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  1. Cuccu
    Cuccu January 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm . Reply

    Podcasts are the only thing that make exercise bearable for me.

    Among others, I’m fond of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. You might like it.

  2. Tristan
    Tristan January 15, 2009 at 2:46 pm . Reply

    Some of the Clarkesworld podcasts are also worth getting.

  3. EFLGeek
    EFLGeek January 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm . Reply

    I also hate exercising but have started back on the running machine (in my balcony) since last week.

    In the summer I was running to an audio lecture “The History of the English Language” it was really really fascinating.

    I can’t seem to get into podcasts so I just run to music on my mp3 player. Maybe I’ll give an audiobook a chance if I can find something interesting.

  4. V
    V January 16, 2009 at 1:35 am . Reply

    Ouch podcast

    Although you might want to try listening to it from the beginning…I’ve missed checking it since the summer.
    Really amazing hosts, funny, intelligent. Not always uncontroversial, sometimes even I have been offended. But never unenjoyable, and never sanctimonious. Lovely stuff, great hosts.

    Liz I particularly like, she’s so acerbic.

  5. Sperwer
    Sperwer January 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm . Reply

    Congratulations! You are doing something that’s very good for you.

    I started about three years ago, when I realized I might not make it to my daughter’s college graduation (she was then 5, I was 55) unless I made some changes. This revelation took place when I found myself sitting on the bed putting on my trousers, because I couldn’t do it standing up anymore on account of lack of coordination and balance – the latter directly attributable to relative lack of muscular strength. I was also significantly overweight and suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure, incipient gout and all-around ornery-ness.

    Since then I’ve lost 50 pounds of fat, put on 20 pounds of muscle, lowered my cholesterol by about 75 points to well-below the danger level, and lowered my blood-pressure to much better than normal and also lowered ny resting heart rate from 78 to 58 bpm. (I’m still battling what I thought was gout, but have now just figured out is related to an excessive intake of salt and msg from eating too much store/restaurant-bought Korean food – which I’m swearing off for the new year.)

    I think I was able to achieve these results in large part because I (learned to) love working out – despite all the annoyances to which you advert (save the “aches and pains”, which I kind of enjoy – “Pain is your friend. It lets you know you’re still alive. And it gives you the spurto get back home” (and crash into that easy chair guilt-free). Learning this lesson is what I am writing to recommend to you – I trust not too) presumptuously).

    By all means, ease yourself into it, but remember to keep pushing beyond your comfort zone while figuring out how positively to enjoy the process not just appreciate the anticipated result. At some point that will mean chucking the cardio hamster routine for some form of exercise that is not only physically demanding but mentally challenging (because, e.g., it requires you to learn new physical skills and increase your proprioceptive capacities and is more conducive to get you mentally involved with your own neuro-muscular processes that a treadmill is likely to do). Besides, if you have weak Achilles tendons, all treadmill pounding is going to do is increase the risk of a repetitive motion injury to them.)

    This will also mean chucking the podcasts and anything similar that distracts you from engaging your mind and will in the physical activity.

    Consider doing that now but, in any event, be prepared to do so when the time is right.

    Otherwise you will be wasting your time.

  6. Sperwer
    Sperwer January 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm . Reply


    1. With bone spurs like that, you really shouldn’t be on a treadmill. I’m no physiotherapist, but it’s hard to believe that the presence of the bone spurs would not dramatically increase the risk and severity of repetitive motion injury. If you’re wedded to the cardio-hamster approach to fitness – even if just temporarily – please switch to a stationary bike. With your problem, I’d opt for the recumbent position bike.

    2. The problem with treadmills, stationary bikes and such IS that they encourage mindless exercise – which really doesn’t really deserve to be called exercise at all. Mindless physical activity is not entirely worthless but, e.g., if you pedal or tread away mindlessly the only truly significant effect will be that you increase your endurance at — treading or pedaling away mindlessly. There are a lot of (morbidly) obese but skinny folks out there pounding away in various states of boredom and doing nothing for their levels of strength or adaptability to the strength, flexibility and endurance requirements of other everyday physical activities, let alone the weight, blood pressure and other symptoms that motivated them to start in at the gym precisely because they mistakenly believe it can be done on automatic pilot.

    3. I share your concerns about biking and swimming in Korea. If your heels were healthy I’d recommend something like haedong geumdo, which is anything but boring, but you’ll have to save that for later (if at all). In the gym, nothing beats lifting weights, especially free weights – although it’s not a bad idea to start on the machines if the barbells and dumbbells seem a little intimidating. I accomplished my losses and gains, as described earlier, almost exclusively from throwing around the iron, doing very little and often no aerobic exercise at all.

    4. I have Dupuytren’s Disease and the number of cysts and resulting contracture on my right hand were so numerous and severe that the hand was completely closed into a fist. I had it surgically repaired here a few years ago at about 1/25th the cost back in the States, and most of what I had to pay out-of-pocket was for a private room for three days. The surgeon was the head of the Korean Micro-surgical Society and really good. If you decide to do something about your spurs, let me know and I’ll refer you.

  7. Sperwer
    Sperwer January 19, 2009 at 11:35 pm . Reply

    Yoga is good. If it’s done right, it’s a helluva a lot more strenuous than people think, too. I tried to do it for awhile, but didn’t have the time to do that and my weights routine, even though I’m desperately in need of more flexibility. Am now trying to achieve that in the confines of my weightlifting program by larnin’ myself the Olympic lifts – the snatch and the clean – both hellishly difficult but very productive.

  8. Sperwer
    Sperwer January 20, 2009 at 9:05 pm . Reply

    If you like pushing the weight, go for it. And don’t let your entirely reasonable apprehensions about free weights put you off them.

    Interestingly, because many people don’t have similar inhibitions about the machines, they end up injuring themselves doing machine-assisted movements by trying to handle too much weight (and because the machines generally isolate the stress on single muscles rather than spreading the pain among a complex of muscles like free weights do.

    That, by the way, is the great advantage of free weights. They force you to engage whole neuro-muscular complexes, just as ordinary physical activity does and hence improve genuinely functional capabilities (rather than promoting the hypertrophic tits-on-a-bull sort of “development” one sees on the covers of weightlifting magazines.

    The most important thing is to start with weights with which you feel comfortable physically – even if it discomfits your pride – and focus on learning to perform the exercises with very strict form. That will enable you to get used to the weight and as you do you can ratchet up the load with confidence.

  9. Rhesus
    Rhesus January 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm . Reply

    Try this:

    1) Download the 2.6.28 Linux kernel from http://www.kernel.org and compile + install it.

    2) Get the latest Nvidia display drivers and install them. Watch X crash when you try to start your window manager.

    3) Fall back to the previous Nvidia drivers. Watch them fail to compile.

    4) Start to get irritated.

    5) Fall back to previous kernal/display driver configuration while you try to figure out the problem.

    6) Fiddle with display driver source.

    7) Actually get display driver to compile on 2.6.28 kernel. Watch X start up normally.

    8) Watch in horror as the gpu temperature shoots up.

    9) Find you’ve lost 20 pounds through pure frustration.

    Barring that, you could try Brazilian Jujitsu. You’ll be in top shape in around 6 months. Plus, you get to choke people. What’s to lose?

  10. Rhesus
    Rhesus January 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm . Reply

    I bought a haegeum (Korean fiddle) back in 1999. K-customs wasn’t interested in it at all, but I had to pay around $100 to U.S. customs. Maybe the rules have changed…

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