[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 17 {214.5} “Indoor Exercise Routines”

Most local gyms are closed due to COVID-19. They might have reopened when this essay publishes… or not. I’m glad I invested in a quiet rower, over even a gym membership, because even the apartment-mansion complex’s gym is closed for the unforeseeable future. How can we remain healthy when we are in implied quarantine? The US isn’t in a state-mandated curfew, like Greece, yet, but we can remain healthy partially by doing some stretches daily.

First, we have to stretch our perceptions of health.

We’re burning significantly fewer calories by staying inside. My employer has allowed me a work-from-home option for the short-term, so my commute is getting logged into my programs, and my caloric burn-rate is significantly lower than even last week. I have a sit-stand workstation at work, and I estimated that I burned about 200 calories by standing for four hours out of my shift. I haven’t yet built my own sit/stand workstation for my vocational or avocational work, since this was a sudden change for all of us.

I received my work-from-home laptop and was told to immediately go home.

I may be able to build something over the next few days out of currently-full shelving racks, but it will take time and planning, since I want to build something that won’t force me to sit or stand throughout an entire shift. I’m not sure how I’ll make it work, but I’ll need to figure it out. Between that and rowing at least once a day, I’ll have some structure for burning calories, since everything else gets into subjective territories.

How many calories do we burn per push-up?

Well, that depends on your weight, caloric burn-rate, and effort applied. My rowing machine’s console gives a generic calorie burn reading that probably estimates the number based on how fast the flywheel spins, but if I do ten push-ups, I’ll probably burn calories at a different rate than you do, even if you also do ten push-ups. I will also be restricted to being at my work-from-home laptop with my headset on, ready to take phone calls, so I can’t do anything too fully-ranged like push-ups or sit-ups.

One colleague lifts dumbbells at work.

That might be my good alternative for now, since I would have enough time to set down the weights when I get a call, and I can focus on slowly moving the weights to see and feel how my muscles react to the weight. I’ll start with slow bicep curls and expand out from there, since I can answer the phone with my other hand while setting down the weight. Outside of this, much of what I can do at home will be limited to chair-based exercises until I work out the details of that sit/stand workstation, because at least at work, I had a wireless headset and could do squats, stretch my legs, and walk around the nearby cubes.

Since I’m not chained to my apartment-mansion yet, I’ll go outside more, too.

Rather than have my twice-daily rowing sets, I’ll row once daily, and go outside the other times. Behind the apartment-mansion is a forested area that I’ve barely explored because life has been so busy with downsizing all the clutter I had accumulated over the years, writing, or just relaxing from this life so plugged into keeping a stable job and my head above water mentally. On the nicer days, it will be nice going there, or walking around the neighborhood, since I find that to be an aspect of shyness that prevented me pre-COVID-19 from getting out into the world.

Let’s say things sort themselves out by this essay’s publication…

Then this month should have been spent working toward launching myself back into the world better than ever, not sat around, wasting away. If I start doing my physical therapy stretches more frequently, starting with neck and shoulder stretches, then moving around based on how that feels, then I won’t be impaired by muscle-related headaches. If I continue doing more physical movement, then I won’t feel as sore, whether sitting around for eight-plus hours for my vocation or however many hours I’m at my computer for my avocational work.

If we can remember that we’re these weird, organic machines, then we can keep them well-maintained anywhere.

Whether in self-imposed self-quarantine or government-mandated curfew, we don’t need to do anything fancy. I’ll typically stretch what feels sore, based on some of the exercises I’ve learned. If the gyms open again and life stabilizes, whether that means we have a cure or everyone can universally get tested for this pandemic virus, then I would like to learn more formal exercises that I can do at home like this. I don’t have a formal routine of stretches to do in any sort of optimal order.

I’m sure there are resources available online that have generic plans for most people.

For the next month, I’m fine with figuring out my sit/stand workstations and practicing the stretches that I’ve outlined above. If this essay publishes to a world more locked down, then future essays will cover more of the research I’ve discovered and disseminated into what works well for me, as approachable solutions for what can work well for you, perhaps. I think we should aim for exercises and practices that work well for us, in our environments and circumstances, and for right now, I’m still in the adapting phases. I’m used to getting out into the world near-daily, so I should seek to recreate that structure as much as I can, and downsize it to something that works for this new pace I’ll be living for the short-term. If this continues into the long-term, then I’ll have to adapt, as will you. If there’s anything I can recommend to everyone, it’s just starting slow.

Be more intentional over what you eat and do some mild exercises.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 214.5
Last week’s weight: 215.5
Difference: Cronometer has this nice way of going about it where it will factor in whether you ate too much the day[s] before in helping you monitor your calorie intake. It gives you a number based on how much you want to lose. You just have to follow that number and you’ll probably get there, just like any calorie counter whether a free service like that or your own self-built one. I’ve been having spinal issues lately, so I can’t exercise much, and I’ve been feeling terrible, which can lead to significant weight gain because food tastes so good, but I’ve been tempering that by tracking almost everything I possibly can in my calorie counter, which helps me figure out alternatives.
Inspirations: Just a quick essay about my thoughts on indoor fitness and my general goals through our state-encouraged self-quarantine scenario.
Related: Past weekly column entries.
Pictures: The generic template is fine here.
Written On: 2020 March 22 [9:18pm to 9:50pm]
Last Edited: 2020 March 22 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.