It’s Saturday and I’ve spent the whole day running around the East and West Village on a puzzle hunt called DASH. It happened in cities all over the country today, same puzzles, different location (Different Area Same Hunt!). My crazy husband has been doing things like this his whole life and I’ve been doing them the last ten years, since I met him. They are fun and pretty tricky and hard, so you have to work, but they have lots of parts so you can help even if you don't always feel like you're on top of everything that's going on, and you are outside and get some exercise. Our team came in third I think, which was pretty good. This was an excellent hunt. I met the cute girl who made the whole thing up and she said I should publicize it, so ok: It was totally fun, you should all do it next time! How's that Debbie Goldstein?
Speaking of exercise. Did you see this article on exercise in the Times last week? It's well worth reading the whole thing, but I'll cut and paste the last two paragraphs here, if you don't feel like reading them, at least read the last few sentences.
Streaming through much of the science and advice about exercise and weight loss is a certain Puritan streak, a sense that exercise, to be effective in keeping you slim, must be of almost medicinal dosage — an hour a day, every day; plenty of brisk walking; frequent long runs on the treadmill. But the very latest science about exercise and weight loss has a gentler tone and a more achievable goal. “Emerging evidence suggests that unlike bouts of moderate-vigorous activity, low-intensity ambulation, standing, etc., may contribute to daily energy expenditure without triggering the caloric compensation effect,” Braun wrote in the American College of Sports Medicine newsletter.In a completed but unpublished study conducted in his energy-metabolism lab, Braun and his colleagues had a group of volunteers spend an entire day sitting. If they needed to visit the bathroom or any other location, they spun over in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, in a second session, the same volunteers stood all day, “not doing anything in particular,” Braun says, “just standing.” The difference in energy expenditure was remarkable, representing “hundreds of calories,” Braun says, but with no increase among the upright in their blood levels of ghrelin or other appetite hormones. Standing, for both men and women, burned multiple calories but did not ignite hunger. One thing is going to become clear in the coming years, Braun says: if you want to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to go for a long run. “Just get rid of your chair.”
If you follow this site you may be aware that several weeks ago I wrote a little thing about Gyms. Actually, several weeks before that I wrote a little post called Gyms and Poets that was picked up by the Boston Globe Ideas section online, called Brainiac, in a cute piece called, Forget About Gym Guilt, Says Poet I was flattered (and frumped that he said i didn't get to the point fast enough) (yes, i too am a big baby) and it moved me to write a second post on my anthropological reading of gyms in our culture, "A Short Packed Serious Argument Against Gym Guilt." (see the ps -- i make a total confession. i am a silly person.) I wrote a book called The Happiness Myth, among others, which I'm always hawking around here in which I do a lot of this sort of anthropological study of our own culture, especially in ways the that harm a lot of people's happiness (like gym-guilt and gym-obsession).
Now what is interesting to me is not whether anyone goes to the gym. I myself have enjoyed periods of my life in which I went regularly to a gym. Fun! What is interesting to me is that I was able to figure out that the gyms were not what they were pretending to be without recourse to science. I could tell by looking at history. I think that is delicious. That is all.Love,
pss I went to the memorial for RW the other night, at the 92nd street Y. My hearts a little rebroken from it. Oy. The rest of you, as usual, stay alive to the best of your short term ability (I mean, smoke if you want to, I'm not the police, but if you are going to take a lot of weird pills don't do it alone. And if you ski, jeeze, mind the trees.)