It’s been five months now, since I’ve retired from corporate life. Now instead of living five days a week, from 8 to 5, in a space that is roughly 8 feet by 8 feet, lined with fabric (read “cube”) I now reside in a loft of much bigger proportions. When I decided to “retire”, which I mark here with quotations because I’m working harder now than I did when I had a real job, I thought of all the cool things I’d be able to do when I retired: I’d become a gardener, a gourmet cook, my spice rack will be organized alphabetically, I’ll become “addicted to exercise”.
Some of those plans didn’t quite materialize. The garden is only marginally better and I find that I procrastinate when it comes to any outdoor work, waiting for the perfect 70 degree day, my cooking is somewhat less than gourmet, although I did make pesto this summer with basil that I grew in my own garden (see ”gardener” above) and my spice rack is in the same state it always was, and that is when I need “marjoram” every bottle/jar has to be removed before I am able to locate the right one.
However, one thing that I did do, was I started an exercise program and
I have kept with it. For five months. That’s longer than I have ever done in my life. And, I find I enjoy it. We all know that we need to do thirty minutes of cardio exercise at least three times a week. I’m doing better than that, at least five times a week. And, though exercise has never been my favorite thing to do, recently it has become a lot more enjoyable and I thought I’d share my thoughts.
The success one has at a treadmill cardio program is directly proportional to the quality of his or her diversion. Anyone who thinks they will keep up with it without benefit of 1) nice scenery, 2) television, or 3) music, is bound for failure. Two of these diversions are nice to have, although one will usually be enough and 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive. I do not have the benefit of nice scenery, and television doesn’t do it for me, so I am a #3 person.
As such, I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my iPod Treadmill Playlist and I thought I’d share it. Keep in mind, this is a beginner regimen, so my MPH might not be as fast as a more experienced exerciser. I start my warm up at 2.0 MPH and increase it on the whole minute up to 3.2 MPH. That’s 2.0, 2,2, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0 and 3.2 MPH, a five minute warmup.
The maximum of 3.2 MPH works for me, but this might need to be increased for a taller person. The incline is what makes the workout more strenuous, so this should be increased gradually over time, at the discretion of the exerciser. I am now at 1% for warmup and cool down, 2% for ten, 3% for ten, and back to 2% for ten minutes. Increase this once it becomes easy, but if it starts hurting, better back it off. Getting shin splints isn’t going to be helpful to any exercise program. In fact, it is most unhelpful, because it will probably set you back a day or two as your muscles recover. So don’t overdo it. That’s my advice.
Go slow. When you feel it twinging, cut it back. After all, we’re baby boomers here, some of us are on Medicare. And some days are better than others. That’s life. Go with that, and if today you can’t jack it up to the incline you did yesterday, sobeit.
The following playlist can be used indefinintely, unless you decide to start running marathons, but for the average I-just-want-to-live-longer-and-feel-better type workout, it works.
I have found the group ZZ Top to be the best, for general, medium stride beat-thomping music. Consistently excellent for walking in time. Every second song on my playlist is a ZZ Top song. Here is the playlist, in order, with comments.
1. Start Me Up (Rolling Stones) – What better way to start than with “Start Me Up”? A very good way to get it going, and a pleasant diversion to the start of what seems an insurmountable 40 minutes. Picture Mick Jagger, craggy, untouched by plastic surgery. He’s what, 68? And a physical specimen. Well, mostly.
2. Gimme All Your Lovin’ (ZZ Top) – Now the warm up is about half way through, the MPH increased enough to walk exactly in time with this very upbeat piece. By the end of the song, I’m at maximum speed, and still I can walk in time with the beat.
3. Old Time Rock & Roll (Ron Dante) – Now we’re at about six minutes and this song is a medley of Old Time Rock & Roll and Mony, Mony. The first part is fast, I have to really speed up, take small steps, I’m almost at a half jog here. Mony slows it down just enough that I’m back to a fast walk. This one makes me want to almost march, it’s very uplifting.
4. Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top) – A great song. I wish I could more adequately describe music here, but the pulsating beat in this is enough to keep anyone going. And the funny lyrics, “every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man”. This song is over before I know it, and by now I realize I’m not keeping an eye on the timer every 20 seconds, I’m just enjoying ZZ Top and how my walking is exactly timed with the music. (“Yeah, Baby!”)
5. Crumblin’ Down (John Mellencamp) – Another #1 excellent treadmill song. Long stride, I’m walking along (going nowhere) arms swinging, having fun. And the walls come tumblin’ down! Great, great song.
6. Doubleback (ZZ Top) – This one is not my favorite ZZ Top song but the worst is still great. After #5, I’m ready to just stride out for awhile, take it easy before the next onslaught. This one allows me to do that.
7. King’s Highway (Tom Petty) – This speeds me up. I’m almost running again, because my steps have become so short in order to keep up with it. I can feel it in the back of my thighs and my butt.
8. Give It Up (ZZ Top) – This one has a great beginning. After #7, again, I’m glad to lengthen my stride and chill to this (yet again) excellent rock and roll song. The beat pulsates, I’m getting heated up, I’m loving it.
9. She’s Not There (The Zombies) – This is a really old sixties song. It doesn’t start out too well, so I stumble trying to find the rhythm for a bit, then on the chorus it speeds up and I find it and it’s great. Repeats three times. Slower, faster, fast. It’s a good addition to the playlist.
10. Gun Love (ZZ Top) – Starts out pretty well, same beat that allows me not to think too much about adjusting my steps. I love the lyrics of this one, “Playin’ Russian roulette but she’ll load all six”.
11. Proud Mary (CCR) – This starts the cool down. Such a pleasant way to end, and I sure love those lyrics “Left a good job in the city, workin’ for the man every night and day”. Oh, yeah, that’s hittin’ close to home.
12. La Grange (ZZ Top) – This is good cool down tune. Funny lyrics, “They’ve got a lot of nice girls-a”. But usually the 40 minutes is up before this one finishes anyway.
The warm up and top speed songs are the most important to my workout. By the time 35 minutes have gone by, I could listen to anything.
I’d welcome comments, additions, or suggestions to the perfect Baby Boomer Treadmill Playlist!