Monday, December 17, 2007

If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman?

Yay! A twist of fate saw release 30's tape missing tonight when Steve went to do Track 4. We had the choice of Kryptonite or Paradise City. It's not that I don't like Paradise City, but I've heard it far too often lately, and I LOVE Kryptonite. In my opinion it's one of the most under-rated RPM tracks out there.

I've been feeling so grumpy lately, and I know that's partly to do with the time of year, but I'm convinced it's also to do with the lack of running. A major study published recently claimed that it's not how thin you are, but how fit you are that determines whether you are likely to live to a ripe, healthy old age or not. When I started exercising it was the increased fitness levels that got me motivated. The weight loss didn't start to kick in until I'd already been training for several months, and when it came it was a pleasant side-effect. Later I became determined to get my weight down to lower my training, but I never intended to end up five kgs below my goal weight, and I never thought I'd end up in my doctor's office asking how I could put weight back on again.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. Exercise makes me feel great. Exercise makes everything bright and shiny and crisp. Before exercise I was plagued with low-level depression and a borderline anxiety disorder. Being diagnosed with Addison's Disease helped, but it wasn't until I started doing prolonged sessions of intense cardio and weights that I discovered the true secret of mood elevation.

We are not sedentary creatures. Once we were hunters and gatherers. Our main defense against predators was our ability to keep moving for long periods of time without stopping. We were genetically programmed to be marathon runners. So what do we do now? We sit at computers all day under fluorescent lights. We feed our children additives and colouring, corn oil and salt, then make them sit in a classroom all day. When they get out of control we diagnose them with ADD and feed them more chemicals. We are so far away from what we were supposed to do naturally that we don't actually know what it means to be normal anymore. We are all convinced that we have a condition that sits somewhere on the DMSM, when really we just need to get back to basics and get moving. Would I be dependent on corticosteroids if I'd discovered this secret in my teens when I first started suffering from anxiety? No, I don't think I would.

When I started this post the point was to express my joy at a ten minute run on a treadmill followed by an RPM in which I was actually able to stand on my pedals without my ankle screaming. Touch wood all seems well. We'll see whether the inflammation returns overnight! So now I'm sitting on the sofa in post-workout bliss, experiencing that particular deep relaxation that only comes from a good workout.

This feeling takes a lot of effort and time. At full pitch I can be doing some form of exercise for around 13 or 14 hours a week. that includes a mix of yoga, weights, running, RPM, swimming and cycling. I would like to be running six days a week, but until I manage to stop injuring myself I'm best limited to four or five. I'm learning about periodisation. I'm learning about active recovery, and learning that an easy flat run should be an easy flat run. It's there for a reason!

I'm not suggesting everyone go out there and work out for a couple of hours a day either, but for me this works. Find your own endorphine trigger, then go for it.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Great post--very inspirational!

There really is nothing like exercise as a mood elevator. Even on days when I have to force myself to do it, I never regret it. I don't know why I don't look forward to it more!

Pip said...

Hi Crabby! Thanks for dropping by. I guess I really am an addict, in the best possible way. I've spent this morning wondering which of my workout clothes to take away on holiday with me!

Thanks for your own, inspirational blog. Keep up the exercise, and the writing!