The drudgery of exercise

By | 28 March, 2012
A modern gymnasium, yesterday

A modern gymnasium, yesterday

As you can probably already guess from the title of this article, I hate exercise. I like to progress through life at a stately and modest pace.

Jogging is not for me – I don’t even run for busses, dagnabbit. In my view, a gym is simply a modernised, sanitised version of the medieval torture chamber accompanied by a faint whiff of Deep Heat and PE teacher about the place.

This is not to say that I sit in front of the television all day, only being turned once in a while to avoid developing sores. I do exercise but only accidentally.

I keep slightly fit by walking the dog twice a day, running up stairs if I’m in a hurry or getting off the bus a few stops early to avoid Edinburgh’s seemingly interminable tram building works. I haven’t set foot inside a gym for years and now I’ve reached a reasonable level of self-determinism have no intention of doing so in the foreseeable future.

I think the main thing that puts me off is the sheer tedium of it all. Thirty reps on a thingy-ma-gummy, followed by ten minutes on a rowing machine, followed by stretching and jumping. Dull, dull, dull and – like anything dull – best avoided.

However, from time to time I do have to do more than the accidental exercise I mentioned above. After a longish period of doing nothing I do feel my insulin resistance going up – I seem to end up in the twelve’s and thirteen’s before bed, even though I’ve put in more than enough to cover my evening meal. Like a car running on sludgy old oil, I feel that from time to time I need a bit of a work out to blow out the cobwebs and get the insulin resistance down again.

Rather than resort to the horrors of a gym I’ve come up with my own exercise routine – which I’ve named “The Iron Maiden Workout”. Here’s how it works:

The first part of the workout consists of twenty minutes on my bike, which I put up on one of those indoor roller things. So far so dull, but to make it interesting I listen to Iron Maiden at full blast on the old hi-fi I have in my garage.

I warm up with a longish but gentle song – perhaps Hallowed Be Thy Name from the Killers album or To Tame a Land from Piece of Mind. Then an explosive song – The Trooper or Number of the Beast from one of the live albums (my preference would be for the tracks on the Rock in Rio double album) to which one rocks out and peddles hard and fast.

Then another long and slow one – The Clansman from Virtual XI (crap album, aside from this one song) or Paschendale from Dance of Death. Rinse and repeat with another fast track (let’s say The Alchemist from The Final Frontier).

Then we move onto ten minutes of Shovelglove – “the sledgehammer workout” – during which you fling a sledgehammer around the place. This is dangerous and therefore fun – especially when accompanied by more Maiden turned up to eleven.

And that’s pretty much the size of it – after a good half hour of the Iron Maiden work out my insulin resistance returns to normal for a week or more and all is well in the world. I say if you have to exercise it may as well be fun. And dangerous. And possibly cause premature deafness.

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About Tim

Diagnosed with Type One when he was 28, Tim founded Shoot Up in 2009. For the diabetes geeks, he wears a Medtronic 640G insulin pump filled with Humalog and uses Bayer’s Contour Next Link blood glucose meter.

18 thoughts on “The drudgery of exercise

  1. Annette A

    I like exercise. It allows me time out (always while listening to my favourite tunes – although I’m not an Iron Maiden fan, I like a bit of heavy rock from time to time, some good old 80s stuff, and a bit of country thrown in). And I tend to go to the gym because it gets me out of the house – I’d prefer to walk, but I don’t like to do it on my own (due to unreliable hypo signs). I have a bike set up in the house on one of those roller things, and a gravity walker, and I feel twitchy unless I exercise for at least half an hour every other day (and usually more often and for longer).
    But I have recently found that my tried and tested basal/bolus changes to cover me for these workouts are no longer working, and when I get a set up that works, it does so for a couple of times, then fails again. So I end up hypo during or after a session, or I am normal levels throughout, but am high afterwards. I can do the exact same workout (which I tend not to, cos that is, as mentioned, dull) and have totally different reactions. Which is making the whole exercise thing a bit of a trial, diabetes wise.
    Oh, and jogging is bad for you. Buggers your knees up. That’s my excuse.

      1. Lola

        No, the worst thing in the world ever is Boney M. And the Radio 1 DJ that used to play Our Tune (Simon Bates). Especially Simon Bates playing Boney M.

  2. Megs

    Needing crutches to walk thanks to collapsed /fused ankle joints from neuropathy is a fantastic way to keep fit! I’m only weight bearing on one leg at the moment whilst the other is in plaster and use bags of energy carrying myself around this way, it keeps my insulin needs low and makes my heart beat a bit faster. No membership fee needed, although not a club you would want to join.

    Disappointingly,I’m more of an Olive Oyl than a Popeye in terms of rippling muscles.

  3. Rohan

    Generally speaking I enjoy certain forms of exercise – biking mostly, especially mountain biking. But also rock climbing when I rememeber. I cycle to work everyday because a) I don’t have a license, b) I feel that insulin resitance rise too, and c) I enjoy it! It does help it’s only a mile or so down the road…

    Also, at the moment, I am training to do Total Warrior again (eventually it’ll be in aid of the good old JDRF), but this year (after foolishly thinking it was easy last year) the harcore 10K+10mile obstacle courses over one weekend. I think I’ve run more in the last two months than the rest of my life combined!

    At least I’m in no danger of running out of insulin…

    Oh, and as for music, I like my punk-rock and hard-rock for exercising myself – right now The Subways and Queens of the Stone Age are making a pretty good combo!

    (I was going to leave this alone as I don’t like gloating. But then thought ‘sod it! I’m working damn hard for a good cause again, they can suffer my gloating’ 😛 )

    1. Tim Post author

      Hell, we love gloating here – it’s the foundation of the entire blog! 😉

      Total Warrior sounds cool (or hideous – delete as applicable) do feel free to pimp your money raising page here if you want.

    2. The ... Diabetic

      Total Warrior sounds painful/awesome! I’m cycling for Diabetes UK around Arran in June (will pimp my JustGiving in due time ;-))

      I also cycle a few miles each day to work, although once in a while the car is just too tempting. Sharing the roads with the local motorists here also meets Tim’s requirement for exercise to be dangerous!

      Music-wise I can recommend Beastie Boys (although the explicit lyrics can lead to some funny looks when running in the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon), and Daft Punk.

        1. The ... Diabetic

          Too late all set up so some creaming will be done, but if DUK were that fussed they shouldn’t have recommended it as a way to fundraise for them 😛

          Rohan: Good luck to you too!

      1. Rohan

        Both BT and Virgin do non-profit fund raising pages too, for any charity. I think it’s BT that is slightly better though as it doesn’t charge at all, whereas Virgin do charge site running costs… I can’t believe there are FOR profit companies doing it! (Hence me using JustGiving last year… Just assumed it was non-profit.)

        Oh, and I will be pimping the fundraising page when it’s set-up. But I think fundraising 5 months in advance is a bit much 😉
        I have to say, once I learn to drive and get a car, I suspect my good record of cycling to work may be tarnished somewhat! 😉
        Good luck with your ride!

  4. lizz

    I do an hour with Lola in the morning and spend the rest of the day exercising my wrists and forearms at the computer. I don’t call that slightly fit, Tim – dog walking if you do it fast is a brilliant was and the best way to exercise – doesn’t strain joints!

  5. Alice

    Hello everyone. Haven’t been on here for a while but I return to find a discussion of my new favourite(!) thing. A few weeks ago I read something about three minutes of high intensity exercise a week improving your insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness etc etc. Being somewhat time-poor at the moment, I thought I’d give it a go in place of my usual half-hour/40-mins in the gym (which had sort of fallen by the wayside).

    So, three weeks and 27 20-second bursts of hell-for-leather cycling later and my pump is set permanently on 80% basal rate (…and at some point I will find the motivation to create a new basal profile!) and I use about 0.7U per 10g CHO instead of about 1U. Best thing is the mad cycling doesn’t make me go hypo – presumably the protective influence of all the adrenaline!

    1. Rohan

      That’s pretty good! I watched the Horizon programme about that and was very interested. Maybe I’ll try fitting some short intense activity things into my current ‘training regime’ (I’m currently sat feeling lazy and avoiding the run I should be doing right now, so can’t claim it’s a proper regime really! 😛 )

      Also nice to see someone who can put actual numbers to the improvement – I’m not organised/methodical enough atm to be able to see any real change.

    2. Tim Post author

      Yes, I saw the Horizon thing too and so do incorporate sprints into my cycling on rollers. It (or just exercise in general) does increase my sensitivity but I’m too lazy to objectively measure any difference.

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