Workout Definition

Is it really Friday already?

This week back after getting home from vacation flew by.  I wasn’t especially busy and only had to nanny three days this week.  I’m really excited for tomorrow though; in the morning I am running with one or two friends, and then Brody and I are going on our friend’s boat on the lakes in Madison.  Hopefully I’ll have the chance to waterski!

Yesterday was one of the days I had to nanny, and I actually had to watch both families, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Between the two, I ended up having an hour of free time and decided to sneak in a quick workout at the gym.  My plan: ten minutes to get to the gym and change, thirty minutes to workout, and five minutes to shower before driving to the afternoon family.

But why thirty minutes?  Where did this number come from?

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I jumped on a treadmill and ran intervals: four minutes at 6.0mph and one minute at 6.5mph.  I did this for twenty-five minutes before realizing I would be late if I didn’t get off the machine now.  Also, I started to have pain in the back of my left knee.  And yet, there was the part of me that felt like it wasn’t a real workout.

That’s just silly though; I got my heart rate up and I was sweating, so why does it matter if I only did it for twenty-five minutes and not thirty?  While I didn’t beat myself up about this, it got me thinking: What makes a workout?

One of the most popular forms of exercise is walking.  I love to do it and go almost daily to the dog park with Moose and Frankie; we walk at least two miles.  Dogs don’t sweat but pant – you can tell they get a good workout in at the park by how their tongues hang out of their mouths.

During the school year, I probably walk a few miles just working.  But unless I work up a sweat walking, I don’t see it as a “workout.”  This also makes me wonder why I have the notion that a workout requires sweat.

It’s funny how we create definitions for things in our heads – I know I have for all of the various labels I give myself: wife, friend, teacher, and worker-outer (like my made up word?).  But sometimes it’s worthwhile to reconsider those defining characteristics and question their validity.  For me, believing a workout must be at least thirty minutes and must create sweat has probably hindered me.  Instead of doing something for twenty minutes, I did nothing for twenty minutes.  What’s the sense in that?

Interestingly enough, I am about to head to a Bikram yoga class this morning, which is an hour and half class in a hot and humid room.  Though my enlightened sense of a workout doesn’t apply to today, I’ll keep it in mine for the future.

Have a great Friday!

Questions:
How do you define “workout”?
What are you doing today to get your body moving?
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