What started out as a health measure has now become a hobby, a lifestyle, nay, job and obsession.
How it started
In 2016, having left the military and found solace in computers and games, I had become lazy and unhealthy. I knew, I had to do something to see my 60s. Eat better, sleep better, be healthier, be happier, have better relationships, better jobs, a better life.
That was a lot to pack into one lifetime, and it was a tall order I wasn’t sure I could fill. Luckily, most of those things could be managed by one medication, a wonder drug able to “fix” most of my ailments. Taken daily, it would:
- Improve blood glucose, glucose control, and blood pressure drastically.
- Improves insulin sensitivity (best drug on the market for this)
- Improve my blood lipid levels (cholesterol) like no other drug on the market
- Improves sleep duration and sleep quality
- Enable weight loss up to twice that offered by Ozempic or Wegovy (Semaglutide)
- Drastically reduce the risk of heart and circulatory diseases
- Improve mood, emotion control, motivation, and memory
- Drastically reduce the risk of dementia
- Strengthens muscles and bones throughout the body
- Dramatically reduces the risk of several cancers
- Be an aphrodisiac, prevent erectile dysfunctions, and improve sexual performance and enjoyment
How it went
And all that in one drug. That drug, of course, is exercise. There was just one issue: I ain’t no gym rat. Yes, I used to go three times a week, but the key to therapy adherence is to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. Walking is a great way to exercise, that can be woven into one’s daily routine and does not cost much, if anything.
So, now I walk. A lot. When I am not doing thru-hikes or long-distance hikes, I walk to and from work, appointments, and social events. Basically anywhere. I do not own a car or bike, but I do own a sizable collection of shoes and backpacks. As a rule of thumb, anything that is less than 20 kilometers away will be walked, otherwise the walk is shortened using public transit. I’m no martyr, so if I can get closer by public transit, I’ll do it, but if there’s time and a walkable route, I walk.
And things got much better
Funnily enough, this also improved my relationships and jobs.
My friends quickly wizened up to the fact that I wouldn’t drive, sifting out some, but leaving a core circle of friends that were just the kind of person I wanted to be around. And while finding a job got a tad bit harder, the jobs that were supportive of my walking to and fro, and that were OK with me disappearing for the summer to walk 2000 kilometers, also turned out to be the kinds of jobs I wanted.
And not just that. In walking and observing my health, I tried countless things. Technologies, techniques, clothing, backpacks… if it had something to do with health and walking, I’d try it. Many of those tryouts failed miserably. And, as it turns out, misery is a great selling point. Starting in 2020 (one of the few pandemic advantages), I made enough money writing about my failures to finance my next one. And, honestly, that’s all I ever wanted — someone to pay me to fail.
I since switched to at-home exercises using Freeletics, largely because I dislike gyms, had to find something to do during the lockdowns, and it comes free with my Revolut credit card. ↩︎
That turned out to be a bit of a miscalculation. ↩︎