Saturday, March 13, 2010

Zumba and jiggling

Lynn and I wear heart monitors after our doctor said he would like to know how high I get my heart beat while jogging.  Some authors pooh-pooh "jogging" and say that health is only enhanced by genuine running. However, at our age, hard desperate running may look like jogging.  He said that about two years ago and we rarely jog or take an exercise class without our monitors, a strap around the chest and a watch that picks up the heart rate from the strap.

The usual statement is that a person's maximum heart rate is about equal to 220 minus the person's age.  That is only approximate but for starters, it is a pretty good guide.  65% of that max is often said to the the lower threshold of aerobic exercise. 85% of that max is often given as the upper limit of aerobic work but the exact level also depends, of course, on the individual, that person's physician or trainer, the activity, current sickness, etc.

We are both impressed that she went to a Zumba class wearing her monitor and came home with close to an hour of workout recorded on the monitor at an average rate of more than 90% of her max.  Then she did it again.  We realize that she needs to rest, too.  We've found that for her, a group of others working out together to the beat of music and the example of a leader is motivating and fun.  For me, working without others around to bother or distract me is motivating and fun.

Pictures of exercise often show running, biking or swimming, the big three of areobics.  Put dancing, stooping, jumping (boxers jump rope or used to) and simply jiggling and shimmy-ing also increase heart rate and can help the body.

My friend, an expert in Indian and other eastern philosophy, describes his version of yoga as sitting in a still position and tensing and relaxing each muscle of the body, starting with the feet and ending with the face and scalp.  Doing that will not get the person to aerobic levels but it is still exercise and might be used with great age, incapacity, sickness or fatigue.  I like to read or watch tv.  It is fun and takes me all over time and space.  But to pay for that inactivity and keep me alert and healthy, it is helpful to exercise, using my current capacity to the extent I can.  I am an animal after all, one of the creations that needs to move to some extent to live.

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