This Month in Reality: I joined a gym…

…and then, because I think I’m funny, I checked out The First Twenty Minutes from the public library to listen to while I’m on the tread mill. Here are some things I learned:

  1. listen to your body
  2. chocolate milk is the best recovery beverage
  3. listen to your body
  4. you can die from over hydrating
  5. healthy and fit are different things
  6. doing little things like balancing on one leg while you brush your teeth can help you stay healthy and mobile
  7.  listen to your body
  8. You can be a gym-going couch potato.  That’s a thing!  So, Stand up every once in awhile during your mostly sedentary day.  It’s good for you
  9. there’s a kind of running training called fartlek
  10.  Listen to your body

The book starts and ends with the premise that people should work out and try to get more movement into their days.  The people who benefit the most from exercise are those who are new to it. Then, to continue to get better you really have to go harder. Interval training will really help you up your fitness, but you have to do high intensity intervals. Like, really uncomfortable, push you to the max, intervals.  You get the most benefits from the first twenty minutes but then you plateau. So, going longer won’t actually make you fitter (but, if you’re training for a race or something else involving endurance you definitely should consider going longer).  The best way to avoid injury is listen to what your body is telling you:  if it hurts, don’t do it. (But, if you’re just feeling fatigued, like after a first set of lifting weights, you’re doing something right).  Motion control shoes might not help you from remaining uninjured (research done by the US Army!).  And, working out more won’t really help you lose weight for many of the reasons outlined in this piece on Salon. Finally, I learned, or rather had confirmed for me, the idea that we’re not meant to sit for eight hours a day and that going to the gym doesn’t necessarily cancel out the hours and hours of sitting. Solution? Stand up every now and then. I set an alarm on my phone and I get up every twenty minutes while I’m working now. I just stand, stretch, maybe pace a little and then go back to work. I do actually feel better and am more alert throughout the day, so even if I’m not getting anything else from this new behavior I’m at least getting that.  The book also covered some of the benefits of strength training.  The headline: It’s a good idea.  (I was already sold on the idea of resistance training because I like fitting into smaller pants and lifting weights has helped me achieve that goal in the past.)  The other thing that I will take from this book is that I now get a chocolate milk juice box after every work out.  My internal child is always thrilled to get that treat after my workout. The subject material was interesting; I did enjoy hearing about all of the research (interval training can really help your 5k time! Start incorporating sprints into your walk/run!). But, I hated both the (metaphorical) voice of the author and the (literal) voice of the woman they hired to read this audiobook. Reynolds inserts herself and her running practice into the narrative probably as a way to humanize all of the science she presents. I found these digressions boring and irritating. They were boring because there wasn’t enough of them to make me care about her and they were irritating because she came off as smug early on and this didn’t make me want to identify with her. Also, the way she presented some of the science, like it was a done deal and this is totally how human bodies work made me wonder how much the author really understood what she was presenting (it was particularly curious when they were rat studies). Although, the author did make sure to point out that many of these studies were only done on men and that health, fitness, and disease literature done in recent years just on women suggest that the take home message from research on men doesn’t actually generalize all that well to women.  (No-So-Spoiler-Alert:  Men and Women have different bodies!  They behave differently and have different needs!) I’m happy Reynolds presented information about some of the studies done on women and pointed out when they studies only involved men. That being said, just because it is true for rat brains doesn’t mean it is true for human brains (even, possibly especially, if it is a positive result) and I expect more from New York Times writers than to present a study and leave it open for the reader to make the leap.   (I really do hope that physical activity helps memory and emotions in humans as much as it does in rats. If physical activity can truly be found to help with degenerative brain diseases then that 5K for Alzheimer’s research is apt and doubly beneficial.  But, promising research and definitive research are not the same thing.  I know, I’m sad that its raining on a parade day, too.)   All of these things may have been less bothersome if I had been reading and not listening to this book, though.  The voice actor reading it won’t be making my faves list. Karen Saltus, the reader was fine. For most of the book she inoffensive and passable and probably unmemorable.  But, she did voices for quotes from scientists and for the female scientists she used intonation patterns that made the scientists sound like airheads. That, my friends, is a sin that will not be forgiven. Scientists, all scientists deserve a hat tip and some respect. It’s a tough business, securing grants, doing research, teaching students. And, doing anything to make it seem like we should question validity of the work because the researcher is a woman will not be tolerated. If you don’t up-talk (rising at the end of sentences) for the dude scientists, don’t do it for the women scientists.  Nope.  Not okay.  So, if you’re going to read this book, actually read it. The audiobook was awful.  I give it the worst grade imaginable:  A minus minus!. I checked this out from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries.

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2 thoughts on “This Month in Reality: I joined a gym…

  1. Pingback: This Year in Reality 2015 | 2 Women, So Many Books

  2. Pingback: This Month in Reality: Witches, Midwives and Nurses! Oh, My! | 2 Women, So Many Books

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