This writing was prompted by yet another article posted to Hacker News. There is always an overabundance of articles about somebody moving to a standing desk to combat some health issue. To me, this has always seemed a bit futile as well as overkill. You're still sedentary. You're providing very little benefit to your overall well being and it's simply yet another way that people are trying to get something for nothing when it comes to health . I've read a lot of the examples of it's positive effects. I've read a lot of the raving reviews of people that do this, but I ultimately come to the same conclusion every time I read this stuff... exercise a little bit every day. It's healthier than standing all day, it's free, doesn't require expensive furniture, doesn't require you to beg your boss for something expensive and it's something you should be doing anyway.
For the past 13 years I have been a software engineer. Before then, I was in the car window tinting business where I was on my feet for 8 hours a day and moving more than frequently. I would tint anywhere from 4 to 8 cars a day. The only time I would sit down was to a 30 minute lunch. I did this for 5 years, I was also a lot younger than I am now, obviously. Let me make a comparison of somebody that was actively moving around in a career to becoming very sedentary and then mixing up a sedentary career along with regular exercise.
I don't know why I got into the car window tinting business when I was younger. I just thought it seemed like a cool thing to do and I wanted to learn it. This was also why I got into computer programming. This is also why I have recently gotten into Body Language and Facial Action Coding Systems. I just think something sounds neat and I dive in. So for about a year, I tried my hardest to learn how to tint windows. It was rough until finally I had a company offer me a job making crap money. They were the number one window film seller in the south east of Llumar window films. This meant that they received constant training on new techniques by the factory and it also meant that they attracted some great window tinters. People that can do very, very clean window film installations and 1 piece rear window installations on cars. Some cars are easy to do, while other cars cause you to say words out loud that you didn't know actually existed until you said them. I accepted the crap pay with a smile on my face because it meant that I would get to learn from the best - and I most certainly did. I still have a grasp of this trait and I actually do all of my own cars still.
However, I digress... I was in my early 20's and worked my butt off at that place. I stood all day long except for my lunch time, as explained earlier, and in the winter, it was a bit less busy so I got to hang out and sit for about 30 minutes or so between cars sometimes. Then it was about 1-2 hours of standing, moving, twisting, shifting, cursing and having fun. In the summer, however, it was constant standing, stressful and a lot less fun, but still an enjoyable career that one can take some great pride in doing. I wasn't lifting anything heavy, just standing all day, walking around a car, getting in and out of a trunk or back seat to fit window film into the rear window... It was certainly a completely different field than what I'm in now.
I did not exercise at the time. I was in good health, I did not have any physical issues. This maintained for about 5 years of my life. I would feel tired after work just like mostly anyone else. However, I did not have any muscle mass, my posture was terrible and I slouched even when I walked around, regardless of standing up all day. My mother used to comment on my slouching constantly.
When I started writing code, I sat down for long periods of time. 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours... I would get up occasionally for something to drink, 5-10 minute breaks to take a walk and clear my head, an hour to go eat some lunch, etc... However, I still did not exercise. I did notice quite a difference in how I felt physically. I felt a lot more tired. I felt depressed sometimes. I gained a lot of body fat. My posture worsened. I got high cholesterol.
Fast forward to a few years later when my sister convinced me to start exercising with her. I took her up on this offer and she showed me some basics and it became another one of those things that I got fascinated by and surrounded myself with knowledge on the topic of exercise, health and personal fitness. I read a lot by Dr. Ellington Darden on the topic at first and then spanned my reading into other fitness gurus. After about 3 months of consistent exercise which mostly just included resistance training, I felt a lot better. My posture was something that improved immediately. When I walked, I was actually standing upright. I attribute this to actually exercising my back muscles to pull my shoulder back and into the correct position. I felt less fatigued, a lot less depressed and a lot less tired at the end of the day. I looked forward to my 30-45 minute weight lifting session.
Further into my exercise fit, I started lifting heavier weight and focusing on form a lot more. I finally had shoulder muscles. I had chest muscles. I had arm muscles and my legs were getting some crazy muscle on them. I got a little obsessed and started more into a body building routine. I put on 40 pounds of muscle one year alone by eating until I couldn't move, and then lifting as heavy as I could. I got up to doing a 400 pound deadlift, 225 pound squat, 195 pound bench press and I was doing pull-ups with an additional 90 pounds of weight added to a chain around my waist. This was a huge deal for me. When I started, I could barely do a 65 pound bench press. I couldn't do a single pull-up and as for squats... it was ugly.
Time went by and I got annoyed with lifting that much and eating a lot. I scaled back a lot. I started focusing more on bodyweight exercises. Standard pull-ups, push-ups, body weight squats, handstand push-ups, dips, etc... I added some cardio by way of mountain biking a couple of times a week, doing martial arts a couple of times a week and even doing attainments with kayaking on the weekends (paddling upstream on a river).
I still sit down at my desk 8-10 hours a day. Sometimes longer. Some days I don't exercise at all. I have even been through stints where I stopped exercising for months. I had chronic shoulder dislocations since I was 17 years old and finally got shoulder surgery in 2011 and did not exercise for 8 months other than physical therapy. I can tell a difference when I take that long off from exercising and just sitting behind a desk all day. However, it's a drop in the bucket compared to how often I do exercise and all of the active things I have grown to love over the years in my quest for health and fitness and to be active.
So what's the result of 13 years of sitting behind a desk and actually exercising? I'm healthier than I ever was when I worked a job where I had to stand and move all day long. My weight workouts consist of 30 minute routines with a mix of bodyweight resistance and weighted resistance. I don't have a gym membership. I do this in my garage. I do this 2-3 times a week. The other days, I jump out and do a quick 30-45 minute mountain bike ride. I may practice martial arts with my wife for an hour or so. I'll go kayaking on the weekends. My posture is still better than it was when I stood up all day. My muscle mass, while not as big as it was when I got into "body building", is still outstanding for a person my age. I recently had a physical and was deemed to be a super hero. No, seriously though, I was given an all clear for everything. All healthy with no bad cholesterol issues, normal blood pressure, etc... Which is actually quite surprising because I eat like absolute crap.
For less than an hour a day, I'm healthy. Even after sitting down for 8 hours. I swap out my workouts frequently so that I maintain interest in what I'm doing. I work on things and do exercises that interest me. This is the ticket. You can buy tons of expensive ergonomic office furniture and stand up all day long and it will never give you the benefit of real exercise. It's that simple. I'm living proof. I'm more healthy now than I was when I was 21. I also have a lot less hair.
This is something my wife and I have learned through counseling as well as just putting it to practice throughout our marriage. I always found it to be very helpful for us, so I figured I'd post it up.
There are, in general, 3 modes of communication.
- How was you day
- What do you want for dinner
- That movie was great, in the second scene they did blah blah blah
- My boss yelled at me over the dumbest thing today, can you believe that?!
- The other day my brother made me really mad, here is what he did...
- My husband is always trying to fix everything and doesn't just listen to me!
- Did you consider that your boss was not upset at you when he told you that?
- Maybe your husband wasn't feeling well at the time he did that?
Those 3 modes do not mix. Each person in the conversation must all be in the same mode to make the conversation remain relevant and smooth. The point at which communication breaks down between couples is when those 3 modes of communication are not established proactively.
For example, if your wife is venting, you the husband can not be in small talk mode and especially not problem solving mode. This causes frustration and makes the other people think that you are either not listening (you were probably in small talk mode while she was venting) or you were just "trying to fix everything" (you were probably in problem solving mode).
Some people are good about reading when a person in is each mode. Women are especially good at this. Women tend to think more emotionally and therefore can detect these modes. Men, however, usually need to be bluntly told what mode you're in. There are exceptions to that rule. However, regardless, it makes the most sense to proactively express which mode you're in verbally. Once that is expressed, the other person in the conversation should click into that mode. It can then be established when that mode has changed.
For instance; the wife is in "Venting" mode. Before she starts to vent or maybe shortly after she starts to vent, she should say "I'm venting now." At this point, the husband should simply listen. He should not try to solve the problems. Even if what his wife is saying is clearly and easily solvable! Put the resolution in the back of your head, write it down, whatever. It's the husbands time to listen and agree. That's all. As the wife vents, the husband should at times repeat what the wife says to show he's listening and that he understands and should also include honest, sympathetic reinforcements. For example: "What? I can't believe he said that to you. That's crazy!", "I bet that pissed you off! That would make me so mad too!"
The wife can continue to vent until she is cooled off. However, at some point, she should establish when she's ready for either small talk mode or problem solving mode. Some times, she may not be ready for problem solving mode yet and she should establish that. When she's done venting, she can say "I'm done venting. Let's talk about something else." For the husband, that does not mean it's time to give his opinion. It means it's *time to talk about something else *.
If the wife is ready for help or problem solving; she can say "So what do you think?" The wife should be ready for problem solving at this point. She has established she's done venting and is ready to solve the problem. The husband should at this point, go into problem solving mode and give his opinion or help on the situation. He should not change the subject or go into Small Talk mode. If he does, it's up to the wife to say "I'm in problem solving mode now. I want help."
Men need bluntness and specifics. While men can be emotional thinkers, it's not the default. It needs to be "turned on" sometimes. Particularly when they aren't in an emotional state at the time. It's up to the woman to set that state and it's up to the man to remain in that state.
Defining the modes and verbally stating which mode you're in can really help in communication. While it may seem odd at first, it can become sort of second nature if you try it for a while. Both partners should be very patient with each other when starting this practice because it takes time to settle into. For instance, I personally still default into problem solving mode when my wife has already told me that she is venting. She will often just tell me again "I'm still venting." I will check back in and try to remain in Venting mode with her.
It does require practice and cannot really be done every now and then, but must be done in mostly all conversations; particularly when one is venting. However, after a short time, it certainly becomes a part of every conversation and makes it a lot easier and causes far fewer arguments.
I've taken a lot of time off from working out lately... I have done the occasional day of weights, but that was few and far between with the most consistent time being once per week. Ever since I had my shoulder surgery, it has just been hard to get back into it after 8 months of not doing it. That was 2 years ago! So, other than kayaking and mountain biking and the occasional day on the heavy bag, I haven't done much. I've gained weight too. I'm not at 182 lbs. I've never weighed this much, however, I have been fatter before. I do have more muscle than I did when I used to weigh around 178 lbs in my mid 20's. Nevertheless, I still feel gross and out of shape.
My diet sucks too. However, I have never had a perfectly clean diet. I enjoy ice cream and french fries! That's my guilty pleasures, as well as various candy. Other than that though, my diet is pretty decent. I don't eat much fast food. I try to eat mostly whole foods (besides french fries... )
Anyway, It's time to get back to it all. I've taken enough time off from consistently working out. I'll be going back to a 3 day a week weight routine. On my "off" days, I'll be mountain biking, kayaking or playing tennis. I'll throw some heavy bag training in there on occasions. I want to do a Friday, Sunday, Tuesday routine because I work from home on Friday's and can make a quick trip into my garage to workout. Sunday's I'm usually at home too. Tuesday's aren't that busy for me, so it's the only other option.
So today I started back with a leg workout.
- Body weight squats for a warmup - 2 sets x 20 reps
- Barbell squats - Barx5, 95x5, 105x5, 115x5, 125x5, 135x5
- Stiff-leg Deadlifts - 95x5, 135x8, 135x8
- Calve raises - 40x15, 40x15
- Crunches with heavy bag - 2 x 15
- Planks - 2 x 1 min
Not a very intense routine, but a good start back. I haven't done barbell squats in forever since I dislocated my shoulder doing them many years ago. I've decided to give them another try. I did fairly well with them. Especially considering when I did them with just 95 lbs that one time I dislocated my shoulder. However, the entire thing still felt scary. I took it slow and easy.
Tuesday will be some shoulder and arm work. I do a lot of rehabilitation shoulder work, so I tend to put these on a day of their own right now and add biceps and triceps along with them. Friday will be back and chest. I also plan on going for at least 1 bike ride this week, probably Thursday. I also intend on playing tennis at least once this week as well.
I was having a lot of trouble with NetworkManager not saving my VPN group and user passwords. I'm guessing this is a bug and I did see some references to launchpad bugs while doing my googling to find a solution. However, it took me a while to figure it out. It requires a little editing of the system-connection files.
If you look in
/etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/, you will see your connection files. Open one of them and change a few of the settings. The two settings I had to change/add were:
ipSec-secret-type=save # This wasn't in the file
IPSec secret-flags=0 # This was set to 1 originally
# This entire section didn't exist, I had to add it
There are other things in the file, but I didn't have to change those. It's very Odd that nm-applet can't seem to figure this out. Quite a bug. Anyway, here is my entire file for reference:
NAT Traversal Mode=natt
IKE DH Group=dh2
So, after a little over a month with my Android phone and tablet, I can confidently say that Android wins in the phone market... Unless you're a timid user, then the iPhone wins due to sheer usability. However, the Android is way more configurable and fun to use, but it lacks polish in a lot of areas and inconsistencies throughout the interface would make it a task for unsure users.
However, on the tablet market, iPad still owns, IMO. For one main reason... Media. Android and Android developers just can't seem to get it right. Browsing through movies, TV Shows and other Media on the iPad is awesome with cover art, complete ID3 tags and everything working as it should. On the Android device, it's a chore and an ugly one at that.
Open most Video players and you have a jumbled mess of videos in no specific order. Some of them don't even provide a thumbnail of the video. I want my TV shows and my movies separated into sections and my TV Shows separated by seasons and ordered. I also want my ID3 tags displayed and any cover art I added to them if it's an m4v file. I simply can not find any app on the Android market that does this.
MX Media Player comes very close by honoring your folder separation in its interface. For instance, I can put my Movies in a Movies folder and my TV Shows in a TV Shows folder and then those in their appropriate Season folders and such. Then MX Media Player will keep the videos organized as long as you've named the file starting with a number. It also provides a thumbnail of the video, but no cover art or ID3 tags are used.
I can't connect to an external share and stream movies from it in MX Media Player, which sucks too because I have a media server at home that has a few smb shares that I can stream from my iPad. I can open ES File Manager and connect to the share and then sort through those videos in an ugly interface with no thumbnails or cover art and then click on the movie and then be prompted on how I want to open it (as an image, really? It's a movie!) and then be prompted on what I want to open it with (Yeah, I know I can save a default, but still...) This is a lousy user experience.
On the iPad, all ID3 tags are displayed. Cover art is displayed. All movies are in a nice grid. All TV Shows are separated by Show, Season and Episodes along with info on which shows I have already watched. I can stream from my media server and browse it in the same way as if it were natively on the device. This is an awesome experience for media and what I would expect.
Maybe I'm missing the killer App on Android for media that makes it a much better user experience. If anyone knows of one, let me know and I"ll give it a shot. However, on the tablet, Media is huge for me. Watching Movies, TV Shows and Netflix is what I primarily do on there, other than using the Kindle software for reading.
If anyone knows of a better App on the android market for this, please let me know. I'm considering getting into writing Android apps just for this specific case. I'm sure writing Android Apps has to be better than writing iOS apps. I just can't stand Obj-C... I hate it more than Java.