I really don’t like doing cardio at the gym. The idea of driving 4 miles to walk into a building, move my body on an artifical surface just to make myself sweat is undignified and a bit distasteful.
Yes, I could use the great outdoors to get my cardio except:
- At the moment, there is so much smoke in the air it’s unhealthy.
- In the winter in rains. I depend on glasses. They haven’t designed wipers for glasses yet that work.
- Even though I live on top of a hill (440′ incline in 1.3 miles. I can’t do the math), I have gotten to the fitness point where this doesn’t get my heart rate high enough all the time walking.
- I don’t run.
- I walk with 2 dogs. Think sniffs and calls from nature.
- On workout days, I’d still have to drive the gym and “get sweaty” or my trainer will put me on the stairmaster.
There is a couple important good reasons for me to do the cardio (besides the general “it’s good for you” line).
- After my surgery last year, when all i could do was small bits of cardio, I discovered that I really crave exercise. (It shocked me).
- I discovered that that cardio gave me clear thought and the ability to concentrate for several hours after. Guess what, that’s one of the known benefits of exercise!
- They have discovered that cardio (and weight training) help build new connections in the brain, making it stronger and fighting the threat of Alzheimer’s disease at the same time as heart disease. With my genetic history, one of these two is gonna kill me. This is a tool.
Now the really point: when I started at the gym 20 months ago, I primarily worked on the treadmill. A nice pace of 3.3 MPH and a slight incline of about 5-8% would get me up in cardio zone. After my last stress test, where the prescribed 140 BPM was like a cakewalk, I pushed further trying to find my true maximum heart rate. This is exertion point where you can go for a minute.. but 3 minutes will have you crumbled in a heap on the floor. And my Max Out point is somewhere about 170 BPM.
Folks, I’m going to be 56 next week. Check the math. That’s the range for someone about 40. Now I don’t go pushing that number when I work out, but I’m often lingering in the 140s and lower 150s at some point in my cardio training.
And, unless I push myself to start running, I just can’t get there on the treadmill anymore. And I DON’T RUN.
I did for a while in my 20s. I’d meet some girlfriends at our old college gym and we’d move around the track for a while. They’d jog. I’d usually walk at a fast pace (and pass them.. yet they told me I couldn’t be working as hard as they were!) Anyway, I agreed to try jogging and hated it. But one night a guy moved in front of me who was running – running – at a pace that my soul responded to. I kicked up my speed and stuck right behind him (cute butt, too, to not hard). I could run a mile or two when he was there to set my pace. Being a reticent soul, I spoke to him. It may have been nicer to arrange to meet him for workouts and learn my own pace. But that wasn’t what I would let myself think at the time.
Anyway, I don’t know my natural pace. I’ve never been able to find a place in my head where the time and movement felt as natural as it did then. So I don’t run. And without running, I will probably have to reserve my use of the treadmill for those occasional low-slow burn cardio days.
Goodbye, good friend.