It has been an interesting month! Along with having taught at some great places, my brain may have undergone a sea-change.
I’ve always thought of myself as reasonably fit. I love to bike, ski and be outdoors, as well as knit and quilt. However, my attempts to exercise regularly have always been sabotaged by my wholly erratic life style. A ‘Thursday night class at the gym’ is just no good for me; I’d get to about 5 sessions in a year. Maybe it is the fact that there are more random aching bits in me than there used to be that has made me focus more my body.
Two significant things happened recently. Firstly, a friend gave me a book for my birthday. This book, Younger Next Year, stated rather baldly that once you pass the age of 50 the tide has turned and you’d jolly well better start paddling if you wish to live well in your last remaining years rather than shuffling through them. Whilst it’s no guarantee, (none of us will get out of this alive), regular exercise markedly improves the odds of a better quality of life.
My main take-away from the book is that we must rank getting regular exercise at the same level of importance as cleaning our teeth. It just has to be done. Every single day. Doing it every day, or at least 6 out 7, is much more valuable than doing a big whacking lot of exercise sporadically.
While I’m, teaching, I have always wimped out of doing exercise. It was so easy to rationalize: how could I make the time in such a frenetic schedule? I have taken the odd walk when I could, but essentially surrendered to the ‘no time’ excuse. No more! On my last two trips I’ve actually managed to fit in at least half an hour of something every day (except one flying day when I did walk a fair distance in Detroit airport). Thus far I am managing to think through my days to squeeze in something – walking being the default, since it is almost always possible (although my beloved hiking boots have just started to cash in their chips).
Even at home (read working from home), after returning from a teaching tour, I can always find more important work to do that precludes me making time for exercise (this is the price of being self-employed). However, I am now persuaded that I’ll have a more productive and longer future if I invest time in self-maintenance.
My second motivator has been my investment in a Fitbit band (a pedometer and more besides). I’ve always liked being able to quantify things and set goals; my bike computer tells me that I have biked 23,273 kms on this current bike and I’ll always cycle a bit further to turn a 38 km ride into a 40! I’m finding the same with the Fitbit. It makes me park at the furthest part of the parking lot, go up or down stairs one more time and it counts it all. (Being absent minded adds many trips up and downstairs too!) Having the data recorded makes me see what I’m really doing, not just what I perceive I’m doing! Working towards a ‘number’ is a real motivating force for me.
A few of you fellow knitters must have ripened to a similar age as I. What ways have you found to keep yourselves motivated to exercise daily? Do you have any exercise recording devices that you would recommend? Should we start a KnitFit group?