Jul 7
Taking Fitness to the Next Level
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jogging for fitness

As a freelance editor, I sit at my computer most of the time getting up now and again to walk around. To get more exercise, I’ve been walking for about 40 minutes most days since about 2007 when I started listening to podcasts. I had heard that brisk walking was beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. However, I was always a little doubtful that my heart was getting enough exercise from this, so about 10 months ago, I decided to try regular light jogging to get my heart pumping and exercise my cardiovascular system.

I started in a small way at first, partly because I didn’t want to overdo it. I did consider myself reasonably fit for my age but this was breaking new ground for me. I hadn’t really run since I left school years ago. So I started jogging for short spells on my walk each day. Initially I tried a 200 metre short jog to loosen up followed about 5 minutes later by a longer jog for as long as I felt able. At the start, all I could manage was about 300 to 400 metres before my legs felt like jelly and I just couldn’t go on. Next day, my legs usually ached. To make matters worse, I must admit that my regular jogging route was essentially flat. I bought a pair of running shoes last Christmas to give me a little more incentive to carry on.

It was a few months before I got through this barrier and was able to jog 800 to 1000 metres. Again, in the early days when I got this far, I just had to stop. But a couple of months ago, I was finding that I could finally jog this distance and not feel dreadful at the end of it. In fact I felt quite good when I stopped each time and I realised I could go further. My legs didn’t feel like jelly any more and I wasn’t gasping for breath at the end of it. So, a couple of weeks ago, I dug out an old running top and tried to run a mile which I’d measured earlier with my car odometer. I managed it in just under 11 minutes. Not great I know, but I can feel my heart pumping as I go, and I know it’s doing me good. I know I can go further and that feels great.

So I’m now going to finally get some proper running gear and going to try to work up to 5 km, and when I reach that, I’ll enter a 5K somewhere local, and see how I get on. Not to win, just to take part and run with others. If you haven’t tried jogging, give it a go. Don’t overdo it, don’t give up when you feel terrible, you will get through it as your fitness builds up. If you are finding it hard at the start, try slowing your pace down a little to see if that helps.

How’s your fitness? Have you tried jogging or entering a 5K?

Jul 10
Holidays, Exercise and Relaxation
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Every year, we have a summer break in the west of Ireland and this year was no exception. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed revisiting towns there like Athlone and Roscommon. Athlone is in central Ireland on the River Shannon but it’s Roscommon town I’d like to mention here.

Roscommon town has a beautiful little park and small loch or lake bordering the 13th century Roscommon Castle. There’s ample parking there. I’ve always enjoyed walking round the park but I usually see a few people out jogging there as well.

roscommon castle

This year we discovered a new feature there. As we walked around the loch , we could see an outdoor gym. I was fully expecting to have to put my euros in the slot, but no, it was all free! The outdoor fitness equipment was supplied by the aptly named Outfit. Well done Roscommon, that’s a wonderful new addition the park.

Outdoor gym1Outdoor gym2

After a little while there, it was off down town. We all have our favourite coffee shops and mine is on the High Street in Roscommon  – The Comfy Cafe.

The Comfy Cafe - Roscommon

It may look small from the outside but it winds back inside to the counter at the back.

The Comfy Cafe2

Paninis, ciabattas, wraps, baked potatoes, delicious muffins, and excellent tea, coffee and hot chocolate. And very friendly service. We’ve been going there for 3 or 4 years now and never been disappointed. After that, there are some very nice shops on the main street.

So if you’re ever passing through Roscommon town, you know where to go. And a little hint – don’t try to park on the main street, head for the good old Tesco car park just behind it!

Where’s your favourite park and coffee shop? Let us know in the comments.

Sep 18
Take it on the road
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Blogging, forums, chat rooms, gaming, streaming TV, IM, twitter, Skype… You could spend 24/7 in front of your monitor! Being a web worker only adds to the problem of never letting go.

We’re all becoming increasingly sedentary and our health is suffering as a result. We’ve just got to get more exercise. 30 minutes of brisk walking is recommended, but how do we fit this into our busy schedule.

Road to Paradise

Photo credit: Flickr user Ross2085

Here’s a tip. Download your favourite tech podcasts to your mp3 player and take them on the road – literally! You don’t have to sit in front of the computer to listen to a podcast. You don’t actually have to be in the chat either when the podcast is going out live. Seriously, this is a great chance to get out and do 30-40 minutes of brisk walking – and you’ll feel much better after it.

I’ve been won over to this routine and actually look forward to my daily walk. If you’ve got an hour for lunch, spend half an hour walking first. Don’t quit if it’s raining. Get your umbrella or waterproof and get going.

Coincidentally, I’ve just listened to Stephen Fry’s first Podgram, Broken Arm, and at the end he mentions podcasts and brisk walking. So it must be right.

You know it makes sense!

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