Workout Wednesday 6/7
Lately my easy write-off of walking as a viable exercise has come back to bite me in the ass in a similar manner. I always thought that walking was way too low-intensity to be an effective calorie-burning workout. I've always viewed high-intensity, high-impact activities like running as the end all be all in interms of cardiovascular exercise. It's what I've always strived toward, and what I always end up dropping after a few weeks or months because I just don't find it that enjoyable, despite its many benefits. And then I'm pissed at myself, because if it's THE workout and I can't get into it then of course I must be a failure at this whole fitness thing. If only I had more willpower, more determination, more self-discipline... if only.
Truth is, I never even considered walking an option in terms of exercise. It brings to mind images of power walkers and mall walkers, clad in spandex and windbreakers and headbands, pumping their arms like crazy and looking for all the world like escapees from a home for the criminally cheerful. That's not me. I am many things, but cheerful and wearing of spandex are not among them. I hate exercising in public because I hate being stared at. I hate even being looked at. I don't want to be the center of attention. I just want to be left alone. And people can't help but stare at power walkers. It just can't be done.
But lately I've been walking. Not power walking, of course. No swinging arms, no silly headbands. Just walking around the city like a normal person. I haven't even been trying to go faster than normal. I just strap on my iPod and wander around. It's amazing how many neat things I've seen around here that I just never noticed before. It's nice. It's "me time," alone time, which is something I need a lot of. Plus I don't come back sweating and panting and needing a shower, no matter how long I'm out. This might change once the temperatures start rising again, but I try to go in the evenings anyway to avoid the worrst of the heat.
The best part, though, is that I do it every day. Not because I make myself, but because I genuinely want to. I look forward to it. And it's actually not too shabby in terms of calorie-burning, either, especially given how long I usually walk. I've been averaging anywhere between 45 and 80 minutes at a time, sometimes more than once a day. Yesterday I was out for over 2 hours over the course of 3 walks. I walked about 6.5 miles total, burning (according to Spark People) over 550 calories. And I liked it, which is really the most important thing. Finding an exercise you like, something you'll do consistently.
So yeah, walking has really exceeded my expectations in the best possible way.
Speaking of Spark People, I've been using it for about a week now to track my food and exercise. I've committed myself to do 3 30-minute cardio workouts per week and 3 30-minute strength training sessions as well. So 90 minutes of cardio, burning 650 calories total. The cardio is being taken care of (mostly) by walking, of course - and thus far this week I've logged 284 minutes of cardio and a total calorie burn of 1,236. I'm thinking about changing my cardio schedule to 5 days a week - does anyone know if that changes your daily calorie allowance? I'm doing fine with that I've got, but what with exceeding the calorie burn like that I'm wondering if a bit of extra food wouldn't be in order.
In terms of Operation: Hottie's progress, I can now officially say that there's something to report! I finally lost a pound, and I took my measurements the other day and discovered that I've lost 2'' from my waist and 1'' each from my chest and hips. Not bad, not bad. I'm glad for fat coming off anywhere, of course, but I'm especially pleased by the larger loss being from my waist. As much as I complain about my chest size, the place I want/need to lose the most from is my stomach. So that was nice to see.
And now, a few links.
Spark People - I love this place. Definitely check it out. I like it a lot more than other, similar services I've tried, and best of all it's free. Awesome.
Google Maps Pedometer - You can use this to see how long your walking/running/biking/whatever route is. You can get the distances in either miles or kilometers. It's a really handy little tool.
The Eowyn Challenge - Okay, call me a huge nerd, but this is so cool. So cool! Basically it challenges people to re-create the Fellowship's journey via their own distance-focused exercise. I've decided to start at the beginning (of LotR, at least), following Frodo and Company's trek from Bag End to Rivendell. I started tracking officially on Monday, and so far I've gone just over 13 miles - so I haven't quite reached Stock Road yet. Again, this may just be the nerd in me talking, but... so cool!
Oh! I almost forgot. While walking, I listen to podcasts to keep me entertained. Here are a few, in case you're interested.
Buffycast - Just what it sounds like. A Buffy podcast.
Firefly Talk - And again, self explanatory.
The Signal - Another Firefly podcast.
Neptune Pirate Radio - Veronica Mars! I heart you so.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm just a little bit obsessed with TV. Just certain TV, though. Someone needs to make a good Angel podcast and then my life will be complete.