I have been doing stairlaps 5 times a week since July. At first, it was enough just to try and make it up the stairs and back down ten times.
But after a week or so, I began enjoying it more, and I started adding a little to each rep. Once I added an “Idea walk” onto the end, so I could warm down, and take in the trees and the quiet, knowing that for the rest of the day I’d already checked off the most difficult thing on my list.
Each time I went back I would start by trotting down the street to the entrance to the botanical garden, and take 3 simple trips up the stairs, going one step at a time.
After a few weeks, I realized I could add a set of pushups at the top. Doing pushups on the dry blacktop left sweaty handprints. And sore wrists. So I started carrying a foam kneepad. Then a water bottle.
The first couple weeks, I did exactly the same workout each time – some stairs, some pushups in between. But I knew I wanted to build a long-lasting habit, so I was on the lookout to avoid past mistakes I’ve made in workout routines. Namely, set-it-and-forget-it workouts, where I would run 5 miles along Lake Michigan 5 times a week, enjoy the runner’s high while ignoring the strains and exhaustion. Or doing long sets of heavy deadlifts 4 or 5 times a week until I developed serious sciatic pain.
So far I’ve been careful to use this project as a lab to develop a new, sustainable habit while practicing flexibility and persistence at the same time. If I don’t get a chance to do a planned workout because some work deadline looms, or because some family priority jumps in out of nowhere, I know I can catch a few minutes in the evening. Or just skip and go tomorrow.
And I’ve been experimenting with loading the basic practice of stairlaps with other things. Some days I focus on mobility, so I do a set of toe-touches, air-squats, lunges, traingle pose, and other stretches in between each lap.
Triangle pose is a special treat here, because when you look up, you see treetops!
Other days I use one-handed farmers carry to work side-obliques. I started with a 20lb kettle bell, alternating between hands. This enables me to get a little more sweat out of a slightly shorter workout.
At least once a week, I push pretty hard: 15 stairlaps using a 40lb kettle bell, with a set of 15 pushups between each rep. Then I finish with another 10 stairlaps with simple stretches and no weights.
When I want to put in the reps but don’t have the mental energy to concoct a new workout, I fall back to the Mindless 15: 15 stair laps with a set of 15 pushups between each rep.
This continues to evolve. Last week, I realized I could SIT on the cushion, so after stairs I sat and did my 30 breathes up there. It was pretty sweet. The dawn light blasted through the trees and I snapped a few pictures after I was finished.
I considered building some intricate metaphor about ADHD and this fence, because I can se through the fence to the trees, but it granulates the view.
But I am not sure I want to take a position on whether having ADHD forces me to superimpose an orderly grid over my genuine experience of life, and meditation removes all that in order to give me the unfettered clear view of my life, like this other view here.
I offer these pictures to you, and encourage you to make your own story. Share it if you like, or keep it just for yourself.
By the way, betwee the intermittent fasting I’ve been doing since June and the stairlaps, I seem to have misplaced about 15 pounds. And my nagging cough has backed way off.
Me feeling a lot less puffy than 6 months ago