[photo: a dock fender does double-duty as an accessory for core-strengthening exercises. Other parts of this workout use the mast and winches for arm muscles, and include balance exercises made more challenging by the boat's motion.]
An article in yesterday’s Capital states that becoming more physically fit was the number one New Year’s resolution this year. That made me smile because, yep, I’m another one who has “working out more regularly” on my list. I’m a true believer in physical therapy. It has resolved a combination of back issues that left me with a limp; thank you Jen and Kari atFitness Forum! But – and this is a pretty big “but” – it only takes a few weeks of slacking off before the back spasms recur. Normally, when you’re discharged from physical therapy, they provide you with a set of exercises you can do at home to maintain your muscles, or come into the gym and work out on your own. Well, I don’t have a home with a floor I can work out on. My floor moves constantly, bobbing with the waves; and instead of being wide enough to stretch out on, it’s designed to be close and snug for efficiency. Nor can I go into the gym; here I am a thousand miles from the specialized equipment they have for me to work with. Now what to do?Fortunately, Kari’s father was a liveaboard for a while, so she totally understood the constraints of our life on the boat. She designed a custom routine for me, using things we have at hand, that Jen modified as I became stronger. Each exercise can be done in a very small space, although in the course of a workout I use almost every inch of the boat for one thing or another. I’m pretty confident you won’t find these in any workout book (maybe we should write our own?) The rewards of diligence are dramatic – 2 hours a week of working out in exchange for being comfortable for the other 166 hours? Now that’s what I consider a great return on investment. The other benefit? It’s quite a conversation-starter with my dock neighbors!