Let me say up front, I do not know the answer to my own question. I am engaging in an exercise experiment, as I work toward my next 20 lb. weight loss goal. The food side of the program is going great. One year of paleo living means I can look at most things and instantly determine whether the item is: (1) paleo; (2) dubious; or (3) DO NOT WANT.
Exercise is another ballgame entirely. After a year of consistent time at the gym, the only thing I am certain of is that I despise running, and refuse to do it regularly for exercise. My new rule is that I run only if I am trying to catch something, escape something, or warming up for other exercise with a quick jog to get my heart rate up. I’ve never once had that mystical “runner’s high”, and plodding along for 30 minutes or more is for the birds (for me). To the guys and gals who float along with the greatest of ease for 3.2-to-26.1 miles, I am in awe of you. I shall cheer you on, but I shan’t joint you.
Which is not to say that I don’t have the strength or spirit for endurance, in general.
- I’ve hiked mountain trails all day long, and relished the resultant bone-aching tiredness that only a good night of sleeping like a stone will cure.
- I’ve piloted a 65′ boat for a 7-hour overnight watch, alone, navigating via GPS, in the ridiculous, cold New England fog, standing the whole time, until I started hallucinating (just a little bit). After dawn, when everyone else finally woke up and I decided to relinquish my post at the helm, I realized my legs had forgotten how to bend.
- I’ve competed in equestrian events, all day long, from dawn to dusk. Jumping, equitation classes, dressage. If you’ve never done it, I promise it’s not like relaxing in a recliner. There’s exercise happening. When I was competing a lot, I swear I could have choked out an alligator with my thigh strength. 🙂
- And finally, of course, there’s the bizarre activity I engage in at least 5 days a week, which is one of the most difficult things I put my body through…. sitting still at my desk at work, for 8+ hours. Ahh yes, the perils of a desk job. I’ve grown accustomed to it after 10+ years as a lawyer. But it’s not natural to be so sedentary. From every study I’ve seen (and from my own experience), it’s hard — really hard — on the human body to stay still in a seated position all day long.
So, I exercise. I go to the gym during lunch, or after work. For an hour or so, I try to combat all the other hours in the day where I’m doing NOTHING.
Can anyone else relate? How can sedentary-job folks combat this, short of abandoning our chosen profession(s)? My law firm is great, but they’d think I was nuts if I demanded a stand-up desk, or decided I wanted to only sit on the floor, or ordered a treadmill to replace my chair (and I don’t think I could walk and type at the same time anyway).
Back to the exercise experimentation, wherein I focus on moving.
1) Cardio. I’ve heard mixed reviews of cardiovascular exercise. But when I do cardio for a good half-hour or more, I come home and sleep like a rock, which I like. So I am going to do it for now. My so-called “cardio” workout had recently devolved into 20 minutes of walking — and not very fast — on a treadmill. Time to change it up.
No, I don’t run. But I don’t mind the elliptical machine. Note: I don’t go fast like those tiny, blurry-legged people. I am long and tall, and my limbs don’t want to move like that. Rather, I crank up the resistance, and go slowly, like a cross-country skier, or a praying mantis walking on a leaf.
2) Weights. Just the other day, my husband offered to help me carry a heavy old TV down to the garage (the one he always asks me to help him carry). I said, She-Hulk style, “I don’t need any help!!!!” And I didn’t.
So, why don’t I go into She-Hulk mode in the gym? Why don’t I use my kettle bell, instead of warming the couch with my backside as I use my laptop to search for videos on how to do a proper kettle bell swing? (here’s how, apparently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkdLCysfbOI). I always feel like a super-hero after a week where heavy weights are incorporated into my workout, so the fact that recently I was only doing a few different weight exercises (and nothing intense) means I’ve been short-changing myself.
3) Other activity. I don’t have a ton of non-sleeping time before and after work… but what time I do have sometimes gets spent SITTING IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER (or TV). Um, 8 hours wasn’t enough? Now I have to check Facebook like it’s my second job? (Seriously people of the world, stop posting adorable photos of your pets and family, because you’re causing me to get stuck in the vortex of online scrolling and “liking”)… I’m not going to give up on the scrolling and liking (and posting pictures of my adorable cat and dog, and writing paleo-lawyer posts), but it can’t be the only thing I do.
Time to place some limits on being a couch potato at home.
I’ve been told there is life outside of this computer screen, and my television screen. Even housework is better than sitting, sitting, sitting. Housework is not SUPER FUN but the resulting clean house is pretty cool. And, if I clean while listening to a great Pandora station (gosh, I love Pandora), it’s a lot better. Instead of letting the dog out into the backyard for her to “conduct business”, I could take her for a walk in the neighborhood, where she can have fun, I get to see some sights… and move!
Let’s see what happens with this renewed focus on activity, and exercise, coupled with a continuation of my beloved paleo eating template. And now is the part of the day when I am going to do what I’ve just written about: Put down the computer, get up off the couch, and go enjoy this beautiful Saturday!