Friday, July 10, 2009

Light exercise while doing other things

The past few weeks I've been noticing myself fall into the same sort of pattern I seem to follow every summer. That means getting used to a lack of daily activity aside from commuting to and from work. You may know the feeling of descending into slothfulness, where each day you have less and less energy and you can practically feel your muscles atrophy. You also lose mental capacity in the areas of concentration and creativity, and of course get fatigued more quickly.

I began to wonder why, even when I controlled my diet somewhat well and went to the gym 2 or 3 times a week (for mostly weightlifting), I could still be affected by this malady after as little as a week of my sedentary behavior. People say you have to work out just a few times a week to stay healthy, right? However, I suspect the issue is that my downtime is generally less active than most people's. I won't go into detail here....

So this past week, on a whim, I started making small changes to work some light exercise into my daily routine. That means that at work, where I'm protected from prying eyes by my cubicle, I use the computer standing up half the time and do some frequent small motions like hopping and squatting and balancing. And a lot of stretching. I think I got a lot of the movements from the Tai Qi or Qi Gong classes I took before. Oh yeah, in case you're wondering, I have a laptop stand, so I don't have to lean over while standing.

At home, while reading an ebook, I walk around and do the same thing. When I feel a little sleepy at night sitting in front of the computer, I exercise a bit and can stay awake longer. In the morning, I roll out of bed and do some push ups and other random things to stress my muscles a bit and raise my pulse. I've also started having breakfast. A fruit and a waffle usually. Ah, and I've also cut soda (free cans at work) from my daily diet.

The result? I can concentrate so much better at work that I really can't believe it. Programming a set of functions that might have taken me a week to write before, I did in a day and a half. Ideas are so much clearer in my mind, and I no longer feel like falling asleep after lunch. When I come home I no longer feel a need to rest my brain by just sitting and watching videos and reading humorous Internet articles. I have enough energy to do creative things, like programming and drawing. When I breathe, I can feel the beauty of summer and life and the universe with every inhalation. I feel more positive and relaxed the whole day. I even feel a bit more sociable and have been more conversational with coworkers and my family the past few days since I've started on this regimen. (Well, that's also because of the weather, but whatever.)

Diet and exercise, Banzai!

1 comment:

  1. wow that's awesome Andrew. Glad to see an increase in productivity. My summer has also lacked intense exercise but it's almost over so whatever.

    By the way, where are you working? How's post-bac life? also thanks for the comment on my blog.