I’ll admit that I don’t exercise much and tend towards couch potato. There’s part of me that would be very happy to sit at my computer all day and read other people’s blogs. However, there is that part of me that knows that exercise is needed and that I should do it.
So I do. My favorite is just plan walking. I like walking. It relaxes the body and after a while it clears your brain. I feel the best when I am walking regularly. Walking and hiking in the woods is also great for a writer’s creativity. There is just something about breathing in the air, views, and sounds of the trail that fills your mind and soul with creative energy.
Sadly I do have an aging body and some annoying health issues. One that came up a few weeks ago was swollen ankles. It was weird, after work one day I came home complaining that my feet hurt. Which was weird since I am a software engineer and sit on my butt all day. Taking my shoes and socks off I discovered that my ankles where huge. Heather looked at them and agreed it didn’t look right and suggested I email the doctor.
I did and got an immediate out of office reply – as in “I’m on vacation and will return next week, if this is an emergency please call 911.” Well, not an emergency so I just made an appointment for a few days after the doctor returned. I did get a tape measure out so I could track the amount of swelling. I’m an engineer, I like data.
Naturally my ankles never swelled up again. Not once.
Then the weather turned nice and Heather and I decided it would be a great weekend to take a hike to see the wild flowers. I posted some pictures of that last Wednesday. I really wanted to get out for a nice walk and wanted to get as many steps as I could so I could post a high weekly count on Sunday.
Oh, forgot to mention that. We have a little friendly step competition going in our family. Heather and I both have FitBit fitness trackers and use them daily. It’s useful for tracking how far we’ve walked and how much time we’ve exercised. Being a numbers guy, I love having raw data to play with. The step competition is something we do to help keep us accountable for regular exercise.
The weekly winner earns bragging rights for the next week. No, I haven’t won yet.
So back to the hike. Actually, back to getting home from the hike. After driving an hour to get home, I stepped out of the car and onto a painful foot. Each step towards the front door was an exercise in pain. It was then that I was reminded of a little condition the doctor called, plantar fasciitis – which I believe is Latin for, “Your foot hurts.”
The condition is often brought on due to overuse, standing for long hours, and being overweight. Well, I’ve got 2 out of the three.
Remember that appointment for the swollen ankle? That was scheduled for the Monday after the hike. I had planned on canceling it, but as I hobbled over to my computer I decided to keep it so me and the doc could have a heart to heart talk about feet. At least that’s better than other parts of the body we sometimes need to discuss.
At the doctor’s office the conversation went a bit like this (I’ve shortened it, because I’ve got a pizza in the oven):
Doc: What’s going on?
Me: Well, my ankles were swollen, but that seems to have resolved itself. The real problem is that my foot hurts after walking five miles on Saturday.
Doc: Let me take a look (she looks at foot, touches where it hurts, stops when I start whimpering in pain).
Me: Yeah, right there is where it hurts.
Doc: Did you stretch before hiking?
Me: Umm, well, no, you mean like those stretches you told me about the last time my foot hurt?
Doc: Yes, those. Plantar fasciitis. Here’s a sheet with the stretches. On the swelling in your ankles, did it return to normal after sleeping?
Me: Yes. Thanks for the stretching info, I’ll remember to do that next time.
Doc: If you lost a little weight … (okay, she was a more diplomatic than that, but pizza).
Me: We’ve been over this, I barely eat, a little shredded wheat for breakfast, small salad and yogurt for lunch, not much more for dinner and look I’ve got a FitBit and am up to 8,000 average steps per day!
Doc: You need 12,000 to 16,000 steps per day to lose weight.
Me: That should finish me off.
And the rest of the conversation is lost to me. I do vaguely remember being offered a referral to a dietitian and a physical therapist. It’s possible a visit to the mental health clinic may have been discussed, but the thought of that many steps was making both feet hurt and I lost the thread of the conversation.
So, back to the numbers. Two problems with doing 16K steps a day: Pain and time. I guess I could slowly build up to that many while keeping the pain to a minimum (maybe the PT is a good idea). Now for time. Looking at the numbers I average 3.5K steps in 30 minutes. 15,000 divided by 3.5K is 4.2875. Or roughly two hours a day.
Currently I am up to 45 to 60 minutes a day. Some before work, and some during my lunch hour. Doing more means I’ll have to give up doing some things to make time for exercise. Perhaps I could sleep less, eat while walking, do less writing, less in the workshop, or skip showers…
Then I thought: “Maybe I should just put a computer workstation on top of a treadmill and I could do my engineering job while walking.”
Then I typed this into google, “treadmill with computer workstation.” I got 376,000 hits. NordicTrack sells one. Amazon will ship me one tomorrow. There was even a few articles on the “10 Best Treadmill Desks for 2018.”
I hope the dietitian has a better answer.
Till next week,