Resolutions: treadmills, shoes, garlic & kale, and vitamin D

If any of your resolutions involve walking or running, you must read my blog post My scientific/personal advice for treadmill training. Even though I wrote it on New Year’s Day six years ago, everything in it remains true today. The science is the same; only the shoes are better – instead of “La Vidas” we’re wearing the “Warriors.”

This year I’ll turn 60. My singular resolution is to get in better shape than I was when I was in my 20s. While the odds would seem to be against me, I think I can do it. Even though I ran a lot, ate healthy and, obviously, was a whole lot younger back then, I’m smarter now. I train better, eat better, sleep better, and just do things better.

Why do I want to do this? Well, there’s COVID for one thing. I don’t want to get it and I certainly don’t want to spread it. I wear a mask, wash my hands and take social distancing very seriously. Aside from those basics, being in good health is the next best defense we have.

I’ll start the year by running 3 miles each day on my treadmill. Our beloved ‘90’s treadmill finally died a couple years ago, after we’d put about a gazillion miles on it. We were fortunate to find a practically-unused version of the exact same model on eBay, listed at the cost of hauling it out of someone’s basement. Even now, when you’d think that private gym equipment would be in shorter supply, you can find cheap but perfectly functional treadmills on Craigslist and eBay.

When the weather gets warmer, I’ll start running outside again. I’ve usually run the same 3-mile loop around the factory downtown, but this year I vow to venture out. We have some beautiful running routes and trails in Charlottesville, including one that starts from our backyard. When you start thinking about running or walking as a way to see different things, it opens up a whole new way of exercising more than just your body.

I’ll be more conscious of the physical activity I do both at home and at the factory. I’m on my feet a lot at the factory and when I do sit, I’ll make sure that’s it never for more than 20 minutes at a time. The same goes for being at home. It’s remarkable how much physical activity you can get when you’re keeping your home (relatively) tidy. When the weather’s nice I’ll get out in the yard to garden for at least an hour a day. That’ll include tending to our chickens and mowing the lawn with a push electric lawnmower that I just got for Christmas. I’ll plant the biggest vegetable garden we’ve ever had and grow lots and lots of garlic and kale.

Finally, I’ll be sure to take Vitamin D every day. More studies are showing that people who are deficient in Vitamin D get substantially more sick from COVID than people who are not deficient. (That’s significant, since the majority of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.) You may have been told that you get plenty of Vitamin D from the sun. That may be true during the summer (depending on where you live), but it’s very difficult to get enough sun in the winter. And if you have dark skin like me, you absorb even less Vitamin D from the sun. I take 1,000 units a day, which keeps my Vitamin D at a nice healthy level. Ask your physician to check your Vitamin D level to see if you’re deficient, and if so, the best dose for you to take.

2021 is going to be a great year. Stay healthy!