Okay here’s the deal. Working up “a good sweat” does not make me feel good. It makes me feel sweaty. I don’t like public showers. And my idea of well spent leisure time involves curling up with a good book, sitting down to write or knitting and chatting with friends. That is who I am.
But I am also overweight, have lousy lipid values and a family history of diabetes.
And, I really, really don’t want to end up a demented 60-year-old obese diabetic with clogged arteries. So, I have to do something.
I have joined Weight Watchers, lost weight, gained it back.
I have signed up for this exercise class or that, started with all kinds of enthusiasm, and not continued.
I have friends who work with personal trainers. I’ve observed some of these sessions. Frankly, I don’t want to subject myself to someone who constantly belittles me while I am trying to improve myself.
I have the Lose-It App on my iPhone. I actually lost 8 pounds, but then, mysteriously just stopped entering the data, even with success on my side.
Some of my friends do really hard workouts like Killer Cardio and Abs of Alcatraz; their workout regimes give an entirely new meaning to the words “morning after.” Sometimes even sitting in their desk chairs is difficult because they are so sore.
I do climb stairs instead of taking elevators at every opportunity, and I do enjoy long walks in the sunshine. Unfortunately in Wisconsin, long walks in the sunshine are relegated to a few months out of the year.
My lifestyle as a writer who commutes 1.5 hours a day to work is too sedentary, but every attempt to add more has failed, even if it has involved a large monetary investment. Perhaps if my commute involved a hike through a marsh every day instead of a drive on the highway?
One recent research paper looked at exercise from the point of view of the exerciser to try to discover what factors influence whether exercise is perceived as pleasurable or not pleasurable. The premise being that, if people enjoyed their exercise experiences, they would be more likely to continue them long term. Information about “Blue Zones” around the world seems to indicate that successful aging is associated, not with hard workouts and professional athletic conditioning, but with well balanced diets and gentle continual movement every day.
In Aging with Grace, Timothy Snodon reveals the “secret” of one of the nuns who remained active and remarkably alert into her tenth decade. “Me?” she said, “I walk seven miles a day. Always have.” Indeed another research study showed that the single most important predictor of successful aging was the ability of a person to walk, just walk.
Walking. Gentle continual movement. Reasonable, balanced diets. No magic. Nothing special, no hour-long Cardio Killer classes required. Surely I can work some gentle movement and a well balanced diet into my life without too much difficulty.
So I bought one of those little pedal stands that could sit under my desk, thinking I could pedal away while I worked. Darn near impossible to do in a desk chair with wheels. You should have seen me try to type…
© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.