Looking Back at Dobbiaco, Italy

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Pole
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Pole
2017 dolomite hike
2017 dolomite hike

My husband received new Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles for Christmas.

2017-Dolomite-hike Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol
2017-Dolomite-hike Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol

The trekking poles made a huge difference when we hiked in the  Italian Dolomites this past fall, so we thought it would be good for him to have a pair of his own.

2017-Dolomite-landslide
2017-Dolomite-landslide

The area has had terrible landslides and the trails were closed in some places.  The mountain hike led us through all types of terrain, or as my husband commented “the Dolomites has complex geomorphology”  Go figure.

 

Just a Thought About Net Neutrality

Saw this and thought it provided a clear explanation of why net neutrality is important.

For the record, Costa Michailidis is running for Congress in 2018, as an independent candidate for the US House of Representative in New York district 3 against Democratic Congressman Thomas R. “Tom” Suozzi.  Other than that, I know nothing about Mr. Michailidis except that I agree with him on this issue.

Wrapping Up 2017

2017 Elephant Riding in Thailand
2017 Elephant Riding in Thailand

Despite the various aches, pains, and torn up knees, we’ve traveled a lot this year:

In February, we cruised through Asia – visiting Singapore,  Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam,  and Cambodia.  We got to ride an elephant and saw temples in Siem Reap, including the Angkor Wat temple complex.

The “Tomb Raider Temple” – Ta Prohm at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia,
The “Tomb Raider Temple” – Ta Prohm at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia,
2017 Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Siem Reap, Cambodia
2017 The Bayon temple, Angkor, Cambodia
2017 Siem Reap, Cambodia- Can you see the faces?
2017 The Bayon temple, Angkor, Cambodia- Can you see the faces?

 

In May, we did a quick trip in the British Isles and France.  Highlights of that trip included  visiting Eric and Helen at their new home in Ripe, East Sussex.  We then took a cruise that included biking on the island of Sark- an island in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France.

La Seigneurie Gardens, Sark,  Channel Islands

We had to rent bikes because, with a population of about 600, Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed.

Worth reading is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, about the people of Guernsey [also a Channel Island] during World War II, their taste in books, and the impact the German occupation had on their lives.

2017 Sark, Channel Islands
2017 Sark, Channel Islands

 

Dublin, of course included a trip to the Guinness Storehouse, as well as various pubs along the way.

 

2017 Lismore, Ireland [County Waterford]
2017 Lismore, Ireland [County Waterford]
At the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland
At the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giverny Monet's Garden 2017
Giverny, France – Monet’s Garden
2017 Monet's Gardens at Giverny, France
2017 Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, France

It was a treat to see Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, France. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, as well as the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.

 

Outside the Hard Rock Hotel and Resort when we watched the NBA Summer League
Outside the Hard Rock Hotel and Resort when we watched the NBA Summer League

Taking a break, we made our way to Las Vegas, Nevada in July.  We watched the NBA Summer League and had a great time.

September saw us in the Alta Pusteria Valley, in the northern Italian Dolomites. It’s an area renowned for its 3000m jagged peaks of pale, heavily-eroded limestone that shoot up from green pastures and pretty meadows and is recognized by UNESCO as a unique and spectacular mountain environment.  We stayed in Dobbiaco, Italy and hiked trails in the area.

2017 Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo
2017 Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dobbiaco, Italy – three immense
obelisks of sheer rock that have been adopted as the symbol of the region
2017 Dobbiaco, Italy
2017 Dobbiaco, Italy: With an ascent of 700m, it’s a tough but entirely worthy pull up to the idyllic Bonner Hütte for a tremendous panoramic lunch overlooking the unmistakable Tre Cime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Dobbiaco, Italy
Chris and Sue join us on a hike. 2017 Dobbiaco, Italy

 

Walking sticks were a must as it was unseasonably snowy.  The days and the hiking trails became a little unpredictable. We will probably do something similar in the future as we met great people and had a ball.

2017 Dobbiaco, Italy
2017 Dobbiaco, Italy: Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee. The lovely turquoise lake sits majestically in the high Braies Valley at almost 1500m; it is surrounded and hemmed in by towering mountain peaks and 500m cliff faces

We took a quick cruise to Mexico in November, stopping at Cozumel and Costa Maya to see the Chacchoben Ruins.

2017 Chacchoben Ruins Mexico
2017 Chacchoben Ruins Mexico
2017 Chacchoben Ruins, Costa Maya, Mexico
2017 Chacchoben Ruins, Costa Maya, Mexico

Wrapping up 2017 in Hawaii, healthy and happy.  Taking golf lessons at the Mid Pacific Country Club, starting to work out again with my Body Opponent Bag, tennis and enjoying walks in the sunshine.

 

 

 

Mele Kalikimaka everyone!

 

First Day At Golf

We joined the Mid Pacific Country Club in Lanikai!  We picked up a couple of used golf club sets at Roots & Relics in Honolulu.  Mid Pac has a gorgeous golf course and we can walk there easily. Although I’ve never played before, Bill and I played 9 holes this morning.  Bill did well while I picked up my ball a lot but the  day was great and we had fun.

This photo of Lanikai Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I was surprised at how little the clubs cost relative to all accoutrements.  Golf bogs,  golf bag carts, shoes, an club-appropriate clothes….  We are looking forward to checking out the gym, dining rooms and social events at the club while we are in Hawaii.

Getting Back Into It in Hawaii

Between the knee and hand/arm issues, I’ve not done regular, strenuous exercise in over a year. We have committed to getting back into it. This morning, we walked 2.5 miles and played a bit of tennis before the rain came down.

I was happy doing basic hula hooping in the living room while listening to 1980’s music. 10 minutes in one direction and 10 minutes in the other. Hula hooping burns 210 calories in a 30-minute workout, or 7 calories per minute. I wore my Fitbit Blaze tracker and got credit for steps as I did the work out.  It was a win-win!

I wrapped up with 20 push ups so today wasn’t completely cardio-centric.

Gentle Knee Stretches and Strengthening Exercises to Decrease Pain

Time to get my knees back into the game! Found some very gentle knee stretches and knee strengthening exercises on the Sparkspeople.com site.  I’ve supplemented their text with videos.

Knee Stretches

Chair knee extension: Sitting in a chair, rest your foot on another chair so the knee is slightly raised. Gently push the raised knee toward the floor using only leg muscles. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.

Heel slide knee extension: Lie on your back, with left knee bent and left foot flat on floor. Slowly slide the left heel away from your body so both legs are parallel. Hold for 5-10 seconds, return to starting position. Repeat 5 times on each leg.

Knee flexion: Sitting in a chair, loop a long towel under your foot (resting on the floor). Gently pull on the towel with both hands to bend the knee, raising your foot 4 – 5 inches off the floor. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.

Hamstring stretch: Standing, put one foot in front of you, toes up. With hands on the small of your back (or one hand holding a chair for balance), bend the opposite knee and hip (not your lower back), until you feel the hamstrings stretch. The upper body comes forward at the hip. Hold for 5 -10 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.

Knee Strengthening Exercises

  1. Wall slide: Leaning with your back against a wall, bend your knees 30°, sliding down the wall, then straighten up again. Move slowly and smoothly, using your hands on the wall for balance. Keep feet and legs parallel, and do not allow knees to go out over the toes. Repeat 5 -10 times.
    Wall Slides for Knees


  2. Straight-Leg Raises: Sitting in a chair, straighten one leg in the air (without locking the knee). Hold for about one minute. Bend your knee to lower the leg about halfway to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to starting position. Work up to 4 reps on each leg.

  1. Abductor Raise: Lie on your side, propped on one elbow. The leg on the floor bent, the other straight. Slowly lift the top leg, hold for 5 -10 seconds, then lower. (Ankle weights will increase the intensity). Do 1-3 sets with 12-15 repetitions each. Remember to rest in between sets.
  2. Hamstring Curl: Stand with the front of your thighs against a surface (a table or wall). Flex one knee up as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds, then lower slowly. If possible, do not touch the floor between repetitions. (Ankle weights will increase the intensity.) Do 1-3 sets with 12-15 repetitions each. Remember to rest in between sets.
  3. Step-Ups: Stand in front of a step, like a sturdy bench or stairs, about two feet high (or less if necessary). Step up onto the support, straighten your knees fully (without locking them) and step down. Maintain a steady pace. If you are comfortable with your balance, pump your arms while doing this exercise. Start with 1 minute, slowly building your time. Gets your heart pumping too!
  4. Stationary Bike: Biking is a good way to increase strength and range of motion. Make sure you have the right positioning of the legs. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, the bend in the knee should be 15 degrees. Start with 10 minutes and slowly increase your time.

Restarting Kickboxing Workouts

For the past few months, I have been working out with my Body Opponent Bag using the FigCentury BOB XL with Base is a full-size, life-like mannequin.ht Trainer app.  I had limited myself to only to boxing rounds but decided I would do a basic kickboxing training session today.

My warm up was 2 minutes of jump rope and the 10 minute workout I included under Guidance/Exercises on this site. (Do it twice and you’ll burn about 170 calories.)

Minutes: Combination Moves:
0:00–2:00 Jab, cross, hook, uppercut lead with left (30 seconds each)
2:00–4:00 Jab, cross, hook, uppercut lead with right (30 seconds each)
4:00–5:00 Front kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
5:00–6:00 Roundhouse kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
6:00–7:00 Side kick (30 seconds each, left and right)
7:00–7:30 Combination (left foot forward): Jab, (L), uppercut (R), Front kick  (L)
7:30–8:00 Combination (right foot forward): Jab, (R), uppercut (L), Front kick  (R)
8:00–8:30 Combination (left foot forward): Jab, (L), cross (R), Roundhouse kick (L)
8:30–9:00 Combination (right foot forward): Jab, (R), cross (L), Roundhouse kick (R)

I did the Fight Trainer basic kickboxing session at a really slow pace and was doing well.  Unfortunately, I realized that I completely forgot how to do a back kick!  Just in case anyone else wants to refresh her/his memory:

 

 

 

Strengthening Your Wrists

I’ve been feeling weakness and pain in my wrists these days, especially while playing tennis.  I found a couple of web sites that offer wrist strengthening exercises.

7 Exercises To Maximize Hand, Wrist, And Forearm Strength


It suggested the following to increase in the overall strength of your upper extremities will also help to improve your hand and wrist dexterity :

  1. Flex and extend all fingers, while making a complete fist for 30 seconds. Next, open and close your fingers do 2 sets of each for a total of a minute.
  2. Flex your wrist and hold in maximum flex for 30 seconds with the elbow straight but not locked.
  3. Extend your wrist with the elbow straight for 30 seconds. Do 2 sets for a total of 2 minutes. These initial three stretching exercises will prepare you for the more complex and more intense weight-bearing exercises to optimize muscular development and the strength of the forearm.
  4. Seated Wrist Hammer Curls – In a seated position with your back straight, place your forearm on your thighs with your thumbs pointed upward. Use a 5-, 10-, or 20lb weight in a hammer position and lift it back and forth slowly for 3 sets of 20 repetitions. This will develop your brachioradialis muscle, which inserts at the distal aspect of the forearm at the wrist. Greater hypertrophy of this muscle will give more definition and balance of the forearm.
  5. Seated Wrist Straight Curls – This is to develop your flexor muscles. In a seated position, with your forearms on your thighs and palms facing upward, with a 5-, 10-, or even 20lb weight in hand, flex your wrist upward. Keep the forearms well placed against your thighs for greater stability and isolation of the wrist and forearm musculature. Be careful to place the wrist three to four inches away from the knee to allow the full range of motion. Take caution not to overextend.  Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
  6. Seated Reverse Wrist Curls – This is to develop your extensor muscles and is also done in a seated position with your forearms on your thigh, palms facing downward, with the wrist three to four inches away from the knees. Grasp the weight and extend the wrist fully. Do this for 3 sets of 20 and be sure to not lift the elbows from the thighs when extending the wrists. Keep the palms down.
  7. Finger Curls – This is an easy exercise to perform and will develop finger and hand strength. Simply sit and hold a 5-, 10-, or 15lb in weight your hand. Turn your hand with the palm upward with the back of your wrist on your thigh. Allow the weight to roll down your fingers, and now curl your fingers back holding the weight securely. Remember to keep the back of your wrist against your thigh throughout the execution of the exercise. Use weight which you can effectively control and execute the exercises properly.

Another web page provided exercises and an explanation of e I found: 3 Wrist Strengthening Exercises To Prevent Yoga Injuries

In order to protect the wrist, it is essential that we place more weight on the mounds of our thumb, index, and middle finger and less so on the ring and pinky side.

Most often, due to weak upper arm and shoulder strength, our weight automatically falls on the outside of our hands. This weight on the heel of the palm will lift the index finger off the floor placing a great degree of tension on the ulna, which isn’t designed to bear as much of a load. To protect this sensitive joint, more weight should be placed on the heel of the hand while at the same time, using the fingers pads to distribute the weight evenly.

Other exercises suggested were:

Ball Squeeze

Take a stress ball or tennis ball and grip it in your palm as firmly as possible with your fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat about 10 times. Switch hands. There are a few variations you could do with a ball squeeze.

Towel Wring

Take a dry towel and twist the towel in opposite direction, as if to squeeze the water out of it. Hold the contraction at the end for a few seconds. Be mindful of overstretching as this can aggravate your already injured wrists. Switch sides and repeat 8-10 times.

Recovering From Hand Surgery

The stitches are out from my finder after hand surgery.  The surgeon had to remove scar tissue and repair the tendon.  So far, my hand looks pretty good.  Oddly, i have two fingers that are swollen and cannot bend instead of just the one.  I will be trying to stretch them out and exercise them while traveling through Ireland over the next couple of weeks.

Until I return to the surgeon for evaluation, I thought I’d look online for some ideas:

Make a Fistwebmd_rf_photo_of_fist_stretch

Make a gentle fist, wrapping your thumb across your fingers.   Stretch only until you feel tightness. You shouldn’t feel pain.Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Release and spread your fingers wide. Repeat with both hands at least four times.

 

Claw Stretch

webmd_rf_photo_of_claw_stretchThis stretch helps improve the range of motion in your fingers.

Hold your hand out in front of you, palm facing you.
Bend your fingertips down to touch the base of each finger joint. Your hand should look a little like a claw.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and release. Repeat at least four times on each hand.

Finger Bends
Finger bends strengthen your flexor tendons and increase the mobility of tendons across your fingers. To perform this exercise, place your hands palm side up on a bench. Keeping your fingers straight, gently bend your fingers at the knuckles as far as possible.  Hold this position for a few seconds. Bend your wrist and fingers backwards as far as you can. Hold this position for a few seconds and return your hands to the starting position. . Perform 50 repetitions of the exercise each hour you are awake,  Perform this exercise on both hands.

Rubber Band Strengthening
Using a rubber band can strengthen the tendons in the hands post surgery. To perform this exercise, place an elastic band around your thumb and fingers. Keeping your elbow straight, Stretch the elastic band by opening your fingers and thumbs. Hold this position for three seconds. Slowly return your fingers and thumb to the starting position. Perform this exercise until fatigued.

Hand Open and Close
Curl your fihand openngers and thumb making a tight fist then straighten your fingers as far as you can go without pain and provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch

 

Repeat 10 – 20 times provided the exercise is pain free.

Finger Adduction to Abduction
Begin with your fingers together aFinger Adduction to Abductions demonstrated. Spread your fingers apart as far as you can go without pain and provided you feel no more than a mild to moderate stretch, then return to the starting position.

Repeat 10 – 20 times provided the exercise is pain free.