Dec. 1st, 2010

liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
It's almost a truism that people don't want to move to DW, no matter how many technical and usability innovations it makes, because all the people and all the interesting discussions are on LJ. These last few weeks I've been realizing that that isn't true any more, at least for me. social network babbling )

The other thing is, I got the most amazing selection of responses to my post about wanting to do more exercise. Seriously, 50+ helpful comments, both supportive and providing practical advice and expressing opinions in a constructive, not combative way. Other than at [livejournal.com profile] atreic's place (I still don't know how she does it!) I haven't seen an in-depth, productive discussion like that in places I frequent on LJ in months. I love the discoverability here: I love that, thanks to DW's fantastic Latest Things page, 5 minutes after I post a bunch of interesting people I might otherwise never meet show up and have interesting conversations. (Even if I post at a time when most of my friends are asleep or at work!) Plus, many friends who have chosen to stay on LJ were willing to make a few additional clicks to comment over here; this makes me particularly glad I was bull-headed about keeping my content DW-exclusive from day one. And grateful to you all for making that bit of extra effort.

And having access to that really valuable support has made a real practical difference. This morning [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy picked me up at 6:15 am, and we ventured out into the dark, in a snowstorm no less, and took advantage of a one-day free trial at the local branch of Fitness First. As it was I could hardly sleep for nervousness about my first ever visit to the gym; I would never have done it at all without you guys.

An hour at the gym first thing in the morning turned out to be surprisingly positive, too. I discovered that, in warm air and with a machine to keep me at a steady pace, yes, I can move fast enough to raise my heartrate for 30 minutes. (The machine said that a 30-year-old needs to aim for 160 bpm, and, well, even though some of you expressed a helpful degree of skepticism about the necessity for that, I managed it.) I discovered what it feels like to be breathing hard without having an asthma attack; just knowing that I can is the most amazingly liberating thing. OK, I still think treadmills are the most literally pointless thing ever, but it was worth it for me as something that I could do straight away without any specialist training, and 30 minutes wasn't as boring as I thought it might be. [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy also showed me her free weights routine. I took the smallest dumbbell (2kg) available, and I learned that doing lifts and stretches with that is actually energetic (as well as being good for my muscles).

So apart from getting over my anxiety, I achieved that pleasant glowing tired feeling, and I had a shower and was ready for work by quarter to nine. (Also, nobody gave me grief about my weight in any way, which is a great relief.) I was a bit resistant to the idea of paying to do things like walk or cycle on the spot, or do stretches, but having tried it I think it's probably worth it. It isn't weather dependent, and being able to shower and change straight afterwards is a big benefit. Plus, being in a place where there's nothing to do except exercise, so that I have no temptation to just play on the internet instead, especially if you make arrangements with a friend to attend such a place regularly. So, [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy and I have plans to join a gym properly tomorrow, and make a regular habit of an early morning session and a class every week. (In fact, we're going to join a different gym, not Fitness First, because they annoyed us with their pushy sales tactics; in particular, not providing water so that people have to spend money on overpriced "energy" drinks is pretty close to downright evil.) I have all kinds of grand plans, too, I want to try out some machines that use my arms as well as my legs, and build up to faster paces or longer sessions, and get fit enough to do all the other cool things I want to do, particularly hillwalking when the weather improves again.

So, squee exercise! Yay internet making me less of a couch potato. And all the gratitude in the world to [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy for holding my hand when I was scared today, and for agreeing to buddy me so that I can make a regular habit of this.

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