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.


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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