The great thing about Minnesota is that the weather is always pretty reliable.
It’ll be mercilessly frigid for three months every winter and then insufferably sweltering (with mosquitoes) for two months every summer. It’s never a surprise — just an inexorable drifting across our meteorological River Styx (above, with apologies to Dante, et al.). But we love it here.
I’m a little obsessed with the weather today because our annual mid-March blizzard dumped 3 inches of slushy snow on the city last night, and the commute this morning was pretty slick underfoot and periodically wet from above. The trees were already shedding their snow cover from last night, and my usual arboreal bliss became more of a blitzkrieg, as great lumps of the wet stuff kept thwacking me about the head and shoulders as I walked. Plus, some doofus in a Pontiac hit a puddle just as I was passing by and gave me a refreshing slush shower. Yum.
All this misfortune, however, cannot dampen my joy at getting back to the gym last night after a week’s hiatus (yeah, yeah . . . whatever). It was the first really mindful workout I’ve done in a while — five-minute warm-up, 15 minutes of sweaty spinning on the bike (avg. heart rate: 122), five-minute cool-down, and then 25 minutes of upper-body work with the resistance machinery.
And I’m not at all sore today (we’ll see about tomorrow and DOMS). I pushed myself a little on the lifting stuff, but not too much, and felt great afterward.
(One odd and totally irrelevant curiosity: I’ve run into my local Hennepin County commissioner three times in the past four days. Friday night in the park while walking home from work, Saturday night at a local bistro, and last night at the gym. Weird. I could never get in touch with this guy when I was covering politics.)
Anyway, this all once again has me thinking about the amount of time one needs to really get a decent workout. Part of the challenge for me is that I won’t even bother to go to the gym unless I can carve out at least an hour, because it’s become apparent to me that I can’t do what I think I need to do in less time than that. But that just might be me: I always like to combine cardio with strength training and each takes at least 25 minutes. And if I want to do the kind of stretching and flexibility work I need to do, I’d need another half hour (the extra five minutes is how long I need to get up off the floor).
In my not-so-exhaustive research, fitness experts like Greg Landry recommend 30-60 minutes a day. I’m getting at least that much — if you include my rather leisurely commute — but they tend to emphasize that any amount of time moving your body is time well spent. The point being: Don’t abandon your regimen simply because you can only carve out 30 minutes at the gym. (There is that 14-minute Tabata workout, which frankly scares me.)
Anyway, I guess that’s a lesson I need to embrace. Maybe I can’t do the whole cardio-lifting-stretching (ha ha) thing every time. So, get off your butt (he told himself) and just do one of the three. Sheesh!