The Elliptical and Me

I don’t perspire — I sweat like Niagara Falls. Consequently, I prefer to run without a shirt — a preference that rules out running for most of the winter. Last year, I forced myself to run on a treadmill at the gym. I tried to focus on the silver lining, but time on the awful machine passed slower than ice-cold molasses.

Hated it.

An exercise program I followed last fall included cardio suggestions. Since I was running two or three times a week, I skipped the extra cardio. When the weather turned cold, I decided to try the recommended twenty minutes on an elliptical. Couldn’t be worse than the treadmill.

Loved it.

Sensors on the elliptical monitor my heart rate, which is shown on the console — along with the distance, miles per hour, and calories burned. A message blinks when I need to slow down or speed up. With so much information at my disposal, twenty minutes passed in the blink of an eye.

Boredom from running three miles on the treadmill damn near killed me. Knocking out three miles on the elliptical is a piece of cake. Some days, I’ll even go for an hour and hit five or six miles.

My playlist helps. Instead of a fixed pace, I can change speed as I want. When certain songs play, I kind of sort of dance. I tell myself nobody is watching, and if they are, they wouldn’t notice, but I still search YouTube for “man dancing on elliptical” when I get home.

As opposed to previous years, I kept up my cardio workout all winter. Through December, January, and into February, I hit the elliptical at least two or three times a week. The elliptical was a great replacement for running.

Or so I thought.

When the weather warmed up, I headed out for a run. Less than a mile in, I discovered the elliptical was not as good a replacement as I thought. Instead of the usual thirty-five minutes, finishing my three-mile run took almost an hour.

Warmer weather has enabled me to resume my regular running routine. I still do twenty to thirty minutes on the elliptical after I workout. Rather than a replacement for running, it’s extra cardio and a chance to practice my dance moves.