Nothing like a brisk shower

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Jackie Wells-Fauth

I have always been behind the times when it came to taking care of myself physically. I ate poorly (and still do from time to time) for many years–red meats every night, sugar on top of sugar, and processed foods by the fishstick! My favorite pizza in the world is one of those little frozen square ones that cook up to the consistency of a cardboard carton–nothing could be better!

In addition, I did most of that junk-food eating sitting in a chair watching television and stirring myself to nothing more strenuous than changing the channel on the remote. Finally, my doctor gave me the sad eye and informed me that my blood numbers were not good and if I wanted to kill myself early, it was quicker to run my car into a tree. Okay, he didn’t say it like that, but that is darn sure what he meant!

Okay, so I’ve had to bake the potato instead of fry it and enjoy it with less butter and sour cream. I have had to peel my lips off the constant soda pop bottle and teach them to welcome a little tea or water instead. I have had to break off my long-standing relationship with chips and rolls every morning and try a few bananas or melon or apples in place of it. I have worked hard to do this, but I have to admit that a nutritious, crispy apple is a sad replacement for a succulent roll full of cream and chocolate.

I’ve had to revise my physical life as well. I do stretches and yoga…okay it doesn’t look like yoga when I do it, but it seems to serve the purpose. During the last year, I have adopted a lot of back exercises as well in order to avoid another round of spinal shots, which make having to eat cauliflower instead of steak look easy by comparison.

I took up walking a few years ago (I know, I know, I’ve always been able to walk) operating on the premise that I either use it or lose it. I have done well with walking, even walked mornings in the dead of winter until that particular practice began to bother my husband. He felt getting my overbundled butt hit by a car that can’t see me in the early morning fog might do the body more harm than good, so he bought me a treadmill. I don’t mind the treadmill, but the view is seriously less interesting from there!

My latest undertaking, however, has to have most of my former actions beaten. Over the radio one day, I heard that if a person turns the shower on cold for 30 seconds to two minutes or so of their overall time, it will be very beneficial to one’s health. Now this was upsetting! One of my chief joys in life has always been a nice, hot shower. I dismissed this report, until I began to hear others say that yes, their doctors were recommending it.

Oh dear, I knew that I was going to have to try it, but I was of two minds about the result: If I had no benefit from it, I could say I tried and go back to my warm showers. BUT what if it helped? What would I do them? I’d be doomed to a chilly blast every day!

I got in the shower, took my usual ablution routine and then stood there, letting the warm water cascade across me, building up my nerve. I turned down the temperature a little. It began to run rather tepid. The next inch down brought medium cold. All I could think was, “30 seconds, surely I can take 30 seconds.” But that was before I turned it all the way down. What I discovered is that when I am taking a cold shower, everyone will know it, because I bellow like a banshee in a cold spray!

Out I got, put on my flannel pajamas and shivered in a chair for an hour. Well! That was one sacrifice for my health that I was not going to make! Except the longer I sat there, the more I became aware that my chronic neck pain and my chronic knee complaint were absent. Now, they came back, but they disappeared every time I took a cold shower and stayed away longer each time. Darn!

So, I have made one more sacrifice to try and keep myself alive and kicking longer. And just the other day, I read in some Internet post (your red flag here) that you have a better chance of a complete bowel movement if you balance yourself above the stool, and sit backwards. No, No, NO! I refuse to even think about it…unless I start having bowel problems…..

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