I began extolling the benefit of exercise since first launching the MWO message board in October of ’04. Since then, we’ve seen that members who work out seem to have a much greater recovery rate. People who run, jog, swim, walk, bicycle, row, stair climb, spin, or otherwise commit to some form of regular cardiovascular activity reap tremendous rewards. It improves their mood, clears their head, reduces their cravings, and melts away pounds. It’s also clinically proven to help lift depression.
Many visitors to our community are undoubtedly in much better shape than me and I’m sure my exercise routine would pale in comparison. Here’s the rub about this critical element of MWO that I continue to endorse so ferociously: I often hate the thought of doing it. I’m busy, am involved in many projects I love, and can’t stand being pulled away for yet another workout. Honestly, outside of team sports when I was younger, I’ve really never found exercising that much fun. I wish I had the endurance of a long distance runner or the enthusiasm of a jock.
However, I will never ever give up my little workouts. In the end (heck, by the middle) they make me feel way too good and I’m confident they also help keep me from slipping. The trick has been to keep the routine short and do them regularly. So every other day, religiously, I coax myself away from the computer to take a brisk walk or get on the treadmill, depending on weather.
My treadmill is funky and old and I bought it used. It makes a lot of racket and the dogs glare at me when I’m on it, having tail whipped everything in site once the tennis shoes appear. My old clunker doesn’t boast the fancy features like the one I ogled over at Sears the other day. But for me, it provides the perfect workout (along with a pilates video I know by heart.). To this day, I remind myself beforehand that the workout will be short, only 15, 20, maybe 30 minutes, which is nothing—I mean, it takes longer to compose a couple emails. Just depends what I’m listening to.
And that’s been another key. Over the past couple of years, I’ve powerwalked to upbeat music, podcast interviews, books on CD and fitness recordings. It helps keep it interesting. Last year I invested in an iPod Nano, and this year, Macally wireless earmuff headphones, which I adore. They’re not nearly as sexy as Nike’s new feedback shoe. But these muffs are also excellent for hypno sessions, as there’s no getting tangled up in bed and the sound quality is great. And unlike some of the electronics around here, I can always find the Macally’s. They are ‘way dorky’ according to my teens, who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them.
But back to the motivating audio behind the workouts. A search on the Net or at Apple’s iTunes proves just how explosive the downloadable workout trend has become. There’s a ton of free material out there and best of all, much of it is free.
Here are a few sites and workouts I’ve either tested or looked into, along with some feedback:
Name: “Podrunner”, courtesy of dj Steveboy. Blends lots of hard driving music for an excellent one-hour workout.
Good: The mix is updated every week on iTunes and is really good.
Bad: I don’t do a full hour usually, so would prefer an earlier warmdown.
Find: In iTunes directory or on the website at www.djsteveboy.com/mixes.html
Good: Cool website, especially for visual learners. Lots of tools.
Bad: Couldn’t deal with the computer generated audio instructions. Think Apple Computer’s original talking software
Find: on their website at www.exertrack.com
CHEAP (99 cents per workout)
Name: Marina’s Workout Podcasts
Good: Great for beginners. Short, ten to fifteen minute workouts with nice music groove and some inspirational jabber from a woman who lost nearly 100 pounds. Geared more to the female crowd and downloads come in many flavors, depending on your workout
Bad: Some of the downloads are simply too short at 12 minutes or so, but they can be kluged together. The way she laughs drives me nuts and I finally decided to move on
Find: in iTunes or on her site at www.marinaspodcast.com/podcasts.html
SPENDY $11.99 each
Name: Nike Sports Music
Good: Very motivating with multiple selections and excellent coaching tips throughout. Includes a booklet with the download. The one I’ve used, “Treadmill Training” provides a challenging 30 minute push, especially if you’re new to it, but it’s easily modified. Would work better with that machine at Sears.
Bad: The one I tested has great music, but there are more than a couple of references to alcohol in the songs, so not good if that’s a trigger.
Find: in iTunes or on Nike’s site under Sports Music at www.nike.com/nikeplus
Two fabulous free online communities:
Exercise Radio at http://exerciseradio.com/: emerging satellite service with nearly 10 million subscribers, this site offers four “channels”: cardio, yoga, kickboxing, strength training.
Fitpod at http://www.fitpod.com/: Comprehensive community offering both free and pay music, along with health news, product reviews, and other useful goodies.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting a new workout routine. We learned just this week, in fact, that exercise can kill you if you have an irregular heartbeat. Yikes!