RSS Feed

» Listings for January 2011

  1. Not just your feet, your whole body was made for walking, but how much do we do? Not nearly enough. Last week we got some free stuff from Amazon. As a reward - depending on how you look at it - for being one of Amazon's top 1000 reviewers, I got invited to apply for free stuff as long as I review it. It's got a downside. If you write something bad, its publisher will send out an army of web monkeys to give you an "unhelpful" vote but the ASA are looking into that so I'll leave it for now...

    So a big parcel turned up and beneath all the cardboard were a set of scales, a blood pressure monitor and a pedometer, with instructions to download the software from So we did. I've not had a set of scales for, well, not ever come to think of it. So Mr. R. and I set off on our quest so see if we can fit into our smallest clothes. We don't want to be as thin as when we were kids, just as thin as when we met. Mr. R. is putting his Paul Smith shirt buttons under a great strain at the moment.

    I got first dibs on the pedometer. We're supposed to do 10,000 steps a day to stay fit. Days one and two I didn't leave the house and did around 1,100. 11%. Not good enough. Day three, I walked to the Post Office instead of driving and taught a yoga class. Up to 6,000, Day four, I taught another yoga class, walked to the tube station, walked from Holborn to Oxford Circus, up and down Regent Street, and home from the tube again. 11,000 steps. That's all it takes to go from slob to fit.

    Today I've yet to leave the house and I've only done 547. 123 of those were from last night as it resets itself as midnight, assuming that you've gone to bed by then. (Daft machine.)

    So this week, I recommend that you get out and about a bit. Get walking. Just knock one stop off the tube or the bus journey and you'll add in a thousand steps. If you drive, don't park as close as you can to where you're going. And I'm off to the Post Office to keep the calories from accumulating, the heart ticking over nicely and to post a couple of parcels while I'm at it.

  2. My Auntie Viv, who is an extraordinary person and just finished an M.A in Fine Arts, had a problem with her knee. So went to her doctor and he said that it was wear and tear. She told him that this was ridiculous because she'd had two knees for the same amount of time so there was no reason for one to wear out but not the other.

    So I thought about this and started to observe my knee use. Did I use them equally? Did I heck as like. No, I have a leading leg, and it's my left. When I walk up stairs I go left first, so when I walk up kerbs, my left leg does the work. If all staircases had equal numbers of steps we'd use both knees equally, but I think it's kerbs that do it, kerbs and steps up to people's houses, which often have one or three steps. Don't know why, but check for yourself. So if we continue to step up with our leading legs without thinking about it, it stands to reason that one will wear out first.

    Today, for Tuesday. I'm aiming to do things with the other side from usual. For example, pressing the space bar on my computer keyboard with my left thumb instead of my right. Try it; it's hellishly difficult. But I've had right thumb injuries - ldeading all the way to my shoulder - and I think this is what's caused it. I've aldready had to switch mouse sides. As I played the piano for years I'm closer to ambidextrous than most, but this is tricky. Even putting my socks on the other side first took some serious concentration.

    Tonight I shall be teaching yoga at the hall down the road. We spend a lot of time in yoga balancing both sides of our bodies because it helps to balance our minds. If you do a yoga posture on one side then come back to the centre it feels seriously odd, as if one side of the body is awake and the other is still snoozing. After all that we do tend to come out feeling mentally balanced at the end of a class.

    So for reasons of practical joint wear and tear, and to aim for a calm, balanced approach to life, have a crack at left-right equality. Carry your bag with the other hand. Some things we can't change, like where the brakes are on a car or the Oyster pads in a tube station, but otherwise, put the balance back and see how you feel at the end of this Tuesday.