rowyn: (exercise)
[personal profile] rowyn
I walked to work on Monday. This was the first time in months that I did so. I biked a lot in the summer and fall, and even several times in November. But otherwise, I've been driving. On Monday, it was around 30 F, with a dusting of snow: enough to frost the ground and cars, but not enough to stick to the roads. I could've biked, but decided to give walking a shot instead. I walked a little more than usual, in order to hit a couple of pokestops that are a half-block or a block out of the way each. I soon realized why I haven't been walking to work: after buying the car and especially after getting my new no-physical-keyboard phone, I've been in the habit of bringing my tablet computer to work, so I can write using it during lunch and breaks. Carrying a messenger bag with a tablet computer in it is a lot more annoying than just carrying a lunch bag. If I try walking to work again, I will probably put my tablet and lunch into a backpack or a grocery tote instead of the messenger bag. The messenger bag has a lot of compartments and is heavy even empty. Also, like a big purse, it tends to accrete Stuff because it's big enough to hold Stuff. I do not need to cart all of it to work, though.

That aside, the walk was fine. When I got to work, one of my coworkers let me in and whispered, shocked: "why are you walking? Is something wrong with your car??"
Me: "Oh, I haven't been exercising as much as I used to and figured the walk would be good."
Coworker: "Oh. But it's too cold to walk! Let me know when you're leaving, I'll drive you home."
Me: "No really it's fine, I chose to walk. Thank you for the offer!"

I am still amused by how people react to the idea of going somewhere on foot, even when the distance is pretty short.

Ironically, while I don't walk to work, I've been walking outside for exercise anyway. If I notice that one of the two pokegyms near work has a raid I can solo and it's after 11AM, I take my lunch break and use it to walk over to the gym and do the raid, and hit any other pokestops I have time for. After work, I go to a tiny park near the bank, which has a pokestop and a pokegym and a teensy exercise track.

The walking path is ridiculously small. It's like 1/7th of a mile for the entire loop. I walk around and around it in the evening, spinning the pokestops and getting a little exercise in. I like it better than walking to and from work because of the pokestops, and also because I don't have to worry about traffic, or lugging my tablet computer around.

On Thursday night, I was thinking about the fact that I really don't get nearly as much exercise as I did during the summer, when I was biking to work, and usually half an hour for lunch, plus an hour after work. Now I walk for 30 minutes at lunch and 30 or 40 minutes after work. It's less exercise total, and a less strenuous form of exercise. But I really don't want to use the exercise bike in my basement: I can't spin pokestops there, and Google Fit won't track stationary biking automatically, and the basement is cold and dismal. I also don't want to drive any more than I have to on a work day. I am willing to drive to the park next to the bank for exercise because it's only 2 blocks out of the way from home, and some days THAT seems TOO FAR. I could drive another two miles to walk between four pokestops instead of two, and I don't because DRIVING TWO MILES UGH TOO MUCH.

Jogging would get me more exercise than walking and I could do it in the same place, so the only problem with that is jogging is terrible. Some years back, I got pretty good at jogging, in the sense of "I could jog very slowly for over an hour". But I always disliked it, and while I increased my stamina, I couldn't seem to increase my speed. It was always the slowest jog, like 4mph or even less. I don't technically walk faster than I jog, but it's close.

I tried interval training a few times: the idea is something like "run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, repeat 10 times". It was the only thing worse than jogging.

But as I was walking the loop, it struck me that my reaction is less "I hate running" than "I hate running for a measurable length of time". Running for 2 minutes is like 90 seconds too long. BUT! The first 30 seconds of running is actually fun. What if I ran until it stopped being fun, instead of until some arbitrary amount of time had passed? So I ran for one side of the tiny loop -- 1/15th of a mile! -- and then slowed to a walk for a while. And then repeated that cycle three more times.

It turns out the speed difference was large enough for Google Fit to measure! It recorded me as doing a "high-intensity activity" for a total of 3 minutes.

This also had the benefit of warming me up and getting blood into my hands so that they were no longer cold, so that was nice.

Saturday, I repeated this pattern again -- "walk a while, run until running starts to feel like work, walk a while until I feel like running again" at the little park near Panera. This time, I added in running from the start, so I did 8 whole minutes of running, and around 45 minutes of walking. I guess the pattern is something like "run 30 seconds, walk 3 minutes".

I don't know if "run until it's not fun" will let me get any better at running. Maybe after a while I will work up to running for a full minute without wanting to stop? On the other hand, it's something I am actually willing to do. And the best kind of exercise is not the kind that is most efficient at building muscle or burning calories or increasing stamina per minute. It is whatever exercise you will actually do.. I stopped at 53 minutes thinking "this is fine, I could do some more but I'm out of time" rather than "oh thank heavens I can FINALLY STOP that was awful".

So I will keep at it for a while.
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