Thursday, February 10, 2011

For Jack LaLanne: 100 Sweaty Days

Jack LaLanne said he never liked working out.
He did it to stay fit and healthy.
Dying, he joked, would ruin his image.

Sweaty Day No. 1: 2.10.11

In winter it’s just too easy to blow off exercise. If you read Mark Bittman’s blog (my favorite food writer and a runner but not much of a blogger) on the Runner’s World website, you’ll see that even people like Bittman, who are very much in the public eye, can go embarrassingly inert. Not good.

This winter I have maintained a sluggish habit of jogging three days a week and that’s only because everything is so easy when I’m in Manhattan. There’s a fabulous path that’s snow and ice free along the Hudson River mere minutes from the apartment. And there’s a gym that costs me $10 a year that’s just around the corner. It even has free yoga. Once in a while I actually go there and run on the treadmill or try out the Stairmaster, which I don’t understand but it still hurts.

But my exercise is sluggish because I have a knee injury and because I am lazy and because it is cold. For me, cold is no excuse because I have all the right gear. For example, it’s cold and breezy and feels like 12 degrees right now. On my sluggish trot just now, I was way too hot. I had become a mobile sauna and my glasses fogged up.

I tallied up my activity this morning and I learned that I move fast — relatively speaking — about three hours a week. I walk a lot, but I don’t count that because days can go by, as well, when I don’t leave my desk except to eat and sleep. I tell anyone who will listen to me complain: I’m embracing my inner lump. I’m lumpish. I’m rolling to a stop.

If I consult activity charts, I’m told I’m sedentary.

The other day I made a Facebook posting that said: I’ve spent the better part of the past 24 hours in front of my computer. And my butt didn’t even hurt. Since my bed is next to my computer I literally don’t even have to stand up straight to move from sleep mode to writing mode. I just sort of roll to work.

This, of course, has to stop. We already know that the more time you spend sitting, the more likely you are to die. Robert Parker, the Boston mystery writer, died at his desk. It’s an honorable death but wouldn’t you rather die running and old? Or at least older than you are right now?

So I’ve decided to declare a “100-day Jack LaLanne Tribute Challenge” in honor of that very likeable and committed “father of the fitness movement” who died on January 23 at the age of 96, and who once showed me how to lift weights — not that I do that with any regularity, either.

I’m going to go outside and work up a sweat every single day for 100 days in hopes that I can reboot myself and in hopes that I can wrestle my inner lump back into its lump cave. I figure if I post this resolution on my blog, which I had abandoned along with everything else because of deadline work, at least I’ll have that pressure to perform. Also, it would really really be fun for others to join me in this challenge and make comments about what it’s like.

Want to?

I’ll post updates now and then about the joys of living vertically. Please feel free to join me. Sometimes maybe we can even go outside and play together!


  1. I'm in! Do we have a minimum amount of time per day? I already got today's allotment in.

  2. I admire you ladies...but it will be a miracle if I manage three days a week.

  3. This is exciting! I'll post something each day. Please add your comments when you can, such as: how hard this can be at times, the fun you're having, what qualifies as "working up a sweat." It's 30 minutes of something a little more vigorous than revising a chapter of your novel. If you do 30 minutes 3 times a week, join in as well.

  4. I am doing 30 minutes/day of brisk walking in - degree weather. think I can work up a sweat? if I dress warmly enough, I will.

    also doing this dr. oz incentive program:

  5. 83 minutes on the cross country trail ... with ice.