Cardio, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

Up until about a month ago, I was a self-proclaimed cardio queen. Spinning, NordicTrack, StairMill, Elliptical, you name it. If it moved, and got me to move faster, I was all over it.

Somewhere along the line – somehow – I gave up on cardio and became a yoga junkie. Now, I had been trying to get into yoga for years, but I didn’t realize that to do so would undermine my first and (so I’d always thought) my truest love, that is, cardio.

So early on in this blog, I said that the reason that I started blogging was to “remind myself of what I know to be true.” Today I am going to remind myself (and maybe you as well) of why I love cardio (and maybe why you do too).

And I am going to do this so that when I forget, as I have forgotten in the recent weeks while I have been focused on making micro adjustments and opening up my chest, I can go back and remember. Hopefully, just the act of of writing this down will get these reasons back into my consciousness and, given that I am such an abysmal typist, into my body!

This morning, after much negotiating, I decided to hit the NordicTrack and just go for it. I put on my favorite music and hit it for about an hour. This is what I noticed:

  1. It really feels good to move my body.
  2. I like the way it feels when I’m sweating the toxins of the day (or in this case, the week) out of my body.
  3. I love knowing that I am training my heart to be more efficient.
  4. Now that I know that it’s cardio exercise that allows your body to absorb calcium into the bones, thus preventing osteoporosis, I enjoy imagining actually feeling my bones getting stronger.
  5. I love how my body feels when I stop.
  6. I really enjoy the slight fatigue I feel in my limbs after a good cardio workout, even though my mind feels alert and refreshed.
  7. I’ve noticed that I often get my best ideas in the morning while I’m doing cardio – no doubt due to the increased oxygen flow to the brain.
  8. I get to feel superior when I write -500 (or whatever it happens to be) into my daily calorie/food journal.  (Today it was -754 since I followed up my cardio with 30 minutes of resistance training.)
  9. I get an amazing sense of satisfaction from knowing that by strengthening my heart (see #3), I’m making it easy for every part of my body to get the blood and the oxygen it needs.
  10. I love contrasting where I am now with the unhealthy (but nonetheless intelligent, creative, and determined) teenager that I once was who couldn’t make it up a half flight of stairs without panting.

As I sit here compiling this list, I realize that I could go on for a really long time.  There are many, many reasons why I love cardio.  But the main reason I love cardio is because I love myself.  And engaging in cardiovascular exercise is a great way to take care of my most valuable resources – my body, my health, my mood, and my emotions. 

So with that said, I’ll just leave you with my Top Ten.

Hopefully when I get up tomorrow, I will remember my list and I won’t have to argue with myself, I’ll just do it.  Because as is the case with most things that are good for me, showing up with 75% of the problem.  Once I get going, I’m golden.

What’s your compelling reason that gets you out of bed and into your exercise shoes in the morning (or to the gym after work)?  I’d love to hear it!

p.s. Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to love both cardio and yoga, as one is the perfect complement to the other!

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