The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 May 2008

Selling cardio by the pound

It was another day in the yard, this time to trim back some of the shrubbery, and about thirty gallons of cuttings into the process, I noticed that the ol' ticker was running about 50 percent faster than normal. I wasn't exactly out of breath or anything, but I could feel the beat, which is usually the sort of thing I find alarming.

This spring, though, I've had quite a few incidents like this, and I'm starting to think that this raggedy old body is laboring under the delusion that it's getting some real live exercise. What's more, there's a chance that it actually might be. Consider: I own an electric trimmer, but I did all of today's work with hand tools, and besides the shear motion, there's a fair amount of stretching and bending involved. Even mowing with the electric constitutes a workout of sorts: apart from the acrobatics connected with dodging the cord at every turn, doing the 5500-square-foot back yard in 18-inch strips results in a walk on the far side of half a mile. (The front yard is smaller, but it's also steeper.)

Recovery time has been at most a couple of minutes, and at no point — except, well, now — have I felt that omigod I'm setting myself up for a myocardial infarction or anything like that. Then again, it was only 65 degrees this afternoon, about ten below the seasonal spec. Ask me in August when it's a hundred and four in the shade if I feel just the same.

Posted at 5:42 PM to General Disinterest

Hopefully by August you'll have grown accustomed to the labor.

Posted by: fits at 8:01 PM on 3 May 2008

I used to be quite accustomed to it. Apparently this batch of minor ailments (if "minor" can describe something which ran up a $3200 ER bill) has left me a lot more depleted than I might have thought.

Still, the workload isn't going away, so I'll have to keep at it regardless.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:16 PM on 3 May 2008

Are you trying to prove something to your body? Why not take a break, go take five in a shade, drink a glass of water?

The yardwork you're so tenacious of is a pure illusion, a vanity and convention project: would you really care that your hedge is untrimmed lying on operating table?

Chaz, take care of yourself.

Posted by: Tatyana at 9:09 PM on 3 May 2008

Two thoughts:

First, the unworrying one: could it be allergies? I know when my allergies are bad - or it's humid out - I get that "Oh man, I am SO out of shape" feeling because I'm breathing in pollen and I feel kind of like a whale filtering krill. I'm about 10 years younger than you and female-in-childbearing-years so I'm in the group that "assumes" it's protected by estrogen so any chest-tightness I chalk up to asthma (though I suppose it could be all those pizzas I ate in my childhood leading to scary blockages I don't know about).

Second, the more concerning one: are any of the new meds ones that could be causing this as a side effect? I know there are certain medications where you have to be VERY careful about exertion, especially if you get a little dehydrated. Might be worth checking into.

Posted by: fillyjonk at 9:15 PM on 3 May 2008

You take it easy, Chaz. Blogging from the hospital sucks.

Posted by: Jeffro at 9:25 PM on 3 May 2008

If I have any allergies, they are as yet undiscovered.

My blood-pressure stuff does in fact warn about dehydration, though past practices (lots of liquids and limited sun exposure) have been more than adequate to ward off this particular threat so far. This limit is somewhat flexible, though it varies with the workload. (If there's no workload at all — in other words, if I'm just soaking up rays — there's a 25-minute limit, but this is due primarily to the desire to avoid being baked to a crackly crunch.)

As to my level of, um, vanity, I have two rules:

(1) Do not have the best yard on the block.

(2) Do not have the worst yard on the block.

At the moment, I'm closer to best than to worst, but not by much.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:58 PM on 3 May 2008

Yeah, Chaz, take care of the old body and ticker. There are people who always tell me in similar situations to "Drink lot's of Gatorade." I have no idea why, and I do not like the stuff, so I ignore the advice. But now I feel much better, having passed that sage advice along...

Posted by: Winston at 6:03 AM on 4 May 2008

You could do as I and hire it done. Ever so much nicer watching someone do your work from the comfort of the insides of your home :) Many times the price will be neglible by comparison.

Posted by: ms7168 at 6:42 AM on 4 May 2008