Wednesday, March 1, 2017

No Sloth! (3/1/17)
This is a brown, three-toed sloth. It's kinda cute. And baby sloths are absolutely adorable.
Some species of sloth actually grow algae in their fur. I don't want to grow algae. Anywhere.

This year I am giving up sloth for Lent. Seriously. Want to know more? Read on!

No Sloth! (3/1/17)
This year I am giving up sloth for Lent. Seriously.

What does that mean? It means I’m going to set aside some of my bad habits during this season in the hope that it will lead to lasting change. I tend to be inactive when I’m not working. I do exercise, but I’m not always consistent with my exercise routines. I also tend to put off basic maintenance and cleaning tasks. I need to change this.

How exactly does one give up sloth? For me, it means that I will devote a minimum of 30 minutes per day to vigorous exercise or some sort of cleaning or maintenance project. So any day that I go for a run or go to the gym and lift weights, I’ve met my obligation. However, I know that I can’t run every single day. That’s a recipe for injury. I probably couldn’t lift weights every day, either—or if I did, I couldn’t do it for 30 minutes or more each day. By adding cleaning and maintenance to the list, I can balance my needs for exercise and physical rest. Also, I will hold Sundays and other days of religious observance (Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday) exempt from this requirement. But on all of the other days of Lent, I will devote myself to at least 30 minutes of continuous activity for exercise or maintenance.

What counts? (And what doesn’t!)
  • Any run of more than 2.5 miles. I’m a slow runner. I would love it if I could do a mile in less than 12 minutes. But if I do, I would have to go farther than 2.5 miles. This won’t be difficult, because most of my runs are at least 2.5 miles.
  • Going for a hike or a long walk. As long as I am in constant motion or nearly constant motion (stopping for a water fountain or bathroom break is acceptable), a walk counts.
  • A short walk doesn’t count. For instance, my bank is about half a mile from my apartment. I usually walk there. That takes about ten minutes. Then I stand around for a few minutes, do my banking, and walk home. Now I think it’s a good thing that I’m not using gas for something so close by, and it’s definitely good for me to walk, but it really doesn’t do much to improve my fitness. Maybe I could count this as maintenance, but honestly, walking to the bank, depositing my paycheck, and then walking home only takes about 25 minutes. And I never put off depositing a paycheck! Walking to the bank is already the norm. It’s not a change of behavior, so it doesn’t count.
  • Weight lifting counts. On a good week, I go to the gym two or three times to lift weights. I lift with a couple of my friends. We’re usually there for 40 minutes to an hour. Is it 40 minutes of continuous lifting? No. Of course not. You need to rest in between sets. Still, the total workout takes more than 30 minutes and it’s tough.
  • Sometimes I’ll run on the treadmill before I lift weights. By itself, the running doesn’t count. (I will count the mileage toward my monthly goals.) Of course, when I combine 10-15 minutes on the treadmill with 20-30 minutes of weight lifting (or more), then it definitely counts!
  • Going to the laundromat definitely counts.
  • Vacuuming my apartment doesn’t count. It’s a small apartment. It can’t take me more than 15-20 minutes to sweep the entire place.
  • Unloading the dishwasher definitely doesn’t count. I usually do this in the morning, while I’m making coffee. It takes five minutes, tops.
  • Vacuuming my apartment, unloading the dishwasher, washing pots and pans, and then cleaning the kitchen—that counts. That’s more than 30 minutes dedicated to cleaning. It counts.


I’m going to blog about my activity so that I hold myself accountable. I have to do this every day—the exercise or cleaning—except Sundays and other observances. Like that manna that God provided to the Israelites during the Exodus, I can’t carry something over to the next day. So if I go for a four-mile run on Friday, and then I go to the laundromat on the same day, that’s great! But it doesn’t let me off the hook for Saturday. I will do my best to keep the blog current, but that won’t count toward my goal, so I might not post every day.

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