It helps that i daily address issues relating to cardiovascular & diabetes risk reduction at work. Surrounded by that persistent focus, and with my discomfort over increasing weight, low fitness & potentially decreasing health, the motivation to make changes is more consistent than in the past.
i started with daily use of a pedometer, which yielded an unavoidable fact - i simply wasn't getting any where near enough daily physical activity. While the average American takes around 2000 steps a day, far more is needed to maintain fitness. And 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day is recommended to manage or lose weight. i was averaging much less than 2,000.
Though only approaching my 50s, i unfortunately have arthritic knees that believe they're more than 10 years older than me. According to the orthopedist who removed half the meniscus in my right knee several years ago, that is. So running & jogging are out of the question. What then to do? i started taking 20 to 30 minute brisk walks nearly every day. Seems easy, huh? It wasn't, at least not until i started taking Osteo Bi-Flex daily for my joints. Suddenly the aching pain that was increasing my entitlement to be cranky lessened dramatically.
Next barrier - TIME. As my fitness increased, it became apparent that i needed to walk for longer periods of time if real improvement in heart health was the goal. But with the summer heat, the only time to walk was in the early morning or late evening. Since i don't feel inclined to long walks at night when getting home from work, that leaves mornings. Thus began my arising most days between 5:00 & 5:30am, sleepily putting on the clothes that were laid out the night before, and hitting the road for 30 - 45 minutes.
All has gone well since then, except for one thing. Though i now average more than 6,500 steps every day, walking, no matter how brisk the pace doesn't raise my heart rate enough to reach the goal i'm aiming for.
So after a dim light bulb went off in my brain, i reclaimed my almost entirely un-ridden bicycle from my ex and dropped it off at the local bike shop for a complete tune up. After eagerly waiting for the call that it was ready, i picked it up and hit the road. UGH. It only took a short ride to realize what total crap my old bike was. i should have known - it was a Huffy!
As luck would have it, the doctor i work with is an avid cyclist. She commutes to work on her bike most days and both she & her husband have winningly competed in local bike events. i find her routine biking somewhat inspirational. One day after clinic i mentioned my cycling woes. Immediately she said "my husband can get you a good bike." A couple of weeks later, after another clinic, she handed me her cellphone and said "It's Peter - he's got a bike for you."
Three hours later i was driving home during the first thunderstorm of the summer with my new (used) bicycle in the back of my truck. It's a '93 Bridgestone MB-6. A solid 'entry-level' mountain bike in excellent shape. When new in 1993 it retailed for around $450. Peter sold it to me for much less than that. In the past two weeks i've taken it out for a morning ride a dozen times. Jeez, i'm out of shape (and out of breath) but what fun it is to ride! Almost like running, but without the crippling joint pain that running would engender. Here she is:
i'm slowly working up to longer rides (really slowly - my longest ride to date is 2 miles, LOL) and had to get some new padded cyclist gloves to ward off numbness and post-ride pain in my hands, but i think i'm in love. With a bicycle! This week's goal - to ride south on Loma Larga to the stop sign and back. That will be about 2.5 miles, all told. i want to be fit enough to use it to run errands in the village, and maybe to the nearby mall. Eventually, who knows? Maybe i can be a bike commuter some day, riding the several miles to the train station and then from the transportation center downtown to my office. Viva la vélo!!!