Sunday, 24 June 2012

Tool Use Separates us from Animals...

I have the luxury of a second bedroom in my new apartment, and have turned it into a workout room / guest bedroom.  In the city, in small spaces, everything needs to serve a dual purpose and my workout space is no different.  There is space for the workout equipment, but also space for a daybed for guests.  I partially separate the daybed from the workout equipment with a free-standing 3-panel screen, which permits me to visually establish different zones within the same room.  I am not sure whether the feng shui of the room is positive, what with all the workout equipment in there (!), but it's the best I can do with the space available.

My longest serving piece of workout equipment is my old faithful Schwinn 205P recumbent bike.  I have had this bike since the late 1990s, in my old house, and I remember using it 6 days a week when I was working out and getting in shape the last time. 

This bike has your basic strap-tension system for resistance, and a little computer that gives you stats like time, distance, calories, speed, and an odometer. The bike also has a socket for an optional pulse monitor, which I don't use (I use a chest strap with a wristwatch as my heart rate monitor).  The frame is welded steel, and the bike can disassemble into two parts (the flywheel and the seat + frame), and both parts are heavy enough that you get a workout trying to move the thing.  It's very comfortable to use, and is your basic, entry level bike. 

My current program is to do 20 minutes on the bike, 5 days a week. Boring, yes, but it's a chance to read. 

Last year I bought a rowing machine, the Infiniti R100.   This air rower offers  features including: air magnetic resistance system; angled foot rests with pivoting heel supports; computer with a variety of programs (including white water, pace boat, ramp, and manual programs); adjustable air vents; and a nice full stroke for those of us who are tall-ish (I am 5'9"). 

I have to confess that I do not use this machine to its capacity, as I only do a couple of minutes each day, 5 days a week, usually on the manual program.  For the short amount of time that I use the rower, the programs are not useful, and I do not have a stroke rate that permits me to race the computer and win (I only go about 30 strokes per minute, which is enough to get my heart into the 140s range by the end of 2 minutes with ease). 

I like the rower, now that I have learned how to use it without overflexing my knees.  It reminds me a lot of the Nordic Trac ski machine that I used to own - both of these pieces of equipment are great for getting my heart rate up, but I could never stay on them long enough to do a full workout - - they are too intensive for me. 

This week yet a further piece of equipment is coming into the workout room, after long having been recommended by my mom - a Precor elliptical machine. 

This machine will be new to me, but my mother and stepfather rave about theirs, which they have used for years.  This model, the EFX 5.33 apparently features automatic inclined angles from 15 to 30 degrees, moving handlebars, 10 programs, 2 User IDs, 20 resistance levels and touch and telemetry heart rate monitoring, which I hope will work with my chest strap.

My parents rave about the smooth action of the elliptical, and how easy it is on the joints, as well as how effectively it gets them into their target heart rate zone.  This is all hearsay for now, as I have yet to try the machine, but I have read good things about it, and can't wait to try it.  Tuesday is the big day (the unit gets delivered in the afternoon).  I am told it is  behemoth - big and heavy - so I need to pick where it will live and be happy with that, as once it is placed, it's not going anywhere.  That's not ominous at all...

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