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.