About 30 days ago I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my six month check up. A year earlier I had been prescribed a small dose of blood pressure medicine to manage my blood pressure. From periodic pressure readings, I knew my blood pressure had been rising recently. A nurse confirmed my bp was high. I knew what was coming, they were going to prescribe a higher dose of BP medicine. Would they need to increase my meds again next year, and what about the year after that?
I had given up on cardiovascular exercise earlier in the summer. I didn’t want to subject my knees and hips to jogging anymore. I didn’t plan to run anymore 5ks so why keep jogging? I questioned whether or not walking would give me any cardio benefit. Besides, I considered myself active. On work days I averaged 10,000 steps on my Fitbit.
However, In the last 90 days (minus any cardio) my resting pulse had risen significantly as had my BP. To make matters worse, I was coping with a stressful family medical situation. I am grateful my doctor didn’t overreact. He calmly recommended the D.A.S.H. diet, some cardio, and said losing a handful of pounds would make a big difference.
It was time to draw a line in the sand. The next day I started walking for at least 20 minutes a day. I focused on trying to keep my pulse in the cardio range, 110 to 130 beats per minute as defined by my Fitbit. I also started making better choices on the food I ate to lower my salt intake.
The results have been noticeable. In just a little over 30 days my resting pulse has fallen almost to what it was when I was jogging almost 90 days. ago My BP has fallen below my doctor’s suggested ideal range (that’s with taking my BP meds). I have also shed a couple of pounds in the process. My Fitbit now declares I have excellent cardio vascular health! Cardio walking for 30 minutes or more a day 4 or more times a week does make a huge difference!
I started training last week for a 5k run this fall. Its the second year in a row I left the couch after a long cold winter and headed out the door. This year I’m 15 pounds lighter and hopefully maintained a small measure of conditioning from last fall.
My early conditioning plan is to walk/jog three times a week for 20-30 minutes with at least one rest day in between. I’ve chosen Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays as my workout days. Since I’m in my 60’s, I want to test my joints and ligaments by alternating jogging and walking laps on a 400 meter track. Once I build up my distance, I plan to head out on a scenic cross-country route on a woodland trail.
Last Tuesday was my first workout. The weather couldn’t have been more challenging; a cold, stiff northern wind with 40-degree temperatures surely taxed me mentally. I spent most of the time muttering and trying to talk myself out of completing the 25 minute workout. Thank goodness for I-tunes. Thursday’s workout fared much better. An overcast sky and southerly breeze hiked the temp to 74 degrees. Such is the weather this time of year in Upstate New York. Saturday it was back in the 40s and I had to resort to dog walking. Brody pulled me around the neighborhood while I held on to his leash.
It has been almost two months since my last post. Since that time my car was repaired and the weather turned much colder. Then, the snow came–lots of it. Since I work in building maintenance, I get to spend a portion of my day outside shoveling snow. Keeping the snow off the sidewalks benefits me in a couple different ways. It helps slow down my weight gain over the winter months, and it lets me rack up tons of steps on my Fit Bit.
Traditionally, I use my free time over the winter to work on indoor projects. Since I have neglected my model trains for about three years, I’ve been working on my train layout. In addition, I’ve committed to teaching a class Sunday mornings for the next several months so there’s little time left to begin a training regiment.
It looks like I’ll have to circle the wagons and wait until spring to resume a training program. April 1st seems like as good a day as any to start a couch to 5k for the second time. This year I’ll begin training two months earlier and fifteen to twenty pounds lighter.
Between now, and then, I plan to try to keep my step counter whirling.