Feb. 15th, 2016

thanate: (Default)
Fair warning: this post is me complaining about how modern/American/pop- culture does exercise. Also my brain is set on extra lazy/abstracted this weekend, so there may be a bit of weird shorthand.

In these enlightened days when large proportions of the workforce earn their money mostly by sitting or standing still, exercise is sold as a marketable commodity. You perform it as a duty by going to the gym (for which you pay money!) or buying a machine specifically to exercise upon... which is a pretty poor substitute intellectually for hunting or building or carrying things or just walking all day in the course of your activities. The idea that exercise is an end unto itself for which you should pay money has always seemed like a terrible idea to me. Or to put it the other way, if you're not enjoying it and you're not accomplishing anything with it, why?

Now there are some legitimate things to get out of gym-style exercise: addressing particular health concerns can be worth performing a type of exercise you don't like in and of itself. Combining boring-but-personally-useful exercise with TV or audio can make two experiences that only take part of your attention into a better use of time. Specific exercises can be worth it to improve your ability to do something else you really enjoy. I'm sure there are other things I don't remember or haven't run into. But these take a particular sort of time and willpower that I'm pretty short on just now.

I've been thinking about children's games, and how many of them are effectively interval training. One of the Megatherium's favorite activities this week is to climb up on her toy box, step to the steamer trunk next to it, jump from there to the couch, and then leap off onto the exercise mat. She's made this loop probably upwards of a hundred times since she came up with it a few days ago. I remember turning on the demo mode for the electric keyboard and making a circuit of the living room furniture with my brother, leaping from chair to couch. (The music was important, I think, but not for any explicable reason.) Things like hop scotch and throwing balls around can be excellent exercise as well as fun, though some of the kid-style games age better for those in later developmental stages than others do.

But the thing is, if you're at a point of thinking it would be a good idea to get more exercise because you've been insufficiently motivated to do so thus far, a gym membership is probably not the way to go. The input energy is too great to overcome the inertia (and in my case dislike of gyms...)

So I've been contemplating what's fun; what is a thing I want to do for its own sake, that also provides better activity levels than I normally get on my own. I've got a couple categories of answers. There are toddler-enrichment things. (Go to the zoo! I will always get my 10k steps on zoo days, but it's weather dependent, and requires a mostly-free day. We also play some leaping around games at home, but they're sporadic.) There are things that require groups of people or at least partners and scheduling. (Contra dancing is fun! I've done very little of it b/c schedules & leaving the house... Fencing, rock climbing-- I miss climbing *so much* but not enough to network & schedule & drive to the (rather expensive) climbing gym.) And there are things you can do solo, or in a class group, or in a simulated group. (Yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise! Ok, I'm a little scared of jazzercise as a concept, but it looks like it could be fun?)

Someday it'll be spring-like, and then I need to get outside and muck about in the garden, which counts for applied exercise, or it'll be warm enough to go take a walk after bedtime. (Grauwulf has been doing this anyway, but it's too cold for me.)

Mostly we've been throwing balls around and playing pretend hop scotch. And I joined the Megatherium in a few of her toybox/couch jumping circuits. It was kind of fun.
thanate: (Default)
Fair warning: this post is me complaining about how modern/American/pop- culture does exercise. Also my brain is set on extra lazy/abstracted this weekend, so there may be a bit of weird shorthand.

In these enlightened days when large proportions of the workforce earn their money mostly by sitting or standing still, exercise is sold as a marketable commodity. You perform it as a duty by going to the gym (for which you pay money!) or buying a machine specifically to exercise upon... which is a pretty poor substitute intellectually for hunting or building or carrying things or just walking all day in the course of your activities. The idea that exercise is an end unto itself for which you should pay money has always seemed like a terrible idea to me. Or to put it the other way, if you're not enjoying it and you're not accomplishing anything with it, why?

Now there are some legitimate things to get out of gym-style exercise: addressing particular health concerns can be worth performing a type of exercise you don't like in and of itself. Combining boring-but-personally-useful exercise with TV or audio can make two experiences that only take part of your attention into a better use of time. Specific exercises can be worth it to improve your ability to do something else you really enjoy. I'm sure there are other things I don't remember or haven't run into. But these take a particular sort of time and willpower that I'm pretty short on just now.

I've been thinking about children's games, and how many of them are effectively interval training. One of the Megatherium's favorite activities this week is to climb up on her toy box, step to the steamer trunk next to it, jump from there to the couch, and then leap off onto the exercise mat. She's made this loop probably upwards of a hundred times since she came up with it a few days ago. I remember turning on the demo mode for the electric keyboard and making a circuit of the living room furniture with my brother, leaping from chair to couch. (The music was important, I think, but not for any explicable reason.) Things like hop scotch and throwing balls around can be excellent exercise as well as fun, though some of the kid-style games age better for those in later developmental stages than others do.

But the thing is, if you're at a point of thinking it would be a good idea to get more exercise because you've been insufficiently motivated to do so thus far, a gym membership is probably not the way to go. The input energy is too great to overcome the inertia (and in my case dislike of gyms...)

So I've been contemplating what's fun; what is a thing I want to do for its own sake, that also provides better activity levels than I normally get on my own. I've got a couple categories of answers. There are toddler-enrichment things. (Go to the zoo! I will always get my 10k steps on zoo days, but it's weather dependent, and requires a mostly-free day. We also play some leaping around games at home, but they're sporadic.) There are things that require groups of people or at least partners and scheduling. (Contra dancing is fun! I've done very little of it b/c schedules & leaving the house... Fencing, rock climbing-- I miss climbing *so much* but not enough to network & schedule & drive to the (rather expensive) climbing gym.) And there are things you can do solo, or in a class group, or in a simulated group. (Yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise! Ok, I'm a little scared of jazzercise as a concept, but it looks like it could be fun?)

Someday it'll be spring-like, and then I need to get outside and muck about in the garden, which counts for applied exercise, or it'll be warm enough to go take a walk after bedtime. (Grauwulf has been doing this anyway, but it's too cold for me.)

Mostly we've been throwing balls around and playing pretend hop scotch. And I joined the Megatherium in a few of her toybox/couch jumping circuits. It was kind of fun.

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