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Maybe Tap Dance

January 26, 2009 | 3 Comments

Greetings Mr. Keillor,
I remember that you used scoff at people who exercised intensely; you said they were trying to hold off old age or death. I recall you had some sort of physical ailment a few years ago, in light of that has your attitude toward exercise changed?

Kevin K.


I had open-heart surgery in July 2001 to repair a mitral valve, Kevin, a congenital defect that didn't get in my way at all until then, and recovered nicely from the surgery and seem to be in good shape now, despite leading a sedentary life for the past ten or fifteen years.

But I am changing my attitude toward exercise — mainly because I sense a loss of agility and I don't want to go any faster that way than I need to. So I'm scouting around for something I can do without too much trouble. Maybe tap dance. Maybe hopping and spinning. I had some back problems a couple years ago that cleared up rather nicely after I did minimal stretching exercises for awhile, a quick fix to a nagging problem. Anyway I don't think I scoff at exercise anymore, if I ever did.


As an exercise for those without the inclination, I suggest a recumbent stationary bicycle. I like it because my hands are free so I can read a book while I exercise. I sometimes find myself pedalling longer than intended to reach the end of a chapter.

Have you thought about yoga? Lots of stretching there! Walking is also very good - I completed the Moonwalk marathon (8 hours!)last May in London - 15,000 women (and about 1,000 men!) walking overnight in their bras to raise money for breast cancer research (mercifully it was very cold so most of us were covered up!). This means I have had plenty of practice and have also acquired a detailed knowledge of the paths along the river Thames.
Just a couple of ideas for you.

How about swimming? There's nothing quite like abandoning oneself to warm turquoise waters when snow is piling up, and the regulars don't care what one looks like or what kind of shorts one wears. Limbers up the muscles without straining anything, and soothes the troubled mind. Try it - you may like what you find.

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