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’m posting a long overdue update on my couch to 5k progress. Last year (9/2018) I was successful in completing a 5k run after a thirty plus year hiatus from running. This year proved to be a different story. I did go out for a handful of runs this spring and summer but the aftereffects gave me pause to stop and reevaluate my long range goals. Sporadic knee pain and hip twinges led me to a crossroads.
Since I’ve managed to keep most of the weight off I lost last year and I’m still walking a lot, I’ve decided to step away from running. I didn’t plan to compete regularly in fun runs anyway. In the meantime I’m counting on my dogs to give me sufficient motivation to keep walking. I’ll be content to be counted among the walking crowd for now.
Last week I had a doctor’s appointment. I scheduled it knowing I’d have enough time to get there if I left directly from work. So when my workday ended, I rushed out to the parking lot to jump in my vehicle only to find it wasn’t there. After a moment of panic, I remembered the now brainless move on my part. At lunch time I went home to grab a sandwich. In the process of doing so, I drove into a tangle of road repair at the entrance of my street. Traffic was backed up in both directions because only one lane was open. At the time it seemed like a good idea to leave my car in the safety of my driveway and walk the 3/4th of a mile back to work.
There I was, after work, standing in the parking lot, realizing “doing life” called for a workout if I was going to make it to my appointment on time. I had no choice but to race-walk the 3/4 of a mile home with a backpack on my shoulders. I arrived home quite soggy from the searing sun. Believe it or not, I was able to catch enough green lights and encountered no additional road construction on my way to the appointment. I made it just in time!
Only one problem remained. I needed to slow my breathing so I could have a successful appointment.
Several weeks ago I got up off the couch and started training for a 5k race this fall. The air was cold and the wind raw. Then spring happened; raking, mowing, weeding, pruning and helping neighbors do the same. I suppose I could be discouraged for getting sidetracked but I’m not. Isn’t the whole idea of exercising to get up off the couch and be active.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my dog walks. They are longer now and more frequent. I look forward to more traditional workouts once the yard work is caught up.
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.
Last week I outlined my strategy for getting up off my comfy chair and back into the game. I am happy to report no progress was made. You may be inclined to think happy and no progress are conflicting ideas but that’s not the case. Let me explain.
First, and foremost, I am happy to be on the other side of a bad case of the flu. It was a week long affair. Second, I lost 5 pounds in the process. Aside from a nagging cough and some post-nasal drip I am almost fully recovered.
As the weather continues to warm into the 40s I look forward to spring with enthusiasm.
Its been a week since Ash Wednesday and the self-proclaimed restart of my couch to 5k experience. Having learned last year, if you haven’t been exercising regularly (above and beyond a daily activity routine) you need to start out slowly (i.e. a jogging and wa
lking combination). I was able to get one workout in this past week along with several dog walks.
The temperatures here in the northeastern USA have been brutally cold.
Brody, my short-legged miniature dachshund, is assisting me in easing back into a workout schedule. He is a fast walker and is always trying to pull me along at a faster pace. Why not use that to my advantage, right?
My goal is to be ready to start jogging continuously by the first week of April.