Some kind of sport – maybe tennis?

Hmm. Maybe I should try learning some kind of sport. Dr. Oposa is very
fond of tennis. Maybe I should give that a try? The Athletic Centre
has courses. I might sign up for either the Mon/Wed noon courses or
the Saturday morning courses, which will be a bit of a hassle for my
schedule but which will work out well for me in the long run.

Currently more practical than golf.

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Riding on my bicycle; taking advantage of novelty

I spent the afternoon on my bicycle, taking care of errands and getting some exercise along the way. Or was that enjoying exercise, and taking care of errands along the way? It’s hard to tell with bicycles. =)

W- and I rode to the Mountain Equipment Coop store near Spadina and King. He wanted to look for breathable shoes for the summer, and I wanted to pick up bike lights. On the way there, I quickly became convinced of the necessity of getting gloves and a windbreaker. (I had fleece on, but it was sometimes too warm. On the other hand, there were a number of moments when I was glad I had that layer!)

After we had lunch at Burrito Banditos (the rebranded Burrito Boys W- has been going to for a long time), W- headed back home, and I took care of a few other errands. I passed by Designer Fabrics to buy buttons, and by theworkroom.ca to see if I could get some quick help on patterns I’d been trying to figure out. (No. Looks like I’ll need a private tutor for things like that.) Then I swung by Zellers on the way home to pick up lots of socks (I’m getting tired of not being able to match socks!), checked the post office (closes at 2 PM on Saturdays, apparently), and went home. =)

I had fun. I really appreciate being able to tiptoe my way through crowded junctions instead of precariously wobbling from a higher seat. I still don’t like hills, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of them with more biking. And I really like being able to enjoy the sunshine, go places, and take care of things.

Maybe it’s the endorphins. Maybe it’s the novelty. Whatever it is, if I can take advantage of that energy and use it to make biking (or exercise in general) part of my habits, that’d make life even better.

13,705 steps and counting

Walking

13,705 steps in two and a half hours of leisurely walks spread out over one day, encompassing three not-entirely-necessary strolls involving two libraries, a drugstore, and one supermarket. But it was worth it: several bags of books, a package of dental floss, a pantry restocked with instant noodles, and the satisfaction of seeing what it’s like to walk the recommended 12,000 steps.

I headed out for the second half of my walk right after we wrapped up a project. The euphoria was making me buzz too much to write, so I decided to take good long walk.

The streets here are wide and well-lit, and our neighbourhood is wonderfully walkable. The largest park in Toronto is a few blocks from our house, although I more often walk to the library and to Bloor West Village. Near work, underground passages let me wander about while hiding from winter.

I enjoy walking. Even when winter’s giving me the sniffles, it’s still fun. Sometimes I think of Elizabeth Bennet walking from Longbourn to Netherfield (three miles, or a mile less than what I walked today), except in better shoes and more comfortable clothes (but not anywhere near as awesome a hat).

Tracking has certainly influenced my behaviour. I’ve taken to using Walttend Lite to track my steps because it can correctly track on my Google Nexus One even when the screen is off. None of the other pedometer apps I tried could do that, so Walttend it is. Once I was out there, it was easy to talk myself into going just a little bit further so that I could check off my 12,000 goal. After all, when you’ve gotten to the vicinity of 10k with another trip to the library (and another armful of books), you might as well keep going.

Do you use a pedometer to track your walks? What are you learning?

Photo (c) 2009 Tambako the Jaguar – Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives

Hacking my motivation for workouts

There was a recent Lifehack.org post on tying something you love to workouts so that you feel more motivated. It’s useful to know how to hack your motivation. =) W- and I joke about this. After going to fitness class, we make sure there’s a little positive reinforcement. Sometimes we go out to eat. We cook most of our meals, so it’s a real treat for us to go to a restaurant. Sometimes we’ll prepare comfort food at home. Sometimes I’ll reward myself with time spent playing video games. It doesn’t do much for my motivation during the workout itself (I still feel like I suck!), but it’s good for getting me out the door and for cheering me up again afterwards. I try to skew my reward system towards free or low-cost things so that I don’t end up associating spending with pleasure: a pho date is wonderful, but so is watching a movie at home.

There aren’t many things in my life that need this kind of extra motivation. Sometimes I need to use extra motivation in order to start giving a good presentation if I’m not feeling up to par, but it’s a scheduled commitment, so that helps me get going. Once I’m in the flow, crowd energy usually leaves me buzzing. Dealing with system administration issues and embarrassing mistakes is tough, but it is what it is, so I just have to knuckle down and do it. It’s just optional tough things that need this kind of external motivation-hacking, like exercising or shopping for clothes. (Yes, I’m weird.) There’s clearing my inbox, which I usually get around to doing once a week or so. Business mail gets faster replies, but I’m not super-responsive, and I think that’s actually okay with my priorities.

I have six sessions left on my 10-session pass (which is my second), and I plan to go once a week with W-. (Maybe even twice, if I can work up to it – I used to before I sprained my ankle.) I wonder how much I can hack my motivation, and if I can get to the point of wanting to get another 10-session pass. In that time, I’m probably not going to be able to enjoy the feeling of keeping up properly with the rest of the class. I usually modifying all the exercises so that I can do them without getting so tired that I might injure myself. But I can increase my enjoyment of being able to check off one more session (maybe with a nice big visual reminder?), especially combined with biking to and from the gym. I can line up treats for myself (such as books or stretching), and then focus on tying the positive feelings back to the exercise. I can also look for other forms of exercise that I might enjoy. Maybe lifting small weights or hula-hooping while playing games? <laugh>

Lifehack.org: How to Trick Yourself into Loving Your Workout

Getting the hang of exercising

I’m slowly becoming the sort of person who exercises. Having decided that my capacious schedule can certainly accommodate 45 minutes to an hour of exercise, I’ve been going through these beginner-friendly no-equipment exercise progressions.

I like jogging with W-. Well, I jog and he speed-walks beside me, I’m that slow. =) It’s a good time to catch up, though. Sometimes, if he wants to take it up a notch, he’ll run quickly, and then he’ll double back until we meet up again. I just keep jogging along, occasionally slowing down to a walk as prescribed by the program. When we get home, I do the bends, crunches, leg raises, modified pushups, and jumping jacks from the Exercise Ladder I’m trying. We have a snack–often a parfait–and then I shower to freshen up and get ready for bed.

2014-08-12 Exercise notes - #exercise

2014-08-12 Exercise notes – #exercise

I might have to interrupt this routine, but that’s okay. I can pick it up again afterwards, even if I have to go back a few levels. It’s good to feel this adaptation process–eroding these little mental barriers, learning these tiny habits of breathing and pace… It makes future restarts easier, too, like the way you’re less intimidated by game levels you’ve already played through before.

Getting there!