Monday, April 2

My body is a temple - Fitness and the post coital fag

I mentioned the other day about my wish to get hill-fit for the forthcoming summer jaunts on the hills.

I went into last summer about 1/2 stone over my normal weight, a noticeable middle age spread (well to me at least) when compared to previous years, and a pitiful record of regular winter exercise much beyond some weekend dog walking circuits. In previous years I'd kept up hill running 2-3 times a week and getting out on rather more challenging local walks.

Understandably my first trip up to the Lakes was with a certain wariness of my weight, age and fitness. I've realised over the last few years that post my fortieth birthday the ability of my body to bounce back after any sort of physical abuse is not quite what it used to be. There had been times when it did cross my mind what overall effect I might have had on my general fitness levels. So no chest pains during the first few days was a good sign as far as I was concerned!

The first few fells were taken slowly, listening to my heart and lungs, and gently reminding my body that this level of sweating was normal. I was pleasantly surprised by the speed with which my fitness returned. Luckily I've always been quite active and genetically I seem to be predisposed to a slim/athletic build, as long as I don't gorge booze/food, which is not something I've ever really done to any great extent. Well not for too long anyway. Err perhaps that should read not too often. These days.

By the end of the summer, after three or four wildcamping trips I was back to a trim weight, muscle in the right places, still sweating going uphill, but that was now down to moving over fast for the terrain. Mark that down to exuberance.

Fast forward to now. This winter I've managed to get semi-regular gym sessions started, mainly for upper body/trunk strength. Then there's longer outings with the mutts for the lower body exercise. As a result of this and a couple of other factors I'm now back to my weight of ten years ago. But still not what I would call hill fit.

It's difficult to be in the correct physical state without really getting out there and doing it. All the gym and fitness training can never replicate being on the hills for 8-10 hours each day. So for those of us who work the best that can be hoped for is to maintain a level of general fitness, to make it less painful when the hills are finally involved.

Next steps.
1. Start using the stairs at work (4 floors) - hard to keep it up, but very quick benefits in lower leg muscles and a great cardio vascular workout, in short bursts throughout the day.
2. Think about packing up the fags.

OK yes. Before you start. I know I shouldn't smoke but it keeps so many government officials in employment.

One lot to count the tax from the nicotine they sell me; One lot to fund surveys into how terrible it is for me; One lot to liaise with the medical profession to agree how terrible it is that I'm saving the NHS so much cash by dying early, rather than lingering on into dementia;

And then there's the last lot. And this is the one that really winds me up at the moment.

The bunch who've decided that despite flogging the stuff in the first place, its going to be illegal to use it in certain places; So they are now advertising with monotonous regularity as to how I should pack it in.

Now you may not agree with smoking. And you might think any support to quit is a good idea. But have you ever questioned just how much is being spent on telling adults to alter their behaviour?

If prison statistically doesn't reform criminals, how will repeated hectoring change smoker behaviour? Bore us into quitting? How about stop selling nicotine if its such a serious social problem?

Oh hang on, that doesn't work does it? That was tried with alcohol and drugs and both failed abysmally. And then there's the tax revenue v NHS savings.

And the funniest thing? The costs of it come as much out of the the revenue from non smokers as smokers.
(Blimey - that rant must have been brewing up for some time)

Anyway - Back to the plot, about packing in the fags. ..........

I used to worry about this one. Then I realised that experienced Everest mountaineers have been known to turn up at Kathmandu overweight and smoking; Using their walk to base camp to trim up ready (but not too slim - fat is good on Everest - you can stay alive longer that way) And the smoking? That helps their lungs get used to working on reduced oxygen levels. OK I may have read rather more into that is strictly necessary, but around that time I ceased to worry too much about its effects on me when balanced against sitting on a fell top, watching the world go by, coffee and fag to hand.

I decided to get on with enjoying the quality of life, as I define it, rather its length.

And as I close this article on fitness, which seems to have slipped into a diatribe on smoking, here's a strange camera angle to suggest if you can't beat them .............



And the post coital bit? That had better wait until the watershed before I post anything on that!
lol

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Comments:
When I see the adverts on TV about giving up smoking I always spare a thought for those who have recently given up - I bet they weren't thinking about having a fag BEFORE the ad came on...
 
......and the stress from seeing all those horrorshock ads always makes me reach for the rollies
;-)
 
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