Physical scan time!

February 7, 2010 – 10:22 pm

These notes are partially in preparation for hanging out with Nagle on this topic at some point.

I haven’t gone dancing since I got back from Raleigh, and should fix that soon. Actually, I’ve been thinking (for several months now) about what I’d like my body to be able to do, and experimenting a little bit in that direction. I’m pleased with the economy of motion I’ve been able to gain more conscious control of when typing (sometimes, when I remember to pay attention) and playing music. The main breakthrough in the past year has been awareness – physically, I haven’t actually gotten more fit since this time last year, but I have become considerably more continuously and subtly aware of how my body’s doing and how various things affect it. I consider my ability to monitor future changes to be a good investment, so despite my grumblings later in this post on how I should be better at X, Y, or Z, I think this was a year well-spent.

I’m a little better about being aware of having a range of motion, but not sufficiently so, and I’m not satisfied with the degree of flexibility I’ve become aware of. I’m playing with some techniques from proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching and seeing whether they make a difference – I haven’t started measuring objectively whether they do, and perhaps I should – but all I know is that it feels good.

Cardiovascularly and endurance-wise… well, things could be better. I’ve tried doing things like the couch to 5k running plan before, but the problem is that I’m (1) hyperactive and easily bored, and (2) am terrible with cardiovascular exercise that requires considerable effort to context-switch. In other words, I’m not going to take 5 minutes to stop working, change into shorts and sneakers, and then go run for 30 minutes. I need to be able to context-switch between whatever-I-am-doing and yay being hyper yay! in – let’s say 30 seconds. Still haven’t found a great lifehack for that yet – although I can drop into throwing punch combos while continuing to read on my computer screen on the (frequent) days I work from home. I’m willing to work hard in terms of doing physical exercise, I just need to find ways to make getting into that working-hard the path of least resistance. I think I need my exercise to be more social, but I’m not stable enough (even if I didn’t travel at all) to make that sort of commitment with other people. Meh.

I’m highly displeased at the general state of atrophy my muscles are in, though I admit that having them mostly unknotted is a triumph in itself; I do stand taller and walk straighter than I used to, and I’m a little more aware of the places where that’s not yet the case because something I don’t yet understand is stuck. I’m aware of it enough to rub out some of my knots with various implements like a small rubber ball for my shoulderblades and what looks like a giant blue crabclaw-cracker for my forearms, and I’ll frequently end the evening by working out those knots and feeling the warm blood slowly come back into my fingers.

I hypothesize that better muscle tone in my back, shoulders, and forearms would improve the situation considerably, so I jumped on the one-month groupon for metrorock (thanks to Liz for the heads-up) and look forward to my first consecutive month in Boston (…April, I think) so I can take full advantage of it. I don’t expect the experiment to last beyond that; it’s purely a “let’s see if building up these muscles does indeed help” thing, and I tend to do well with the “go almost-every-day for a short-time-period” style of trying new things out.

Between now and then, I’m learning how to exercise in ways compatible with travel; I’m doing a lot of inclined-$bodyweight_exercise because I’m often not strong enough to have good control when doing, say, a normal push-up. Basically, I’m trying to get to the point where I can go climbing and have fun without too much worry of overdoing it; I went once with some friends when we were in college and enthusiastically rendered myself unable to move without great pain the next day, and I’m… trying to avoid that now. Suggestions for travel exercise equipment welcome. I’ve been thinking about getting one of the lifeline gym bag kits – the jungle gyms in particular look like a lot of fun – but I want to make sure that whatever I get won’t just sit and gather dust.

I’m eating relatively well; I’m pleased with that. Cooking a lot of vegetables and stocking the fridge with healthy things gives me both a “let us relax now… with FIRE!” outlet via the cooking part and a path-of-least-resistance to eating things that are good for me more often than not. And honestly, I’m going to have fried cheese and beer and giant burgers because my metabolism will not be like this forever and I like it and it’s tasty – I mostly want to make sure I get vitamins and stuff as well. I could be better about not being dehydrated. My skin is perpetually dry, but ever since I moved the lotion bottle from my bedroom to the bathroom, I’ve actually been using lotion, and this has improved. Maybe I need to get a pair of 2L soda bottles, fill ‘em up with water each morning, and finish both by the end of every day.

Sleep schedule: oh geez. Where do I start with this? I still don’t have one. The monthlong agreement with Andrew from September 2009 to get 6 consecutive hours per night was aggravating, but ultimately good for me. Perhaps I should try that again. I suspect that coupling hard physical exercise with a regular sleep schedule will be a Good Idea in terms of helping me stay… not necessarily steadier, but more able to buffer my Random ADHDness. Controlled sprints over wild spurts – I can get a lot done in wild spurts, and I’ve done that since I was a little kid, but now the thing is learning how to harness that, direct it towards what I want to sprint at, when I want to sprint at it… this is very hard for me to do, it’s several years since I started trying, and it’s… getting better. Not yet up to standards. But better.

Actually, this might be a good week to try something I’ve been meaning to experiment with for a while. What happens if I try to shift my wake-up time significantly earlier – say, 5am? That means I have to head to bed by 11 in order to get 6 hours (skeptical, but… okay). I’ll start by seeing how it goes tomorrow morning, and I’ll head off to braindump the rest of my buffer from the day and then plan out tomorrow and wind down.

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  1. One Response to “Physical scan time!”

  2. I could probably make you some recommendations for exercises based on my training, actually. It’s surprising how little equipment and space you need to be able to work core, back and shoulders – a 10-pound kettle ball and a soft carpet goes a long way.

    By DJ on Feb 14, 2010

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