I tend to watch a lot of crap reality TV. It helps take my mind off more serious issues: like wars and death in the Arab world and whether my children will be safe going to school in Egypt today.
But being the semi-intelligent person I am, I realize that most if not all of what we see on reality television shows is staged in one way or another.
A couple of my friends have mentioned over the past two years that I should have a reality television show of my own. I always reply, “Do you have any idea how boring and commonplace my life is? There would be absolutely no element of entertainment.”
Of course, my life isn’t really boring. Quite to the contrary, if you ask me. I manage to spice things up as often as is possible given my circumstances. Even so, my life, as is anyone else’s, is comprised of a lot of routine interspersed with some excitement.
Last month I had a sudden burst of creative energy. I wanted to do something a bit different. How about I take small videos of random parts of my day for a month and see what that month of my life looked like in retrospect?
So I carried a mini camera with me all month long. It went with me everywhere. Sometimes I’d remember I had it with me and others I wouldn’t. When I would randomly remember I had it I’d take a short video clip of whatever it was I was doing. I kept that up for a full month.
I put together some random four-second clips from the videos I took. I thought of making it move fast-forward or of adding some music to it. But then I decided that the normal speed and the normal noise is what my life is really like. I’m going to leave things just as they are. Normal.
I have always struggled with running. It is not my sport. I usually resort to it only when I absolutely must. When I’m in
Running in Cairo with the totally awesome Cairo Runners.
Egypt, my treadmill becomes one of the few means available to me for a daily workout. I stopped going to the gym in Egypt a few years ago because it took too long to get to it in Cairo’s horrendous traffic.
My problem with the treadmill is the mind-numbing monotony that comes with using it. After running for a kilometer or two my whole body feels like giving up because I am simply too bored.
I tried picking up running properly when the wonderful initiative of Cairo Runners started with weekly Friday runs. But due to my irregular participation, I was suddenly running distances that I had not properly trained for or graduated up to. My knees were unable to take the pounding from running long distances on pavement. I had to give up running completely for a few months to nurse my knee back to health. In the meantime, I focused on other forms of low-impact exercise.
Once my knee was better, I wanted to take up running again. I don’t like thinking that there is something out there that I cannot do. I find running boring, it hurts sometimes, and it requires tremendous endurance and willpower from me that I do not always have. But what all that really means is that I need to engage in a battle with myself and win it.
So I signed myself up for a 10 km race in the UK. (more…)
wonder why someone has written a whole book about it. More of what is out there is just a load of crap. Generally, I think too many people have turned healthy living into something that is way too complicated for someone who wants to start on the road towards a healthier lifestyle.
So, since I am an anybody and I have accumulated some personal experience on this topic over the past few years, I thought I would share my own tips on how to live more healthily.
1. Your goal should be gradually shifting into a lifestyle change and not finding a quick fix solution. One of the first things you need to do is completely remove the word diet from your vocabulary. YOU ARE NOT STARTING YET ANOTHER DIET. Your goal is not to lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time. Your goal should not even be weight loss. Your goal should be to become healthy. This will inevitably result in some weight loss. But stop focusing on your weight and start focusing on changing the way you live.
2. Lifestyle changes do not happen overnight.(more…)
Hundreds of young Egyptians gathered this Friday morning in Heliopolis. It was not to protest in front of the Presidential Palace. It was not to throw molotov cocktails. It was not to express anger at government policies. Hundreds of Egyptians gathered this Friday morning in Heliopolis to collectively and proactively express the importance of physical fitness.
A new running movement seems to be gearing up in Egypt. It was started a few short weeks ago by a group who call themselves Cairo Runners. Their aim is to organize a half marathon sometime in April. And until then they are gathering people from all over the city to gradually increase the distances they can jog.
Today there were two routes; a shorter six kilometer route and a longer 11 kilometer route. It was one of the most amazing and inspiring experiences of my life to run alongside my fellow Egyptians on the streets of sunny Cairo. Instead of the typical harassment girls have come to expect, people were standing on the sides of the road cheering on the hundreds of young men and women who were chugging along. There were all kinds of people running today. They were mostly young people in their twenties. But I saw younger teenagers and older 50-year-olds as well. There were girls running in their hijab and girls without. There were guys with beards and guys without. There were extremely fit men (the kind with bulging muscles that you just want to squeeze) and there were young women who were nice and curvy. One young man was running with his two huge dogs on their chains. Some people jogged the whole distance. Others jogged until they got tired and then walked.
If jogging on the streets of Cairo has been one of your dreams – as it has been mine – your dream has now come true! I’ll be joining Cairo Runners next week. I hope you will too.
Follow Cairo Runners on Twitter @CairoRunners and on Facebook where they post details of where the next running event will happen approximately half way into each week.
Almost every single time I start thinking about beginning my semi-daily exercise routine I feel dread. But I’ve never once regretted
Hiking in the Cinque Terre, Italy
exercising once I’m done.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes when I start exercising or when I go to the gym, I feel like giving up in the middle of it all. Sometimes I do the easier exercises rather than the more difficult ones. Sometimes in gym class I’ll be so tired that I do things at half the pace as everyone else. And a couple of times I’ve started an activity and I’ve just completely given up after a few minutes. But that’s only happened when I’ve chosen to do something I’m completely unprepared to do.
My journey with exercise has been just that: a long and arduous journey. It’s taken me years to understand my body, its limitations, how far I can push it, and when I just need to rest. It’s taken me years to get myself into a mindset of exercising as regularly as I can, no matter where I am, and no matter what facilities are available to me. The one thing that has convinced me most to keep pushing forward is that I want to be fit enough to enjoy my life and to do fun and exciting things. (more…)