I may not be working, but I still exercise regularly. I stick to a regimen that’s both affordable (meaning free) and works for me. I’m hoping that my daily work-out, proper eating at home, and eight-hours of sleep each night will keep me sane (and attractive) until the start of my next job.
This summer, brother Ray turned me on the current fad of the 7-minute workout (as seen in the New York Times). Supposedly, just seven minutes daily of high-intensity, interval training may be enough to maintain one’s physique. The phone app store has exploded with various incarnations of the 7-minute workout, so I picked a free version with pleasing animation. The app limits my use between either the same full-body workout or a different specialized workout that could focus on abs or stretching or cardiovascular health. None of the workouts require weights, although some exercises involve a chair.
I used to do my daily 7-minute workout in my bedroom, until I realized that my long-suffering downstairs neighbors may not appreciate my bouncing jumping jacks. So I preview the workout. If the day requires a lot of jumping, I sneak down to the garage, unfurl my yoga mat between storage bins, and jump, lift, and push up. Otherwise, for gentler routines, I plank and balance in the anonymity of my bedroom.
I also keep running, just one half-marathon each week. I hustle out of my apartment, through the Lower Haight, west on Page Street climbing the Upper Haight, into Golden Gate Park, all the way to the ocean, north on the boardwalk on Ocean Beach, back into the park, past the soothsaying buffalo, returning to Page Street now heading east, and finally back to my tiny apartment to pass out. Having run this route weekly for a decade, I know all the hills, bumps, trees, toy-boat pond, windmills, Victorians, and shops. In about 100 minutes, I race through many different seasonal landscapes.
I’m shocked at the aggressiveness of San Francisco drivers and the thoughtlessness of its denizens. Trash mounts up. The cars keep honking. I keep running.
Almost no other runners passes me, except one blond kid on Wednesday afternoons. I don’t run with music, just the thoughts in my head. I’m often angry at something. The exhaustion in motion releases the frustrations. I can’t stay angry long.
I’m getting older. I used to run in the afternoon, then head out in the evening for a party. Now I can do little but collapse after my half-marathon, so I don’t run on busy social days. Even the next day brings suffering joints and awkward walks. Will I recover more slowly as I get older? I don’t want to be agony all week until the next run.
Yet life is embraced decrepitude. I’d like to keep half-marathoning until at least 50. I can always run more slowly or for shorter distances, but not yet. Instead, I keep wheezing at my cardiovascular maximum, enjoy the RILFs I pass, and contemplate my future.