If you have any access to a treadmill, avail yourself of it, Gentle Reader. There are many unexpected benefits to it in addition to the benefits you know about in advance. If you turn it into your new hobby, you can turn back the clock on your health.
I know that the downside seems mighty at first. It sucks. It hurts. It makes you sweat. It's a dreaded activity. I called my machine "The Dreadmill" for months. Let me tell you my story.
I got this treadmill with all the good intentions about how I was going to really really really do it... At least 30 minutes at a time, 3 days a week. Lots of sources say 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week is all it takes. So I bought this nice new treadmill 2 years ago when I moved into my house. I tried to keep it up... but I failed. I started to miss workouts when I should have walked and from there it dwindled off to nothing. Then I would rededicate, re-start strong, dwindle, fail, rinse, repeat.
At some point, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Something in me just snapped and I realized that all my excuses were not winning me any increased health and wellness. I was losing ground in the fight against diabetes. I had high blood pressure. I was starting to worry about myself in a way I never had before. I imagined the real possibility of continuing the slide into poor health and resigning myself to an unhealthy, inactive body when I really have too much living to do for that kind of failure to be tolerated any longer.
So here's what I did: No excuses. I get on that treadmill every single day. No 3 times a week BS for me. Every. Day. I started out taking a 25 or 30 minute walk on the flat treadmill. When you do this every single day, you start to become stronger, faster, better. I increased the incline and the speed little by little until now, after months of daily treadmilling, I can run uphill for over an hour!! Like a champ, I tell you. I feel comfortable at a 5.5 to 6 incline. My treadmill has 10 settings. I like 5.5 or 6 the best. It helps my balance to be at an incline. The major benefit to that is it builds your booty while it takes fat off the backs of your legs. It is the very awesomeness. I also added a second workout for each day, so I do 30 minutes at lunch and then varying lengths of workouts after dinner. I do a minimum of an hour a day.
Not only have I very effectively dropped some weight, I've changed my shape and my endurance has increased greatly. This is what you expect to happen with exercise, but there have been many more benefits that I was not expecting. For example, all this exercise burns a bunch of calories and I now have to make sure I eat enough calories to keep my metabolism from going into starvation mode. This is a whole new kind of a problem for me. I stress about whether I've eaten enough. I find this very funny. It's a great problem to have, considering all things.
I did not expect my legs to respond as well as they have. Thighs, ya'll. Another benefit: A major boost to my health has occurred here. I recently had a cold and it DIDN'T turn into Bronchitis!! I *always* slide right into bronchitis and suffer lonnnng for every cold I get. This time... it didn't happen. I'm startled at this one. It has been worth every sweaty minute to avoid my usual bout of bronchitis!!!
I don't get tired physically. I have been doing big projects every weekend because I just feel like doing stuff now. I spent the whole day running all over a festival this past weekend and didn't get tired at all. The next day I decorated my home for Christmas and put up a large Christmas tree by myself. I'm like the energizer bunny on crack.
Also... this is a big one... I got rid of my diabetic meds, my blood pressure meds, my water pill and I'm normal!!! Well.. I have normal BP, normal blood sugar, and I am no longer retaining more water than the hoover dam. I'm not a slave to that doctor I have to pay every 3 months to get my meds refilled!! My blood pressure today was 120/77 with no meds!
My ankles have been a weak spot for years, but no more. My ankles have gotten much stronger with all the treadmilling. I sleep great at night. Exercise gives you a sunny outlook and makes you feel good. I sometimes get the "exercise high" which is a trip in itself. The exercise also clears your mind and makes you see how ridiculous it is to be such a slug! One of the best parts of this is that I can honestly say I am not a sedentary person. Since I work at a computer sitting job every day, it's tough to not be considered sedentary. But when you workout for over an hour a day, you're not sedentary.
I believe that if a person makes a vow to walk every day for 30 minutes, fast enough to cause increased heart rate, sweating, tiredness... after a while, if you keep it up, it becomes a habit. It's a healthy habit that just keeps giving. You have to get past the hate and dread of the discomfort of exercise and know that it gets better. You get stronger. You can handle it. And the benefits start to stack up and become so obvious that you don't want to miss it!!
I used to hate to get sweaty. Now I just do it and take an extra shower. There is an answer to every excuse.
That's what is happening in Teetsville.