Tag Archives: fitness

SAIL Away With Me

Standard
SAIL Away With Me

SAIL. Stay Active and Independent for Life. This program, geared towards seniors, has become very dear to my heart. The older I get, the more important it is to me to remain active, especially with my nomadic lifestyle. And the more important it becomes to me to encourage others to remain active.

I see all too well the dangers of leading a sedentary life. Not only do muscles atrophy, but mental health also faces its challenges.

I painfully recall the days prior to my knee surgeries when walking from one room to another in my house was an effort. Once I had my new knees, I began to really appreciate the new mobility. Who knew that the ability to walk more than a few steps could become so meaningful?

I’ve been an instructor in the SAIL program for six years now in Leavenworth. On Friday I expanded my territory into East Wenatchee. My new participants are now either in assisted living or independent living at Bonaventure.

Our initial session was to introduce the program and provide information about the benefits of remaining active. I actually ran out of course materials and am excited about the response at that first meeting. Walkers and wheelchairs are not preventing these seniors in their desire to stay active. Exercises can always be modified.

Fall prevention is also the underlying idea behind this program. There are exercises focusing on balance as well as an aerobics component. Explanations are provided as to the benefits of individual exercises. Flexing and stretching become as routine as brushing our teeth everyday.

Increased mobility brings along with it a sense of freedom. This may be in the form of vacation travel or merely the ability to meander leisurely through a grocery store or a mall. For some, this may mean even a simple stroll down the street. For others it means being able to play with grandchildren.

Mental health benefits accompany the physical health benefits. Increased mobility means more opportunities for socialization and less isolation. This results in increased levels of happiness and decreased levels of depression.

I hope that I have provided some incentive in this post for you to remain physically active, no matter what your age. If you’re in Leavenworth or in East Wenatchee, come SAIL away with me. And if you are elsewhere in the world, I encourage you to find a way to stay active.

Happy Sunday!

Standard
Happy Sunday!

Leavenworth Summer Theater’s production of The Music Man was spectacular. It definitely is one of their best performances yet. The weather was perfect, a clear and starry night, and the smoke hadn’t yet rolled in.

However the following day it did roll in. And the day after that it had filtered in to East Wenatchee. It isn’t that bad yet, but the fire risk is still extremely high.

I’ve been spending more time on my new laptop. My WIP is completely transferred over and I’ve sorted through well over 4000 photos that were on my Seagate and my phone. Of course I’m constantly taking photos and I know there will be more.

The hot temperatures continue with no relief in sight. There was a tease of a few raindrops yesterday but it was very short-lived. Mainly intermittent cloud and smoke.

Did I mention that I live with seven chihuahuas? No. They aren’t mine. They belong to Christina and Danny, the people I live with when I’m in Washington. I’ll take a photo one day if I can ever get them all to pose together.

It’s great to be back teaching fitness classes again in Leavenworth. And this coming week I start new classes here in East Wenatchee. I really missed these classes when I was away in Canada.

September long weekend is coming up. My daughter and granddaughter are coming from Kelowna. I haven’t seen them since before Covid so I am quite excited. Yes, Madeline, I am a real person and do not live in a phone. And Grandma cannot wait to hug you!!!!!!

It’s Hot Here

Standard
It’s Hot Here

Last night at 7:30 it had cooled off to a comfortable 86 degrees. I’m getting used to the heat again after the cool temperatures in Winnipeg. Daytime highs here in East Wenatchee are supposed to continue in the range of 105 degrees plus for at least another week.

Yesterday morning I taught a fitness class in an un-airconditioned room in a church. And I get to do it again tomorrow. There isn’t even a fan in the room and unfortunately this means we open windows in an attempt to get some air circulation.

Church was air-conditioned on Sunday. It was great to be back at Sage Hills in person and not on line.

Tonight we’re going to see The Music Man, a Leavenworth Summer Theater production. The venue is the amphitheater, one of my favorite places in Leavenworth.

Because it’s so hot and dry here, the fire risk is extremely high. So now the alerts on my phone are no longer for Manitoba tornados. Instead they’re wildfire and evacuation alerts.

BTW, I visited my tree in Cashmere yesterday. It’s still really green and I hope I’ll still be here when the leaves turn that gorgeous crimson red in the fall.

My characters are talking to me. Time for coffee and writing.

What Happens When

Standard
What Happens When

What happens when you ride Link Transit and have a conversation with a perfect stranger who happens to be the activities director at one of the largest personal care homes in the valley? You wind up volunteering to teach SAIL classes at that facility.

What happens when you go to a book sale at the local library? You wind up on the Friends of the East Wenatchee Library where you help decorate for the kids’ summer reading program.

What happens when you attend training sessions in another fitness program? You are invited to take further training so that you can become a coach in that program.

I think I see a pattern here. Retirement has given me the opportunity to travel, explore new places and meet amazing people. Volunteering goes hand in hand with this.

I love my life here in East Wenatchee!

Countdown

Standard
Countdown

Please tell me another week has not gone by already. I need to start thinking about packing.

Facebook reminded me that on June 17th in 2013 I was having surgery in Winnipeg. Glad it’s now 2022 and I was leading the exercises in fitness training this year instead on June 17th. Even Walmart didn’t annoy me on Friday.

On my commute by bus to Leavenworth to teach SAIL classes on Thursday, I met an activities director of a personal care home. She noticed the shirt I was wearing and asked if I’d consider teaching at their facility. I told her I’d touch base in August when I get back from Canada. I still have more training to do so that I can coach A Matter of Balance.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision myself teaching fitness classes at this stage of the game. Add it to more stories to tell my grandkids.

Writing is going well. Actually it’s going so well that I haven’t found time to catch up on reading books in English, usually a favorite pastime when I come up from Mexico every spring. I do go to the library, but it’s mostly to print out documents.

I’ve also given Duolingo a rest. I received an email the other day telling me how sad Duo is because I haven’t been checking in every day. Poor little owl!

I met a guy the other day who is up here from Florida to be in Leavenworth Summer Theater. So happy to hear that I won’t miss all of them when I’m in Canada. My favorite is still Sound of Music. The surrounding woods and the mountains are the most amazing backdrops.

Que tengas un buenisimo domingo!

Travel Time

Standard
Travel Time

Monday morning was way too busy. I’ve been procrastinating about going to Canada and it was finally time to make some plans. First decision was when I should go. Health blip was taken care of and the fitness classes end next week. Guess I can go by the end of the month.

Next decision was how I go seeing as I am not flying on my broom. My first choice was Amtrak. But it got rather complicated when it came to crossing the border. Guess I’m flying.

Flights were tricky to book. My favorite airline, Alaska, won’t get me to Winnipeg. Air Canada flights and connections were a nightmare. Would have to claim my bag in Vancouver when going through Customs and recheck it. Guess it’s Delta.

Now I have to get to SeaTac. Best option is Wenatchee Valley Shuttle. And it will get me there late at night in time for the Red Eye to Minneapolis. One less hotel to book.

A long enough layover in Minneapolis before the flight to Winnipeg so that my cane can remain collapsed in my carry on. Another advantage is that leaves only one stop with one airline to misplace my bag. And it will go right through to Winnipeg hopefully. Inevitable delays in Customs will not result in a missed connection, just my friend Lise drinking way too many cups of coffee waiting for me.

Then there’s health insurance for the remainder of my time here in the USA. And settling the bill with Confluence for the health blip. And booking that last hair appointment at the salon. And a few other last minute phone calls and texts to get organized. And the obligatory FLIGHTS BOOKED announcement on Facebook.

Not bad. I started at 8:30 am and was done by 12:01 pm. Not even thinking about packing yet, although I did pick up some packing cubes last week. I guess I have to leave something for next week.

A Matter of Balance

Standard
A Matter of Balance

Anyone who knows me well is quite aware that I am constantly taking courses. I have this thirst for knowledge and have way too many letters that come after my name. Thanks to the internet I have taken courses from Rice, Harvard and several other prestigious American universities. While the majority of these courses have been in the field of psychology, I have also begun delving into the area of health and fitness in more depth.

Back in 2017, I began attending SAIL classes in Leavenworth. No, this has nothing to do with boats or water. SAIL is an acronym for Stay Active and Independent for Life. After a couple of weeks, I was approached and asked if I’d be interested in taking the training to teach these fitness classes. It was a natural fit after teaching water aerobics classes at the YMCA back in Canada.

SAIL is a fitness program for seniors geared towards fall prevention. Classes begin with a warm up followed by an aerobics component. Dynamic and static balance exercises are next, followed by strength exercises for both the upper and lower body. Next are flexibility exercises for the upper and lower body as we cool down. I am now into my sixth year teaching here in Washington.

Always eager to learn more, this month I am taking a course called A Matter of Balance. This is a program based on Fear of Falling: A Matter of Balance offered by Boston University. I have very legitimate concerns regarding the fear of falling, primarily due to the fact that I’ve had two knee replacements. Some cognitive restructuring is in order and this course has been most beneficial to me.

I’ve met some amazing people in this course. The oldest in our class is ninety-one and I’m the baby at seventy. The others are in their seventies and eighties. We are all interested in remaining active and independent. Regular exercise is definitely a part of our daily routine.

As a child, I remember well when my own grandmother turned seventy. I recall thinking that she was old. Well, I’m that age now but I feel healthier than I did when I was in my fifties. And I attribute a lot of that due to the exercise that has become such an important part of my life. I do not feel old.

I look around me at the participants in the SAIL classes I teach. In their eighties and nineties they are a true inspiration to me. And I look forward to sharing with them what I have learned in A Matter of Balance classes.

Falls are a serious concern. The statistics from ERs regarding fall related incidents are staggering, as are those related to hospital admissions.

Most falls are preventable and falls should not be viewed as a natural part of aging.

So SAIL away with me today and perhaps some day I may have the opportunity to coach you in A Matter of Balance. Yes. I think that coaching in this program will be the next step for me.

Wednesday Humpday

Standard
Wednesday Humpday

I’m glad it’s Wednesday. I’m not too anxious to relive yesterday. It was a little on the stressful side. And it’s behind me now.

This morning I’m headed to the YMCA for the first class of A Matter of Balance. I’m really looking forward to it. The older I get, the more important fitness becomes.

Walmart is on the horizon for this afternoon. I’ve successfully avoided it for a while so I guess I’m due.

Tonight is another Zoom class sponsored by the library. Wednesday nights have been a series of interesting programs dealing with health issues.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Half Time

Standard
Half Time

I just crossed the border at Nogales. What do you mean I’ve been back in the USA for three months already?

That got me thinking about all the changes since I first arrived in Leavenworth in July of 2016. I’ve always lived primarily in Leavenworth but I’m now living in East Wenatchee. But I still commute to Leavenworth to teach fitness classes.

Covid caused a lot of changes. The Senior Center in Leavenworth has yet to reopen. I went there often for lunch and I also volunteered in the kitchen. I played bridge there and went to craft afternoons.

Covid also affected the library programs which all switched over to Zoom. The rumor is that in person programs are starting again next month. And I am looking forward to those, including book club, craft programs and speakers.

I now attend a church in Wenatchee and have a new life group as well. It’s a much larger church than the one I used to go to in Leavenworth. It’s also a Free Methodist rather than a Nazarene church.

My attorney has told me he’s retiring at the end of the year and my doctor has told me she’s moving on to a different clinic. More changes.

Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and have developed close relationships with many who I now consider as part of my extended family. Friendships are especially important to me considering my nomadic lifestyle. And those constantly change depending upon where I happen to be living. But my extended family changes very little.

There are constants in my life here as well. This is my sixth year teaching fitness classes in the SAIL program. Next month I’ll be taking training in A Matter Of Balance. But more about that in a future blog post devoted to the program.

Another constant is the beauty of the mountains. I am as much in awe of it today as when I first came here six years. This is truly God’s country!

All About Me

Standard
All About Me

I’ve written hundreds of blogs posts but have never done an “All About Me” post. I’m not sure just why I haven’t, but a friend called me on it the other day. So here goes.

I go by a variety of different names depending on which country I’m in or which website I’m on. I prefer to just stick to “Karen.” Here in Washington my friends have me in their contacts as “Karen Mexico” or “Karen Canada.”

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and lived there all my life until 2010. My son still lives there. My daughter and my four year old granddaughter live in Canada as well, in Kelowna, B.C.

In 2010 I went to Culiacan, Mexico to teach English. A family there adopted me and I am now abuelita to four nietos ranging in age from three to twelve years old.

After a year in Culiacan, I taught briefly in Irapuato before settling down in Guadalajara for four years. I called Mazatlan home for just over three years and then decided to explore more of central Mexico. After three months in San Ciro de Acosta I discovered Aguascalientes, which has been my Mexican home six months of the year since 2019.

In 2016 a friend I met in Mazatlan invited me to come visit him in Leavenworth, Washington. My two week visit turned into four months when the snow chased me back to Mexico. And that was when I turned into a snowbird, spending the other six months of the year in Washington state.

While there, I’ve lived mainly in Leavenworth with short stints in other towns. This year I’m living in East Wenatchee with my friends Christina and Danny, who tell me that this is now my “forever home.”

As far as teaching goes, I officially retired in 2016, although I had worked extremely very part-time since 2012. Occasionally I selectively take on private students, but have not taught at all since Covid arrived.

This is my sixth year as a volunteer in the SAIL program in Leavenworth where I teach fitness classes to seniors that geared towards fall prevention. Both church ministry and volunteering at the senior center ground to a halt during Covid and are just now starting up again.

I enjoy traveling both in Mexico and the USA. Last summer I took an Amtrak along the coast from Seattle to L.A. I loved it and can’t wait to plan another train trip.

I’m taking a break from Duolingo but I have my gel pens, pastels and water colors to amuse me. And I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Fiction is a new genre for me which I am enjoying immensely.

I am especially blessed to have family and a wide circle of friends in three countries. The time always fly by all too quickly before I find myself once again packing a suitcase. My days are filled with adventure and making memories.

Other trivia……I’m a Gemini, my favorite color is green, I’m a chocoholic as well as a coffeeholic and I love country music.

All About Me