Friends Can Help You Get Your Move On

Now that the kids are gone[1] and my nest is empty, I’ve been reduced to arranging play dates for cats.

No, I’m not joking. My grandson, Ollie, took his cat (who I call Mooch) with him when he moved to an apartment. Since Mooch and my G. Gordon Kitty were good friends, it was necessary to have play dates. Poor G. was just galumphing around. But when Mooch got here – man! – they bumped heads, then immediately began grooming each other. That was followed by a wide-ranging game of chase.

Now that Mooch has returned to Ollie’s apartment, G. Gordon Kitty has morphed into G. Gordon Slug – lounging around on whatever empty space he can find. No “car key hockey.” No “emergency in another room” sprints. No playing with the other two cats here. Nope. No Mooch, no exercise.


Do you need a friend in order to exercise? I generally do – and wish I had an exercise buddy now. Years ago, a neighbor (who has since moved) and I would walk over to the nearby park every morning and take a lap around the park. There’s a long way and a longer way. We took the latter. And there are hills. Not very high – this is, after all, the Midwest – but they could get you huffing and puffing all the same. Especially if you’d been out of West Virginia w-a-y too long.

That was about the last time I teamed up with a friend to do any regular exercise, and the walking didn’t last long. The problem was, my foot hurt. My podiatrist kept brushing me off, saying, “Aw, you’re a diabetic.” So I asked my diabetes team to recommend a podiatrist, he took an x-ray, discovered broken bones…and that was the end of my morning walks. (And also the end of two nerves, which were damaged by the broken bones and had to be surgically removed.)

I also walked with the children, who especially enjoyed going to a state park near here that has trails of varying difficulties. One trail could be accessed by descending steps that had been carved into the side of a cliff. About halfway down, my grandson asked, trepidatiously, “are we going into the DEEP forest?”

After recovering from surgery, I rode a bike. I rode a bike so much, I had to lay on my stomach across the bed because my tush was sore from sitting on the bicycle seat. Sometimes the children rode with me. They were about five and seven at the time. That didn’t work so well. I’d tell them to stay between me and the sidewalk, but they had their own ideas about where the heck they were going to ride and would quickly fall back behind me. Eventually, I’d get some adult shaking his finger in my face, telling me the children were going to get hit by a car.

Swimming? I’m not overly fond of water, stemming from an incident when I was a teenager. (I pulled a friend off the bottom of the pool at band camp after he injured his spinal cord diving in, paralyzing him.) My traveling bud swims and I’ll use the pool, too, if it’s one I can get out of. (Getting in is easy: Splash! Oops! I fell!) Alas, not many pools have lifts. However, I see the cruise ship we will be on this spring has a lift at one pool, so I have my swimming suit all dusted off in anticipation.

Back in the day, I danced all night. But I had partners. My husband doesn’t dance. I dance in my chair on occasion. I also have a DVD with “dancing in the chair”[2] exercises. It’s around here. Somewhere…

Gardening is good exercise, and my husband does join me in that activity. Soon, it will be time to prepare the garden for winter.

Exercise can be anything that gets you moving. Walking, dancing, swimming, bowling…even vacuuming. Or taking a two-year-old to the playground. It’s also a great way to lower your blood glucose. Check it before you engage in the activity of your choice, then again afterwards. It’s kinda neat!

I just need a push. Or a friend to get – and keep – me motivated. Got any ideas?

Or maybe I should chase G. Gordon. It would benefit us both.

  1. the kids are gone:
  2. “dancing in the chair”:

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Jan Chait: Jan Chait was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 1986. Since then, she has run the gamut of treatments, beginning with diet and exercise. She now uses an insulin pump to help treat her diabetes. (Jan Chait is not a medical professional.)

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