Friday, July 8, 2016

Healthy habits

IMG_20160703_224844It’s not just jet lag.

Long-haul travel has a lot of detrimental effects, from sleep deprivation to junk diet, sitting too long in one place and accommodating cultural shifts.  I know that my feet swell and my dreams intensify with every air mile.  My blood pressure and heart rate had crept up when the dentist too a quick measure, perhaps from the half-stone that I’ve put on beyond my target weight.

Returning, there’s always the resolution to ‘get back on the wagon’.

Easier promised than done.  Returning to Rossmore, it’s genuinely hard to confront the exercise bike again.  I know that I’ve got ground to reclaim, intensity and duration; I know I need to just get on with it.  But after a long day’s work, the saddle just isn’t appealing.  I needed something different.

Aerobics!

I used to go four times a week with friends: we were renowned for choreographed spins and precision finesse. 

This would be easy.

Today in the UK, group floor exercise is Body-something.  BodyBalance, BodyAttack, BodyCombat…  I thumbed the undifferentiated list and reserved a spot in a neutral alternative: BodyPump.  Arriving, I introduced myself to the instructor: ‘coming off of PT but I used to do the routines.  I made some step-motions.

“A bit old-school,” she sniffed.'

Only 20 years ago: We’ll see.

It’s not a bad class: the step is only used for sit-ups, not for actual  aerobics.  But it’s otherwise a full hour of weights and extensions, not too taxing and a good complement to the bike’s cardio fitness.

But I needed more.

imageHIIT training (30 minutes).  I’ve been doing High Intensity Intervals on the bike (10 reps, 30 sec on, 60 sec off) during the past six months when I feel conditioned.  Doing it free-standing would be like cross training, right?

Wrong.

This was likely the most high intensity intervals I’ve ever tried.  Jumps, squats, sit-ups, rolls, presses.  ‘Out of breath ten minutes in, I started doing the push-ups on my knees and finessing the lunges.  The pace was double what I was used to, and I don’t have (yet) the lateral ankle strength to easily tumble up and down quickly.

‘good adaptations, the instructor yelled, flashing a thumb’s up.

I could only hope.

I liberally ached in places that I hadn’t in years for two full days afterwards.  Nonetheless, I told myself:  This is a step along the road to ‘better.

‘three days a week, minimum, for the next month, then report back to these pages.

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DSC02382I also read a good NYT  article about the progressive effects of alcohol.  The two things that I took away were 1)  How easy it is for two to become three, and 2) the need to give the body a periodic rest. 

It’s the 5:2 regime again, and it made sense to couple diet and vice.

I was surprisingly (gratifyingly) easy to go cold turkey for a week, and to keep conscious moderation (one glass wine vs. two) thereafter.  My counselor suggests that it may have the added benefit of quieting the intensity of dreaming: I’m keeping a log for comparison.

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