Welcome To Healthysport!
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It is always good to contemplate (at least through blogging) no matter how sickly I feel because this calms me down, it gives me a quiet assurance in life and it energizes me. I am trying to get over a cold but it may take longer. I need to type my thoughts though, the worst I can do and which would make me feel guilty and miserable is doing nothing during these morning hours before I work this afternoon. I should blog, I should read the book I am intending to finish reading, I should study the computer program I am planning to review, see, there are things I can enjoy doing instead of checking the internet for useless info just because it feels good to be lazy. This reminds me of the young people who are healthy yet would take a scooter to move around ( a grocery store for example), I am talking about disease-free healthy young people who are just lazy. The cycle of doing nothing or lessening activities in life has a fatal effect on the human body; the fewer tasks you do, the harder they become to do them. The less you walk the lifestyle harder it becomes. The less you work the more you drag yourself into it. Which leads to an unhealthy weight, unhealthy habits, inviting all types of illnesses from obesity to diabetes to heart conditions to strokes to depression. So for one who wants to be active and healthy and happy for the longest time possible, he or she must break the cycle of inactivity/laziness.
- One way is to resist the temptation of passive Internet. In idle hours, it is often comforting to check out the social media without realizing that hours have passed and you are still immersed in it.
- Another is to keep occupied and set up some goals you want to accomplish each day. Give them time frames. So for this morning, I want to water the plants, run a couple of miles, read additional pages on the current book I am reading, clean and organize the house, and if time permits, do some programming before my 1 pm scheduled work.
- In other words, unless your task involves the computer, like what I am doing now blogging this, you may get up and move around the house or backyard to start the blood pumping, muscles contracting, stomach digesting, brain thinking.
So these are the few thoughts running in my brain this morning after I got canceled for my morning work. I want to be as active as I can, even if it is raining outside. Besides, the mere act of brewing coffee gets me going. The mere sitting on this chair to type is already considered active. So - it might be a good idea for me to share my thoughts about the active lifestyle as opposed to exercise.
Most people assume that to be considered active, one should be involved in some form of exercise or non-stop cardio for a few minutes. The mere sitting on a chair as opposed to lying on the bed makes you active already. To be more precise, being active means doing something else besides sleeping and staying put/immobile in one spot for long periods.
What is METS?
The original definition of metabolic equivalent is the oxygen used by a person in milliliter per minute per kilogram body mass divided by lifestyle3.5...the rate of energy produced per unit surface area of an average person seated at rest:
Light intensity activities
writing, desk work, typing lifestyle
walking, 1.7 mph (2.7 km/h), level ground, strolling, very slow lifestyle
walking, 2.5 mph (4 km/h)
Moderate intensity activities
3 to 6
bicycling, stationary, 50 watts, very light effort
walking 3.0 mph (4.8 km/h)
calisthenics, home exercise, light or moderate effort, general
walking 3.4 mph (5.5 km/h)
bicycling, < 10 mph (16 km/h), leisure, to work or for pleasure
bicycling, stationary, 100 watts, light effort
jogging, general lifestyle
calisthenics (e.g. pushups, situps, pullups, jumping jacks), heavy, vigorous effort
running jogging, in place lifestyle
jogging, 5.6 mph (9.0 km/h)
rope jumping (66/min)lifestyle
rope jumping (70/min)
rope jumping (84/min)lifestyle
rope jumping (100/min)
jogging, 6.8 mph (11.0 km/h)
This METS table suggests that any form of activity will utilize calories(even sleeping for goodness sakes) and this counts in our quest to be active and healthy. Jogging is better than sitting. Typing in front of the monitor is better than watching TV. The mere act of moving, at least to me, is already considered an active lifestyle. Other activities that fall under active lifestyle include using stairs, gardening, babysitting, working, talking, lecturing, and the big ones - sports such as swimming, skiing (which is considered super in METS), hiking, mountain climbing, or whatever you can think of.
It is not a gigantic challenge for a sedentary person to be considered active. The moment you start taking that big leap, which can be as easy as getting up from the bed to sitting on the edge of the bed or standing up from sitting on the edge of the bed and then walking no matter how short or how long the distance it takes, is already active.
Of course, you need to do better if you want to lose weight: Just think about this - to lose the calories acquired in drinking a glass of milk is equivalent to walking between 2.5 to 3 miles. One of my rules in being active: Never gauge the success of an active lifestyle in terms of lost pounds. That is a very intimidating, dangerous and frustrating measure. We all know that losing pounds depends more on the kitchen than the gym although both can be useful partners in the quest. The real measure of an active lifestyle is simply what it stands for. How active can you perform? Can you do your regular routines at a normal pace and a normal amount of time? Are your activities in daily living easy and energetic? That is my thinking about the active lifestyle.
My Current Health Quest
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I have been silent (again!) for a couple of months. It has nothing to do with me being lax in my regular exercises, it has more to do with me getting lazy in sharing my experiences and thoughts about health. I have a lot of thoughts to share:
I remain involved with running albeit a little slower in speed and shorter with distances. Whereas before I could run 10 miles before going to work, I am currently contented with 3 or 4 miles. Whereas before I’d get obsessed with my personal record, now I just stare ahead with utter disregard to time, I let everyone pass me by. I walk if I feel like doing it or sit down when feeling introspective and meditative. There is more to running than speed or distance. There is a beautiful world out there that is unfair to ignore. In slowing down, I stop and pause to enjoy different sights: the beaches, forests, trees, gardens, lakes, native animals. These are better enjoyed by taking slow steps. I am at an age when remembering is more exciting than dreaming and my dreams are much simpler, more anchored to reality, acceptable if unfulfilled; I would like to think I am sort of wiser. Another thing I enjoy more nowadays is reading biographies… not sure why but my theory for this is my need to live as many lives as I could given the less remaining years I have.
And then, I have to adhere to my professional’s rule on exercise - combine cardio vascular with strength training. You can’t survive focusing only on a singular type of exercise.
Many decades ago, when I was highly spirited and limber and bursting with energy, all I could think of was running faster and longer in races while staying in the middle of the pack if not ahead of everyone in my age group. I felt good with myself, confident that I could out-do majority of them.
Sadly, running did not protect me from my family history of diabetes. I soon was taking meds that required me to reconfigure my runs. Also, work became intense as I added schooling to my already hectic life. I suffered from sleepless nights while working on school assignments, projects, exams. My eating habits deteriorated( you see, there is a psychological complacency resulting from thinking that medication can correct whatever bad habits you commit). I gained weight. Running, though I indulged in it sporadically, was pushed to the wayside.
Then, there appeared endless articles on the internet offering studies upon studies on running that contradict one another. One study would say it is alright to keep on speeding for eternity while another says that is a sure invitation to a heart failure. One would say it increases heart strength another says it weakens it. I was soon persuaded by a line of thought that goes this way: Running, if done in extreme, is more dangerous than living a sedentary life. Running should therefore be done in moderation.
One day I decided to kayak as an additional form of cardio exercise. I say if running is for my legs, then what is for my arms? First I tested myself with rental kayaks in regular parks, the ones that provide special launching pads to ease the getting in and out of the kayak. Lo and behold I could hardly get up from the kayak after 45 minutes. It suddenly dawned on me, (although not surprised by it) that I suffer from severe weakness in my legs despite my regular runs. By just looking at them, I thought I have the most muscularly defined legs. Yet I know I am avoiding a truth about my exclusive running. In my profession I always instruct my patients to make sure their cardio workouts are balanced by strengthening through weights. A fact that even a highschool kid knows. I immediately retreated back to the drawing board, to alter my exercise routine to achieve the most perfect balance by doing running and weight lifting on alternate days.
I am also getting more contemplative with a propensity to shun the noise and extreme entertainment and rambunctious crowds. They do nothing but molest my senses. Instead, nowadays, I walk, run, kayak, hike, garden. And I started on weights.
I walk away from the things that will not benefit me : unnecessary arguments, excitable people, casual sex, too much internet, too much facebook, too much TV, too much of anything.
Instead I retreat to my house after work and if I get too immersed on TV or food, I leave the house and drive to the library or bookstore and together with other serious readers and students, I grab any reading material I could get and type pieces like this blog to make sure I express myself and in so doing improve my command of writing. Writing is not developed by learning how to write. Writing improves by writing.
So now I read anything from tech to workouts to running to backpacking, picking biographies here and there, and fiction. I stay in my corner which is now becoming my sanctuary.
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