Most people who regularly strength train think of cardio as a necessary evil. Go to any gym and you’ll see a bunch of people looking bored, churning away the miles on a treadmill or elliptical.
Regular readers of this blog (all six of you!) will know that I like to sprinkle some fitness articles here and there, usually with an underlying focus of frugality. Today is no exception, only this time I’m not going to teach you how to build your own stair master or nordic track.
Get to the point, already
Ok, ok, I don’t want to keep you waiting any longer! Here’s the deal: when you were a kid, exercise was something you did without thinking about it. Riding bikes, skipping rope, running around everywhere because who has the patience to walk? Boring adults, that’s who.
Now that I’m officially a Grown-Ass Man, I find myself doing things like walking up and down the stairs repeatedly for exercise, and it’s boring. If you don’t like the exercise, eventually you’ll stop doing it. Therefore, I needed another option.
Enter the Hacky-Sack
At some point in their little lives, one of my kids somehow ended up in possession of a hacky-sack. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a little woven ball filled with beads that you try to keep off of the ground as long as possible using everything but your arms and hands.
I recently found this toy unused in a dark corner of my son’s toy box and confiscated it for scientific purposes. By which I mean scientifically Having Fun.
But what about collecting data?
I know, as Boring Adults we are compelled to collect data on everything we do, in the interest of continual monitored growth. Fear not, fellow boors, for I have devised a plan to ensure this activity doesn’t drift off into the shadowy realm of Noodling Around without providing some semblance of Steady State Cardio.
My first idea was to play the game until I had one run of 20 hits before the sack hit the ground. Due to my limited skill level, this could keep me going anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. Definitely sufficient to work up a sweat.
As my proficiency improved, I found myself reaching my hit goal well before I reached my cardio goal. I then decided to use a timer, and just play for twenty minutes straight. Of course, I still count the hits, as I am unable to perform any task or activity without quantifying it in some way.
Does this really work?
As I am a bona fide Boring Adult, I can’t just let loose and play for my cardio exercises without measuring my body activities and work levels. Thanks to my Fitbit, I have the perfect device for obsessive monitoring strapped to my wrist all day. Yay!
As of this writing, I am still sweating from my last hacky-sack session. According to my Obsessive Monitoring Device, I maintained a heart rate of between 135-140 for the bulk of my twenty minute workout. Those numbers falls squarely into the cardio range for me (age 35, roughly average height and weight).
In other words, I have fulfilled my cardiovascular exercise duties for the day.
That’s nice, but I’m sticking with my treadmill
If you are the type who doesn’t mind plugging in and cranking away through your workout until the timer dings and you can relieve yourself of your fitness obligation, then by all means go to it! I am not one of those people. I find that type of workout incredibly boring, and I have a hard time getting through it without the help of youtube. That’s not to say I don’t do those type of workouts occasionally, but there’s nothing to say I have to like them.
For me, the power of play is a wonderful break from the drudgery of everyday adulthood. I can laugh, look stupid, and have a great time.
Now let’s talk numbers
I would be remiss to call myself a FI blogger without mentioning numbers, wouldn’t I? Yes I would.
A quick search on Amazon shows me that a treadmill can run anywhere from $199 up. Sure, you could go running outside, but who wants to do that when it’s five degrees out?
My kid’s hacky-sack cost around $1. I’m sure there are plenty out there that cost a lot more money, but there are lots of them available for next to nothing. Even if it costs five bucks, I would call that a bargain for what it gives you.
All you need to enjoy yourself and get a great workout is a hacky-sack and some open space. You can do it during your lunch break, you can do it in your living room, and you can fit all of the necessary equipment in your pocket.
Time to wrap it up
If you don’t mind maybe feeling a little silly and you are looking for something new to spice up your workout routine, try this out once or twice. Even if you are terrible at it, simply bending down to pick it up over and over can be your workout. Over time your skills will improve, and soon you’ll be excellent at something that absolutely nobody cares about!
As long as you’re having a bit of fun and getting your heart pumping, you are doing yourself good. As we know, taking care of our bodies is an important method of self-insurance, and it will undoubtedly help our finances in the long run. More importantly, you may find yourself feeling happier, and isn’t that what life is really all about?