January 5th, 2009

Wouldn’t It Be Great If…
Shopping Was Exercise?

I’ve just started walking to keep fit. I have clocked 20 hours in the past week.  And it all started with a post-Christmas sales shopping spree.

You see, I only shop for clothes about 3-4 times a year but it’s usually a multiple-day affair for me — 1 day to plan and check out styles in magazines or websites; 1-3 days to scour ALL the clothing racks in town, a day to decide whether I really need whatever I’ve singled out in the stores, and another day to actually buy the stuff. I’m probably the least impulsive shopper you’ll ever meet and have annoyed practically everyone who’s ever been shopping with me — even my mom. Which is why I now only shop alone.  She doesn’t get why I need to think so hard about buying a $10 pair of sandals.  To me, $10 spent on something I’m not gonna use regularly is $10 wasted.  (However, this habit does not extend to other areas of my life like  buying snacks for myself  (unfortunately) — “$16 for a tub of ice-cream? Sounds delicious!” — or buying gifts for others (fortunately) — “$80 for a box of fine chocolates? Why not? She’s worth it!”)

Anyway, I realised that I could spend up to 8 hours a day on my feet, walking briskly from mall to mall, trying to find the perfect shirt at the perfect price and this exercise proved to be quite a work out. A hugely satisfying one. Why not create a fitness regime based on shopping, I thought? So with that in mind, my Shoppercise programme is born. It goes something like this:

  1. I’ll award myself $5 of spending money at the end of each hour of walking (window shopping).
  2. Unspent allowance will be brought forward to the next hour. So if I want to spend $20 on a t-shirt, I’ll need to walk 4 hours to earn it. A lot of work for a bit of money, but that’s the point.
  3. At the end of the day, I either have something new in my wardrobe that I had “exercised” for, or earn a few dollars of somewhat guilt-free (I “earned” it by burning calories, right?) shopping allowance.
  4. Repeat every week until I get sick of this scheme.

Still on the topic of walking, I have recently discovered a park with a mangrove forest just a 15-minute walk away from my apartment. I was there yesterday and saw a monkey, a huge spider and so many species of plants I’ve never seen before. The whole trail takes about an hour and a half to cover and I can see myself going there at least once a week.

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August 13th, 2008

The Olympic Games

How are you enjoying the Beijing Olympic Games so far? My favourite events (shared by many I’m sure) are gymnastics, track & field athletics (sprints in particular), diving and swimming. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of weightlifting, beach volleyball, archery, fencing and judo.

I’ve never been a fan of long distance events but I watched part of the 245km cycling road race (which saw Spain’s Samuel Sanchez taking the gold) on Saturday and boy was I blown away by the amazing display of endurance – 6 and a half hours of continuous cycling!

Beijing Olympics 2008 logo

As a child I dreamed about becoming a perfect 10 gymnast like Nadia Comaneci – gracefully athletic yet beautifully composed. I’m about two decades too late to start working on that dream so right now my participation is mostly confined to non-competitive sideline activities such as keeping track of the different colours and designs of the dresses worn by the ushers Olympic hostesses, finding out things like “Why do athletes bite their medals?” and guessing how many world records Michael Phelps would break – my guess was 4! Looks like I’m wrong!

Two decades ago, I wouldn’t know about things such as match-fixing, doping or the “Free Tibet” controversy that surrounded this Olympic games. All athletes were like heroes to me and the Olympics, the biggest stage to show the human mettle. Maybe that is the best way to enjoy the games.

What is your favourite Olympic sport? Do you have an Olympic dream?

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June 9th, 2008

Running Can Be Fun
Psyching Myself Into Running Regularly

I started running last week. I couldn’t sleep the night after the first run because my knees were in terrible pain. I need better shoes. I need to do this more than twice a week. I want to achieve a healthy, toned body worthy of a Nike ad.

No I do not enjoy running. I love strolling, yes, but not running. When I run, I don’t have time to take in the scenery, smell a flower, or notice a ladybird, nope, no time for that, I have to run. But running is free and an activity I can jump into without much planning – I don’t have to book a tennis court, check whether its a good time to drop by the public pool or find someone to play with. It’s also something I can do without worrying too much about how my bum would look like to the person behind me in aerobics class or accidentally letting out a loud one in the middle of a halasana.

Fart-Inducing Halasana or Plough (Plow) Yoga Pose

I will not wait for my muscles to atrophy to realise the importance of regular exercise. I do not need an unpleasant wake-up call to shake me into a healthy routine. I do not want to be in a position where I’d say “I should have exercised regularly then”. Until I find a more enjoyable way to keep fit, I will stick to running. No excuses. Health is not something I’d take for granted. It’s something I have to constantly work on because I am solely responsible for my body. I will not run away from my responsibility. Because of that I will simply RUN.

I just checked out The Fit Shack and coincidentally, my latest post is an exercise of the suggestions in JoLynn’s latest post. ;)

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June 4th, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For!
Of Losing Weight and Wishing Well

Dear Secret Law of the Universe,

When I weighed myself this morning I found that I’m nearly 3 pounds more what I weighed in January. What happened? Was it the mindless snacking? Not enough of exercise? Water retention? All the above? I was mildly shocked but instead of planning to exercise more I decided that the best method to lose that extra weight was… to wish for the extra pounds to melt away. Not only that, I asked the powers of the secret law of the universe to reduce my weight by tonight.

Weighing machine under great pressure

At about 6pm, I had a funny feeling in my stomach and at 8pm I started having a bout of explosive diarrhoea that lasted for nearly 3 hours.

While groaning in pain in the the bathroom, I actually made time to appreciate your wicked sense of humour. Yes, I asked for this, yes, you granted my wish, and yes, you did it before the end of the day. When I weighed myself again just before the stroke of midnight, I was indeed 3 pounds lesser than I was in the morning. Very well done.

If you don’t mind, please automatically include the following addendum to all the wishes I’ve made and will make in the future:

  1. No one is hurt — physically, mentally, spiritually or any other means possible– in the process of granting the wishes (and that includes me!);
  2. The wishes are granted through means that are legally-, morally-, environmentally-, ethically-correct;

In return, I will do my best to:

  1. remember to be grateful for all the wishes granted (lest I forget, I’d appreciate it if I’m reminded gently) and
  2. have patience for the wishes that will be granted — I’m sure you’ve not forgotten my Macbook Air wish in January ;)

For that, I’d like to thank you for today’s lesson: be careful what you wish for — it might get your bum burned.

Gratefully yours.

Tomorrow, I’m going for a 2km run! :)

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May 7th, 2008

Healthy Ambitions
Small Steps to A Healthier Me

A friend of mine, Will, told me he has quit smoking cold turkey for a few months now. Though I was happy he did that, I was also shocked with this sudden change. Cigarette Smoking Is Not Recommended By Doctors Worldwide He then revealed that three months ago, he was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and gout. He needs to be on regular medication from now on and he’s not even 30!

Weirdly, he told me that when he asked his doctor what measures he should take to reduce his cholesterol levels, he was told to consider smoking! A doctor telling his patient to smoke? Sounds like someone needs a new doctor fast!

I am not taking my health for granted. I am not gonna wait for my teeth to fall out or hip bones to crumble before doing something about it so I’m making small changes to my diet and lifestyle in a bid to improve my health. [Read more....]

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