Mike used to love riding. He was one of those people, who when the weather was nice, you just knew he was out there somewhere riding through the countryside. Early on he used to vary it up – riding on the road sometimes and grabbing the mountain bike for a jaunt through the woods on the trails near his home at other times.
As he got older (and bigger) he gradually rode in the woods less and less. Until eventually he was purely a road rider.
As you can imagine, his increase in size did not lessen as time went on. Eventually he was only really able to ride on the flat roads around town, and soon he gave up riding all together.
Now he occasionally rides on a rowing machine,but other than taking a short walk, he doesn’t do much at all.
Let that be a cautionary tale. You really need to stay on top of things on a daily basis, because it is by inches that we lose our way, eventually straying from the path so far that we can no longer find a way to our destination.
In other words, if you don’t have a fitness goal in mind, and keep it there daily, you might find that eventually you have lost any chance at achieving that goal without Herculian effort. And there aren’t many of us that are Hercules. Certainly not me.
I have always hated exercising. I alway do it, because I realize that the benefit is worth the cost, but I have rarely found an exercise routine that suits me.
Lifting heavy weight does nothing for me. Well, for my mind anyway. I do enjoy the way it makes me look. But I have a really hard time keeping myself at it. I still try to get in one workout with the weights every week, but I must admit to being pretty spotty at it.
Lately the best thing I can do for exercise seems to be to get on my exercise bike. For some reason lately, I have been able to work my way through workouts without getting too bored.
Maybe it’s that I have it by the television and I can distract my mind. Perhaps it’s the steady rhythm of the pedals, but whatever it is, I can get in a good healthy workout without my mind focusing on the pain in my legs the way I do when I am trying to run on the treadmill.
I think the second thing is to spend the cash to get a good stationary upright bicycle. To be honest, I like the recumbent exercise bicycles better. I just don’t think the riding position allows your muscles to build in the way that the more normal position of the upright bike does.
If I was doing the indoor riding thing just to get in some sort of shape, maybe that’s the way I would go (watching tv that way would sure be easier on my neck), but since I also enjoy getting out on the bicycle when the weather is nice, I figure I should do what I can to keep those muscles in the best shape I can.
It makes sense to me that if you are actually going to make yourself go through the struggle of maintaining an exercise routine, you should try to get some real world benefit out of it in the short term. Thinking long term is valuable, but not very motivating for most of us.
One of the problems with eating”well” is finding a healthy mix of foods that you can stand to eat. Depending on your food preferences, that can be a big deal. If all of the nutrients you need come from a class of foods that you really just can’t stand, getting them in your diet can be a challenge.
For many foods, soups are a good delivery vehicle. Once a soup is put together and simmers for a while, all of the flavors blend together. The offending foods just blend into the mix. Then the challenge is to get enough soup into your diet.
There are actually two factors at play when it comes to eating well. Getting the right amount of good stuff into your body to meet your goals. Knowing what you need to keep yourself healthy and trim can be a complicated thing. You need to be careful not to over eat while still getting enough nutritious food to fuel your efforts.
In order to do this correctly you will need to spend some time understanding not only good nutrition (and good nutrition that contains the food you need in order to handle the needs of your body as you train) but also how your particular style interacts with that plan.
You will really need to find foods or food groups that fit your plan and that you like. If you do not succeed at that you will constantly have cravings that you can’t quite identify but that have the potential to torpedo your long range goals.
Find a way to answer those cravings, they are not always bad things. There are two types of cravings, those that are learned and those that are innate. Sometimes it’s your addiction to sugar that gets you in trouble. Sometimes it’s a nutrient that your body isn’t getting enough of and that craving will have you eating all sorts of random stuff until you accidentally hit on the right food.
It is worth your while to try to sort those cravings out. Find out which are learned addictive behaviors and which are actual signals. Once you do that spend some time to nail down what your body is craving and how to resolve that craving so you can handle it in a rational, non-binging manner.
Eat what you like, like what you eat. So long as you cover the other bases, everthing else will work out.
I recommend that you get off the couch and out into the world.
I really recommend that you get out in the world in the larger sense that you get involved with other people. Make connections, they have been proven to add years to a person’s life.
But if getting out with other people is too much to ask for now. At least get out. Get moving. Take a walk. Even the limited activity that comes from wandering around town window shopping has positive effects on life expectancy and person’s outlook on life.
If you find that you are firmly ensconced on your couch specifically because the idea of running in to other people, just make plans that make it so you will not have to interact with anyone. If there are no secluded trails in your area that you can walk without running the risk of running into someone, perhaps you would be wiser to get yourself a bike.
There aren’t that many people or that many situations where someone is going to bother to try to strike up a conversation with somebody going by on a bike. You can ignore people without having to worry about them thinking that you are not a nice person. it is especially easy to pretend you aren’t aware by putting your head down and speeding up a bit. That isn’t stand-offish, that’s dedication.
And when you get done with your spate of exercise go home, take a shower, and eat a plate full of vegetables
Just kidding. That’s next week.