Sunday, May 15, 2011

This isn't going to turn into an "exercise blog" or anything like that, but I am working out just about every day.

So exercising is a major way that I'm spending my time lately and blogs are usually about how we spend our time. A bit.

The exercise logging system offers a number of metrics, including a ranking system. I wish I hadn't stumbled upon it because I was ranked first in my age/sex last month and kind of sat back on my laurels for a week. But then I realized that I couldn't do that and maintain my standings!

Last week, I received an email from my "trainer" (actually, I think the message was automatically generated by the logging system) informing me that I'd surpassed my goals by a significant degree and that I ought to seek some advice in taking my routine to "the next level."

I thought I could just "up" my goals, but it doesn't work that way. I was afraid that I would have to pay extra for individual training services, but it's nothing like that. No, instead, I told a staff person my typical workout and she recommended weightbearing exercises1 to fight osteoporosis, the buzz word in women's fitness for decades. That is, she got me on an elliptical machine.

I'd been dying to try this machine since joining the gym about two months ago, but I knew I wasn't physically ready for it. I'm sort of ready now. That is, I don't think I'm getting ahead of myself by starting to use it. I did fifteen minutes at the lowest resistance and thought I was going to collapse. What's worse, I had no time for the pool after. Rather, I spent five minutes in the hot tub, a poor substitute.

The trouble is whatever time I give to elliptical training necessarily takes away from swimming. In comparing the two exercises, I prefer swimming for many reasons. I use swimming for recovery as much as anything. Swimming soothes my aching muscles, relaxes me, has improved my circulation and flexibility and coordination. I feel great after an hour or more of swimming.

In contrast, after fifteen minutes of elliptical, I can barely walk, even the day after. The pain in my legs, ankles and feet is pretty bad right now. I don't like sweating indoors. I get thirsty and am probably becoming dehydrated. Both exercises burn 400 calories an hour so it's sort of a no-brainer: pain vs. painless. The only thing swimming is bad for is my hair - but my stylist recently gave me a terrific leave-in conditioner!

Regardless, I asked my husband's opinion and he suggests I give the elliptical a chance. So I will give up some of my swimming time to the elliptical machine and see how it goes.

1Already, I'm completing a circuit of Cybex machines three times a week which qualifies as weightbearing exercise.

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