Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Sitting still

So Tuesday's random ramble about routines and running water (all hail alliteration) has continued to dance idly in my head throughout the intervening days. It's one of the prime tenets of my writing that people are people and don't change much, though their surroundings and situations, and the expectations others have of them, do.
So, people being people, inhabitants of manors and villages in the 1780s would have their routines, as would palace-dwellers on a far planet or a clan inhabiting a starship. (You see what I did there.) But one thing that has changed, and is quite different between my two groups of settings, is the amount of physical activity needed.
Part of this train of thought was sparked by taking my company's health assessment. It told me that I am at high risk of emotional health issues and recommended that I exercise more. While I know that exercise does have mental/emotional benefits, my problem is that I'm feeling time-crunched, so adding another activity to my day...
But before I could go into one of my famous Anne Downward Spirals (patent pending, not that anybody else wants it), I was diverted by the realization that even fifty to seventy-five years ago, let alone a couple hundred, exercise wasn't anything that most people really had to worry about. Their lives provided quite a lot of it by default.
What's happened since then? Well, a lot of inventions have become fairly commonplace, even necessary to life as we know it (in the US, which is where I'm from so what I'll be talking about -- feel free to chime in with your own experience if you like). Cars and computers are the big ones I'm thinking of, as exercise killers.
Cars are pretty obvious. When we have a way to go from Point A to Point B that is fast, easy, comfortable, completely under our own control, and allows us to carry a whole lot of stuff without tiring ourselves out in the process, it's just human nature that we're going to use it, and use it a lot. Or that could just be me. Thoughts?
Computers are also pretty clear, but even more far-reaching than I think a lot of people realize. Before computers, office work required a lot more moving around. Different areas had to be used for different things, like typing, copying, filing, mailing. Nowadays, most if not all of that is going to be on a worker's computer.
The other impact of computers is really an impact of the Internet. A great many of my readers feel uncomfortable being out in public, and prefer to do the majority of their social interaction in private, online. Once upon a time, that wasn't an option. People had to get out and do things if they didn't want to be hermits their whole lives.
Of course, some of us (we know who we are) might prefer the hermitage option, maybe with the occasional scheduled meet-up with those who think similarly. But sadly, that's not yet a possibility... though it may become one by default, if telecommuting becomes more widely accepted due to constantly rising gas prices!
So, having rambled for quite a while, I shall leave it to you, O readers. What do you do, or not do, to get your exercise? What is part of your daily routine that maybe shouldn't be, or what's there that you wish you had the time or motivation to expand? And am I ever going to get back to blogging about writing? We shall see... thanks!

13 Comments to Sitting still:

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Sarah on Thursday, January 23, 2014 11:49 AM
I do not own a car-- and for the most part, I am content. (Except for the Pre-Holiday (or Post-Vacation) Grocery Run wherein I test my carry endurance and days like today where the temperature is unlikely to rise above 0F. Sigh.) If I want to leave the house, I have to walk. Or bike. Or bus, but there are places that my legs can get me faster than the bus. The lure of "real, human" interaction is not enough for this. My work is surprisingly physical at times, too-- lugging equipment and supplies for experiments up and down stairs is not for the faint of heart! I wish I were more motivated to exercise as a separate part of my routine, but I have yet to find an activity fun enough to tempt me into public interaction. Best of luck in finding a routine of your own!
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Anne on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:33 PM
I don't own a car either, but we live out in the suburbs, which is NOT "the middle of nowhere" (thanks to Krystal's one workmate) but isn't terribly close to anything either. I can walk from the nearest bus stop in decent weather, but when it's cold and snowy, or getting dark early, it's simply not safe because we don't have sidewalks, so I'm on the shoulder of the road. Fortunately most of the stuff we do is done together, so Krystal's car serves both of us the vast majority of the time.

Elizabeth Conall on Thursday, January 23, 2014 6:38 PM
In theory, I do my Irish dance DVD three times a week. In practice, zero percent in the last thirty days, seven percent since I told HabitForge I was starting, sometime in the middle of last term.
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Anne on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:34 PM
Recognizing the pattern is the first step towards changing it. *runs away*

NotACat on Friday, January 24, 2014 2:08 AM
I recently changed jobs. Previously I worked with my wife, 20–30 minutes walk from home, so we both got a reasonable amount of exercise each day just walking to and from the office. Now I work from home, I have to find an alternative. We chose the easy, obvious way: she phones me when she's about to leave the office, and I walk up to meet her. It gets me out of the house into the fresh air, and it gives me a precious few minutes when actually all I am supposed to be doing is moving my legs and reading my Kindle ;-)
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Anne on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:34 PM
That works. Lucky to work from home! If I did that, I'd have all the exercise I needed, chasing puppies around the house and keeping things clean!

Frances on Friday, January 24, 2014 5:41 AM
Living in London which has pretty amazing public transport means that while I have no car, the bus or tube stop is never really more than 5 mins away (possibly 10 mins depending on where you are). The result being that I still probably do less walking than I ideally should. I think one of the problems is that generally we tend to opt for the most convenient way to do things so I know that if what would be a 45 min walk would take me 30 mins on the tube, inevitably I will take the tube even though there's only a difference of 15 mins and the walk would probably be much better for me. The only thing I actively try to do is walk down the escalator (or stairs) at all the various tube stops and that's not exactly a huge amount of extra exercise.
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Anne on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:36 PM
You say 45-minute walk so casually! Lucky to have the Tube available to you. Pittsburgh is coal country and we have so many old mines that anything underground simply isn't safe. Heck, half the houses have trouble with subsidence.

lilyginnyrose on Friday, January 24, 2014 5:53 PM
I hadn't thought about this that way. I get plenty of exercise in my daily life, so I don't really have to, luckily. As I live in europe, distances in general are smaller and I'm not allowed to drive until I'm eightteen. Which means I cycle everywhere between 500 m and 25 km without thinking about it. I go to school everyday 20 minutes to and 20 back. That's 40 minutes of light exercise a day. Then I have a paperround which takes me an hour, cycling and walking. So without actually exercising I get nearly 2 hours of "just moving" a day. And then I play volleyball. Have been doing so since I was six. That was just the way it was in our village. Girls volleyball, boys soccer and tennis is there if you want something extra. I like it, I train 2 x 1.5 hour a week now and play a match. It's not something I 'add' to my schedule like going to gym would probably be. It just is there, I can't let my team down, so it has just as much a settled place in my life as going to school has. It just is there. And of course I don't always want to get up from reading whatever I'm reading (fanfiction, mostly) to go to training, but I feel it worth my time over and over again. There's just a good feeling if you have done something you like, released all your cropped up energy and worked yourself tired. If I don't do it for a week I start feeling slow, lazy and then restless. When the restlessness is over, usually around third week of summer holidays, I feel myself losing condition and physical fitness. That s**ks, that feeling and when I start again it is hell, but after two weeks I feel so much better. Ah, I wrote an entire essay about my sporting habits which you probably aren't interested in at all. Well I'm not going to delete it now. Have a nice weekend :)
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Anne on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:39 PM
Holy wow. We're starting to accept biking more as a mode of transport in the US, but its utility is kind of limited for getting to work, because the roads are crowded and dangerous, and most drivers really don't like having to share with bicyclists. Plus you have to find some way of transporting work-appropriate clothing with you, or take the chance that you'll sweat through your work clothes. I've never played a competitive sport in my life, mostly because I am so physically uncoordinated that I was nine before I could ride a bicycle. All of which is to say that I was really intrigued by your essay and kind of wish I could live more like you.

Geoffrey on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:38 AM
I had a feeling when you started that this might end up being about rambling water and running routines. I suppose that was not too far off the mark.

Concerning that Pending Patent, I’m interested in acquiring that intellectual property and exclusive rights to its use. Please let me know when you have the patent, and how much it will cost. Then I’ll jack up the price, and only the über-rich will be able to afford to go into Downward Spirals!

As for how to get that exercise, I recommend dancing. Swing, ballroom, etc. It really doesn’t matter. I used to do racquetball, but then I ran out of people to play with, and hitting a ball against a wall by yourself is less fun than it sounds.
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Anne on Saturday, January 25, 2014 1:40 PM
Nice try but I'm not selling. As for dancing, care to chip into the fund to buy whoever partners me a pair of steel-toed shoes? They're going to need them...

Alicia on Sunday, January 26, 2014 9:21 PM
Specifically for exercise, I either use my Gazelle exercise machine inside my house or go on the skating rink. The Gazelle is only about $100 if you buy the cheapest version, and it's easier to do something inside than to walk in Arizona. Added to which, if I'm regularly watching shows (any shows at all), a fifty minute show is a good workout on the Gazelle so it doesn't add anything to my routine per se. I'm not sure if that would work for you since I don't know if you have any shows already in your routine, or for that matter any reading time (but you can read while on a Gazelle, it's a bit harder than TV, but it's easier with a Kindle or tablet!). As for roller skating, that's something that I adore, and the one place in the universe where I'm graceful and not clumsy. I only do it if I'm okay with being trapped in my own head for several hours, though -- having an internal story helps a lot. And these days (at least since about midway through last year), I've been so incredibly busy and also worried about getting enough to eat to justify the exercise, that I've barely done anything at all. The summer I spent in Alaska, I returned in the best physical shape of my life -- that was when a two mile walk felt like nothing to be concerned about at all and if it started raining mid-hike you just kept walking. I've tried to stay in hiking condition, and I enjoy walking places every now and then -- I live in the middle of the city, and there is a sidewalk, but a lot of places aren't safe after dark. As for the rest, I don't think that the Internet necessarily hinders true social interaction. You *can* hide behind it, sure. But I tend to think that constantly being out and about relating to anyone who happens to be around me can be like banging my head into a brick wall -- I *know* they'll just think I'm weird or immature when I bring up Star Trek or My Little Pony and forget talking about fanfic -- and when it gets to be a choice between going out just knowing they'll ignore me and put me down and make me cry or staying in, I start choosing the latter. It's not so bad here since I live in a very big city, and there are opportunities to meet people face to face who I connect with and who love me for myself (spent the whole weekend with a group of them). But it's hard to find and takes a long time, and I think the Internet simplifies the whole process. It gives you a much bigger pool of people to interact with and a convenient way to do it all long-distance. My opinion on the lack of natural exercise in our culture is that we've moved from the industrial age to the information age -- the vast majority of manual labor can be done by machines or helped by machines, and the product most of us produce by our work is more and better information (me included). And then the other problem is that the methods we have of entertainment and of living out the things that make this life rich and beautiful and alive, don't have a physical component. I think that's why I like being able to read on my Gazelle -- in a weird sort of way it helps me to concentrate better. Maybe the solution is coming. We already have the Wii and X-Box that integrate physical motion -- not just in the exercise type games, but also in stuff like DDR or Zelda -- and we have the type of live action story acting that you described in your next post.
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