Muscle memory

June 2021

The change of seasons has appeared in its usual way in our city. One day it is cold and rainy and the next day it’s summer in all its glory. And, as usual, we are all rushing to take in the better weather by living and playing outside before, dare I say it, we feel the cool air of fall.
I have taken in the early summer by cleaning out my flower pots (I know some of you keeners do that in the fall), deciding on what to plant and now expanding my flower garden to some simple vegetables. All of this is work but being outside, and accomplishing something after a sedentary winter, lifts my spirits.

With the COVID closure of recreation facilities, and specifically my beloved pool, I have attempted to continue a fitness regime outside of water. To say I don’t have the time is not a good argument so I ride my stationary bike and walk outdoors when the weather
cooperates. In my mind I think I am doing okay in terms of my fitness level.

Wrong. Whatever muscle memory I am supposed to retain has clearly experienced amnesia. The seasonal work includes carrying the summer furniture out, bending to enhance the flower beds, kneeling to pick up weeds and old growth, and finally reaching to clean windows. My muscles are sore, my knees are creaking and my arms feel like rubber. In other words, I feel like I just finished a hard workout, the first I have done in months, and now am paying for it. This has clearly proven that my winter exercise regime hasn’t worked.

Combine this with the fact that the fresh air has my head bobbing at the hour of 7 p.m. confirms that the winter has been hard on my body even if my mind was living in a fantasy world.

I have not tried on many of my summer clothes yet. I am wise to select those items that were loose last year and have maximum stretch.

As a result I have reconsidered the use of shape-wear. Yes, I had thought of this before but felt that perhaps I didn’t need it yet. (another fantasy) Times have certainly changed. I am advised that shape-wear is a garment that smooths out the edges and holds everything in.

I went so far as to purchase what I can only describe as biker shorts, not because I plan to bike a marathon, but for comfort in the summer heat. I have to say that, as advertised, these shorts do what they are reported to do. My thighs give thanks. Apparently biker shorts are considered the entry level to full shape-wear. I boldly go where I have never gone before and I am hopeful they have a much better memory than my body does.

Perhaps the winter really didn’t live up to any standard on the physical scale. (I’m sure the chips didn’t help) It is good to know that modern technology will help me “keep things in” while I reintroduce a better summer/fall fitness regime. I can only hope that the pool will be open soon and I can finally re-enter the exercise world the way it should be.

And, I hope, my muscles remember what they are supposed to do. Happy summer!

Sue Prodaniuk is a marketing, advertising and communications consultant. She can be reached at

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