November Lifehacking: The Walking Dad
Posted by Trixter on November 1, 2012
November’s lifehacking experiment is inspired by three things:
- I gained weight during last month’s experiment.
- I am winded going up stairs.
- My kids have never known me without a roll of fat around my neck.
I am 41 years old, 6’2″, and weight 247 pounds. That’s at least 45 pounds too much, and about 65 pounds away from looking normal. I have tried very many things, but lost the willpower to follow through with all of them: A gym membership, home calisthenics (even computer-aided), and the Couch-to-5K program. All have failed, save for a wonderful 3-month period in 2004 where I successfully trained for the Run Hit Wonder and got a front-row position at the following Devo concert.
As I discovered last month just how much anxiety I keep at bay, I was reminded of The Walking Man. Walking Man is a former neighbor of ours who used to go for several walks a day. He was a retired nuclear physicist and had the unofficial reputation of being quite brilliant. Once or twice a day, you could look outside and see him either coming or going. However, as the years went by, I started seeing him in more places around town: The park at the end of the subdivision; the Trader Joes 10 blocks away; the bike trail near the river. It wasn’t until I saw him walking downtown, several miles away, that I realized what he was doing: He wasn’t taking several walks per day, but rather taking one massive walk that lasted hours per day. Downtown is 5 miles away, so he walked a minimum of three hours every day. Not surprisingly, he was a little on the thin side.
I hold no illusion that I am like a brilliant nuclear physicist, but I can identify with him on some level. Some neighbors told me his walking was a way for him to think and sort out whatever was going on in his life; the physical fitness was just a side benefit. I am inspired, and am going to emulate The Walking Man so that I can kill two birds with one stone (anxiety and exercise). However, to make it as easy as possible to perform, I will be doing it indoors on a level treadmill. The treadmill is in front of the television, so I will have some entertainment while I walk. Finally, I’ll be walking in whatever clothes I am currently wearing. All of the previous excuses with other methods — driving to gym, changing into special clothes, dealing with the elements — are gone. I really have no other excuses!
So what’s the plan?
- On day 1, perform my treadmill’s fitness test with the aid of a heart monitor. Record result.
- Walk 5K (3.1 miles) every single day for 30 days. Initial walking speed will be 3.1 miles per hour, but after the first week I will increase the speed slightly to match the duration of the TV series I plan to watch while walking. Apply “body glide” strategically to prevent chafing and welts.
- Weight and percentage body fat will be recorded every single morning before my first meal.
- On day 30, perform fitness test again and compare result with day 1.
What do I hope will happen?
- More effective sleep
- Less anxious
- Higher performance at my day job
- Weight loss
- Better mood/less depression
This is a lot less pressure than Couch-to-5k and I can’t honestly see any downsides (except possibly blisters). I start tomorrow morning with the fitness test.