Cardio Fitness And Running Mountains

I talk a lot about the importance of building your body to make it strong so you are capable of handling all the tasks that come with daily living… and so hopefully when you get old you’ll have strength to continue to do things for yourself.

You must work and use your body now. If you don’t, you will lose your strength and abilities to lift, carry and work hard.

I love seeing women getting into weights not just for what it can do for them physically, but how it also empowers and builds confidence in them.

Ok, guys too. I like when people start to “get it”.

I’m just down for anyone getting stronger and able to handle whatever things they have come at them in life. Let’s face it, we’ve got a lot to deal with in our days long after we’ve finished off our workout, right ?

But now I want to put this at you. Do you ever consider the muscles inside your body and how you strengthen them each time you work out?  These aren’t visible, but oh so important.

I’m talking about our heart and lungs. Our entire  cardiovascular system.

Even if you aren’t crazy about exercise, do you ever consider the importance it has on those oh so vital organs ? Or how good, consistent exercise can lower blood pressure? Lower your resting heart rate?

None of these things are visible like outward muscles but they are trained and strengthened right along with your glutes and arms.

How do you know? You’ll see it in daily activities. Physical work is just easier for you.

Can you quickly take a flight of stairs without being out of breath?

Can you easily run across the yard with your kids and not have your heart pounding out of your chest?

Could you hop on a bike a pedal like crazy around the block and not be huffing and puffing?

There are ways your body tells you your cardio system is out of shape, just like you can tell your “outer” body is out of shape.

This is the reason why so many people hate cardio activities… it’s when they really know and declare they are “out of shape”.  They don’t like the winded, gasping for air, heart beating out of their chest, hot sweaty flushed feelings that go along with it.

I really got to thinking about that this weekend when I was with my husband and finally got to hike up and down this mountain I’d been eyeing for awhile. It’s on my list to do some trail running so needless to say, this has frequently been calling to me 😉  I wanted to see what it felt like scaling something beyond a usual “hill”.

And really, I wanted to see what I had in me too. I wanted to see how it felt in a cardio type of way to do it ( have I ever mentioned I like challenges? 😉

Below is a photo I took at the bottom before I headed back up… I left my husband watching guard over my trek back and forth 😛


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Can you spot my husband on top? You can see part of the path winding up the mountain…

I took off down the path not moving super fast since there was a lot of loose rocks and gravel, not to mention cactus and other prickly things. The trek down wasn’t hard and my legs which are used to hill running responded to what they’ve been trained to do.  Once I was at the bottom I took a few minutes to check out the view from below, and of course, take necessary photos 😉

Going up it was easy to move at a good pace but I had to really watch my foot placement with all the loose rock. It didn’t take to long to scale back up and my husband even commented as such.

What I loved?  besides feeling good about having done it… was the fact that after finishing that climb, although I was breathing deeply, it didn’t take long for my heart rate and breathing to drop back to completely normal.

This (for me) is a good indicator of my cardio fitness and those things inside I don’t see.

Although those activities I put myself through ( running, cycling, rowing, boxing) all add up to cardio fitness that carries over to powering up a mountain and hardly being out of breath.

So I’ll challenge you… remind you… maybe you view exercise in the light that you should do it to “look good” or “to lose weight”… and exercise does help with those things… but don’t forget exercise has huge and important benefits to those unseen, yet most important parts of you 🙂

As a final reminder… cardio work benefits your heart, lungs, blood pressure, as well as helping to drop your resting and normal heart rate. A lower heart rate means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard =)

And a few other benefits…

Increase in exercise tolerance,

Reduction in body weight

Reduction in blood pressure

Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol

Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol

Increase in insulin sensitivity

Yes, in the beginning it can be hard and uncomfortable. But in time, your internal muscles get stronger and more fit and you’ll see results when you do activities and aren’t left out of breath with a heart pounding out of your chest.

Now what are you waiting for? Find your favorite cardio activity and get after it!

What is your favorite exercise to get your heart rate up and make you breathe hard?

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8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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