I hate running.
Despite being built like someone who looks as though he enjoys endurance activities, I’ve never found the love for running, rowing, biking, or anything of the sort.
About four years ago, I sprained my left foot and it’s never quite been the same. So, even if had enjoyed endurance training, my foot would have been what held me back.
However, like a lot of things in life, knowing that I couldn’t do those things actually made me wish (in the smallest of ways) that I could.
On the advice of my friend and frequent podcast guest, Dr. Lisa Lewis, she recently recommended a book called ”Spark” by Dr. John Ratey.
Although she wasn’t recommending it to me in efforts to change my mind and embrace cardiovascular activity, it was more from the viewpoint of how that type of exercise can benefit neurological health.
We know that quantifying the calories burned during exercise is difficult at best, which is one of the reasons it’s not as efficient or effective for fat loss as dietary changes would be.
For myself, I was fascinated by Dr. Ratey’s work in seeing how shorter bouts of cardio each week could benefit depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorders in addition to the good it does for our hearts.
Somewhat begrudgingly, I started putting in some time on the elliptical to get more movement in than I normally do. Throughout the course of my normal day at RevFit, I average upwards of 15,000 steps a day. Cardio for fat loss is not on my radar but cardio for general health and (perhaps) some stress relief was worth doing.
That was about two weeks ago and, nearly every day, outside of my normal resistance training, I’m putting in 1-2 intervals of additional cardio in bouts of 10-15 minutes. It’s not hard and my foot, for the most part, has handled the increase in stress.
Last week, I got on the treadmill and after not running in over 4 years, I set the treadmill at a speed of 5.0 and ran a 10 minute mile.
I was fine with the pace and was happy that I didn’t have much difficulty running a relatively slow mile (based on what I had been able to do long before the sprain). I still hated it but I got it done AND it only took 10 minutes.
I don’t think I will ever like traditional cardiovascular exercise. I much prefer strength training but I’m not getting any younger and I’ll take the benefits of moderate amounts of cardio for whatever it’s doing for my mind and for my heart.
Like a lot of things surrounding exercise, you don’t have to love what you’re doing to get it done and it normally requires far less of a time commitment than you think.
So, however you’re stalling regarding your health, jump off the fence and go.
Do the thing.
If I can (re-)start doing something truly mind-numbing like running, you can do something good for your health, too.
Just don’t get caught in that awful loop of trying to beat calories off your body.
That rarely works.