I just did a search on Google for the word treadmill. Kind of hilarious what the definitions were that came back:
1) A device formerly used for driving machinery, consisting of a large wheel with steps fitted into its inner surface. It was turned by the weight of people or animals treading the steps
2) An exercise machine, typically with a continuous belt, that allows one to walk or run in place
3) A job or situation that is tiring, boring, or unpleasant and from which it is hard to escape
Does definition #3 sound like what you think of when you think of a treadmill? I start with #2, but it quickly moves to #3.
Cardiovascular exercise is something that we are all in dire need of, whether we do it often or not. Cardio does a number of things. It strengthens your heart from a muscular perspective just like you would your biceps with curls. And as the heart grows stronger and pumps more blood, it also pumps more oxygen. With oxygen making its way throughout your body in a better fashion, especially to the all important brain, the better off you will be with cognitive function and muscular motion.
BUT… we all already know that cardio is important. The question is how we get it. I use the treadmill example above because that’s what the majority of people think of when they envision cardio workouts – running of some sort, and most of the time on a treadmill. But are there other ways? Of course. And maybe better ways.
Running gets your heart rate up, but it also keeps you going in a linear fashion, keeping many of your muscles working in the same repetitive motion over and over. So what else can you do?
- Find a sport that keeps you moving in multiple directions. Whether it’s flag football, basketball, raquetball, tennis, etc… there are many sports, recreation or otherwise, that can keep you moving in multiple directions and keep your heart rate up.
- Find something ‘off-the-grid’ that is enjoyable. For me, it’s a hip-hop dance class. It’s different, it’s with friends, it’s create cardio, and it’s something for me to actually look forward to (rather than dreading getting onto a treadmill).
- Reframe what you already do today. Have a yard to mow? Use a push mower without the self-propel feature and work it quickly. Have some chores to do around the house? Treat them as cardio – maybe a little quicker than usual, maybe with fewer breaks than you would normally take.
Anything that gets your heart rate up is cardiovascular exercise, and there are many, many ways to get that done. Find what works for you, keep it from getting boring, and you’ll be in shape in no time.
Stay Healthy My Friends…