Our Outdoor Gym – One More Time

I am trying to use to the fullest the last days of summer when it is still warm enough to exercise outdoor, and there is still a possibility to catch some daylight before work. The latter possibility will be over pretty soon, but I am still able to use our outdoor gym for now.
I start my strength training sessions at home, in my home gym, and use my TRX and dumbells and my yoga ball. And then, I walk to the “Outdoor fitness park,” as I now know, it is called! I was very pleased to see this plaque and to learn that our outdoor gym is nationally recognized! It deserves that!

Visiting the Gym

On Sunday, I went to my local gym for the third time since its reopening last Friday. The first time, I went there to check it out on the first day. Then I want twice, checking the early morning situation on both weekdays and weekends. And I decided that for the time being, I will use it only as a last resort. If it will be pouring rain and I won’t be able to bike or walk. At least until fall. 

Here is why. It’s a 24X7 facility, so the situation depends solely on how the individual members behave, but the management still has ways to encourage the desired behavior. On Tuesday, there were only three people except me in the gym, but theses three people were socializing (and they were not one household). Yes, by the governor’s order, masks are not required in the gyms, but people should think for themselves, especially when they choose to socialize. 

There is no explicit marking on the floor regarding the 6 feet distance; the blue dots are in random places. Out of six disinfecting wipes disposers, five were empty. One bottle of hand sanitizer was empty. Yes, I know it was a long weekend, but in the situation of a pandemic, this should not happen. 

I wore a mask (a good one, which allows me to breathe while exercising.) Another member stated to set up his weights and a bench very close to me. But after looking at my mask, he asked: do you mind that I am so close to you? I said – no, it’s OK, I am in the mask. And then I added: I knew right away it will be challenging to keep the distance, so I decided I will wear a mask when coming here, although it is not required. He nodded, and then he said: you know what, I think I will move further. 

I remember that the last week before the gym closed in March, they had plenty of sanitizer and disinfection wipes, and they had signed everywhere they people should clean the equipment after each use. And even though we know now that the virus does not spread significantly through the surfaces, it’s still a b=public indoor place, with no staff on-site for extended periods, so I believe they should provide their members with more cleaning supplies. 

Any Time Fitness reopening

A part of Phase 4 in Illinois is the reopening of indoor gyms. There are some restrictions, of course, and even more so in the city. So I was wondering how ATF will reopen. Turned out, they – just reopened. And I am not sure what to make out of it. No extra flyers or anything. There was almost nobody there; I saw just two people working out. And it’s not like the time was wrong, especially since everybody is working from home.


I am not sure how I feel about not wearing a mask indoor, even when there is nobody around.
Tomorrow, I will see how things are in the city!

Increasing the Distance

Our Park District came up with a very creative way to keep the residents active during the lockdown. At the beginning of April, they launched a virtual competition, “Increasing the distance.”


The distance is minimal, but I know that many people stopped moving entirely, so it is important to get them out and moving, even if it would be for a mile a day.

Continue reading “Increasing the Distance”

Back to Yoga Classes!

An unexpected result of the quarantine: I had a yoga class with my yoga teacher Anu, and I didn’t have it for two years! It was a sixteen-years long story, as she pointed out today – I started to attend her class in the YMCA, and I liked her a lot. Then she stopped teaching at the Y, but her former students have found a place to get together on Sunday mornings.
Then that place became unavailable, and some of us had switched to online classes. Then there was just me with my friend, and then it all stopped after my back surgery, and we could not find a time that would work.


Last week, I thought that maybe now, when there are no live classes, and when I am working from home anyway, I will be able to find a slot. I emailed Anu over the weeked, and today I was in a semi-private class.
Although I am doing yoga for a very long time, and although I can do it myself, it is such a tremendous difference when you are doing it with the teacher!


I stretch as I haven’t been doing for a very long time! Also, under current circumstances, we did a lot of breathing exercises (which I could never do on my own), and also a long meditation. I am so happy I have this back in my life!

This photo is from my solo yoga session two weeks ago

Working Out at Home – How Much You Can Do?

My local Anytime Fitness closed Wednesday night. Since March 13, every morning, I was walking there and thinking: please let it be opened!

I have a mini-gym at home, which I gradually assembled for the days when the weather is so awful that I do not want to step outside, or when I am in a real hurry. And usually, I work out at home one or two days a week.

But all these days preceding the closing, I was going to ATF in the morning because I was afraid that each time could be the last time.

On Thursday, when I was unable to open the door with my key card, it finally happened. The lights were on, and it felt so sad that I could not get in. For the record, since March 13, there were very few people in the gym. The instructions on the walls requested each piece of equipment to be wiped from top to bottom after each use. And at the time when I go (5 AM) there were from zero to three people in addition to myself.Ironically,

.Thursday was the day when at work, we were going to share with coworkers our in-home exercise routines. I thought I would need to fake it, but I was legitly exercising at home. Here are the pictures I made for our office slack channel

Continue reading “Working Out at Home – How Much You Can Do?”

Traveling to Cyprus

My birthday was on Saturday, and I spent most of it in transit. Started it with a birthday breakfast of hot-smoked salmon sandwich on rye bread at the Vantaa airport and then boarded a flight to Frankfurt. That flight and the subsequent flight to Limassol were extremely uneventful, being operated by Lufthansa :).

I didn’t know that we have to cross the border going to Cyprus. Cyprus is an EU member, but not a part of the Schengen agreement. However, they acknowledge Schengen visas, so it works at least one way :).

Upon arrival, we met our driver (we had a prearranged transportation to our hotel) and got into the car. Once again, I didn’t know that Cyprus had left-side traffic, so you have to be super careful. The highway from the airport was one-way, and the reverse route was not visible. Citing my surprise that nobody asked us at the border, how long we are going to stay, Boris joked that that’s because there is no way out anyway :).

This time of the year is off-season on Cyprus, so hotels are dirt-chip, and the first two days it was raining. We won’t do much sightseeing anyway, because it falls dark right after five. But here is the view from our room 🙂

I also managed to get an hour in the gym, hence I have my usual in-the-gym birthday picture:

Motivational Post

I heard a lot about people “showing off on Instagram,” posting the “perfect bodies which do not really exist,” and so on. Also, and this is not what people are saying, but what I observe – in their “End of the year” posts people often say that they dropped X pounds, finally started to exercise and practice yoga regularly, and so on.

I am posting my picture, not for the show, but motivation. And I consciously did not photoshop the imperfections (except I’ve chosen the photos with the most intelligent expression on my face :)).


I will turn fifty-seven in less than three weeks. My weight is stable for ten years, so nothing new here:). I practice yoga for about 12 years and work with personal trainers for approximately the same time. Nothing new.


Almost two years after my back surgery, I am continuously getting better. I do not think I will ever feel “like new,” but I can walk and stand longer than many other people even without surgery:). Although I can’t lift heavy weights anymore, I’ve almost rebuilt my muscle mass to the pre-surgical period.

I was not an athletic person neither in school nor in college. I started to take good care of my body pretty late in life. And what I want to say – it is never too late. You should not “feel old” just because of your age. It is not natural :).

Taking Selfies

Yesterday, I came across a question in one of the blogs I follow: why people are posting selfies and how you react to somebody posting lots of selfies. 

I can tell you how I reacted: I immediately remembered that I took several selfies in our office gym after I was done with my personal training. Now, why I made these selfies in the first place? 

I like to post my selfies in the gym not because I want people to admire me (eeem… for this as well :)) but mostly to demonstrate that even way after 50, you can be fit and active. I am fifty-six now, and I had very serious back surgery less than two years ago. I still have some limitations, and most likely, I will never be the same person as I used to be, but it does not mean that I should “accept my age.” Actually, thirty-five years ago, I was in the worse shape :).

This morning our office gym was empty; it looks like half of the people started their vacations earlier. So I was able to take these pictures without disturbing others.

New Bikes!

When Boris was in town, I finally talked him into getting a new bike. Actually, I wanted really badly to give him a new bike for his birthday, which was in June. I already had two bike-related gifts for him, but this didn’t feel enough for me. Fortunately for me, the gear-switching mechanism on his old bike finally broke, and I told him that I do not like to listen to this noise when we are biking together.

He said he wanted a bike as traditional, as possible. Thank goodness, they do not manufacture bikes with foot brakes anymore; otherwise, he would get one! I’ve ruled out the more expensive models, and we ended up with this one, also pretty traditional.

While we were in Mike’s Bike Shop, a salesperson asked me whether I wanted a matching bike for women. And I am not going to lie – I was already looking at one of those!

The one which was on display was hopelessly pink, but the salesperson said, that there is a variety of colors, including (he said, looking at me) my favorite color! The bike also had a basket in front. Two years ago I rejected the idea of having a bike with the basket, but now I knew for sure that there are situations when I need exactly this! The advantage of having a wired basket as a part of the bike is that you do not need to unbuckle it each time you leave your bike at the bike rack. You just pull the actual basket out and go around shopping.

We took a time out till Sunday. And then on Sunday, we were busy, and the weather was not great. And I was not sure whether I want it. Then I got sick. And then the day he was leaving, I finally made my decision – I want a second bike.

We went to the shop, and it turned out that my favorite color has to be ordered, so I still had to wait for several days. It was only last Friday that I finally took my new bike home. Look at it! Isn’t it gorgeous?!