Tag Archives | Exercise

Thoughts on trying to get fit

Reading and walking

I set myself several goals this year. Two of them were to read more and to also walk more. Hopefully read a book per week and walk 1000 miles in the year. A great way to combine these is to listen to Audiobooks when walking. A five-mile walk takes about 70 minutes and an audiobook is usually about 12 hours long. So a few walks combined with the commute to work means that an audiobook can be completed in about two weeks. Reading two audiobooks a month will help deliver that reading goal for the year.


I’m not sure Willpower is the correct title for this post. But it’ll do. I recently posted this tweet to my Twitter stream:


To which Bill Cooke replied:


This got me thinking. I tend to make what looks like snap decisions about some things I want to do and once I’ve made such a decision it doesn’t matter what happens. I stick to it. So last week after a few weeks thinking about it my brain just clicked and I decided that I had to start following a more healthy lifestyle. I recognised the feeling I got at the time. It was like a virtual line in the sand and I’ve had the same feelings with other decisions before. For example I stopped smoking in the 1980’s with a similar thought process. I thought about it for about a month then one day I smoked the last cigarette I had and decided that was it. I never smoked again. That was over 20 years ago. Another, more trivial example, comes from when I was playing cricket. I was always a bowler and a joke with the bat. One year I decided that I needed to improve my batting. That year I came 2nd in the 2nd XI batting averages and scored a couple of fifties. There are other examples as well.

It seems that when I make a decision of this type I stick to it. So even if Bill’s comment is true, and to be honest I have had periods of hunger between meals in the last week, it doesn’t matter as I’ll just ignore it. It’s a strange felling and thought process to describe to people. It’s like a binary switch in my brain is flicked when I make one of these decisions and that’s it. I do whatever it takes to bring about what I’ve decided. Does anyone else get this? Does anyone know what I’m describing here (badly describing)? Is this just a manifestation of willpower? I don’t know. I just know that I recognise this type of decision when it happens and can now say for sure that the goal will be achieved. That might sound big-headed. It’s not meant to be.

Interestingly I think there is another thing that I’ve been thinking about for a while that seems to be heading to another decision of this type. It’s quite a profound one as well. Maybe more details in future.

What would be good if I could decide that I want to be a shit hot iPhone developer using this process 🙂 Unfortunately it doesn’t feel the same when thinking about that topic so I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’ll have to just trudge along on that topic.

Back on the bike

I’ve started using my exercise bike again. I don’t think I’ve used it for about 10 months. Recently I’ve been feeling overweight and just generally not as fit as I usually do. I’ve also had a more or less continuous pain in my side (near the incision scar from my TC operation) since last January. I think I did a mischief to myself last year between Christmas and New Year when I went to Ikea Belfast to get some new drawer units. The ones I bought had warnings all over the flat packaging that they should be handled by 2 people. I picked them from the warehouse on my own and also loaded them into my car and house by myself. I was in a hurry. It may have been a mistake. In the 2nd week on January I was at the BETT show helping set-up and staff the stand for the company I work for. I had to take it very easy when helping move stuff onto the stand. The next week 3 of us flew to Macworld in San Francisco. I had to get a colleague to lift my case from the carousel for me in SFO. I thought it was just a pulled muscle and it would heal up after a few weeks. But it didn’t. I started thinking it was a mild hernia of some description. I went to see my GP in June and he gave me ibuprofen gel to use on the area. I did this for a month but it didn’t make any difference. If anything it’s been worse recently as I’ve been lugging servers about in work as part of a new VMware based system I’m deploying. I went back to my GP but the upshot of that was to continue with the gel and either get my yearly TC check-up brought forward or wait until November and get them to do a scan. I decided to wait. I also decided to do some exercise and eat more healthy food to boost my general fitness. So I bought a pair of scales to see how much I weigh. I know from when I played cricket that 80kg (12.5 stone) is the weight that I feel healthiest at (I’m 6’2′ ish in height). Rather worryingly the new scales give a different reading depending on where they are. In the place where I will always use them they are reporting that I’m currently about 86.6kg (13.6 stone). So about about 6.6kg (1 stone) above my optimal weight.

I’ve been exercising on the bike for a hour a day for the last 3 days. Unsurprisingly it does give you a lift. I think I’m inherently fit. I always have been generally fit so I get an instant payoff from exercise. In the 24 hours after the 1st day using the bike I noticed that the pain in my side was a lot less than it had been. In the 3 days since it has remained a lot less painful. It’s still tight and tender to the touch but it’s not the constant pain that it was before. Could it have been an internal hernia of some description that popped back to where it should be during the 1st hour on the bike? Here’s hoping, but time will tell. I’m putting a pile of Dell, HP and Apple servers into a rack tomorrow in work. Lots up lifting (carefully!) and crouching, bending during that. Be interesting to see how it reacts.

UPDATE on 30th August: The pain in my side is definitely better. It’s still tight and tender to a vigourous poke, but it’s not the pain I’ve had for the last 8 months. I’m so happy. That was starting to worry me a bit.


When I was thinking of buying a drum kit, I searched for info on the web to show that it was a good way to get exercise. I was looking for justification to spend the cash. I couldn’t find any info to show that it was good exercise. A study showing that drummers are fit, because they drum, has been done. Hah! Retrospective vindication 🙂

New toy: Roland electronic drum kit

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a set of electronic drums for a while. For use with EZDrummer Midi samples and also as a form of aerobic exercise. Not sure how good drumming is as a form of exercise, but I’ll find out.

Click Picture for larger view

Back on the hoof

Finally started walking for exercise again today. Did 5.46 miles along some recently completed pathways for walkers and cyclists that are being laid along the old Belfast to Comber railway lines in Dundonald/Stormont area. As usual the distance was tracked with the Nike+ and iPod nano combination. Summary as shown on the Nike+ site below.

Summary of 5.46.mile walk Click picture for larger view

New year fitness

I’m not one for new year resolutions. The fact that the Earth has made another orbit of the Sun doesn’t seem like a reason to make promises that’ll get broken. If you want to do something then just do it irrespective of the date! Having said that it is time for me to get back to doing some exercise. So I’ve zeroed the exercise totals in the sidebar on the right and will start from scratch and record the totals for 2007. I want to get fit and play cricket again this year. For the record the totals before I reset them were:

The total number of miles covered in the fitness drive since 20th July 2006 is:
Miles walked: 23.95
Miles cycled: 107.02
Calories used: 6887

Update: Just did 2.79 miles around the grounds of Stormont.

Another outing for the Nike+ iPod sports kit

I tried out the Nike+ iPod Sports Kit on a timed exercise session yesterday. I set it for 45 minutes. Worked perfectly. Every 5 minutes the music fades out and the voiceover tells you how many minutes are gone, or if after the halfway point, how many minutes are left. At the halfway point it cuts in and tells you that as well. For the last 5 minutes it counts down on the minute which is good. This think this is definitely going to help me exercise more. Here is a screen shot of the 45 minute walk as graphed on the Nike+ website.

Walk2 Click Picture for larder view

It was uphill then a downhill section towards the end. Hence the speed increase. I also triggered my Power Song with a few minutes to go just to test it. Marvellous 🙂

I’ve also been doing a bit on my exercise bike. See side bar on right for totals. The miles listed are as reported by the bike. I usually do an hour per session and it reports about 13 miles in that time. The calories used is a combination of the number burnt according to the Nike+ and the bike. Probably not very accurate. The bike is good as you can read at the same time!