Posts Tagged exercise

Is the Lemur getting fat?

I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the last two and a half weeks, this is the longest for a while I have had problems sleeping. It’s actually 2:30 am as I am writing this. I’ve been waking up between 1:30 and 5am every morning, and only manage to snooze intermittently after that. I did that thing that pretty much everyone does when they realise that something is a little off – I googled “waking up in the middle of the night”. I’ve not seen anyone link it to cancer yet, but then I did stop in disgust when a page explained that it was all down to my Chinese horoscope.

One thing that did recur is that it might be the result of crashing blood glucose levels overnight. So one feels hungry in the middle of the night as well. My body is totally rubbish at maintaining blood glucose – not like actually diabetic or anything, but I can feel a crash after I eat more than a couple of bits of cake or around 3-4pm, and by the time I get home from work I have a headache and I can barely function. This doesn’t seem to be affected by what I have a for lunch, I need to eat something as soon as I get home. And don’t even talk to me about breakfast. It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, I’m almost always hungry by 10:30. I gave up on normal cereal; breakfast is either porridge – made with milk, no syrup or jam – or plain full fat Greekstyle yogurt and granola. 

I’m toying with the idea that I just don’t eat enough protein. But I’m pretty sure I’m putting on weight too. I’ve been intermittently active for quite a long time, but as a non-believer in gyms – YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR THE PRIVELEGE OF BEING FIT – my exercise of choice is running. Because it’s cheap. But because of knee injuries – which also limits my ability to do team sports – I’m limited as to how much I can do. Earlier in the year, I aggravated my knee by trying to get a respectable time on a Parkrun. So 5km 3 times a week is too much. I’ve lost all enthusiasm to run, I’m struggling to find the time although I clearly have tonnes of time.

But I may have found my motivation – I’m putting on weight. I’ve never been “TV skinny”, but generally, no one would call me fat. I have fat legs, I’ve always had fat legs, there’s nothing I’ll ever be able to do about it, it’s definitely genetic. My mum has always had body image issues and is permanently on some kind of weird diet: low carb, no wheat, eat all the chocolate, fruit and dessert you can in 1 hour – I don’t even know. She tried 5:2, but along with her fat legs, I seem to have inherited her inability to regulate blood sugar from her. She’d basically starve for 2 days, and be grouchy about it.

So I’ve eaten some hummus and a krisproll along with some warm milk (that being protein and supposedly sleep-inducing tryptophan), and I don’t feel hungry or grouchy or headachy anymore.

I am rethinking my eating – I can’t always fit a snack in between 8:30 and lunch because of the nature of work, but I can plan for a couple of proteiny snacks. I plan to gently build up my running. I’m still frustrated at my last attempt at running where I tripped over my own feet and scraped skin off my hand making me as useful as a T. Rex scratching it’s butt for five days.

Let’s see how this goes…

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Bitching and Whining – “Jogging outside could make you stupid – and more likely to suffer mental health problems”

So, I’m annoyed with a news story. After taking a laziness break post Skyfall, I’m back.

This is the the story in question, originally in the Daily Mail – posted a week after the information was released in the form of a paragraph long press release – suggests that exercising outdoors makes you stupid and is bad for you.

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The press release in question doesn’t cite the original scientific paper and doesn’t describe its methods. In fact, I can find no sign of this paper other than the padded press releases in the Daily Mail and Men’s Health. According to the Mail, the Belgian authors of the study looked at the differences between people who walk and/or run outside in a city between noon and 1pm 3 times a week and those taking outdoor exercise in rural areas.

The problem is not that you are outside or that you are exercising, but the pollutants. Exercise, no matter where you do it, is good for you, most people don’t exercise outside in a city; most of us are able to run in quieter areas, parks, away from traffic. Running remains one of the cheapest methods of exercise – costing little more than a pair of shoes.

Gym memberships are comparatively expensive – most being rather cagy about their prices on their websites. It seems to me that the Mail are playing to their middle class housewife readership, those with the disposable income for gym memberships, reinforcing the opinion that simply running outside is not good enough. It’s a lazy, poorly researched piece of fluff, framed as a scare story and frankly, a non-story.

What the Belgian researchers seem to say is that pollution is the problem, and this can be somewhat alleviated by running in a park, or in weather conditions that dissipate pollutants such as rain and wind. Surely the more worrying aspect is that walking outside for a significant length of time is going to expose you to pollutants that impair cognitive ability and raise markers of inflammation.

If you are a runner, don’t let this shoddily subbed piece of journalism put you off going outside. I have had gym memberships, and I have run outside; I have joined and left four gyms. And yet I have been running on and off, injuries permitting, for 15 years. I know which I prefer, but then I don’t have to run in a city.

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