got to Wyoming I was able to walk again. I usually try to get a walk in during the afternoon. I started out slow and was really frustrated at first. Then my trips got longer and more frequent. Recently, between hiking and general running around, I have gotten up to more than four miles per day! Given that three weeks ago I could barely walk, that is pretty amazing.

One of my favorite places to walk in the afternoon is Boyd Skinner Park, right in the middle of town. It takes me along the river. Round trip is about two miles.

The water is crystal clear, quite cold and good for soaking tired feet at the end of a hike.

To stretch my wings a bit further, I bought some passes to the Pinedale Aquatic Center. It is a beautiful center with swimming, basketball, tennis, racquetball and a climbing wall.

Yesterday I tried my hand at basketball. At first, just shooting some hoops. After a bit I was able to run/dribble the ball the entire length of the court, make a layup, then run/dribble the ball the other direction and make another layup. Remember, this is the guy who three weeks ago was shuffling across the floor with a cane. Although very tired and and winded, it felt amazing.

Today I stretched my wings a bit further. I used to love to play racquetball in my twenties. Haven’t played since then. I grabbed a racquet and ball and headed for the court. To my amazement, I still remembered how to play and could hit the ball well and with some modicum of precision. Exhilarating! After about 30 minutes of that I was hot and winded. Headed for the walking track and cooled down with a mile walk. Then headed back to the court for another 30 minutes of racquetball.

As you can see from the graph above, I am closing in on 10,000 steps/day. I need to get to 20,000 steps /day to take the first really big hike of the summer. It starts at 9,000 feet of elevation and is about a 10 mile round trip. I can taste it.

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