Mum’s exercise

I saw mum after work today and she was explaining that she’d just finished exercising. This is my mum we’re talking about. A smoker with a habit going back 50 years. Recently turned 67 years of age, and suffering from a chronic bad back going back the best part of thirty years.

She is medically retired, and suffers badly from her back and also a bad chest. Six years ago she underwent a quadruple heart bypass and has been relatively ok since. That said, she recently got told to do more exercise by her doctor and has tried to take the advice to heart.

She was told that an easy form of exercise would be to fill two 4-pint bottles to the brim with water, and then to lift them up over her head and back down again thirty times.

“I don’t understand,” she explained, “why it’s not helping me lose weight here.”, indicating her stomach, which for as long as I can remember has had a bulge there.

“Well the exercises you do are focussing on your arms and toning them up more than anything else.” I explained.

“Yes, but it’s also working muscles in my belly and back - I can feel it!”

“Well, if you want to lose weight then you probably need to be doing something more cardio-vascular, which gets the blood pumping - like running or long walks - basically the stuff you’re restricted in doing.”

She didn’t look entirely convinced, so I explained that she was basically doing a small form of weight training, and although that burnt calories, it wasn’t burning as many as a different exercise would.

“Think of running, jogging or swimming. They’re all much higher calorie burners. Basically you need to be doing something that leaves you out of breath.”

“I do!” she retorted, “I smoke, and that leaves me out of breath all of the bloody time!”

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