My New Exercise Routine

“Exercise more” tops my to-do list and will likely remain a priority for the rest of my life. Progress has been made. “Exercise more” replaced “Get off your ass and do something,” a to-do list topper from the late 1970s to 2005 or so.

Incorporating exercise into daily routines is the key to success. I try to hit the gym or go for a run every day. Seven days in a row — with or without exercise — is rare.  I hover somewhere between three and five times a week, with periodic drops to once or twice and the occasional break.

My routine works for a short time. Seasonal variations in day length, temperature, and precipitation mess me up. Getting to the gym is more difficult when days are short because vision issues prevent me from driving at night. Heat and humidity play a role too.

I saw my doctor c few months ago and had put on thirty pounds since my visit six months earlier. Coming off of the antidepressant I take every winter for mild Seasonal Affective Disorder causes the weight gain. Now I’m taking it year round which should keep me from gaining next spring.

My cholesterol was up too. I’m determined to get it back down with exercise. If I don’t succeed by the time she sees me again, I go back on the drugs.

To lose weight and get my cholesterol in check, running is my go to exercise. Strength training is important for overall health, but running gives me more bang for my buck. The cardio lowers bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol, and the weight comes off faster.

I usually run three miles once or twice a week. More is possible as weather, the day job, and other demands permit. When the mercury hits 85 or so, it’s too hot to run. This year has been especially hot, with more days above 95 than any year on record, so the window of opportunity is small.

My new routine is to run a mile first thing in the morning — before it gets too hot. My goal is five miles a week. If I miss a day, I try to make it up with an extra mile later in the week.

I stumble out of bed and into my running togs around 5:45 a.n. My warm-up, one-mile run, and cool-down take about 25 minutes. Getting out the door is the hard part. Once I get going, I enjoy the run.

For three weeks, I did great. Yeah, I missed a morning or two, but I made up the difference and still got in my five miles every week. Then, for a host of reasons, I quit getting up early and now run five or six miles on the weekend.

Similarly, I haven’t been to the gym for a bit more than a month. Again, I blame the heat and hope to do better when things cool down some. On the plus side, I’ve lost twenty of those thirty pounds and hope to drop the rest before the end of the year. I’ll keep you posted.