(I almost titled this post “Total Elliptical of the Heart,” but I refrained.) (You’re welcome.)
Right before Anthony left we invested in an elliptical machine. I’m very excited about it and even managed to start working out on it before getting sick. I have thought long and hard before adding an exercise machine to the house.
First of all, I’m a fan of the “less is more” philosophy. I’m not exactly a minimalist (I do enjoy ornamentation) but as far as stuff and clutter is concerned, I’d rather do without. I prefer to keep things pared down to the essential, the used, the necessary. Clutter makes me feel claustrophobic, suffocated almost, as if I can’t think in a room populated by junk.
And everyone’s seen those sad, dilapidated treadmills at garage sales. They’ve overstayed their welcome and their usefulness, but their owner felt too guilty to get rid of something so expensive, and probably, felt even worse about not using it. So it sat in the garage or a spare room somewhere, collecting dust, serving as a napping spot for cats, and generally becoming more and more obsolete as time marched on till it found itself on the lawn with the price tag of $20. I didn’t want that to be my story. I’ve seen it often enough.
But perhaps the real reason is I felt that getting an elliptical would be like giving up. Why on earth should I purchase such a large, expensive machine when I can just walk? It’s the sustainable solution, right? Well, self, let me tell you why: You are not going to walk outside on days when it’s so cold or so hot you wouldn’t put your baby in a stroller to come with you. I have forced myself out of the house in the cold and in the heat, but I am not going to do that to a baby.
And now, the benefits:
- The elliptical is way easier on my joints. Since I have Crohn’s related Arthur-itis, this makes a huge difference. Walking and standing can be grueling activities for my body. There have been many times in my life when I’ve had to opt out of going to the grocery store because I just couldn’t handle the standing.
- We were able to squeeze the machine into my bedroom, so “too cold” and “too hot” are not viable excuses.
- I can get my heart rate going at a higher rate for longer than with any other activity. (I’m not physically able to do aerobics or sports—out of the question.) Everything I’ve read on the subject suggests that cardio is necessary for long-term health.
- I’m moving my arms as well as my legs, so I can get a full-body workout. I’m too embarrassed to do that while walking. Let’s be honest, here.
- It’s cardio as well as strength-training.
- It’s fun. Kind of. I mean, comparatively.
- I like the fact that for the most part, it’s a mindless activity. I mean, I did weights for a long time, but then I’m constantly focused on form, and reps, and exercise. BORING. I can hop on this machine, set different levels of resistance and incline, and go to it. I like that my body works while my mind is free to do something else. I realize this reveals something unpleasant about my nature: I AM LAZY. But it’s better to recognize that fact and move on, right? The machine faces a window so I can look outside and daydream while I work out.
I don’t think I will ever be able to read while on the elliptical like some people are able to (how do they do it?), so I’m looking forward to downloading some interesting podcasts and listening to NPR. Do you have any favorite podcasts? I’ve already downloaded the This American Life app, so I have all those already. I’d love to hear your favorites and suggestions.