— 1 —
Other Type-A people out there might relate to the feeling I often have that there is always one more thing I should be doing. Right now that list includes: writing handwritten letters, calling my Grandma more often, taking vitamins regularly, refinancing our mortgage, revamping my paper filing system, and always always getting more exercise.
In the back of my mind I always think about how they say I should get regular cardiovascular exercise. They used to say 30 minutes three times a week. Now they say 20 minutes every day. “They” are never satisfied.
I’ve failed at every attempt at regular exercise I’ve made recently. Jogging laps around our tiny yard got old fast, especially when the weather got warm.
I tried Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred but quit about halfway through when it caused sharp pain in my knees.
Most recently, I tried a 30 day yoga challenge. The routines are only about 12 minutes and about 75% it consists of lying on the floor. I even teamed up with my sister as long-distance accountability partner. Still, I haven’t stuck with it (sorry, Martha).
— 2 —
Pat has outfitted his home office with a standing desk. He has been convinced by the evidence (explained here and elsewhere), as have I, that sitting for hours a day is detrimental to one’s health. We humans are meant for standing and walking.
As I finished cleaning the kitchen one recent night I looked at the clock. It was 8:30. I had been “on the job,” such as it is, for 14 hours. And I had been on my feet for most of those hours. (By the way, being on my feet is not nearly as uncomfortable as it used to be now that I wear my Birks.)
This got me thinking: do I really need additional exercise? I have the equivalent of a standing desk–nay, a walking desk–all day every day. Can I possibly get the guilt of not-working-out behind me for good?
I know there are lots of reasons for working out:
I do need to do core-strengthening exercises to keep my back functional. Something happened to it in the course of pregnancy and baby-wearing and my back will never be the same again. But lately I can stay one step above decrepit with about five minutes per day of easy strengthening and stretching and occasional trips to a chiropractor.
The first reason that occurs to most of us is weight-loss or weight-maintenance. I’m growing skeptical of the need here, though. The last time I worked out regularly and was in good shape was in the five months or so before I got pregnant with Girl 2.
In those five months, I gained at least five pounds, and I don’t think it was all muscle. My clothes got tighter too. The few times I’ve successfully lost weight have been when I cut calories. Exercise doesn’t seem to help much.
Another reason people exercise is to reduce stress and get endorphins flowing. Right now this reason is the most persuasive for me. But I wonder, can’t some easy yoga achieve this result? Do I really need to sweat?
can improve my mood just as well as this?
— 7 —
The remaining reason I can think of to really work up a sweat is for cardiovascular health and for keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar in check. With my family’s health history, I don’t take all this lightly.
My impression, though, is that “exercise” is modern man’s recreation of the normal strenuous physical activity that people have had to do to survive in almost every time and place other than my own. So shouldn’t my active lifestyle (the “brute physicality” of mothering littles, as Jenny puts it) be enough to keep my ticker ticking?
On the other hand, I’m not exactly drawing water from a well and washing clothes on a washboard.
What do you think?
Have a good weekend! Thank you, Jen at Conversion Diary, for hosting today’s link up!
- In Which I Learn the Danger of Pious Contemplation, Ann Voskamp Style [A Parody] (thisfelicitouslife.wordpress.com)
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