Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Urban Gym Jungle Gym

Trail walking at Fraser HIll
I remember three gym memberships very well. All started nicely during the first few months, maybe to a year and one into the second year. Then all tapered to once a week attendance ... and ended in once in a few months. I'm sure there are more than these three gym memberships that I ever had but they are distant memories; either too long ago or hardly attended any session. My last one was five years ago. Now I know that real gym is not for me. Workout to me needs to have a purpose than just exercise.

The best one I had was walking everyday, five days a week for a full year, except on school holidays, then three times a week for another year - a couple of hours each time. Those long walks of 2005 and 2006, while my son was attending his kindergarten, healed me from many ailments, of body, mind and soul. Nah, not much of weight loss as I did not monitor much of my diet. I did lose about 7 kilograms in that two years of long walks. And it is only recently that I lost another 7 kilograms. Having a BMI value of 28, I'm still way overweight.

It was other worrisome health markers, namely cholesterol and blood pressure, that made me take a more serious look at my diet than just reducing sugar, oil and salt (SOS). Following countries' nutrition guides alone, like DASH,  can no longer effectively lower my blood pressure. And there is more to cholesterol than just limiting eggs and organ meats as well other foods high in cholesterol. There are many other unmeasureable (not easily measured) factors affecting, say, blood pressure beside diet and physical activity. Yet these are the ones we can control, beside of course, of smoking and alcohol intake.

These days I'm trying to follow a plant based diet that is low in glycemic load. Meat, dairy and fish will still be in the menu, only in smaller portion. Having been trained in nutrition and food science I'm left to believe that there is no such thing as bad food.; unless proven so, or in a case of food alergies. This principle, of no bad food, certainly applies only to whole foods. Once processed, refined or repurposed, especially those that become pure chemical compounds - food are no longer food in its true sense. When my son adds sugar to his chocolate milk I remind him that he is adding chemical to his drink. "Hehh." Want to talk about all those extruded snacks? I asked him "Uuhuh, would you let me enjoy my chemicals, mom?" was his response. "I'm just teaching you biochemistry, duh." He is homeschooled.

But then I'm no chef. So most of our meals turn out like a lab outputs. Utilitarian, no garnishing. "Hehh." There I echoed my son.

In physical activity, I know as much it has to be something productive while expending energy. Walking to a train station has much more pull factor than a gym, also working the farm is more satisfying. My 2005 - 2006 had a push factor of time and money saving as well being already in a beautiful garden like setting with shaded foot path. This daily long walks became less regular when my son entered primary school, and later homeschooled. To these days, urban walking is still an activity my son and I both enjoy.  It certainly can saves money, a good amount of money sometimes, depending which city we are in. Futhermore, nothing compares to seeing a place on foot. My son would argue though that taking a heli ride would be funner!!! Still this urban walk activity has to be scheduled into our daily life ... not just when we are traveling in another city.

Urban gym Paris: Going down the steps, that we had climbed up earlier.

Urban gym Paris: More steps down that later had to be climbed up!

Kuala Lumpur has many places and routes for walking, from garden and parks, to covered airconditioned walkways. The KLCC - Pavilion walkway is our favourite, which we have done a few times. The distance between KLCC train station to Hang Tuah train station is probably 5 Kilometers, yet it makes a pleasurable look forward activity. It could be one of our weekly hikes

Another route is the walk from our house to (again) KLCC, with a distance of around 8 kilometers. We reserve this for Sundays and long weekends, as we need to walk by the road side most of the way. It is not the KL heat and humidy that we worry us most but polution. On the way we pass Taman Tasek Titiwangsa - one of KL parks. Taman Tasik Titiwangsa is our fall back outdoor urban gym. Just about two kilometers from our where we live.

Tman Tasek Titiwangsa: Great city view

Taman Tasek Titiwangsa: Walking path

Taman Tasek Titiwangsa: Open air gym equipments

Now the challenge is to get our feet going with higher frequency!!! For this week, since our return to the city last week, we did the KLCC - Pavilion route on Monday, and today because of another business outing, we did the IKEA route. I'll write on the IKEA route in another post.

For now Alternative Foodie is signing out

p/s photos other than Taman Tasik Titiwangsa are of my son.

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