Jogging Again

Three weeks ago, I started running again, after about three or four months of inactivity. I’d wanted to get back in the habit for a while, but hesitated because I didn’t want to go through the pain.

Indeed, the first few runs were miserable, just huffing and puffing and hurting. But that awkward adjustment was necessary, and worth it. You have to power through the pain of building up rewards before you can enjoy them. Exercise yields yet another life lesson.

The best thing I’ve gotten out of this is remembering just how therapeutic jogging is, especially at night–the evenings this time of year are simply gorgeous around here; everything’s perfect for an end-of-night run. A couple of times in the last couple of weeks, I’ve come home from a long day of work, so achy and exhausted that I just had to go out running for a while. After a half hour around the streets and trails by Sandstone Ridge Park, I felt much better.

Even when it doesn’t feel good to be running again, it feels great to be running again.


Living Well Notes and Quotes, April 2014

When I was younger, I would have dismissed these stunts with some nerdy, smarmy snark, but as I age I appreciate physical skill more and more.  Life is for living, and these guys have reached goals that are not only fulfilling for them, but inspiring and entertaining for others, as well, including me.  Some of these are clearly fake, but they all make for good viewing.


A great list here called, “50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History,” focusing on medical and technological advances, quite rightly.  We have now basically become the gods of the ancients, able to do unimaginably fantastic things.

It’s not just the lifestyle progress, though.  I’m reminded of a remark the historian Will Durant made when asked what the greatest period in history was.  He replied that it was today, because we have the largest inheritance of cultural experience and creations of any civilization.

Which brings us back to technological progress–the Internet brings us so much of that inheritance with ease and panache.


Graphic showing 35 simple productivity tips.  Saved to hard drive.

Nevada’s best-kept secret’ offers hiking, camping and stargazing.  Note to self: visit ASAP!

“The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture The Human Experience”  Many of these are truly wonderful–thought-provoking and humbling.

Reviewed: Bikram Yoga Summerlin

The 26 Bikram Yoga poses

I’ve attended 12 Bikram Yoga classes so far this year.  Bikram is the original “hot yoga” style where students work on a set series of 26 poses in a room heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity for 90 minutes.  I got a two-month membership at Bikram Yoga Summerlin through Groupon.  Below are some random reviews of BYS and hot yoga.

I love the teachers.  I’ve had classes with four different instructors, and they each have their own personality that clearly shows, and they’re all very good (remember, I say this as a professional teacher myself).  Bikram yoga sometimes gets criticized for having a set script for teachers to follow, but they always still pause to help people who need encouragement or correction to their form.  They usually have a decent sense of humor, too.  In my most recent class, a new student felt she had to leave the room—the teacher let her rest, then invited her back in.  When she returned, we all applauded.  Things like that happen in these classes.  It was great.

Others criticize hot yoga for promoting injury, but I don’t see it.  Yes, the script and teachers push people, but good for them—in general, we’re all capable of far more than we give in life.  The teachers try to be sensitive to the needs of individuals, but ultimately the responsibility for not overdoing it lies with each of us ourselves.  I hurt myself twice in those twelve classes, and both times it was my own fault.  Nobody at BYS will harass you if you need to sit down and rest.

The facility at BYS is terrific.  Continue reading

Yogurt and Yoga

Two great tastes that taste great together. 

My favorite yoga workout over time has been Yoga Zone’s “Power Yoga for Strength and Endurance.”  It’s easy enough that I can get into most of it no matter what shape I’m in, but challenging enough that I always get something out of it: I’ve done this off and on for ten years, and it’s never been too easy. 

It runs nearly an hour, but if I don’t have that much time (or energy), the first half stands by itself pretty naturally. 

I also like the variety in this routine–I’ve done a lot of different yoga tapes, and this one makes about the best use of the time, with the most interesting formula of poses.

Speaking of this yoga tape, my decade-old tape started wearing out recently.  Lo and behold, this very program is now streaming on Hulu–available free any time! 

 After yoga, I try to pack in some healthy protein, in the form of yogurt.  Lots of people like to add sliced fruit to yogurt, and so do I (frozen blueberries make just about everything better–snacks, meals, motor oil), but I find that yogurt’s an easy cover for another healthy item–granola.  I get big tubs of generic yogurt from Wal Mart, and these bags of granola.  This brand isn’t too dry to start with, but mixing it into the yogurt really makes it go down sweetly. 

Banana or strawberry yogurt with some of this Bear Naked vanilla almond granola, after a Yoga Zone video, strikes me as time pretty well spent.

If Students Treated Exercise Like Education: A Parable

Student: Hey, uh, like, sorry I was gone for the last few sessions of workouts.  Can I get all my make up work and stuff?

Personal Trainer: Make up work?  What do you mean?  We do exercises here.  I give you intense, important training for reaching your goals.  You can’t just “make that up.”  Either you’re here to do the work or you’re not.  If you’re not, then you’re not going to get the health that you want.  Do you think that there’s some kind of easy alternative I can give you and it will be just as good as if you’d been here and done your exercises right when you should have?  If that were true, what would be the point of anybody ever going to the gym?  We could all just do the “make up work.”

S: Um, whatever.  Can’t I just get a worksheet or clean your room for some points or something?

PT: What?  How would that make you healthy?  That’s hardly a substitute for all the demonstrations and guided practice you missed.

S: Ah, man, I dunno what you’re talkin about, but you’re supposed to give me some make up work.  It wasn’t my fault I was gone.  I got sick and had a family emergency.  Don’t you believe me?

PT: It doesn’t matter why you were gone.  If you’re not here to do the work, you can’t get the benefits.  I don’t just hand out health here; you have to earn it.  Even when you are here, you’re not working out very hard; mostly you just complain about how heavy the weights are and tell me that workouts should be easier and “funner.”   And when you’re not at the gym, you’re just sitting around eating junk food—you’re undoing any progress we’ve made here.  If you aren’t here, every day, doing all the exercises as well as you can, you won’t get in shape. 

S: What?  You’re not going to get me in shape?  Dude, why are you failing me?  I’m here!  I’m working!  I shouldn’t be punished for the workouts I missed!  Just let me be in shape!

PT: Punish you for missing workouts?  Let you be in shape?  Do you seriously not understand how nature works?  I can’t just automatically give you the knowledge, skills, and benefits that everybody is supposed to work hard a long time for.  Right now you’re overweight, weak, and sickly.  I can’t just wave a wand and change that. 

S: Hey, that’s not nice!  You can’t say that!

PT: Kid, it’s not an insult, it’s just the truth.  I’m sorry if everybody else is dodging that just to make you feel good, but in the end, that’ll just lead to you getting some nasty surprises in life, like when you try to climb a flight of stairs and find out the hard way that you won’t be able to.  It’s just reality and I’m trying to help you.  You’ll never get in better shape unless you realize that you’re out of shape now.  If you really want to be healthy, you’ll have to work hard.  In fact, you’ll have to work harder and longer than your peers at the gym because you’re so far behind. 

S:  What?  That’s not fair!  Why do you hate me?  Look, just give me my make up work!

PT: Alright.  If you want to catch up, you’ll have to start doing all the normal workouts—every day—and stay later so you can spend extra time doing all the exercises you’ve missed out on.  Then, maybe, you’ll be able to get healthy by the time the year is over. 

S: Ah, man, I don’t care that much.  I’ll just do an online workout or summer gym. 


Other education-related satire:

Presenting the Modern Gym!

The Great Grade Bailout

The Single Purpose of All Education

Something we read in my English 101 class on Tuesday brought up the question of why we go to school.  You would think that after these poor kids had been through 12 or 13 years of it already, someone would have explained it, but no.  Actually, you’d really wonder why students themselves had never demanded an explanation, but apparently not.

School is not for giving you vocational skills or to develop character or to keep you out of trouble.  We all go to school for one reason.  Think about it: all the major aspects of each discipline do the same thing; they have one general goal in common.

English: outlining writing; defending a thesis with evidence in an organized composition; grammar and diagramming sentences

Math: applying formulas; solving equations

Science: using the scientific method

History: creating timelines; finding causes, effects, and connections between events

Art: using perspective, proportions, and other techniques

See the pattern? 

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MSP: Tenderfoot Requirement 10a

This one requires that I record things now and compare them with my progress a month later, hopefully with improvement.

I belong to a small neighborhood gym, which I go to sporadically, so I went this morning with this requirement in mind.

¼-mile walk/run.  I got on the treadmill and warmed up at a jog for a bit, then I cranked it up as fast as I felt I could go and started keeping track of how long it took me to run a quarter mile.  I did it in 2 min, 5 sec.  It occurs to me that a treadmill really isn’t the best way to do this–it sets up an artificial barrier.  Next time I’ll measure off a quarter mile and just run it, if I can.

Pull-ups.  I did 11, which is actually better than I thought I’d do.  I tried not to hold back on any of these–I want to give it my all now and see if I really get much better in a month, but I’m still pretty sure I could have done a few more of each of these if I’d really tried.  Maybe my improvement over the next 30 days will be more self discipline.

Push-ups.  I only did 15 in a set, but keep in mind that I’d just finished the run and the pull-ups.  No, never mind, that doesn’t make it any better at all.

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