Saturday, October 26, 2013

Things I Do Every Day That I Hate, And Why I Do Them

I try to do an hour every day on the treadmill.  In practice, it usually ends up averaging five days a week.

I really hate it.  Exercise is not so unpleasant as it was before the aortic valve replacement, but I still do not enjoy it -- no matter how entertaining what I am watching on television as I walk.  I could be doing stuff that might slow down the decline of our society, or at least make some money.  So why do I do this?

I really do not do this exercise for me.  I am pretty disenchanted with where the society seems to be headed -- into the sewer.  If I were under 30, I would be looking quite seriously at immigrating to a country with a future ahead of it.  Living another fifty years is actually somewhat depressing from that standpoint.

So why am I working so hard at getting in good health?  For my wife.  My mother recently passed the 37th anniversary of my father's death of a heart attack.  She has now lived more years as a widow than than the 34 years that she was married. 

Here is one of the things that you don't think about: past 60, men die so much faster than women that single women outnumber single men in their cohort by a huge margin.  A widow past a certain age has very little chance of remarriage, and the result is often a serious loneliness. For you men who are reading this: here is the reason to stay alive.  Your widow will spend many years or even decades without you.  That's rough.


  1. Based on the pictures you've posted, you live in a fabulously beautiful area. Why are you messing with a treadmill? Other than in the depths of a winter blizzard, couldn't you spend the same time walking outside, getting in the fabulous views, and taking in some fresh air?

  2. Temperature extremes are sometimes a problem. Yes, we get snow, and in summer, it is often quite hot. Before I had the valve replaced, I was often unable to keep up the pace in very cold air. I think that this is not a problem now, although I do not know for sure.

    More importantly, as beautiful as this area is, unless I drive a bit, I end up seeing the same areas again and again, and that is not interesting as what I am watching on Netflix. Also, it is dark by the time I get home. (Yet another reason that I hope to retire soon.)

    Also, I have a bit of information about how fast I am walking from the treadmill. The interval training scheme that I am using for trying to restore lost cardiac function involves a particular pace for four minutes, then a slower one for eight minutes. That is easier to do with a treadmill than out walking.

  3. Clayton, you might want to take a look at some of the blog posts by Seth Roberts regarding the usefulness of studying while walking. There is no reason for your treadmill time to be unproductive.

    Search his site for additional posts on the same topic.

  4. Increasingly, I share your pessimism about the chances of turning this society/polity around. I have been reading Karl Denningers's blog,, and his dour attitude has become mine.

  5. Bike. It's better exercise, inside or out, and more fun. Besides, you can rest while coasting and still make progress on your trip.

    Seriously, my primary care doctor got me off running and in to biking ten years ago and I've loved it ever since.

    Outside bike during the good weather, cheap stationary bike during the bad weather.

  6. Have you read Mark Sisson's take on "Chronic Cardio"?

    Dear Mark: Chronic Cardio

    More Chronic Cardio Talk

    The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Chronic Cardio

    Back when I was failing to lose weight, in my pre-low-carb days, I repeatedly tried to run, in a vain attempt to get healthier. I felt miserable. And in the process, I caused myself permanent joint injury. And I didn't lose weight.

    When I started low-carb, I gave up on all of that. I replaced it with yoga and full-body movement resistance training, and I've never felt better.

    Take a look at Jeff Volek and Adam Campbell's TNT Diet

  7. "If I were under 30, I would be looking quite seriously at immigrating to a country with a future ahead of it."

    What country is that?

  8. What cremes said - I bet you can find something at least marginally useful to do while walking on the belt.

    Some people even manage to rig up a laptop or keyboard and type while doing it, I hear.

  9. Like "asdf" I too would like to know what country to move to (not that I'm considering--just curious).

    With all the problems we have and it getting worse every day it seems this is probably still the best place to be. Not very consoling to me either...

    Unless you move to an isolated Island for which it is difficult or unlikely for many to try to get to I don't see there being a place to hide. If the sh*t hits the fan the entire world is likely to go down (except maybe on the island) so I don't see how being outside the US to be better. I would agree it is probably better to be in a low pop state like ID and in rural or rugged locations as opposed to a multi-million person metropolis location--at least until the zombies run out of flesh in the city and move outside looking for the tasty living!

    I ride a stationary bike. Running sounds too hard on the knees and feet to me. Averaging 12-14 miles per hour on the bike for 30+ minutes seems to be a decent workout.

  10. I am not sure what country might work better. Perhaps we are in last days of Western Civilization.

  11. I remember as a kid seeing Jack LaLanne on TV. Back when he was exercising, not when he was doing juicer infomercials.

    I read about him recently, and was surprised to find that he hated his two hour workout in the gym every day. He did it solely because it made him like the other 22 hours of his day go better.

  12. Botswana and Uruguay are at the top of my list.

  13. Maybe We Are Doomed.

    There are several indicators of social or cultural decline that seem to be heading toward catastrophic failure. Some of these predictions seem quite cogent.

    But I think also of the many prophecies of catastrophe from environmentalists. Some of these are based on indicators that seem cogent (the exhaustion of the Oglalla Aquifer; the depletion of oceanic fish stocks). A lot of Greens were genuinely terrified of the future.

    But catastrophe hasn't happened yet.

    There are positive indicators, too, on all sides. Reforestations, return of wildlife, cleansing of defiled streams. The huge decline in crime over the last generation; the fall of Communism; the triumph of firearms rights.

    On yet another hand, though: some economic historians are beginning to argue that the great prosperity and growth of the post WW II era was a historical anomaly - the product of a particular moment in technological development, which ended in the 1970s, and will never return. (It's arguable that individual incomes, in constant dollars, plateaued then, and that subsequent household income growth has been from women going out to work.)

    Nonetheless I say: despair is the unforgivable sin. The most pessimistic and most optimistic phrase that can be spoken is "Things change".

  14. I would not go for a cheap stationary bike, get a recumbent stationary, then one can easily read.

    If I were not 68 yrs old, I would consider Chile. solid free market economy, minimal welfare state, mostly white population.