Monday, June 6, 2016


kedge  \'kej\ vt  [ME caggen] : to move (a ship) by means of a line attached to a kedge dropped at the distance and in the direction desired.

kedge n : a small anchor used esp. in kedging.

(In case you're interested, the Middle English word caggen means "to fasten." I love words.)

I first came upon this interesting word in connection with a diet-and-exercise book recommended by a friend. Usually I avoid such books with a passion, but my friend was so persuasive about the benefits of what he'd learned from this one -- and was about 25 pounds lighter and much fitter than his photos from the previous year -- that I made an exception.

Younger Next Year was quite inspiring with its no nonsense, tough love approach to doing what you know you should be doing anyway. I actually made notes on the main points ("Watch your calories and portion sizes, and eat good quality, healthy food. You already know what that is, so show a little discipline, already.") that I refer back to now and again, although I've yet to commit to the program wholeheartedly.

Probably the most important concept in the book was the idea of the kedge. When you're facing the fact that for optimum health you need to exercise pretty hard, 6 days a week, for the rest of your life -- well, that's a bit daunting, isn't it? One recommended solution to that problem was to set goals to train toward. That way you're getting fit for an exciting, motivating reason, because being healthy when you're 80-something is kind of futuristic and vague when you're 50-something and trying to get out of bed an hour early to hit the gym.

Training for something fun is a different story, so the kedge theory goes. Knowing you have a hiking and camping trip in the mountains coming up gives you a specific deadline to work toward. In other words, drop that anchor out ahead of you, and then drag yourself up to it, hand over hand.

The kedge concept immediately reminded me of the reading challenge phenomenon. Having a clear goal and knowing you have to achieve it by a certain date is way different than surveying the vast expanse of the TBR shelf and deciding to do something else instead.  

I'll probably pick one more reading challenge, just to keep myself on the straight and narrow in that department. Now to pick out some exercise kedges to go with!


  1. This is a fantastic post, Jane. I love words, too, and I love this one in particular (now that you've introduced me).
    My husband and I are trying to get our eating and exercise on a healthier track and the idea of kedging just might work - although I might not call it actual fun.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes new words don't stick with me, but this one did. I just put some active vacations on my calendar, so those will be my fitness kedges. Good luck with yours!


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