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Hitting the Gym

I haven’t mentioned it here — unlike on Facebook — but I have been hitting the gym for a little while lately. While, yes, the endorphins actually do kick in once I’ve been doing it a while, and yeah, I do feel a bit healthier after a few days of it, I’ll be really honest:

I hate exercising. Everything about it: the sweatiness, the aches and pains, the irritation to my very vulnerable Achilles tendons, the bother of going and doing it, the guilt that kicks in at not doing it (and not having done it enough for most of my adult life), and more.

But I hate my high blood pressure even more. (And I have to admit I’d like to lose some weight.)

I’d been planning to start all semester, but I got so bogged down with other things that I ended up putting it off till the holiday to start. I figure if I can get into a nice rhythm/routine now, I can perhaps sustain it through the semester. (In August, all the foreign faculty will be moving over to a new building, and it’s been said there’ll be a really nice fitness center over there, so I’m kind of hanging in there for that. The place I use now is a single, slightly dingy room in the basement of the school dormitory, but, oddly, is closed to students. This means only a very few people on campus use it — a few office workers, the odd professor, and one deranged lunatic foreigner. Luckily, I haven’t run into the latter while exercising there, but the emptiness of the place is, at times, a bit unnerving. I don’t like gyms that are full of people, crowded so you have to wait a lot to use a given piece of equipment, but there’s something a little lonely about working out alone. Then again, there are  a couple of non-deranged, or even very cool, people in my building who, hearing of my renewed campaign against high blood pressure, have suddenly confessed they’ve been meaning to go there and start working out, and maybe we can go together.)

I have to admit: despite the feeling-revivified after, it’s a hell of an effort to get myself up and out to the gym, especially when it’s cold outside. (Or hot.) It’s the vivid fear of a stroke or heart attack at an unusually young age that has me going, and guess what keeps me there?

Podcasts. Whereas listening to loud, rhythmic music tends to drive home that frantic feeling of, “Am I going to catch my breath? Ever?”, listening to fiction podcasts simply distracts me from the exertion. Not so completely that I’m unaware of it, but enough so that I’m not annoyed by it.

(Though it’s technically not a podcast, I got my hands on the BBC Bloodlines radio story series, and that got me through a couple of days on the treadmill; so did a version of William Gibson’s “Burning Chrome” that someone gave me. Next up is Cory Doctorow’s Content, and I’ll be following up that with some of the podcasts listed in my links sidebar under Podcasts.

Aw, hell, I’ll copy and paste the list here:

Are there any others you’d recommend to me? Not that this isn’t tons, and I will also be hitting Librivox for free audiobooks soon, but if there’s another podcast you think would appeal to me, feel free to suggest it. I’m thinking if I can get myself feeling eager about my exercise — as if it’s “story time” or something — it’ll be that much easier to motivate myself to get to the gym!

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