Monday, June 24, 2013

(Hand)spinning to good health

How you can tell I don't live in an obsessive crafting community: when I tell people I'm going to spin, they assume I'm on my way to a fitness class. 

This business of crafty vs. athletic has been troubling me over the last few years, since I took up knitting again after about two decades of focusing purely on writing, and consequently began putting on weight.  True, there have been other factors (read: STRESS with a capital WOW) but it is also true that when I was writing, I felt more active.

Why?  Because I was more active.  I don't know about other writers, but omigosh, I hit writer's block every few sentences and have to get up from my chair to make tea, learn how to use power tools effectively, or dust a wall.  Then I go back and write a few more sentences and the cycle repeats.  When I am knitting, my hands never stop moving but the rest of me most certainly does.  And now that I am spinning too?

Can this innocent ball of yum be the enemy in disguise?
Yikes.  That is an addictive occupation.  I will put off everything - in the case of what's in that picture, much-needed sleep - to spin just one more handful of fiber.

The other day I finally got to the May 20th issue of The New Yorker (2013, if you're reading this after the fact) in which Susan Orlean - one of my writing heroes - shared a piece on walking desks.  This article put my brain on high alert about exercise.

Points taken - with the caveat that these are my takeaways, and may not be remotely accurate:

1/ It's really important not to sit more than six hours a day, because doing that tells your body you don't need it any more and it starts the (thankfully time-consuming) process of closing up shop

2/ You can be physically fit and still have the closing-up-shop problem happening

3/ Our bodies are made to move

4/ Hello, get out of that chair

5/ GAH


My other takeaways were,

1/ Buy a fitbit because they sound cool

2/ Walking desks? Who knew?

Because I love shopping, I did buy a fitbit.  Then I researched walking desks even though my desk space is restricted to a 3.5' x 2.5' space and I'm not kidding, I have to use a bench chair so it tucks right underneath - there is no room for a chair back, even.  A treadmill in front of an elevated desk could not be less of an option for me.  Standing desks: that's another story and would actually increase my desk storage space so I'm open. 


The deal with the fitbit is sort of boring and long but essentially it's a pedometer that tells you not just how many steps you've taken but a lot of other stuff too.  Like, how far you've gone and many calories you've burned and, if you plug in a weight goal, how much more you can eat that day based on how many calories you've burned so far.  And it does it all automatically, with motivating graphics that change as your day unfolds and your step count increases.

I might as well just mention here that when it comes to fitbit's motivational graphics, the day you run errands and get so busy you forget to eat is a much more cheerful day than the day you sit in a car for six hours knitting so you can go set up the cottage for the summer.  Yeesh, priorities.

And... back to my story

As it turns out, it is definitely possible to be crafty and not be sitting.  One can do a lot at a standing desk, and I've revisited the concept of walking around the house while I'm knitting - no problem - which extends to pacing while watching a movie.

But what about handspinning?

Well, thanks to my new friends at Ravelry's Completely Twisted and Arbitrary spinning group, I can tell you that very small electric wheels you can use standing up are things that exist.  For example, one might choose the Hansen miniSpinner, or the Ashford e-spinner.  They're priced in the ballpark of a traditional wheel, but they are compact, and they take up way less space than a treadmill for a walking desk, so: birthday wishlist?

Of course if you have the room, you can even use these things while walking.

(just: wow.  new hero up there.)

And I think that's quite enough about turning creativity into fitness for this week, don't you?  Tomorrow I will tell you about that cottage run and the knitting that resulted from it.  Yay, knitting!


Trish said...

I may have just found the one thing that would convince me to get a treadmill...

Anonymous said...

And... yay for new friends ;-)