Getting Fit

Me, getting a great workout at a ropes course in Maryland.

One of my resolutions for the month of December is to get fitter. Not only as a trumpeter but also in the parts of my body that aren’t really used for trumpet playing. I’m 54 years old, so for me, exercise will not be as ambitious as those workouts that some of my young readers do. Moreover, my ideas on fitness are intuitive and not marked by any degree of expertise. If you want to get in shape, you should consult a real expert. But if you want to see how I am trying to get in shape, then read on.

Basically, my strategy is to do aerobic exercises on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and strength exercises on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On Sunday, I can do either or I can rest. This is a basic schedule that can allow for a lot of change and growth.  

For aerobic (or “cardio”) workouts, I like to walk, go biking, rowing on my “erg” (a rowing machine), swimming, and doing yard work like raking or shoveling snow. I used to be able to run, but my shins haven’t cooperated for the last seven years. I’m open to other kinds of aerobic workouts, and I’ll be trying some later on, because, according to my 7th commandment, I will “choose the more imaginative or enjoyable way, when possible.” Please post your cardio suggestions in a comment below–I promise I will consider what you suggest!

For my strength training, my go-to exercises are calisthenics with a little dumbbell work thrown in. So far, I do stomach crunches (not sit ups) for my abs. “Supermans” for my lower back. Lunges and body-wight squats for my legs. I do push-ups,  pull-ups and side lateral raises and standing presses with dumbbells for my arms. If you have any suggestions for alternative calisthenics, let me know! 

In addition, I will be working on stretching out of Bob Anderson’s great classic, Stretching. And I will be doing breathing exercises out of The Breathing Gym by Patrick Sheridan and Sam Pilafian. 

I don’t expect that these kinds of exercises to make myself fitter will directly make me a better trumpeter, although they might. What I want to gain is more energy and reduce my sense of fatigue and stiffness by doing these simple exercises on a regular basis. 

I do think that having more energy will help me be a more energetic trumpeter. Now let’s hit the gym!

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