First time readers, welcome. Repeat offenders, thanks. Today’s blawg is about overdoing it, aka overexercising. Which is a bizarre concept in today’s world, populated as it is with overweight people. I’m a member of that tribe, the people of girth. Or as I call it, fathlete. So when the idea of doing less exercise pops into my head, usually because some body part, brain or the whole thing protests, I tend to ignore it and push through. The result of that and all the biking, walking and yoga I do every day gets to be exhausting, especially if it’s a day without enough sleep. So as I sit here eating a bowl of kale, squash, other mystery vegetables to which I added ground beef, brown rice and quinoa, I’m pondering if it’s time to revise the plans. Maybe my questioning my fitness goals will shed some light on the subject for you. And as always, I enjoy reading comments.
Case in point, yesterday’s walking. Normally I go 1.5 miles in about 37 minutes, and that’s about 3,600 steps. I get another 2,700 or more on average. Not a lot, but more than I used to when I didn’t take walks. So today I was out walking, but not “on a walk”. And I was around 9,000 steps (thanks to my trusty new Garmin Vivoactive HR Music watch), so I went out and made it 10,000 and then more. Strava is not going to have the normal walk entry with a 1.5 next to it, so my mileage will go down a bit, more if I keep it up.
So what, right? As my note above says, it’s about health. What’s so magical about 1.5, or 37 minutes, anyway? Well, I read that 26 was optimal for a walk, and I like round numbers, so I rounded up to 30. But that left me at 1.3 so I added a little more. But that’s an extra 30 minutes a week I could use for something else. And reducing to 26 would save me an hour and 11 minutes. Meanwhile, the bigger picture is that walking has not caused any noticeable weight loss. It has added to my list of must-do things, which as I’ve said, gets exhausting. It’s that much more of an energy expenditure and it takes time.
From the screen grab of my Garmin app, we see my average walk per day over the last year is precisely at 1.5 miles. The 77,813 calories burned during all that ambulating ain’t bad, either. But again, so what? Sure, walking is great for your cardiovascular health, getting out into the fresh air (if you keep away from fellow exercises to avoid coronavirus), putting some Vitamin D into your body via the skin, meeting your neighbors and seeing what weird stuff they’re putting in the front lawns. And so on. Walking’s great. Go take one right now. I’ll be here when you return. Well, the blog will be. You know what I mean!
So what keeps me going when I’m tired? Is 37 minutes too much? Shouldn’t I have graduated to running by now? I’m so glad you asked, I thought you never would. The goal keeps me going, and a feeling that if I don’t keep at it, I’ll just give up. I don’t think 37 minutes is too much, but I could break it up. Or walk faster and get it down to 30. Or just go back to 30 regardless of the result. But give up walking? It’s a great habit for life that I missed out on for many years, I don’t know why. Sitting in an office and then (re)discovering the bicycle are some reasons. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll take that break,” I think to myself. But then I don’t, because of habit. But I’ve explored that before in The Bad Side of Good Habits.
What lies beneath these motivations vary naturally and are anyone’s guess. Lifestyle, choices, nature and nurture as well as childhood notions or experiences can inform you of what some of the hidden messages you carry around about have you in the situation you’re in. With some reflection I remembered how kids in high school were bullied for their looks. We were young and didn’t know we were getting tricked.
Here’s a link to an article you might find informative: Don’t get TOO much exercise during your coronavirus quarantine. Here’s why.. You could increase your exposure to coronavirus, even if you’re trying to physically distance yourself. I sometimes get surprised by someone coming around the bushes that I didn’t see, usually without a mask, exhaling in my face area. I keep a mask right below my chin for when I come across other cyclists, people smoking at bus stops, cars with open windows next to the bike lane, kids darting out into the road, and so on. So far, so good.
If I weren’t outside, I’d reduce my exposure risk, wouldn’t I? But walking less just doesn’t compute for me. In fact, I should probably do more. Go for hikes and faster walks around an outdoor track. And so it goes, the ongoing analysis of my sports psychology. Is what I’m doing healthy? Yes. Is it getting the results like weight loss that I want? No, not yet. Still a fat athlete aka fathlete. Activity is good for the heart, mood and other things. Too much of a good thing may be bad, though.
I know I’m exercising because I am plenty tired. The actual sleep I get doesn’t always correspond with how tired I am. It’s been 100 degrees plus heat index for weeks, which doesn’t help. For now, I don’t see changing anything, with my walks at least. I don’t have any easy answers but maybe you, in the comments? I think we do our best and try to not overdo it when we can, but if we have the drive, it’s hard to ignore. If you’re dealing with similar issues, you might keep a journal, find a buddy, talk to your doctor, tell someone and that could help keep you accountable for not doing too much or too little.
Most of all, I think it might help to get quiet and grab a yoga mat or chair or something and think about what might happen if you stopped whatever activity or took a break. The world would probably go on, the earth would keep spinning. Maybe you’d gain some insight. But you better get Insight Meditation app as info to track all your steps enlightenment!
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