When I became a public servant I knew that my lifestyle would change, especially in terms of physical activity. Even though I’m a computer geek I’ve generally managed to maintain a lifestyle that involves something other than sitting in front of a computer. Living so close to the bush has helped, with great walking tracks only a few minutes away, I’ve used them for many years now on a regular basis. Starting in my job I there were reminders all around me of what can happen to a human body that works as a public servant over a number of years. It’s not pretty and you know it! At the same time I was settling into my new role a 24 hour gym opened up literally around the corner from where I work. Offering a group discount for departmental employees I decided to join without much of a plan. It’s not the first gym I’ve used, I went to the place at ANU casually during my time as an undergrad and had visited UC prior to that. Anytime Fitness in Fyshwick has two great managers Emma and Viktor who I’ve developed a friendly rapport with. This has really contributed to making working out a pleasure rather than a chore. Just by chance, really, my typical pattern is visiting in the middle of the day before lunch, most days. This is certainly the most frequent I’ve ever been to a gym and now that I’ve been going for a year it feels more like a natural part of my day than an imposition. The results, so far, are what you’d expect. It’s not like I had trouble doing anything physical in the first place, but things are now easier. Even though I’m the same weight I’ve been for five years, I do feel lighter.
While doing this , I solicited, was offered or happened to be party to a discussions relating to fitness, how to got there, how not to get there. A lot of it didn’t hold water with me. In a single conversation I’ve heard how doing crunches on the floor was bad for you, at the same time the crunch machine is bad for you. Well which is it, people? Running barefoot is bad. Don’t run on a treadmill. Or if you do, make sure there’s some degree of incline, for some reason. Pushups? Damaging. By the end of the conversation I was running out of things I could do away from my desk that weren’t likely to harm me. I work in a team of people who are fairly active and we definitely use sports as a social activity – we play squash on Thursdays sometimes for example (once, we even had a tug-of-war. Now that’s Team building!) and we have two teams from our office in the Global Corporate Challenge, an American corporate initiative that’s spread worldwide, encouraging desk jockies to get moving.
I’m happy to report I ignored all advice and did some running on a treadmill, crunches on the floor (later mostly on an incline bench) and I even did a few pull ups, for over a year, and nothing went wrong. In fact, a lot went right. The minor aches and niggles that I had have gone away, I’m stronger and I can involve myself in social physical activity without worrying about being left behind. I just feel better all ’round. Also at this stage there’ll likely be long-term health benefits realised. How about that? As to what happens when I move location for my job, remains to be seen. Convenience and entertainment seem to be ingredients just as important as determination when it comes to accomplishing things. For now, though, I’ve likely got another twelve months where I am so I’ll check back in with an update in a year’s time….