Saturday, 8 August 2020

Wandering briskly into suburbia

Ashton before time

I just barely made it home in once piece after 17 kilometres of walking. I did not feel like going back to Alexandra Park today, though from my tracker, I found out that walking the circumference of the park was just over 2 kilometres long and I did 4 circuits yesterday before returning home.
My plan was to walk towards Manchester City stadium and round the city ring road, but I found a footpath that towed the course of the River Medlock then through some estates into Beswick, before I was on to Droylsden and then on to Ashton Moss, slightly short of Ashton-under-Lyne before turning back.
Unlike churches in the city, the ones I saw as I walked into suburbia still had sprawling graveyards. We sometimes forget that life, living, dying and death all used to revolve around the church.
A break for safety
At the turn, I had put 11 kilometres, and by the 16th, I got on the tram because the route back was not that safe to walk. At St. Peter’s Square, a man was remonstrating about his girlfriend canoodling with another man on the benches, rolling over with abandon that it was getting tense.
I quickly made a getaway before things turned dangerously bad. I might be getting used to walking now. My sleep after two nights of observation is under review, and I a definitely not getting enough deep sleep. I need to review the recommendations.
For music, I had Alisha Keys, Justin Timberlake and Luther Vandross, all that made for a different pace of walking. Sunday might well be a day of rest. Though that might break the trend for a badge celebrating 21 days of doing at least 10,000 steps.

Friday, 7 August 2020

The science of sleep and walking

On the levels of sleep and slumber

My Honor Band 5 tracker has been a revelation of knowledge and science that I hope I will find useful as I find out to utilise the features paired with the Huawei Health app on my phone.
This morning I got a good idea of how I sleep, something I need to study more, but I seemed to have a lot of REM sleep, which explains my usually vivid dreams, just about enough light sleep and definitely not enough deep sleep. The graphical illustration of my kind of night sleep at least put paid to the idea that I am a one-hour sleeper, according to Brian.
There is still much more to learn on the science of sleep, and I cannot draw any conclusions on just one day of data. I will observe the trends and with that hopefully look for ways to improve my quality of sleep. That I was able to get just over 6 hours of sleep with waking up once overnight was quite a surprise.
Every kilometre a sign
Today, I was able to set out my workout plan, or rather document it properly, working with my band, I could chart the route with announcements every kilometre of how long it took and what my heart rate was, mostly in the aerobic and the fat-burning ranges. I was able to get in 16.52 km of walking in 3:17:40 hours and an average of 105 steps per minute for 20,941 steps.
For the day, I got in 22,348 steps and that was just before a trapped nerve signalled its presence in the groin. I did not know that sleep under 3 hours is called a nap. I need to choose a day for complete rest, and I hope I begin to see changes in weight and girth soon too. I could do with a deep sleep tonight and a lie-in for Saturday. On the whole, I am happy, I can do this.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

The 39 steps from looking fit

On the length of the tape

On seeing how a lady dropped the flab to a trim look, I could not help but be a little more serious about what I want to achieve with regards to fitness. Now, I have always been concerned about my tummy though it never occurred to me how out of shape I was.
Maintaining a 32” waist has not been that difficult, though when I had cancer, that shrunk to below 30” that all my trousers looked like big brother hand-me-downs. What shocked me was when I measured my girth at my belly button, I was not expecting to see 39”, I thought it would be at least 3” less.
Science the reality
Overnight, I had decided to get a Honor Band 5 which includes a heart rate monitor, a step counter, a sleep monitor, an exercise tracker and many more features I am yet to determine. I thought it would be useful to keep tabs on fat burning and how I sleep.
After trying to install exercise apps without much success or motivation to find out their usefulness, I realised I could get good enough information first from WebMD and our own NHS. I do a lot of brisk walking and I can follow the basic fitness videos. [NHS: Exercise]
Know my vitals
I won’t be dieting or calorie counting, I would eat moderately, cut out the unnecessary, increase my intake of water and put in hours of walking before going to bed exhausted with the aim that all aching muscles recover by the morning.
Critically, I need to find out how well I sleep and if there are things, I could do to get more relaxing and longer sleep. I need to see my weight drop along with the inches of lard. I have my work cut out.

Is God trying to make His way home?

Mystery is awesome

The mysteries of life and what we choose to believe. I have many questions for which there are few answers. Something inside me suggests I ponder and meditate within rather than give voice to the misgivings, the misunderstandings and absence of clarity on matters I am trying to find rhyme, reason or rationale for.
Reason stands out as the place where I am allowed to consider, dispute, be persuaded, be convinced or otherwise. It is where the mind is exercised with knowledge and example, bringing you from what you understand to a place of faith and assuredness.
Rationale is for me something different, where situations and circumstances have to be given a basis for their existence without esoteric or ethereal underpinnings that cannot be explained away.
One of us to see
Much of what one might consider spiritual sits on a tripod and maybe a fourth leg of finding out more. The quest for knowledge, understanding, wisdom and experience must never cease. Curiosity ensures you do not fall to the delusion of having acquired all that is to be known.
In One of Us, a song first recorded by Joan Osborne and written by Eric Bazilian, I find myself gravitating to the cover by Prince in his multi-CD Emancipation album, which is a cut down version of the original lyrics. The lines below evoke a sense of awesome wonder to which one can only be forced to respond.
If God had a face, what would it look like
And would you want to see it
If seeing meant that you would have to believe in things like heaven
And Jesus and the saints and all the prophets?
We may or may not know what God looks like, the Bible says we are made in God’s image, but what representation or perspective is that? Are there physical, mental and/or spiritual dimensions to that imagery? [Knowing Jesus: Image of God] Further on in the Bible, it says, Moses saw parts of God, but not the face. [Bible Gateway: Exodus 33:18-20]
Spirited to new truth
Three questions bring the weight of the matter to the fore, the mystery of God’s face, whether we would want to see God’s face out of whatever human need presents and if after seeing we would be so convinced as to believe everything we have heard before.
Then that conversation between Moses and God, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” There is no life to live on earth once that encounter becomes a reality. It makes you wonder if the context of life is death or being spirited away from an imperfect earth like Enoch, Elijah or Jesus at His ascension. [Wikipedia: Entering heaven alive]
Sometimes, I wonder if indeed, we are ready for that experience and that is probably why, God is not one of us.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Thought Picnic: Dreaming the possible from the impossible

Thoughts for living

I have dreams and I have prayers, all of which I want to come true for I felt it from deep inside today, a yearning, a desire, almost lovelorn by circumstances beyond my control, yet hopeful that this all would pass.
I see myself more and more elsewhere and with someone, my need for the touch and embrace is overwhelming to the point of disablement of ability that could frustrate if one does not come to quickly enough to consider what is within reach and what is the stuff of miracles made obvious.
My walk to Alexandra Park gave me time to think, to rationalise and to expect. I cry with my voice from inside. Sometimes without even making a sound, take me to the place where the amazing is indescribable, where hopes are exceeded blowing the mind, where love is so deep the bottom cannot be seen, where joy enlarges the heart to touch the world in a different way.
Notice at the entrance of Alexandra Park, Claremont Road close to Princess Road
Notice at the entrance of Alexandra Park, Claremont Road close to Princess Road
Alexandra Park lake
Chorlton Lodge

Alexandra Park lake
Alexandra Park lake
Alexandra Park lake
Alexandra Park lake
Chorlton Lodge
Heineken Brewery
After 2:25 hours of walking
At rest with a few aches

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Let's go outdoors and meditate

A lonely place

After my post-work nap, I was up just 15 minutes before my allotted gym timeslot, but I was not keen. The gym is a sterile lonely place, mechanised for exertion to some bodily profit and nothing else, especially if you are alone there.
On the treadmill, you key in your weight, programme, duration, speed, age and it starts off racing you to the optimal heart rate whilst you find distraction in the timers and counters for time, calories, distance, watts and what not.
Even with the music playing in my ears, there is no quiet to meditate either in what you are hearing or the stillness that comes with appreciating nature. No, the gym is no fun without some company.
In natural beauty
However, I do like walking around the city, though I did not find useful information for walks around Manchester. Taking a different course, I walked to Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield, south of Manchester City. It has a pleasure lake with ducks, geese and swans. Walking around the lake is about 400 metres and I did that about 4 times before I charted another route home.
After 2 hours 15 minutes, I took a rest at St. Peter’s Square for some 20 minutes before returning home. A bit of thigh strain, I will recover by the morning. I think I will get a better and rewarding time walking out to parks, meditating, sometimes singing, chanting, or praying. It is more relaxing, and I am not waiting for the clock to countdown, to escape from the drudgery of unrefreshing solitude in an airless gym.
Pictures of Platt Fields Park pleasure lake.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Pressing beyond the strain

Pain on the wane

I am no glutton for punishment but I had to get beyond the pain barrier or the fear of it would lead to fitness recidivism, a kind of practised custom I so easily default to before I see the gains I aim for.
What I really want to do is shed pounds and kilogrammes, I am not counting calories nor following a diet, not that diets or dieticians show much knowledge of global foods especially of my West African cuisine. I follow a commonsense view of moderation, take the good just not to excess.
That means, I love my full milk and real butter, there is no silliness of living the land of skimmed milk and synthetic honey, not what was promised in the Bible and surely, I not taking any less today.
Stalking to a higher step
Yesterday, despite the fact that I was in much pain when I approached the altar for communion, I felt good enough later in the afternoon to add another 13,000 steps to my daily tally to bring my total to 17,705 steps and not a feeling a pain materialised, just a tightening of my thigh muscles knowing some work had been done.
I also skipped the gym yesterday, as it would seem 6 days in a row is good enough, with a day of rest until I was back in the gym today. It was walking to the maximum speed on the treadmill going up by increments of 0.3 km/h every three minutes from 6 km/h to 7.2 km/h and this got me to 2.92 km in 25 minutes.
A few floor exercises and I was done. I will be out for some walking and fresh air later, before retiring for the day. It still feels like fun and long may that continue.