Through accident or intention, I lead an interesting life. I still have the scar from when a board with a nail nearly impaled my sternum (near my Xiphoid process) at the minimum wage furniture moving gig. That excitement can be exhilarating or overwhelming. What happens when life in the fast lane goes… too fast? How does a thrill-seeker slow down? Can we? My stress management process includes a twice-daily active meditation on the rowing machine.
Rowing is one way that I’m forced to pace myself.
I can go at an incredible pace for ten, twenty, maybe up to thirty, seconds before I exhaust myself for just as many minutes. It’s the same for everything else in life. When you run at such a break-neck pace, life tends to be more vibrant, full of more luscious situations, but then you risk the burn-out that comes with that.
Is the goal merely to live in hiding?
No, I think it’s a matter of pacing yourself. On two weekend days, one will usually be reserved for getting out there and exploring the world, whether it’s doing something with family or friends, or even just running errands, whereas the other day will be for resting up. My primary litmus test is whether I sleep in.
My five alarms start going off at 2:50 AM.
On the weekends, I may sleep in until 5, or maybe 8, but if I sleep through these alarms, I know I pushed myself too hard during the week. Took things too seriously… Didn’t take enough union breaks… Maybe tried to do too much? Or maybe I had to deal with too many people’s problems without a sarcastic, sardonic smile?
I think we miss these little red flags.
Is it because we enjoy the thrill of adventures more than the tedium of preparing for them? Appearing to be fit is more enjoyable than the preparation required to be fit, usually, unless you learn to embrace the process. I have, actually, through these small 5-minute rowing respites twice daily.
I’m also starting to enjoy doing push-ups.
Feeling the burn in a controlled environment is nice. It’s a way to build up tolerances for when you need to do something in an uncontrolled environment, such as pushing yourself away from some vicious villain or dastardly disaster-doer or pushing some object away from you like a big rock.
Stress in moderation is the key here.
Fitness is applied stress to certain physical areas. Studying is applied stress to certain mental areas. Without fitness, we can’t do much within our physical surroundings. Without studying, we can’t do much within our logical surroundings. The most effective progress is through constant application.
Constant, moderate, consistent application.
Our paces are uniquely different. When I first started rowing again, I could barely do 50 rows before I became exhausted, now while I can do 10-minute sets, I’m not quite there yet. 5 minutes can still be enough to resolve any minor physical or mental stresses. Anything more requires more.
Namely: get more sleep.
|Sources: My fitness experience.|
|Inspirations: Exploring my physical health through an essay since I’ll be busy for the next few weeks with work and such.|
|Related: Other Rowing Machine column entries.|
|Picture: Generic picture to save time.|
|Written On: September 11th [30 minutes], September 26th [5 minutes]|
|Last Edited: October 5th [5 minutes] – Was out of town so this was my weigh-in after returning home. 5.5-pound increase. Hopefully, I can burn that off very soon.|