in the buff

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

one of my greatest dilemmas in getting myself to exercise is...well...i'm kind of high-maintenance.

1. i hate exercising in public.

working out in the gym, running on the sidewalk--i feel like a spectacle. which, essentially, i am, since people in the gym zone out and watch each other. it can't be helped. they're not necessarily judging each other, they're just distracting themselves from their own exhaustion by people-watching. either way, i hate it. the sidewalk isn't much better, since other joggers, walkers, drivers, etc. are zoning out and watching you.

2. i hate doing cardio indoors.

sure, i enjoy doing weight lifting, stretching, yoga and pushups in my room. but i don't like doing cardio. just spent three weeks at my parents house where they have a lovely new elliptical machine, and i didn't use it once. i just get bored. and when i'm bored i feel tired and find an excuse to quit early.

so i found a couple of solutions to my cardio dilemma. i like to hike. and i really enjoy jogging in the woods (i guess that's cross-country running). jogging in the woods is incredible: if it's a bit too warm outside, the trees provide a cool canopy. i never get bored because the terrain is constantly changing, and the activity requires a sort of focus that distracts me from my fatigue (otherwise you'd trip on the terrain). and the ground is less strenuous than pavement. the roots and creekbeds create a sort of obstacle-course, and i'm leaping as much as i'm running. it's just fun.

and, let's be honest. i'm a child of the 90s. in my head as i'm running through the woods, i'm pretending i'm pocahontas.

the other form of cardio i'm really starting to get into is biking. now that i'm back in the piedmont and out of the appalachian plateau, the terrain is a bit more suited for my level. also, i'm in a community that's...well, pseudo-biker-friendly. it has a lot of bikers and some bike-lanes, but that hasn't stopped some drivers from irately honking their horns at me. anyway, the weather has been nice enough i've been able to bike both yesterday and today. and even though it's been cool out, i've found a solution to one of my last two high-maintenance dilemmas:

3. i hate exercising when it's too hot (above 80°)

4. and i get physically winded when it's too cold (below 60°)

yeah, if i do any sort of cardio outside and it's below 60, i start having asthma-like symptoms: my chest starts to hurt and i can't catch my breath.

the first time i realized i had this problem was as a kid. we were running the mile in elementary school (i think i was in fourth or fifth grade), and it was a cool morning outside. i remember i could see my breath. we started running laps around the field and i started to feel that pain just one lap or so in. i felt humiliated that i couldn't go on, and no one else seemed to have a problem. mostly i was afraid of being scolded by my gym teacher for not finishing the task. i never thought about whether i was un-fit before. i knew i was no athlete, but i wasn't chubby either, so why couldn't i keep up? it felt like the cold air was strangling me. when i stopped and went to the coach i think he must have known what was the problem. probably he'd seen it before. he didn't diagnose me, he just told me i should go inside and drink some water. which really helped. and, thankfully, he didn't make me finish the mile. and none of the students seemed to notice or comment, so it wasn't a traumatizing situation. maybe they thought i was sick.

i started biking to class last fall, and as the weather got cooler i started to feel it again: that strangulation. on my way home there's a bit of an incline and i'd sometimes have to push my bike to the top. by the time i got to my apartment i'd collapse onto my couch, gasping and clutching at my throat.

but i've found the solution:

it's called a Buff. it's essentially a tube-shaped piece of fabric that i can wear as a scarf, and, when i need to, pull up over my mouth and nose. i bought a wool one (they have a variety of different buffs, i bought the wool for cold weather), which allows me to breath in fresh air while keeping the moisture i need to keep my lungs from hurting. i've biked on a sunny day in the 40's and still my chest didn't hurt.

so as long as it isn't raining/snowing, come summer (cross-country) or winter (biking) i have a cardio-solution.
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    looks stylish too
    2249 days ago
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