Do you exercise your heart?
How many times have you joined a gym and not gone?
Or, you‘ve gone for a month and never gone back again…
MY hand is raised.
The idea of repetitive machine based exercise makes me want to throw up.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to move my body. I am very active. These arms didn’t come from sitting on the sofa, they came from being active.
Being active and exercising are, in my mind, two entirely different things. While I am staying active and maintaining good tone in my body while doing so, here is where I get a big fat “F” on my exercise report card.
Increasing my heart rate.
I know I do not have enough cardio exercise in my life. As we age, it is super important to exercise our HEARTS.
They are tired.
They have been working hard.
They are muscles and need some love and conditioning.
Want to live longer?
Want to enjoy your grandchildren?
Want to have the capacity to do all that retirement travel you’ve dreamed of for years?
If so, NOW is the time to start thinking about your heart HEALTH. Stop putting it off.
Have you ever just sat down and thought about the inside of your body? Your soul is living inside and incredible machine. INCREDIBLE. It all moves and functions “automatically” and when you think about it, really think about it, it’s fascinating shit.
During our youth we generally live like we are Teflon. Impervious to the perils of bad behavior.
Use caffeine, sugar and carbs to fuel our system (instead of real food).
At some point that shit just doesn’t work anymore.
So whether YOU want to believe it or not, the freight train is coming. You CAN turn a lot of your bad health outcomes around and the sooner you start the better.
For those of you who need a reminder, here is a ridiculously simplistic explanation of how the heart works. I urge you to sit for 5 minutes, close your eyes and think about what is actually going on inside your body? It’s amazing shit.
As many of you already know I have been slowly but steadily moving my overall lifestyle towards better health for almost 10 years now. I keep putting the cardio exercise thing off because well…I hate the idea of it, let alone the actual work.
So how have I remedied part of this problem?
A bicycle. An old school beach cruiser.
When I made my move to Pensacola last spring, I chose to be close to the downtown area so that I could be walking/bike riding distance to a lot of stuff. Places like the supermarket (3 miles), post office (2 miles), library (2.5 miles), YMCA (1.5 miles), bank (1.5 miles) and general shopping (not mall stuff). There is a fish market, UPS store, pharmacy, auto supply and a ton of local mom & pop operations all within a 4 mile radius of my house. My plan was to turn my errands into my exercise routine.
Two weeks ago I invested in some awesome big fat baskets for the rear of my bicycle to make carrying purchases easier. OMG what a difference. I had been using the tiny basket on the front and slinging a messenger bag over my shoulder, both of which were exhausting.
Tuesday was one of my days off from my new chef gig. I had 5 stops in the downtown area that I needed to make and I knocked them all out pretty quickly on my bike. My last stop was grocery shopping and when I headed I gotta say, the serotonin was racing through my body and I had a post workout glow happening. I was very aware of how I felt and thought, “hmmmmm…this is why folks exercise regularly. It’s THIS feeling.”
30 minutes later, I left to meet someone downtown for a coffee date. It took me 12 minutes to ride my bike from my apartment to the location. 2 miles.
Along with some great exercise, I got to be outside, in sunshine and nature (vitamin D bonus).
We talk ourselves out of a lot of things we know are good for us. I’m guilty of doing this myself. As we age we have the opportunity to design a life that is more bike and pedestrian friendly. It’s not only good for our overall physical health, but our emotional health as well.
Exercise is also a great way to fight stress and the blues. I’m not talking about clinical depression but the general malaise we all fall into with far too much frequency.
Here’s the deal. Exercise is great for the body, but it is equally as great for you mind. It increases the serotonin level in your brain and ups your feel good hormones (endorphins). I urge you to find some way to integrate more physical activity into your life that will also increase your heart rate. It’s a win/win all around. Here are some ideas…
- Buy a bicycle (worked for me)
- Adopt a dog (and walk with it).
- Stop taking elevators and escalators – take the stairs.
- Park your car further from the front door of the mall/store/destination. Carry your bags, don’t push them out of the store.
- Walk, don’t drive to the local convenience store.
- Play in your garden. (grow some of your own food)
- Find a neighbor who is equally committed to improving their health and agree to walk ONE day a week together.
- Last but surely not least…sex. Any way you choose to make it happen, it’s good for the heart.
No excuses. Start slow. Add days as you get used to the routine.
My brain likes to feel productive so I have integrated activity in a way that makes it easier for ME.
Find your zone and make it work; whatever that is.
As with all change in our lives, it requires nothing more than starting. Just BEGIN
You do not have to do it all at once.
Remember, a lot of small successes add up to bigger ones.
Please share this info with anyone you think might benefit from it.