Culture

13 Weeks: The Problem of Exercise

It’s going to be a sort of multi-theme column today: I’ve accumulated several things I want to write about while I’ve been suffering keyboard constipation the last couple of weeks. I’ve got some new things to talk about on the exercise front (and the workmonster front as well.)

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First the general (and uninteresting) stats: weight is still right there on the same old plateau between 265 and 270, glucose is doing the thing of being high first thing in the morning and low to unpleasantly low in the afternoons. Except for one day when I ate apple pieces and cheese at bedtime, instead of just protein, and got up with my glucose around 100 instead of the 120s. I’m going to the grocery store shortly, and will get more apples to see if that can be repeated.

I also got a new Fitbit Force, which is more or less wristwatch-like. (Immediately afterward, I found the Fitbit Uno that went missing when I’d just started this column. Figures.)

It’s a combination pedometer and recorder; you wear it all the time — except it’s not waterproof, so you can’t wear it into the shower, which strikes me as a little bit dumb. The most interesting thing I’m getting is that it does record various things while you’re asleep, and can thus track the quality of your sleep. From this I’ve learned that I am doing much better along those lines, that I can’t really get by on five and a half hours, and that it’s pretty repeatable that Kaleo gets lonely and wants affection around 5AM.

Which brings us to the actual point. The thing is a pedometer, and if anything I’m surprised that I do get some exercise even working at home and all. Most of it comes from running up and down the stairs, which is helped by the fact that I’m apparently constitutionally unable to actually remember everything I went up or down the stairs for by the time I get to the other end.

As I have repeatedly complained, however, it’s not enough and I’m sure it’s not enough, but it’s hard to both be a workaholic and make time for exercise.

At one point as I was complaining, my sometime writing partner Sarah Hoyt gave me an idea. An idea she said she’d gotten from Ginnie Heinlein, who said it was something Robert Heinlein used to to, and for a couple of Heinlein fanboys/girls like us that has to be good, right?


Here’s the idea: walk to work.

Yeah, I know, I work at home now. But why not? I’d already realized I need to get up, shower and dress and eat breakfast before I start work, every day, or I find myself looking up and saying “wait, it’s been three days since I showered or changed clothes, and when did I eat last?”

That’s not a joke by the way — when I was a full time editor at PJM it happened more than once.

So I’ve started getting up, doing the morning writing, eating and showering and walking to work. Outside. In the daytime. (Did you know there’s a big bright shiny thing in the sky out there? It’s like being in a tanning booth. Weird.)

Funny things happen when you take a walk in the sun first thing in the morning. After a couple of days, I got onto my regular morning video meeting (wow, just like on the Jetsons!) and observed that I was in just a ridiculously good mood. I was practically hypomanic.

Then I started noticing that I was slipping back into racewalking form — I used to racewalk fairly seriously, 20 years ago.

Now I find myself thinking “you know, three ten-minute miles in the morning, every morning, would be 21 miles a week.” I’m nowhere close to that now — I’m getting more like one 15 minute mile. But I know I can walk a 10-minute mile, I was down to 8.5 or thereabouts when I was racewalking in Minnesota. And a 30 minute commute is about what I used to do when I had a Real Job.

Now, I’ve been impressed with ways to integrate exercise before, so I’m not going to claim this is The Answer. But it sure seems to be working right now.

The only problem is that when I was racewalking 20 miles a week before, I started having dreams of doing a four-hour marathon. Literal dreams, like when I was asleep. And that’s creepy.