The Glorious Treadmill

I’ve never been a fan of cardio.  Sweating is not something I enjoy. And quite frankly, for most of my life, I’ve found running boring and hard.

And to run in the cold?  Ha!  Never.

(I did run for the whole summer before my 20th class reunion.  Funny how the threat of seeing old friends can inspire.)

Following my heart attack last March, I went to rehab three times a week where fabulous nurses got me on a pretty great routine:  bike, treadmill and weights.  At the end of my 6 weeks in early June of 2009, I felt really great and wanted to continue.

And I did, all summer, with serious consistency.  I ran just about everyday and lifted weights (we have a cheap, but workable bench in the basement) and did lots of sit-ups and push-ups.

Then it got cold.  My cardio became sporadic.  I wasn’t feeling great.  I was having palpitations and was tired.  I knew I had to do something.

Choice #1:  Join a gym.

But they’re expensive and I know how I am.  I won’t go–especially when it’s 12 degrees outside.  It would be a waste of money.

Choice #2:  Get a treadmill.

But they’re expensive and big and where the heck would we put it?

These were the only choices I could fathom, so my husband and I went to Dick’s and found a floor model on clearance.  It was regularly $1999 and we got it for $600.  The thought was:  This would be about what a gym membership would cost for two of us for one year, it’s convenient, and the whole family could use it.

We loaded it up in our friend’s pickup and brought it home all in one piece.  We didn’t realize how big and obscenely heavy it was until we heaved, pushed, and pulled it up our wooden stairs, gouging them and the walls all the way, me crying, certain that one of us would die as Don and I struggled in the most ridiculous way to get the monstrosity to our bedroom. While I do NOT recommend that regular people do this (I was almost crushed and my husband is only alive because the damned thing was too jammed up to tumble down the stairs onto him.), I’ll tell you that my gratitude at us both being alive and having such an expensive, glorious thing has been great motivation to get on it 5-6 days a week.  Plus, it’s in my bedroom, in my face, all the time.

The lessons from my glorious treadmill are:

~Working out has to be as much a part of what you do as eating and taking a shower.

~It’s nice if your schedule allows for you to work out at the same time everyday, but mine doesn’t. I have to be flexible.  Sometimes that means I work out at 4pm, sometimes at 7pm, sometimes I’m lucky to do it first thing in the morning.

~It matters.  I feel better.  My body has changed.  I actually feel fit.

~Starting slowly is okay.  There’s nothing wrong with walking.  A mile is a mile.  The real goal is an elevated heart rate for 20-30 minutes.

~Muscle burns fat.  Cardio is great and necessary, but to really burn fat, you have to build muscle.  That’s where weights come in.

~Sweating is not so bad.

In addition to my treadmill, I regularly use my balance ball and 10 lb dumbbells.  Here are some exerises for your arms: http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/dumbbellexercises.html.  And here are some basics for abdominals: http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises.htm (you don’t need equipment to get flat abs).

That’s the deal for me.  I’d love you to share what has worked for you.

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