Health & Fitness Efforts

Strictly truthful accounts of attempts to embrace the Straight and Narrow

#FridayFitness: the Press-up

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#FridayFitness: the Press-up




Castle Coop’s #FridayFitness Class: Exercise of the week:




Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better.

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.

(Source:  Mayo Clinic )

The Press-up:

Today’s #FridayFitness exercise is the Press-up which is designed to build muscle strength and boost endurance. Apparently of all the exercises one can do, the press-up is one of the most effective: should you wish to improve your  pectoralis major, anterior deltoids and triceps, there is nothing that tops it. Those who are skilled at performing press-ups can further improve themselves with a brisk rendition of the Military Press-up.

To do regular pushups, you bend your arms and lower your chest until it breaks the plane of your elbows. Military pushups require a full range of motion: Marines must touch their chests to the floor for every pushup.


To enjoy the many benefits of the Press-up however, you may be glad to know that you don’t need to be a Marine or even to join the Army.


 The Press-up



Yours imagining Samson’s press-ups were probably a bit more successful than mine, before horrid Delilah went & cut off his hair,

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If you would like to become a virtual member of our Castle Coop fitness classes, do sign up in the comment box below – we should all be delighted to welcome you.

So as you know what we are doing, so far we have practiced:

The Russian Twist

The Lunge

The Squat

The Toe-touch

Our class is held at 10.30am in the Village Hall – we all drink coffee together after the class and eat Brownies kindly cooked by Lady Sebright. They are delicious and immediately undo all the good work of our class.


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Reflections and Resolutions!

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Reflections and Resolutions!





Reflections and Resolutions!



I do hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas!

There has been such a lot of wining, dining and quaffing that has gone on here in Castle Coop recently that my belt now longer fits comfortably. I need to get a grip.

Luckily I was given a ‘Get a Grip’ FitBit for Christmas – it is awesome!

My one is exactly like this:

Black Flex Fitbit
















The strapline for the fitbit says:

Set a goal and go

Flex allows you to set a goal and uses LED lights to show how you’re stacking up. Each light represents 20% of your goal. You choose which one — steps, calories, or distance. It lights up like a scoreboard, challenging you to be more active day after day.

I love the idea of a scoreboard and look!! As well as all the LED lights which I keep admiring as they sparkle, the kind people at Fitbit have already sent me a badge to cut out and keep!


My Badge!

badge image

Your step count is heating up!
You’ve earned the Urban Boot badge.

The Urban Boot Badge … how exciting is that! I’m totally on board for badges and an urban boot badge sounds pretty edgy. I shall cut my badge out and wear it power walking whilst out and about in Castle Coop.

Liberty Hen power-walking

Resolutions for 2015:

Have you made any? If you have any good ideas, I should be delighted if you’d give me some inspiration as I have been getting depressed considering all the scope for self-improvement. Perhaps I could simply focus on accumulating edgy badges.

Should Hope triumph over Experience?

Should I or should I not put chocolate on the list? To date I haven’t done so as the idea of editing chocolate out of my life isn’t very realistic . On the other hand, there is the belt issue.  On reflection, I think chocolate had better go on the list.

Oh no!

Happy New Year!

Yours fatly,

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Sofa Cycling !

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Sofa Cycling !

Sofa Cycling!






For ages now it has been miserable weather here in Castle Coop. Weeks ago, I decided to combat the winter cold by lying on the sofa under several layers of eiderdown with a cup of tea. This strategy has been a great success and is one I can thoroughly recommend. I knew it would make me feel warm & cozy but it has turned out to be educational as well!

The only snag I found was a (very) small worry of mine about not having taken my bike out and about for ages but look! Someone has already thought up the perfect solution…

Sofa Cycling!




video credit:  Cornelia IndoorCyclingVideo

Isn’t this a brilliant idea!

It really is the most marvellous feeling being able to put all this dreary weather to good use.  Sofa cycling is a simply wonderful discovery. If you watch Cornelia’s fab video, you will be taken on a cycle tour  through a beautiful bit of Germany with the added bonus of a wonderful sunrise thrown in for free. Germany looks very scenic and tranquil; viewing it from Cornelia’s bicycle when she is doing all the leg-work while one is actually snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea is most enjoyable.

Learning from Cornelia’s film, small, rural villages in Germany seem quite different from Castle Coop; the houses are like mountain chalets and the roads are far emptier than they are in the UK. Fields stretch right up to the roadsides whereas ours are surrounded by hedges which you can’t see over the top of. German wheelie bins however are exactly the same as ours which I didn’t know before.


On You tube, I’ve discovered loads of other cycling videos which have been filmed all over the world. So you see –  sofa cycling is excellent for improving both geography and general knowledge.

Isn’t sofa cycling great!


The Agent takes me in hand:

Unfortunately the Agent caught me sofa cycling alongside a beach in Mallorca last week & I failed to convince him of its merits. In no time at all, he’d arranged for an enormous parcel to arrive.

 indoor cycling

Behold the Beast!


I am now the proud owner of a high-tech dashboard which monitors distance travelled and calories burnt (& not burnt ) and there are also little buttons which flash to remind me to change gear. However, neither eiderdowns nor cups of tea feature in any of its programmes which IMO, is a bit of a downside.

Yours, astonished that the Agent remains impervious to the joys of sofa cycling but getting to grips with all the newly installed flashing technology,

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen…

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen…


Mad Dogs and Englishmen…


Early this morning, as it was such a beautiful sunshiny day,

I decided to go for a relaxing spin on my bike.

Relaxing? LOL.



llh on bike ride 1allh on bike ride 2allh on bike ride 3allh on bike ride 7allh on bike ride 8allh on bike ride 9allh on bike ride 5allh on bike ride 6allh on bike ride 7allh on bike ride 4allh on bike ride 2allh on bike ride 1a









































































































Yours remembering with heartfelt nostalgia, those summer days back in July when the sun came out & stayed out & my bike rides were so much more straightforward,




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Juicing for Health!

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Juicing for Health!

Juicing for Health!


In an effort to pin down a bit of Health and Wellbeing for myself, I decided I need to approach it from the inside out. In the library yesterday, I came across a book called, ‘Food and Juice for Health ‘.


On the front cover is a picture of two large glasses of red berry juice full of raspberries floating about. Doesn’t it look delicious? book juice

(Picture source: Photodisc)

The book’s strap line reads: ‘Everything you need to know to keep your body immune system and general wellbeing in perfect health”. It all sounded such useful information that without a moment’s hesitation, I passed my library card under the borrower’s bar-code scanner; five minutes later, the book was safely in my bag, travelling home.


Some depressing news:

In the afternoon, my dearest friend Lady Egality came over to warn me  that Brown Owl is on one of her campaigns to get us to volunteer to plan the Church Flower Arranging Rota. Immediately both of us felt absolutely worn out and headachy. Recently Lady Egality has been so busy training her scrumptious new puppy and I have been so taken up with the Pedal2Paris ride that neither of us have given a thought to our village responsibilities. It doesn’t seem that long ago since we last organised the dreaded flower rota – and apparently it’s our turn again already.


An infallible remedy:

Luckily, as my library find, ‘Food and Juice for Health‘ was lying on the kitchen table, a solution for our low spirits was within easy reach. Apparently, a juice made simply of broccoli, parsley, apples and celery and served in a glass over ice absolutely guarantees re-invigoration and provides a counter-blast to fits of depression.That’s amazing isn’t it?

In a jiffy, Lady E and I had set to work, assembling the magic potion.   Unfortunately, I didn’t have any broccoli, parsley, celery or ordinary apples, but we used our initiative and substituted cooking apples, carrots, strawberries, pineapple and melon. juice


By the time the first bit of power juice streamed into the jug, we were so interested, we forgot to worry about our headaches. juice 3

Don’t you think that the garnish of basil chosen by Lady E in lieu of the missing parsley looks professional? Looking at this photograph now, I realise I forgot all about the ice we were meant to add. juice 2


Lady Egality and I spent the next hour by the Aga, happily boosting our health and wellbeing with our delicious power juice while discussing what to say to Brown Owl re the dreaded flower rota.

juice 4

Yours, now feeling zingy enough to begin ringing round Castle Coop with dates for the Church Flower Arrangers’ diaries so as to have the rota sorted before Brown Owl nabs us.

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Hen’s Teeth!

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Hen’s Teeth!


Hen’s Teeth!

Recently, the Agent and I have not been seeing quite eye to eye on certain topics, namely teeth and frightening professionals in white coats.   This morning we were hardly on speaking terms.

A Small Falling Out!

In fact, we have had a small falling out as the Agent has been advising me to go to the Dentist

dentist tools













Just look at these horrific looking instruments!

The beast!

And what about this horror?

dentist drill







Doesn’t it strike a chill into the very core of your heart? It certainly does into mine. The Agent knows perfectly well what a coward I am and he still went ahead and said to Dr. Lamona when we met up at the May Bank Holiday Barbecue, that I’d like to book an appointment to have my teeth checked!  What!!!!  Can you believe it?

The dreaded white coat:

Dr. Lamona of the Dreaded White Coat, is a lot more fiercesome wielding her terrifying scrapers and drills,  than her husband Dr. Asil who is gentle and lovely while he pumps up blood pressure cuffs and writes out prescriptions. I don’t think Dr. Lamona believes in’ bedside manner’. And..there’s no accidentally forgetting on purpose to turn up to the appointment as her receptionist sends out stern reminders to attend and they ping up on one’s mobile.

 The Chair!

dentist chair 1




Aaggghhh! Doesn’t that picture give you the heebie jeebies? And why do dentists always ask for the low-down on one’s holiday plans just when one’s mouth is stuck wide open? Dr. Lamona only lives round the corner and knows perfectly well that I’m not going away until the Poppy Pedal to Paris ride.


Yay – I escaped!

Hurrah!!! I only had to have my teeth cleaned! I was out of that chair (almost)  faster than you can say the alphabet backwards. What a relief! Now it’s all over, I can be truthful and admit that actually Dr. Lamona isn’t really as terrifying as I thought. Or she isn’t now anyway. By the time my next appointment is looming, I suspect she may have morphed into the White Coat Horror once again.

A happy knock-on effect:

A happy knock-on effect of my escape from the drill, is that this evening finds the Agent and me in complete harmony. He is again my convivial partner in life. Possibly though in 6 months time, there might be another dental crisis on the domestic front.

When facing the dentist, are you brave and sensible (as is the Agent) or weedy and cowardly like me?


(N.B. please say weedy and cowardly so I’m not the only one…)

Yours with sparklingly clean teeth,


LLH signature





Post script: for a most encouraging link, please see ayersorchids’ thoughtful comment below!

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Hula hooping!

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Hula hooping!



Hula Hooping:

I’ve been hula hooping! All weekend…. It’s the most fantastic fun!

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