Timer Magic: A Sort of Hack for Exercise Pre-Medication

“Set a timer” makes most people think of baking. And hello, why would I not want to think of baking, as it leads me to thoughts of delightful cupcakes or pies or other delicious things (P.S. There's a cupcake emoji now, and that brings me much joy).

However, I’ve taken using phone timers to a whole new level. Dude, I once even set a timer when I crossed the border into the US! I was curious how my cell phone carrier charges me for my Roam Like Home days (except, that being a count-up timer, a la stopwatch, I sort of forgot to stop it once I re-entered Canada).

Recently I started using the timer hack for asthma. And I’m digging it.

Pre-medication: A conundrum of exercise-induced asthma

Like many with exercise-induced asthma (EIA), I pre-medicate before exercise. Getting back on that train means making use of that waiting time, the 15-ish minutes between when I take my inhaler and when I ideally want to start a workout. Working from and working out at home, I’ve been known to pre-medicate, get distracted, and run out of time. Whoops.

Often, I use the timer on my iPhone in unconventional ways. For example, after my wisdom tooth removal, I set the count-down timer to see when I could take my next dose of Tylenol 3 to stay on top of the pain for the first 48 hours.

Using the timer as a pre-medication tool

A couple weeks ago it occurred to me to use the countdown timer when pre-medicating for exercise.

Um, hello. So simple, but such a game-changer.

Now, instead of taking my meds, getting ready, and then basically wasting time as my lungs get all prepared to be active, I quelled the distraction of looking at the clock every 90 seconds. The other day I took my inhaler while working at my laptop, set the timer for 15 minutes, and kept writing. When I reached a natural pause point in the article I was working on, I glanced over and it was about 10 minutes later. By the time I changed and hunted down a hair tie, a productive 15 minutes had passed and I was ready to go dance ridiculously in my living room.

timer

Using time between inhaler and exercise efficiently

Waiting time doesn’t have to be wasted time. Whether I’m emailing clients from a doctor’s waiting room, writing while in the post office line, or simply grabbing another 10 minutes of writing time that I’d otherwise be spending staring at a clock waiting for 15 minutes to pass or playing Toon/Toy Blast (not that I don’t waste enough time on those), I try to use those unexpected pockets of time as efficiently as I can — where practical, anyways.

It doesn’t always work, but I’ve used this timer hack for about two weeks now, and I definitely find it helpful. Not only do I make better use of time, but I also ensure I don’t distract myself and forget that hey, I’ve prepared my lungs to work out, so the rest of me needs to have my head in the game and remember, too.

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