Getting into Shape and Other Time Fillers

30 Jan

Been thinking about my lack of exercise these last two months. With the holidays, starting my CNA class, and a part-time job all going on in December and now having grad school start in January, I’ve been easily able to put aside exercising due to time constraints. Oh yeah, and MCAT studying throughout everything else. With the MCAT finished up and the CNA class coming to a close after tomorrow my available time will increase tremendously. Being an overly zealous planner and workaholic, I’ve been sitting around today thinking of ways to fill my time back up. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Exercise on the weekdays (~0.5-1 hr / day)
  • Find a part-time job as a CNA (8-12 hr shifts)
  • Brush up on my Japanese skills (~1 hr / day)
  • Something else???

Recommend some new activity, that you enjoy doing, for me to try! I look forward to reading what you come up with!


Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Personal


Tags: ,

17 responses to “Getting into Shape and Other Time Fillers

  1. PGY1

    January 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I hope your MCAT went well. Given your life’s present and future academic demands, I recommend adopting a meditation practice! Acceptance of the present moment somehow smoothes life’s rough patches. I started again yesterday after meaning to do so for months and then seeing some new meditation research. Let’s see how I do over time. 🙂

    Check out After 8 wks of mindfulness meditation subjects had increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area associated with learning and memory. Subjects also had decreased gray matter in the amygdala, which forms the fear response and is the seat of anxiety. offers a short list of tips on how to cultivate mindfulness in daily life. I also recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Full Catastrophe Living which can be used with or without his Guided Mindfulness Meditation cds.

    • Flustered Grad

      January 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Thank you for leaving a suggestion! Just downloaded and read the paper you referenced. I thought it was interesting that the subjects in the study were all right-handed. Maybe there’s a difference between left vs right-handedness? It’s cool to see the MRI results to back up this study. The change in the study group compared to the control’s was pretty big. I’d heard for a couple years now about how meditation was supposed to be beneficial, but this is the first I’m seeing it from a controlled study stand point. The amount of potential plasticity that our nervous system has is awesome!

      The pdf of mindfulness tips will serve as a quick reminder sheet for me. I’m gonna go see if I can find some guided audio clips to try out for starters, and I’ll definitely look into that book you mentioned. I’ll have to blog my progress with this here now too. Thanks again for the suggestion!

    • albinoblackbear

      February 6, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Hilarious. Full Catastrophe Living has been on my Amazon wish list for about 6 months now! =)

  2. PGY1

    January 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    A friend just sent me a link to these free mindful meditation mp3s from Christopher Germer, PhD.

    A little woo woo, but it’s good for you so go with it. 🙂 I like the Kabat-Zinn cds.

    Here’s another tip sheet with suggestions for daily practice from JKZ:

    Have fun!

  3. albinoblackbear

    February 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I have to agree with PGY-1. I have been using yoga/meditation/mindfulness more and more since starting medical school. I find it is the only consistent way to keep the insomnia at bay. And on days when I can’t focus, I do a bunch of balancing poses (best way to sharpen the mind back into concentration, otherwise you’re on the floor! hahah)

    I have a membership to which has hundreds of meditation videos/tapes as well as yoga and pilates videos. I think the membership is 8$ CAD a month or something.

  4. PGY1

    February 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks for the hot tip, ABB! I think I might try that as a next step to maintain my practice. And Kevin, Wii Fit is a great tool but does not replace yoga and meditation. Darn.

    I need to do a few more things along the lines of Wii Fit so I don’t break a hip when I’m 35. I’m sure I can *totally* find a way to squeeze twice weekly weight training and regular weight-bearing cardio into my lifestyle. That said, I’ve meditated every day for the past eight except for the day I came down with the real deal flu. Listen to ABB!

    • Flustered Grad

      February 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      We’ll see about the yoga. Haha. I was thinking more along the lines of picking up martial arts again. It’s great for flexibility, strength, and mental concentration.

  5. PGY1

    February 6, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Hmm, you make an excellent point! The only thing missing is the frank “non-doing” portion of mindfulness, but technically the deep focus of practicing martial arts could strengthen your capacity to “just be” during ordinary moments of daily life. I’m not sure that it replaces meditation entirely, however. I know at least some of the martial arts sensei meditate as part of their practice — is this universally true?

  6. PGY1

    February 6, 2011 at 2:28 am

    P.S. Check out this video of Jon Kabat-Zinn discussing mindful meditation (based on the original Zen, really) and leading a guided meditation. I recommend it when you have a good 75 minutes to spend, but it’s a worthy introduction! Did I mention you should listen to ABB? 😉

  7. PGY1

    February 6, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Aarrgh, here’s the link! I blame the flu. 😉

    • Flustered Grad

      February 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

      My old martial arts instructor had us meditate quietly for a little before each class to ground and focus everyone, but you’re right that it would not replace an active meditation regimen. I was thinking to do the meditation on top of the martial arts. I’ll check out that link, and ABB’s link as well. Feel better! 🙂

      • albinoblackbear

        February 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

        I think above most sports, martial arts does integrate ‘mindfulness’ but like ‘just-be’ part of things is probably more unique to certain types of meditation.

        My physiology prof is a world expert in neuroplasticity (p.s. you ought to read “The Brain that Changes Itself” by N. Doige for a full-on eye opener on all this) and he talks a lot about meditation and neural activity. He’s done some FMRI studies himself but has spoken to us about FMRI studies done using Buddhist monks whilst meditating. They have shown the highest integration of right/left brain communication. Really fascinating stuff. I’ll see if I can track some of the articles down.

        The other thing I like about the myyogaonline is they have lots of varying lengths/levels of classes. Sometimes I only want a 15min pilates, other times I want a 30 minute meditation, other times I want a 75min power yoga session. It’s really great for variety.

        (I don’t get any kickbacks for promoting them in case you were wondering!! hahah) 🙂

        • Flustered Grad

          February 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

          The title of that book intrigues me. I’ll definitely look into it!

  8. PGY1

    February 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I heartily second ABB’s recommendation for The Brain that Changes Itself and hereby ask her to join me in practice once we’re both attending physicians b/c she is awesomely well read and balanced. I’d actually like to ask her to marry me, but it seems neither of us swings that way, alas. (ABB, I’d love to see those articles if you find them). I will definitely join this week once my fevers subside!

  9. Anonymous

    February 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Ballroom dancing! You can always use dance skills 🙂


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