Out of the office: ‘Stupid walks’

After more than three weeks of regularly hitting the gym — easily the longest stretch of any kind of exercise I’ve managed since leaving high school in 2015 — I regretfully report that it has not yet fixed my entire life.

I’ve known for a long time that I need to get more active. I live a largely sedentary lifestyle, writing at a desk by day, watching movies or playing video games by night. My days as a distance swimmer are approaching a full decade removed, and the difference I see on the scale is somehow even more vast.

Getting a gym membership is admittedly only my latest plan for getting healthy. It’s something that’s been on my mind for years, but which I haven’t been great at taking much action on.

Previous get-fit-quick schemes included two weeks of outdoor jogging ended when I wiped out on the side of the highway; scattered sessions of Just Dance for the Wii abandoned because my heart can’t keep up with my passion; and the acquisition of a bike which still sits in my garage having never been used on top of the treadmill I also bought and barely used.

So far, at three weeks and counting, the gym has been the first thing I’ve stuck with — maybe part of that is a fear of wasting my $40 every month.

I’ve been hitting the gym’s treadmill, entirely similar in function to the one in my garage, for at least 30 minutes three to four times a week. I spend the time bopping along to a messy workout playlist that alternates with abandon between the guitar riffs of Fall Out Boy, the synth-pop vibes of mxmtoon and Carly Rae Jepsen, and the orchestral scores of Japanese game composers Yoko Shimomura and Masayoshi Soken.

While I don’t see a difference in the mirror, and my legs still hurt afterwards, and my heart rate still climbs way too high way too fast, it’s become something I almost enjoy — a part of my late night routine.

“Do you know what the most annoying thing is about taking a stupid walk every day for my stupid mental health?” author John Green asked in a relatable, viral 2022 TikTok video. “These stupid walks work, so I have to keep taking them.”

I don’t know what I expected, but after three solid weeks of keeping up with this thing — my life hasn’t meaningfully changed.

Am I happier? I don’t think so.

Am I lighter? Certainly not.

Did I hold a jog for three minutes instead of two Wednesday night before my heart told me to stop? I’m considering this an absolute win.

Maybe in a year these “stupid walks” will have fixed my whole life, or maybe not. After only three weeks, I’m just excited to still be trying for a change.

For my long-term health, my happiness and my self-image — not to mention so I can play Just Dance again — I’ve gotta keep dragging myself out of the house and onto that treadmill.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.