Sedentary Lifestyle in the Southern States

One of the keys to weight lose – or at the very least, weight management – is not living a sedentary lifestyle. This means you do not sit around all day. Most health experts tell us to keep moving, do not spend too much time sitting in front of the TV or playing video games. This seems like pretty good logic, until the summer months arrive and its 100 degrees outside for most of the day. Any kind of outdoor physical activity could mean heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

So “where” do you draw the line between being active and not dieing of heat stroke on a 5 mile run in the middle of July.

Hiking in Southeast Texas

As far back as I can remember (back in the mid 1990s), my workouts would begin in the early spring,,,, say around March. Due to the extreme heat and humidity in east Texas, my outdoors workouts would have to stop by the end of June. Between March and June I was averaging about 6 – 9 miles on the bike, 3 – 4 miles running, and 20 – 30 minutes of weights. This equaled out to workouts that lasted about 1 hour and 30 minutes. But during July, August, and maybe part of September all of that had to stop. When riding the bike in July, it felt like I was riding in an oven.

The hot air off the the road felt like it was heating my body up, instead of the breeze helping to keep me cool. Due to having to stop my workouts, I felt that I was never able to reach a good level of physical fitness. I could have joined a gym, but I don’t like being around other people in that setting. One thing about a good workout is the peace and quit – its “my” time.

Fast forward to 2010, I’am 42 years old, and its taking longer and more effort to reach a level of physical fitness. Not to mention that I live close to a highway and I do not feel safe riding my bike on the shoulder. You never know when someone is going to be driving down the road at 70 mph, texting or talking on the cell phone, not paying attention and run right over me. To me, its not worth the risk. If Jasper, Texas would build some shoulders and designate them as bike lanes it might be a little different. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in Houston, and they had bike lanes on the feeder roads next to the highway.

Getting around the sedentary lifestyle in the southern states is not easy. Its either do something inside during the summer months, or go to the lakes, go to the river,,,, do something to stay wet, or run the risk of heat exhaustion. In 2009 my nephew and my son went on a hiking trip – all of us experienced dehydration and in some part heat exhaustion before we found a creek we could cool off in.

Its not enough to be “around” water to stay cool, you have to be “in” the water. In August my son and I went on a couple of fishing trips on the Angelina River. By 9am the temps hit around 90 degrees, by noon we were close to 95 – 98 degrees with 80% – 95% humidity. We were dripping in sweat, and with the high humidity our sweat was not evaporating, so we had nothing to cool us off.

On the last camping trip we went on back in early August, it was so hot, I did not need any kind of blanket at 2am in the morning. My core body temp was still so hot from the day – and swimming in the river – I could not cool off for nothing.

One solution that my wife and I are looking at is getting an indoor stationary bike, or an elliptical trainer. Academy sports and outdoors in Beaumont, Texas has a bike and elliptical trainer combo unit for less then $200. But I want to go look at what sears has before we buy something. We are supposed to be going back to Beaumont on the weekend of October 1. So while we are there, we are going to go by Parkdale Mall and take a look at the Sears store there.

Having a stationary bike or elliptical trainer will give me 3 or 4 ways to workout in the safety and comfort of my living room – bike (or elliptical trainer), treadmill, weight bar, crunch ball, 8 pound ball. I take the 8 pound ball and hold it on my chest while doing crunches on the workout ball. I also use the 8 pound ball for wrist curls. The weight bar is just that, a weight bar.

A couple of weeks ago I hurt my knee on the treadmill. I did 3.5 miles in about 65 minutes, got off the treadmill, took a break, and then played an hour of Left 4 Dead 2. In the weeks before that 3.5 miles, I had been doing 2.2 – 2.5 miles 3 or 4 times a week. I felt no pain what-so-ever that night. Got up the next morning just fine, as I was getting ready for work I felt sharp pains going through my knee. Its been about 2 weeks and my knee is feeling a lot better. Instead of hurting my knee again with the impacts of the treadmill, my wife and I are looking at the elliptical trainer or a stationary bike. The goal is to have a low impact workout, so there is less risk of joint damage.

While on the treadmill, or working out, I like to watch movies like 28 days later, I am Legend, 28 weeks later,,,,,,,, and consider my fitness goals if some kind of SHTF situation were to happen.

There are several factors affecting my decisions on buying some kind of fitness equipment:

My age – no longer can I workout for a few months a year and maintain a certain level of fitness.

My job – I used to work in the welding field and was on my feet doing physical labor 8 – 12 hours a day. Now I work at a computer desk all day.

I live next to a highway – The road I live on is a dead end about 1/4 mile long. Its either get out on the highway and risk getting run over, or do 1/4 mile laps on my road.

The Texas heat – as I get older, I feel that the heat and humidity takes a greater toll every year. Instead of fighting the heat, I’ll just move my workout indoors.