Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Towards better health.

I was supposed to go in for my annual 40k mile oil change and checkup (also known as my annual physical) the week after Gafilk, but they called me the day before my appointment and asked me to reschedule, as their office was closed due to a completely impassable parking lot. So I ended up going in on Tuesday to be poked and prodded and have my subscription renewed for another year.

I love Leslie, my RN. She never scolds, she takes everything I say seriously, and she really makes me feel like she’s a agent of support with regards to my health. I got the usual reminder about diet and exercise, and I said that I was making an effort to both eat better and exercise more, so I’ve started to think about the various ways I could do that.

One of the things I’ve done is take short breaks throughout the workday, go downstairs, and just take a short walk around the building. It gets me a bit of fresh air, and subtracts slightly from the general amount of sedentary sloth that my deskbound job typically entails. This is a good thing, but it’s a drop of water in the ocean.

Problem is — I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. I always start with good intentions, and never really make any progress. I’m reminded of the old joke about quitting smoking: “Starting a new exercise program is the easiest thing in the world. Why, I’ve done it myself thousands of times.”

Many years ago, I first read about the Couch to 5k Program, which was designed to take people from couch potato status and ease them into a training program with the goal of being able to run a 5k race — not to run it in a decent time, necessarily, but to complete it.

Unfortunately, at the time I first read about it, some ten years ago, the instructions all assumed that you had access to a quarter-mile track. It had instructions like “Walk for one lap, then run for 1 lap.” Not having access to a track, I filed it away as intriguing but not useful to me.

A few months ago, aiela said that she was starting to try this program, using an app on her Android phone to regulate her progress. I looked and found that there was an iPhone app as well, which i downloaded, glanced over, and promptly forgot about.

Tonight, feeling a bit restless and bored (not playing WoW turns out to be harder than I thought *grin*), I went down to Lifetime Fitness with my iPhone, a new pair of sneakers, and the determination to get through Week 1, Day 1 of the program. The C25k program lets you set up a playlist to listen to, so I queued up a podcast and kicked off the program. I settled on 2.5mph for the walking sections, and a modest 4.0mph for the running section, and set off. It wasn’t that bad; honestly, I think I had more difficulty changing the treadmill speed than I did actually carrying out the routine, but I definitely felt like I had done something at the end.

My hope is that the structured progression of the program will help me stick to it and actually get into the gym and stick to the schedule. My plan is to try and go Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and “Level up” every Monday. We’ll see how it goes. But so far, I’m happy with it.


The Ones Who Walk Away From Azeroth


A moment of spring in the dead of winter


  1. ok. I get it. Your wily ways of attempting to inspire others have succeeded with at least one person.

    Downloading C25k now- let’s see if I last a day…

  2. Aweseomeness!

    It’s totally awesome that you would be working on this one. I’ve always been one who hated exercise for the sake of it as well -- it’s like.. well, that effort should be conserved, right?

    You are inspirational. 🙂

    • Re: Aweseomeness!

      Am I? I don’t mean to be. 😉

      I might think so when I get to the other end of this. Right now, all I’ve done is *start* something, and like I said, I’ve done that many many times without following through for more than a couple of weeks.

      My biggest problem with exercise for its own sake is that I get easily bored and there’s always something more interesting to do than what I should be doing.

      • Re: Aweseomeness!

        I’m the same way, but I like to believe that starting is one of the crucial steps -- honestly, I stop doing things because I see it as already done when i first start.

        As far as other things that one would rather be doing, if only we could read and get on the computer and do all of that while jogging in place.

  3. I do a lot of my exercise on a stationary bike, not so much because it’s better for me than other options physically (though it is kind to knees), but because I can read while doing that, which I’ve never managed on a treadmill.

    (I do like some exercise for its own sake, but cardio is boring unless I’m walking around outside, and then I’m not going for speed, I’m stopping to look at birds and plants and shop windows and the sky.)

    • At some point, what I’d like to do is get an actual bike and do some outdoor riding. If I stick to this, maybe I’ll be in shape to do something about it by spring. 🙂

  4. Is is possible / worthwhile to watch the TED talks on iPhone / iPod / other small tablet?

    That might be easier than bringing a whole laptop. Also easier to keep secure.

  5. That’s certainly an option. The truth is, I have a TON of podcasts to listen to at any given moment, so I’m spoiled for choice. The c25k app happily plays in the background, so I can pretty much watch or listen to anything my phone supports. 🙂

  6. Yay! I’ve looked at the C25K program before. Right now, I’m doing interval training on the treadmill that I found on the internet. I started out with the elliptical until I lost enough weight to not hurt my knees running. Last week, I went 2 miles for the first time on the treadmill in 35 minutes. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of this as I do. I also do weight training and, for me, that was more immediately gratifying than the running because I started to see results more quickly (i.e. I could lift more much faster than I was able to go further distances). Here’s to our health!

    • The important thing, I think, is to find something that you can stick with and stick with it.

      One thing I noticed that I liked about the C25K program is that, in the middle when your stamina is starting to wane a bit, you don’t have to push for the end of the half hour. You just have to push to get to the end of this 90s segment. For some reason, that made it easier. 🙂

  7. Reading/watching something while working out makes a *huge* difference! I’ve managed two weeks of daily stationary bike workouts by watching “Quantum Leap.” 🙂

    If you get a real bike to take on the road, make sure to talk to a bike expert (say, Mark), before buying. I got one without advice and it turned out to be a terrible choice.

    • Ah, Quantum Leap. I loved that show. (And I’m one of the few people I know who *loved* the final episode. and I actually got into a fight about it, once.

      Thanks for the advice on the bike. I’ll keep it in mind when I get to that stage.

  8. I, too, have had recent medical reminders that losing weight would be good.

    I tend to exercise when my children have classes at the Y. So I’m less likely to skip if I have to be there anyway. But it means I’m only doing twice a week, when I ought to be doing more.

    I will try to start stopping off at the Y after work. (And, the Y is, like, totally on the way home.)

    • The hardest part, in my experience, is making it a habit. If you can get that schedule locked into your weekly rhythm, that’s half the battle.

  9. This makes me happy since I’d like to have you around for a long time.

  10. So which app are you using and what do you think of it? There are several on the app store and I am wondering which one to pick up.

    • The app I’m using is C25K by Bluefin Software, LLC. You can see some screenshots and reviews here:

      So far (and bearing in mind I’ve gone through all of one session so far), I like it very much. It has support for having a playlist of music specifically for your workout, if you like, or you can put it in the background and listen to whatever you like (assuming you have a multitasking iPhone, but I generally assume people do by now.)

      It seems to strike the right balance of having all the features you need without overdoing it and being bogged down by a bunch of features you don’t. I’d recommend it at this point.

      • i usually listen to music when walking/jogging or i have a good think or i take a camera with me and a notebook (if walking) so if genius does hit i can make notes.
        Otherwise i always think “this is a waste i could be doing much cooler things”

        and also: weather is a big factor!

  11. Coincidentally, about three posts above this one in my friends list, someone else mentioned C2K, and that the NHS version of it includes podcasts which tell you when to run and walk and so on. An app strikes me as even better, though, since then you can have music playing.

    I’m sufficiently sedentary that I’m aware my chances of getting out of the house and doing C2K at the moment are limited; I’m using Wii Fit to give me the pretense of doing some exercise 🙂 Being able to go jogging in my own living room makes the threshold to entry sufficiently small, at least. It has noticeably affected my stamina; I’m noticing that my heart rate is much less affected by mild exercise elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, about 3lbs lost, about, um, 30lbs to go to get back to a sensible weight. I think that’s probably more from being very aware of what I’m eating (having found My Fitness Pal, which is a useful diet tracker, and has shocked me with just how much I was eating) than from the exercise, but I think getting fitter is useful in its own right.

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