Or, How I Learned to Stop Complaining, and Take the Stairs
Life is hard. Everybody knows that, and yet it still manages to sneak up on countless recent college graduates every year. I was no exception. Hi, my name is Eric. I’m new here, so try to bear with me. I currently live in the heart of the great city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’m also both a recent college graduate and a former NCAA student athlete. For me, and many people like me, the transition to the real world was difficult. Not because I was lacking anything in my social-emotional development (At least…I don’t think so), but because of the extreme lifestyle shift that occurs when you go from being a college athlete to a working stiff. So this article is about the challenge of inner city exercise.
Being on a sports team in college, you have set times to work out, you have access to fully stocked facilities that are free (if you don’t count all the other expenses that come with attending a university), and you have (usually) a flexible class schedule that allows you to fit in time for exercising and working out. Since I’ve moved to the city and started my job, things have been a little bit different.
I’m currently working 10 hour days. I leave my apartment at 6:30 am and get home around 6:00 pm. That doesn’t leave me a whole lot of free time for anything, and when I’ve only got a few hours to myself, you can bet exercising is not a high priority. It certainly doesn’t help that I now have to pay for the use of the local gyms and fitness centers.
I know, I know, I sound like a whiny, problem-oriented young person waiting for my instant gratification and I’m not gonna lie, it is tough some days, but here are some little things I do to make a big difference.
- I walk. A lot. Anywhere I can. Anytime I can, and if I have to drive, I park far away just so I can walk more. I don’t know if I would really qualify that as active, but it certainly isn’t sedentary and that’s a step (get it?) in the right direction.
- I eat a lot healthier these days than I did when I was in college. A lot more vegetables. I still love a good steak, but try eating vegetarian a few meals a week. You’d be surprised how versatile (and delicious) vegetables can be.
- I can’t afford a gym membership so I have to use what I have at home. 3 days a week, for 30 minutes a day, I do a quick abdominal workout in my apartment. (sidenote: I have a bad back, and doing ab exercises helps to tighten up my core muscles and reduces a lot of the daily pain).
- Last, but not least: Always take the stairs! Always. Some days I take them 2 at a time. Some days I time myself and some days I count each step. Whatever gets you to the top, just make sure you’re taking the stairs.
My last competition in college was in February 2012 and one year later, this is what I’ve come up with. It’s not perfect, but it works for me.
Keep up the good work folks.
Thanks for listening.