About six weeks ago, I thought about the fact that we were shortly going to be going on vacation in the mountains, and about what a couch potato I have been since my surgery last year, and about how I had better see if I was going to be fit enough to do much of anything in the way of, say, a hike.
I am an outdoorsy person in the sense that I like to be outdoors. I like walks in the woods or at the beach, and I keep a well-greened patio garden here in the city. But I am not the backpack-wearing kind of outdoorsy person. The hikes I have done have been in the 1-4 mile range, not the 8-12 or overnight range. And that's when I'm in good condition.
Mr. P is currently in no better condition than I am. So I knew we were not going to be doing anything particularly strenuous. BUT the one thing I am bound to do when presented with a rocky river, is go rock-hopping. (This is the middle-aged risk-averse version of bouldering, I suppose.)
That demands a certain amount of upper-body strength. So I had to do one essential test: I had to do some push-ups.
I used to do a set of ten proper, from-the-toes push-ups. I barely managed a set of five from the knees. Eeek.
So my short-term fitness goal was to get up to at least ten from-the-knees push-ups, and from there build back to my set of proper push-ups. There simply isn't a better upper-body strength exercise you can do, in a minute or less, with no equipment.
I am happy to report that I am now doing a set of twelve from the knees. The plan is to build up to twenty in a set, then alternate my days of push-ups so that I'm doing my full set from the knees and however many from the toes as I can.
Along with this, I've been increasing the number of bodyweight squats from five to ten, and holding my plank longer. I am up to a count of fifty there, and plan to start using an actual watch to do a full minute. I heard somewhere that in the Israeli army they do two minutes, so one minute for a middle-aged civilian ought to be acceptable.