I was chatting with a blogger friend today after my last blog post. In it I had mentioned the long ago jerk who told a relatively new cyclist (me) “Well until you do the RAMROD, you aren’t a real cyclist.” Now normally, I brush off comments from people without a second thought. For some reason, probably because I REALLY disliked this guy, it stuck in my craw. Having completed the RAMROD this year I finally have the monkey off my back!
My blogger buddy Ron, of the Sevencyclist’s Blog, put it in perspective when he said. “it’s kind of a elitist type of comment. It’s all about enjoying the ride … The important thing is to get out there.”
And that is how a blog post is born!
When I look around in my office, grocery shopping, or even my lunch time walk, I see many who would benefit from exercise. This is NOT meant to be a slam at all, for the most part, if you asked these same people, almost to a person, they will agree with my assessment.
Now I am the first to tell you that exercise is NOT always fun.
There are times that it is just plain work! I will also tell you that if I was forced to use a gym for my workouts, they flat just wouldn’t happen. Over the years I been a member of a gym 2 or 3 times. Each time I worked out a mere handful of times, and then bagged it. Yet I kept paying thinking, “I will start next… (insert week, month, or year)” Never happened. Simply put, I do not like working out indoors.
The key to working out? At least for me, its finding and doing something that brings enjoyment, and if you like it enough, you will forget you are exercising!
Lets go for the easiest first: Walking.
Each and every day I can, I take a lunch time walk at work. This is rain or shine!
I eat lunch and they take a mile plus stroll right afterwards. I am going back to my desk when finished, so I am NOT out to work up a sweat. But getting out of the office, stretching the legs, breathing fresh air and seeing what is going on in the world just makes the afternoon go better.
Plus, Michelle and I, when we go downtown, will park for free at our office and then walk to wherever we want to go. Less traffic, exercise and lots more fun!
Let me clarify, I am NOT a runner, so I am talking walking stairs. This can be done indoors, but again, I hate being inside when I work out. When I do these in Seattle this is what I get to see from the top.
I have slacked off the stairs this year, but if all goes right Sunday will start me back on the path, er, steps! This is the only exercise that I use music to keep me moving. I am sure I look like a complete dork when I climb to the rhythm or Danger Zone from Top Gun.
Folks, if you want to combine beauty with getting healthy, then hiking is the way to go. I never regretted a hike, and even when carrying a 40lb pack it just didn’t seem like I was working out. I was simply becoming one with nature.
Sadly, this was not a year of any hikes, there is just only so much time in a year, but I made up for it a bit with riding in the mountains. I really hope to get at least some hiking done in 16.
But of course, with me, the MOST fun, the least feeling of working out, and best exercise is cycling. Even last Sunday when the snow flew and feet were numb, or during the RAMROD when the hills seemed to go on forever, or when a side wind threatens to topple you, I have fun.
Now on a perfect day, blue sky, 65 degrees, tail wind and mountains are out, it is the closest thing to a magic carpet ride you will ever find. I could, and have, ridden for hours upon hours on days like this. It doesn’t matter where I am going, it’s the journey and pleasure of the muscles churning that makes it fun!
And as you can see, from my Map Your Fitness app I obviously had a quite a few ‘work outs’ this year
The thing is, though, neither the 312 hours on the bike nor the 78 hours walking felt like I was working out. I was up and moving and enjoying life. And somehow, in doing so, I burned 210,000 calories! (of course I Ate twice that many!).
So don’t think you need a gym membership to work out. Start walking around the block, pedaling to the store, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator at work. Find that thing you like, that puts this smile on your face.
That thing you will look forward to instead of dreading. Once you find it, schedule it in your day. It’s not an afterthought, it’s an importance. (I have declined meetings at work as they have interfered with the walking). Once you do this, the clothes will fit better, you will have more energy AND those who are younger than you are will be shocked when you out pace them. PLUS, life is simply more enjoyable when healthy.
The best part? Non of the things listed here have a monthly fee, except your time, and it is time well spent!
Like the wind!