I jogged home from work yesterday. Which is possible as I live within trebuchet range of work. I would say a stone’s throw, but I needed something that suggests a distance greater than one of my own weedy overarm lobs.
Walking in takes about 35-40 minutes. This isn’t a great chore, particularly as the last part takes me through Cardiff’s fantastic Bute Park. I also get plenty of time to listen to podcasts or power ballads, depending on both my mood and whether there’s anyone around to see my air guitar solos.
Of course running is quicker than walking, but it isn’t my favourite form of exercise to be honest. I much prefer a team sport or two. I play football twice a week and would happily play more, but you need a fair few other people to do it and some flat open space, so it’s not always practical.
But, the great thing about running, and part of the reason events like Parkrun have taken off, is that you don’t need much equipment to do it and you can do it on your own as well, at any time. All you need is a t-shirt, shorts and trainers (or not even the trainers if you’re a budding Zola Budd).
Even better, for me, is that I don’t have to take extra time out of my day to exercise as the pavement and paths are my very own running track. So I get a little bit fitter, a little less fatter AND my commute is only 20 minutes. Win-win. If you can find exercise that you enjoy, that’s great, but not everyone has the time and/or inclination to commit to as much activity as we all really should. So, if sport is not a huge priority to you, what can you do?
Do little bits of exercise, perhaps. The internet is not just useful for finding amusing cat videos (though I suspect 90% of traffic is related to the worthy subject), it also has content on nearly every topic, exercise included. And yes, there are many fitness videos online. I’ve tried a few at Fitness Blender, for example, as this site allows you to set the time, difficulty and equipment parameters to suit. Flexibility is the appeal here. There are of course others around, including more free ones from sites like the NHS Fitness Studio.
So, if you can really only spare twenty minutes, you can do bite-size workouts. That’s gotta be worth something, right? Not too many calories burned perhaps, but do a few and it adds up. Plus I understand that exercise releases dolphins, which is a nice, as they shouldn’t be captive.
It’s important that whatever you do, it is something you can keep up. Like the crash diet or the month off booze, a splurge of sport will have a short term impact and give you a nice rush, but it’s better to get to a level you can maintain over time. A couple of games of football a week, plus two or three little runs is my level right now. And I feel better for it, I really do. Physically and mentally. And, the more I do, the easier it becomes, which in turns means I might up the amount I do regularly.
And for now at least, while we enjoy some relatively bright, long days, I’m going to take advantage and turn my little commute into a little conditioning.