Lesser Evil Life has this useful infographic on how running prevents to the common cold. With virus season just around the corner, these little factoids remind you to break out your hat and windbreaker and get outside!
Angry Birds has been played all over the world, by millions of people. As well as being well known across all types of gaming devices, it is now being made into a film, due for release in 2016!
My post today is a little bit about the workout around Angry Birds (found here), but also about the concept of casual gaming and how it can improve fitness.
The workout is simple, including squats, push ups, back exercises and planks. However, it is the adaptability of this workout to any skill or fitness level which sets it apart. By changing the number of sets and reps, or even type of exercise at the higher end of the spectrum, you can rank yourself according to the Angry Birds system: “I am level one, no stars” or “I have just got my third star on level three!”. To have a go yourself, click on the link, or take a look at the workout sheet for a guide to how it all works.
Anyone who has a mobile device, PC, laptop or other gaming system will know about casual gaming. You may not consider yourself a “gamer”, but things like Angry Birds, Sudoku, Words With Friends, Solitaire or even Minesweeper all class as casual gaming. For those of us who are trying to make a dent in our lack of fitness, the time we spend casual gaming is prime time to do ~something~. I am lucky in my job where I get a fair few breaks, of a good length. On some, I eat, I relax or I check emails etc. On others, I go for a walk, climb the stairs a few times, or on really long breaks, I hit the gym in work.
Every time you pick up your mobile for a few rounds of Candy Crush or Angry Birds, or every time you fire up Solitaire on your office PC when the boss isn’t around, think to yourself if you can be doing something different. 5 minutes running up and down stairs is much better than moving on a level in Angry Birds, or 10 minutes of pushups is so much more beneficial than posting (automatically, I know) to all of your Facebook friends how level 124 of Candy Crush is turning out a little difficult, and you would like power-ups.
Making small changes to your daily routine is where bigger lifestyle changes start. This Angry Birds workout is great for that, you can pick and choose which parts you do, in which order. You don’t even need to score those parts you shoehorn in, especially if you think you can do better. Just make sure you do, and class anything extra as a bonus.
However… sometimes, you do just need 5 minutes to yourself. You need to relax, escape from colleagues, hide from the kids or avoid clients for a while. I know this, you know this, we all do. Just try to strike a balance, for your own well being.
For me, for those times when I don’t want to exercise, my current game of choice is The Simpsons, Tapped Out.
Again, another great Nerd Fitness article to help focus the mind. This time it draws links (tenuous at times) between the Ghostbusters and any person’s journey to becoming fit!
Crossing the streams, building up skills and doing your best are all mentioned, showing me (at least) how best to focus my efforts to self improvement. As I posted a few days ago, I am taking each bit of my masterplan one step at a time. Starting off, I am getting into a routine which is sustainable for exercise. Then, I will gradually make specific changes to my diet over a period of time to end up making a full set of changes.
So far, I have a decent weights workout in, a good 10k plan which I am following and some solid ideas on how to improve my diet.
However…. disaster has struck (I use the term loosely and with hyperbole). The weekend, my phone, which contains Zombies, Run!, Endomondo, my 10k plan, my playlist and my weights app – managed to die. Completely. It is now winging its way back to Virgin, who hopefully will have it sorted by the end of the week and back with me by Monday.
For most people, they wouldn’t care, but if you haven’t already noticed, I am a geek. My tech is my way of control. Yes, all my workouts are backed up “a la cloud”, my playlist was on my SD card, and on a more personal note, my photos from my son’s birthday were backed up automatically to my Google+ account. [Note to everybody: Set up this automatic upload if you are on Android, alternatives on other OS. Find a good backup app and run it every few weeks on your messages, contacts, calendar etc – it will pay off at some point.]
So ultimate disaster was averted, but I am now using my old school iPod Touch for music (no GPS, and old OS so no apps work… plus the screen is quite well shattered) and hoping that I am doing something worthwhile in my workouts.
In other news, I am feeling energized, and after a good weights workout yesterday, don’t feel any actual pain! Always good!
This fitness lark is stressful. As much as people will scream and shout that exercise calms you down, being physically fit improves mental fitness, and that it is easy “when you know how”, it isn’t…. let me make myself clear.
For me, and I am sure many others, there are a number of thoughts which go through my head in the process of trying to get fit.
“What sort of workout should I do?”
“What food plan should I follow?”
“Am I doing enough?”
“Should I do more and risk injury or keep myself fresh?”
“Why aren’t I seeing results?”
“Do I workout before or after work?”
“Have I got all of my gear to go straight from work?”
“What else can I do to make a difference?”
“Why do my calves/ribs/shoulders/knees/toes hurt?”
“Will I be good enough standard for xxx date?”
“Should I spend less time doing xxx when I could be yyy?”
I could go on…. but I am not planning to. There are many more thoughts which I go through on a weekly basis.
Well, I did. Until I decided to buck up, shut up, and get on with it.
I know that if I read everything there is to read, follow everyone’s advice and eat what I am told to by everybody, I will go slightly mad and lose the will to continue.
With this in mind, I have taken the following steps:
~ Started eating healthily. Simple enough, cut out a lot of the rubbish, replaced with fruit / veg.
~ Chosen a workout plan which suits me. Alternating weights & cardio, fitting in swimming where I can.
~ Taken photos of myself & halted the weighing. It is quite easy to become obsessed with numbers, facts & figures. How I feel and look is a lot more important than what the scales say. With this in mind, my results are how much *more* I can lift, run, jump, swim; and how I look is the most important.
~ Stopped stressing – Sometimes I need to accept that I will not eat perfectly. Other times I need to acknowledge that I will miss a workout, am a little too tired to push myself to the peak or as a result of this, I will not see results as quickly as I would like.
If I don’t make my November target, so what?! I would like to, and am aiming to do so, but if my progress is insufficient to do so, then I would much prefer a sustainable fitness gain that something I may lose interest in after hitting my goal. Take tomorrow for example, my son’s 4th birthday. It will involve cake, McDonalds and no doubt ice cream… and so what! I will take a day, enjoy my day, but come Sunday I will get back on it (plans to rearrange the bedrooms – lifting, carrying, moving etc – in this heat!) then back to the gym when I am back at work.