Startled Bunny

5 Months Worth of Change
November 23, 2013, 12:00 am
Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: ,

In the Summer, after what has been a bad start to 2013 for my family, I made a radical change of direction in the way I lived.

My Dad died not long after the start of the year, and I put on weight.
Now there is more to that sentence, but it’s not really a story I’m willing to tell just yet, except that eating more and moving even less was the order of the day.

Then after June, I’m not exactly sure how it began, but I decided to actually do more moving and less eating.
It started with my Wife using our cross trainer, and me deciding to do something at the same time, which was walking up and down the stairs in my house, until I was out of breath.
I didn’t last long, but I carried on starting and stopping until I had done 10 minutes.

I did this every single day, except for Saturdays, which had their own activity, but I’ll come to that later.
After doing this for a week, I added another minute, but in that minute, I carried 3.5kg weights in each hand and lifted them alternately up each step all the way to the top, turn around, and then do the same down each step.
Each week I would add another minute with the weights, and so on, until I reached 5 minutes of weights with stairs, and the 10 minutes of stairs, totalling 15 minutes of exercise each night.
Now I was running up and down the stairs in the 10 minutes instead of walking.

While this was going on, every Saturday I was going for a 2+ mile walk round a lake, this being Hollingworth Lake. I lived nowhere near it, but remember it from going past every so often, to go to a supplier of my work.
After a while, the walk wasn’t enough. I wanted to go faster. So, I bought some running shoes, and some apparel to go with them, and started running round a lap each weekend instead. I say running, it was more like run, pant, walk, run, walk.
Eventually after I got a little quicker, it turned to 2 laps, albeit still running/walking, I was shaving a few seconds off nearly every time.
After a while back at home, I was doing 10 minutes of Weights and Stairs, and Running up/down the stairs without the weights for a further 10 minutes. To change it up, I added a kilogram to each weight.
Then, I was adding a minute of exercise with this device we have at home, called a body shaper.
There is probably a more well known name for it, but basically it’s a pair of handlebars attached to 4 small wheels, which are spring loaded, so when you push it forwards along the ground, the resistance of the spring pushes it back. You kneel down, and push it forward.
I got to 7 minutes of this a day.
At this point, my weight was only around a stone less than when I started.
The eating less is technically correct. I don’t eat as much as I used to, but it’s still not drastically different, but this is where my reason for doing this differs from many other people. I don’t care how much I weigh. That is not the point of doing this. The point was to become fitter. And although the numbers on the scales say little has changed, you can see it in my face, and in my waist, and although I can’t really tell, others can.

I changed my routine again.

One weekend at Hollingworth Lake, there were signs up for a 10k race. Now I am nowhere near that level of distance, but I did a bit of Googling on 5k races. This gave me an idea, and the first proper goal for all this exercise.

I am now doing just over a 5km run on Monday and Wednesday mornings, doing increasingly longer shifts on the “Body Shaper” every night except Fridays, and doing the 10 minutes up and down the stairs with the 4.5kg weights on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The purpose for this change? I want to do some 5km races next year, and need to keep running without doing the walking in between. I want to lower my time which is currently hovering round the 45 minute marker. If I can get over the psychological feeling of running out of breath without stopping, it should be possible.

When I started all this, it was just something I did to keep fit, but now it’s snowballed into something I hadn’t even considered, and a personal goal I wasn’t looking for and never thought about once a year ago.
I’ve heard that exercise is addictive, and it looks like I’m addicted to it, but I reckon if I allow myself to, I could stop it all in a heartbeat. So why haven’t I? I still don’t know. Must be addicted then?

Once the 5km races become too easy, I want to progress to 10km races. Then Half Marathons. Then maybe full on marathons. But we’re talking quite a way into the future with that one. 10k is a tempting marker, and I haven’t got to even trying that distance yet.

In the past whenever I’ve tried any kind of fitness regime, it has fizzled out before it has got a hold, but this feels much more permanent, like I’ve changed the way I live and do things, and it all started from a small change, that got ever so slightly bigger each week.

If there is anything I could say to anyone wanting to keep fit in some way, it would be to make a really small change at first, like 5 minutes of walking round the block, or a minute of dancing – it has to be something you would enjoy – and add a small amount to it each week. There’s no science to this from my perspective, but taking this approach will be better for your body, and will put you in a routine that can become second nature.
What I would warn you about, is to not eat more than you already do, because it is really tempting to eat more after rewarding your body with exercise, but it’s counter productive.
I’d also advise you to not pay any attention whatsoever to how much you weigh.
People use it as a marker of success, but it is the last thing you should be worrying about, because surely being able to do more things without getting out of breath is much more important than a number that you are only going to worry about. You can weigh yourself by all means, but it is meaningless. I weigh maybe around 10 lbs less than I did 5 months ago, and people think I’ve lost weight. I haven’t lost much at all. The numbers say not, but some people think I have. The most important thing, is to do the exercise.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this, but I find it helpful, and that is some kind of fitness tracking. I use an iPod nano which has a Nike+ sensor, that I use to track my activity, but any of the numerous apps and devices all do the same thing, and it helps to know you are doing better when you increase your weekly regime, but it really depends what will help you to push yourself further every week.

So, back to the 5k races. I have one I would really like to do in April next year, at the very place I go to every week, Hollingworth Lake. I’m thinking of setting up a fundraising page with one of the donation sites and getting people to sponsor me to do this. I’ll let you know in the future if I do.

Also, those that came here for the podcasts will be wondering where they’ve gone.
They haven’t gone away as such, but a lot of different things came together that contributed to the halt of them. One was a failing PC, another was the lack of desire to make them. Then, during this year, the site I used to pick the majority of the tracks on the shows, was taken over, and the ability to download tracks I liked and could play, had disappeared. I can’t say I’ll never make another show, but I can’t give any concrete dates when I might ever do any more.

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