Sunday, June 28, 2009

Trying to Exercise on a Cruise Ship

I recently went on a cruise with 100 other science teachers and magicians. Since the ship advertised that it had 3 swimming pools and a gymnasium, I was sure I'd be able to keep up my exercise routine.

The pools were long enough to swim 2 strokes end-to-end and they were full of non-swimming people. I swim half-a-mile at a time. Not possible in those pools.

The gym did not have any of my yoga props: bricks, blankets, bolsters, straps.

There were 2 balance balls: a 65 cm and a 55 cm. I use the 55. And there were dumbells. And an exercise mat. Plus some machines.

The entire ship was designed to be wheelchair accessible, but the gym was not appropriate for somebody in rehab.

Still, I managed about 90 minutes of work each day on the balance balls, with and without the dumbells, some yoga on the mat (downward dog, upward dog, plough, forward bends, warrior variations, cat, puppy dog) and I tried out the eliptical -- something I'd seen but never used. No surprise -- the eliptical, which mimics cross-country skiing, uses muscles that nothing else I do makes use of. After about 10 minutes, I was both bored and tired. I was interested to watch my heart rate go up as I used it. The machine looks so easy when I watched somebody else use it. It is actually work. More work than bicycling.

When I got back to my yoga class, I was stiff. A whole week without yoga is not a good thing.

I travel with everything I need for a trip in my school backpack. It doesn't have room for my yoga props. Carrying more stuff would mean checking luggage. The whole point of doing all these exercises is to preserve my freedom, and keep my active lifestyle.

This is sort of a non-sequitur. When I was at the airport, I was pleased to see a stack of free tampons in the women's room. That's a symbol as well as a practical thing to do in support of women.

Cruise ships and hotels that bother to have gymnasiums could support the rehab population by providing yoga props. It wouldn't cost them much, and it would mean a lot to the people who need to use them. They already stock wheelchairs for passengers who need them. How about something to keep the rehab population out of wheelchairs? It might even save them money.

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