I’m back home after spending a month with my parents in my hometown of Daytona Beach, FL. Primarily, of course, I wanted to spend time with my parents who are now in their late 70s-early 80s and both quite healthy and active! But I also hoped to use the time to break myself out of the weight loss holding pattern I seemed to be in. As it turned out, I was indeed able to do something that gave my body the JOLT I was looking for!
My parents live in an “active seniors” gated community. Homes are arranged in a loop about 2.5 miles in circumference. There is an “inner loop” and two other sections that meander in and out of the main loop. The terrain is completely flat (it’s Florida!) and the car traffic was minimal. I pulled my Mom’s old bike out of their storage shed, cleaned it up, and pumped up the tires. It’s a one-speed, coaster brake, $100 Walmart off-brand special. And it was absolutely perfect! I hit the road every morning and many days, in the early evening as well. By mixing up the route, I could do the whole loop plus the inner loop and auxiliary streets and get in about 5 miles. Do it twice and hit 10 miles. I had brought my little Garmin GPS and I used a twist tie to attach it to the bike’s basket. I could track my speed and distance. There were days I got in 20 miles and even more.
Since the bike had just one speed, I could not change the resistance. I discovered that I could “max out” my ability and the bike’s. All I could do was just keep riding longer for a farther distance, something that would have had me adapting with no further improvement within a short time. The only variable was the wind. Because the route was generally circular, I would find myself alternating riding into and against the wind which some days was blowing hard enough to make riding a good bit tougher!
I definitely dropped a few pounds. I can feel it and I feel it in my clothes. But more importantly, it felt great to get back into daily exercise that was truly vigorous. I wore my heart rate strap and could get myself up to my max when the wind was giving me that extra resistance.
I got so sweaty I would fold up a hand towel into my sun visor.
Over time I was able to keep my average speed above 12mph and I did a minimum 10 miles each ride.
The greatest benefit of this was being able to keep working consistently without stopping or barely having to slow down. I could NEVER get myself to work like that on a treadmill or stationery bike. I’d hate it. So now that I am home, I knew it would be a challenge to find something just as vigorous that I could do for a good solid hour. I don’t have a lot of choices! I considered getting a bike to ride on the lakefront path but I would have to pay to store it in my building and it wouldn’t be the same! That circular route that felt “close to home” at all times was truly unique.
So I am back on the stairs in my building! It’s the best I can do! I am wearing my heart rate strap and I am climbing until I reach the 150s. I push myself until my body says no more, then I rest until I drop back to about the 120s. A few summers ago I worked up to being able to climb this building six to seven times in a session and it would take me about an hour. I get tired of being in the stairwell but it’s a great workout and I need to do it.
I have not weighed myself; in fact, I took the batteries out of my digital scale some time ago. Where will I be by the end of the summer? Will I drop enough weight to be able to jump rope at last? I’ve got a lot of work ahead!