Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wellness Is Relative

Over the holidays my mother, being interested in my well-being, inquired whether I would like to get the Wellness letter to which she subscribes. I said sure, why not, as I am reasonably interested in my health and in the general march of science (as it used to be called in less skeptical days).
I have now received two of these, and have even read one of them while collapsed on the couch after a long day of dissertation-improvement and gamelan rehearsal. I was mildly interested to learn that doctors now think we may need more vitamin D than was previously supposed (I daresay I could add some to the regime I so loosely follow) and that coffee is rich in antioxidants. But, as I lead an almost wholly sedentary life these days (plans to go skiing the first week of January were foiled by blizzards), my eye was caught by a directive that one should try to work up to doing 10-15 push-ups.
I have never cared for push-ups. I did not like them when I was ten and my feelings have not changed much. I believe my last pushups were done back in 1990 or thereabouts, when I did something like 100 in rapid succession for reasons that need not be revealed. But, reading that one should try to get to the point of doing 10-15, and being aware of my present dissertation-induced sloth, I wondered whether I was still capable of doing any at all. I had to find out immediately before further deterioration set in, and sprang off the couch (albeit with less flair than Orion, who does it with a sprightly kick of those elegant hind legs).
Orion and Ms. Spots were intrigued to see me get face-down on the floor, but I was gratified to find that I am still entirely capable of performing 15 pushups, although the last 5 were more disagreeable than the first 10.
Lugging books and other heavy objects regularly evidently keeps the arm muscles in surprisingly good shape.

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Blogger Julia said...

15!! I am impressed. Were they the knee or the toe variety?

I just read an article in Slate that said the secret to long life is simple: no smoking, a beer a day, 5 veg/fruit with that beer, and carrying your dissertation books back and forth to the library routinely (I mean daily exercise of course). Sounded like something I could nearly do as long as the bananas hold out.

January 17, 2008 10:14 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Well you're 15 up on me! I've never been able to do pushups--even back in the swimming days. I could leg press 500 pounds, but my arms have always been relatively weak.

January 18, 2008 2:24 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Standard pushups. I was surprised I could do even one. (What on earth is leg pressing? Swimming is not one of my more developed skills.)

January 18, 2008 5:23 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Leg press--like bench pressing for your legs. Basically you sit (or recline in some instances) in a seat that has a couple of pedals in front of it and you push on the pedals to lift the weights.

January 18, 2008 9:21 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

You know more about exercise than I do, clearly. It's all a mystery to me. I avoid any exercise that isn't in some way pleasurable.

January 19, 2008 2:26 PM  

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