austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Giant steps are what you take

Walking is an easy and popular way to get in more exercise in case you determine that you need more exercise. If you need more exercise you will probably be notified by your Totalization Board, which you didn't know you had. Do not cross them. If you wish to file a protest you may, but their offices are on the ninth floor, and no escalators or elevators. Halfway through they'll probably send you out for receipts and coffee cake, and they'll keep it up until you get the point, moving to the tenth floor if they must.

Walking is much like running, only not so fast; it's also much like crawling, only not so low down. If you want to have the walking experience while crawling you'll need extenders for your wrists and your knees; these can be bought at a sufficiently good sporting goods store, unless it's more grammatical to be sporting wells stores. If the clerks claim to not know what you're talking about when you ask for knee extenders simply show them a note from your doctor. If you need a note from your doctor try C sharp.

Walking is very much like walking to somewhere, only without the somewhere. You'll probably want some loop which returns to where you start, as the alternatives require ever-shifting homes or workplaces to use as bases, and the frequent changes of address will hurt your credit rating and impair your ability to secure loans. It's better to use the outdoors, since walking around inside your house will confuse the pets and draw sarcastic comments from other house-dwellers about what you've forgotten, and walking on a treadmill requires getting a treadmill and then cleaning the stuff off it. And there's no need to spend money on a gym membership, since by walking outdoors you can feel good about skipping unpleasant days.

It's very convenient to find a path which comes to pretty near one convenient unit of length -- a kilometer or a mile, as you like -- and use that, so that you can tell when you've walked as much as you can stand. If there is no logical course that comes to about a kilometer or a mile then you should move to a better-designed neighborhood. If you've got a good walking path near you likely there'll be other people also walking on it. Observe carefully the prevailing direction of motion. If you walk against the flow you'll need to smile and nod pleasantly to people going the other (correct) direction, and then you'll just have to repeat this partway around the loop. This repeats more if you do several circuits, and based on how long it takes to see them again you can estimate how much faster they're walking, which would embarrass and discourage you.

The head-bobbing and nodding will start to seem a pretty weak or embarrassing response, and you'll be forced to pretend you didn't see them or to hold your hand over your ear and pretend to be talking on a cell phone, so that they think less that you're painfully shy and more that you're deliberately ignoring them, producing subtle but distinct hard feelings all around. If everyone walks in the same direction these encounters are much rarer, and you can't be blamed for not smiling and nodding to people you didn't actually see; more, they won't feel bad when you don't respond.

One way to assure you walk enough is to listen to something you like on a portable music device, particularly if you only listen to it while walking. Unless you want to also build upper-body strength this device should be as small as possible, which is why MP3 players are more popular than record players even though the latter are alleged to have a ``warmer'' sound. This way your exercise routine can start off powerfully the first day with walking for hours at an ever-increasing pace before you shower. The next day you can feel so stiff you just shower, and you can conclude that what you really wanted was to shower more. This isn't so healthy, but if you have a massage head you won't mind.

Trivia: 63 distinct types of pencils were shown by the J S Staedtler company at the 1840 Nuremberg Industrial Exposition. Source: The Pencil, Henry Petroski.

Currently Reading: Uncommon Carriers, John McPhee.


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