Health and wellness


I wasn’t sure I’d ever create this section, but here we are.

The bottom line up front is that I don’t really get sick or injured. Further, I have some baggage when it comes to the medical profession. Finally, I’m now finding myself becoming injured but not sick, and I’m not sure if I should push or pause.

I’m a fairly kinetic human. I’m fascinated by the human body moving through space. For years I’ve participated in what I call passive exercise. My desire for movement is unconventional.

Watching gymnastics was a favorite growing up. When I was introduced to parkour and freerunning, I was fascinated.

We’ll go reverse chronological.

The plan is to stick with movements I can or could do, with links to in-depth explorations.

2023 (44 years of age)

Section titled 2023 (44 years of age)

I’ve been trying to become more active for a couple of years. I’m laid up for a week or more every time I do.

The muscles in my back became so tense that it hurt to rotate my core, sit, or lift a jacket onto a hook. Urgent care prescribed steroids and a muscle relaxer. I was on them for a week and told not to try exercising. After two weeks, it still felt like someone was pushing their thumb into my back when I would move in certain ways.

Prior to that, I wanted to do the following every day:

The regular pushup and plank caused my right great (big) toe to go apeshit. Swollen, and anytime it was put into extension, it hurt like crazy. I could curl it pretty well. And walking was okay.

I could wear normal shoes. I could stand on it. All the “normal” things. But anytime it moved into extension, it sucked.

When the toe isn’t acting up, my passive exercising consists of walking up stairs by skipping a step; or lunging. This stair movement happens multiple times daily as I smoke outside, typically 10 cigarettes daily.

Every week I walk about 4 miles along with all the steps required to go outside and come back in.

More entries from 2023

2022 (43 years of age)

Section titled 2022 (43 years of age)

In the early part of the year, I contemplated active exercise movements and came down with appendicitis.

It took about 3 weeks to recover enough to only feel pain in extreme circumstances. I didn’t take the OxyContin that was prescribed, just the ibuprofen.

About this time or shortly after, my right big toe went nuts. Swelling and limited mobility. The hypothesis is that it’s gout. It took about a week to recover. I had another flair that same year.

2020 (40 years of age)

Section titled 2020 (40 years of age)

During the year, Becca and I would do planks every day. This was part of a larger work activity at her office. These planks were three to five minutes long. Becca is in much better shape than myself as she goes to a gym regularly and is training to be a health and wellness coach. About one or two minutes into the planks, she would be struggling, I was not. I could also still hold a deep squat position for roughly five minutes.

Around this time, I tried to do some inverted rows while she watched, and I apparently was turning into a shrugger.

We lived on the third floor of the apartment building, and I would use the stairs when going in or out of the building, skipping a step each time.

I got shingles this year and also injured my right big toe. I treated it like turf toe, improving in about a week.

2015 (35 years of age)

Section titled 2015 (35 years of age)

I started what I call the aesthetics project. Long story short, at the peak, I had a three-day-a-week routine that consisted of a warm-up, three rounds, a cooldown, and a long shower. The rounds were:

  1. 10 push-ups,
  2. 10 inverted rows (feet on a 12-inch step),
  3. 20 steps (on the 12-inch step), and
  4. 20 bodyweight squats.

The warm-up had lunges, squats, jumping jacks, arm circles, and similar activities.

Initially, I experienced delayed onset muscle soreness, but after about three weeks, I could always do the routine and increase the difficulty without noticeable pain.

I had a mental setback that threw the routine out the window.

2013 (33 years of age)

Section titled 2013 (33 years of age)

I would go to the climbing gym with Becca and John fairly regularly.

I never experienced muscle soreness. Didn’t do much in the way of warmup.

2011 (31 years of age)

Section titled 2011 (31 years of age)

I worked at an office building in a plaza. I’d walk to work.

During the walk, there were some railroad tracks. I’d walk along the tracks like a balance beam. If I fell, I’d go back about six feet and get back on the track.

This was in northern Virginia, where there’s a Metrorail. When riding the rail, I’d skip steps up any escalator I came to. And some of those stations had long escalators.

Three days a week, I tried to maintain a similar routine to what I had in 2010. There was a set of stairs that wrapped both sides of a sculpture. I’d do hop squats down, jog across, and bound up the other set.

There were some auditorium-style seats in front of the sculpture, and I’d do plyometric lateral pushups on them, which was difficult because of the jagged concrete.

Behind the office was a tile strip, and I’d pretend it was a rail and catwalk along it.

I’d do three rounds. I considered this my warmup.

Then I’d practice different types of movements. Jumping rails, press-ups on a nearby wall, and vaulting benches.

Injuries: I was doing a wall jump into a press-up. I planted my right foot higher than my hip on the wall and messed up my ankle. While vaulting over a bench, my left foot caught the bench (all but the big toe). In both cases, I had x-rays and an MRI done. Nothing turned up.

2010 (30 years of age)

Section titled 2010 (30 years of age)

This one is hard to explain because it’s not traditional exercises in a traditional setting. (Maybe I’ll get to a point of adding images.)

Near where I lived in Georgia was a park with multiple baseball diamonds. The circuit I developed was a quarter mile long. The bulk of it was around one of the baseball diamonds.

Part of my goal here was to move with such control that I didn’t make a sound.

I would start by walking on the curb surrounding the baseball field, a balance beam. If I fell, I would walk about three feet back and start again. When I ran out of the curb to walk on, I would jog to a set of wide stairs leading down to the field, about 13 steps.

In the beginning, I would step down, do a squat, step down and do a squat. At my peak, I was doing plyometric hop squats down the stairs. I would go down, rise up to jump to the center of the next step, squat, and immediately do it again, all the way down.

To get back up, I would climb onto the railing, which was a few inches wide, and I’d essentially turn into a chameleon for a moment while I went all the way back up the stairs (quadrapedie). Once I was back up, I’d jog over to a set of bleachers (you know? where the parents sit).

I would do lateral plyometric pushups. Feet on the bottom bench and hands braced on a higher-up bench. Go down slowly, go up quickly, and throw my upper body to the left, trying to get my right hand to end where my left was. Then I would throw my feet into the air and try to get them to land in the center, putting me back in the starting position, slightly to the left on the bench. One more pushup. It would take around 5 pushups to make it across the bleachers. Then I’d do the same thing but to the right. Initially, I’d use the picnic tables and do plyometric pushups using those; start low, start slow. When I used the table, I aimed to throw myself to the point of standing upright before doing a controlled fall back onto the table.

I would continue to the walkway that led to two more baseball fields. There was a low wall and about 10 narrow stairs.

I would go to the wall and do about 10 positive presses. I wouldn’t use my feet to help me up; it all came from hip flexors and shoulders. I would also try not to use my feet as a lever.

Then I’d do hop squats up the narrow stairs.

At the top of the stairs, there was a narrow curb, like a triangle. I’d balance beam it all the way to the snack station. Then I’d walk back and do it three more times.

Injuries: One day, I decided to try and jog along the curb. I misplaced my right foot and slightly sprained my ankle. Not major, and I was able to walk it off.

2005 (25 years of age)

Section titled 2005 (25 years of age)

One of the professors was a martial arts instructor and former Turkish military. I decided to trade a website for being able to take classes.

The first day he had us doing ninjutsu rolls the entire time. The primary goal was to roll without making a sound. I did pretty well on both sides.

The next day, it felt like I was in a body cast. It took a few days to recover.

Prior to 2005

Section titled Prior to 2005

My friends and I used to do martial arts sparring. We’d do swordplay as well.