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Making Cardio More Tolerable - Tales from 100# Down

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Friday, March 15, 2013

When I began this journey I was living on the first floor of my house (couldn't go up and down stairs) recovering from my 2nd TKR surgery and complications and unable to even get out of the bed to do the physical therapy the visiting home therapist wanted me to do. I was over 350 pounds and if you looked up SEDENTARY in the dictionary my picture should have been there!

Two things happen to us when we are sedentary for a long period of time. 1) Our metabolism slows to a crawl and 2) our muscles lose their strength and flexibility and that includes that very important muscle THE HEART.

My journey to Health & Fitness began first as adjustments to my nutrition but I figured out pretty quickly that I was going to have to exercise my muscles too. As I have said before I began by holding onto my kitchen island and walking around it in circles. That may sound silly to you but that was ALL I could do. Soon I could do it for 5 minutes and then I decided to try walking in a little circle on my first floor. My DH bought me a recumbent bicycle and once my knee was sufficiently rehabbed to make a full circle on the pedals I would ride slowly for 2 minutes. TWO MINUTES! That probably sounds like nothing to you but it was SOMETHING to me.

Bit by bit, step by step, minute by minute I improved. As I improved it started helping me with my weight loss and even more importantly I FELT better because of it. I never had an exercise session where I said when finished "I wish I hadn't done that." No, instead I always felt accomplished, proud, energized and hopeful! I was changing my body and my health!

To show you how far I've come things I have done recently include:

A 3-1/2 mile walk to town.
Full Circuit Training at the gym.
190 minutes of exercise this week in a single day split between the elliptical and the bicycle.
Digging holes for bushes.
Mowing my own 1/4 acre lawn with a push mower.
Interior Painting
Hiking in Yosemite.
Hiking in the Everglades.
Moving furniture.

This from a person that once struggled to get out of the bed.

The reason I am telling you all this is to show you the importance of cardio in your journey and to show you that there are many benefits to doing so.

Now some of you are probably going ICK cardio. So let me tell you a few ways to make it more tolerable.

1) Get a GREAT book that you can read on the treadmill/elliptical/exercise bike.
2) Stream TV shows or movies to your tablet.
3) Play games like Candy Crush on your smartphone while on the EQ
4) Walk BRISKLY with a friend
5) HIKE - this is great exercise as it's usually over uneven ground and you enjoy the nature around you
6) Play an active sport like tennis, handball, basketball, or volleyball.
7) Play active games on the Wii like Just Dance and Exerbeat
8) Get a package in the mail or UPS where you have ordered something online or received a gift? Make yourself do 30 minutes of cardio before you can open it.
9) Pick a destination or a "trail" and let 5 minutes of cardio be 1 mile and try to get to the "end". Track it on mapquest.
10) Race the clock - Headed to a big box store? Give yourself a time limit to force yourself to move very quickly with the buggy and pick up your pace.

So pick something to try. Set a small attainable goal and build on it day by day, week by week. It will become part of your daily routine and the benefits will be huge!

Press On!

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