October 01, 2008

Cardio Poll! (And Giveaway Winner)

So I was going to put up another depressing/alarming post this morning about how something you probably use every day might one day up and kill you. (Maybe). The post is all written up and everything.

But how about I hold off on that one until later? Maybe this evening. Maybe this weekend. You won't kill yourself any extra in the meantime, I promise.

I'm just not in the mood to be the bearer of more bad news. Especially when you're all still absorbing the fact that you didn't win the Perfect Pull Up, and your fat is full of toxins.

Oh but wait, one of you did win the Perfect PullUp!

That would be kamewh! Congratulations! Please email us by Friday night with your mailing address so we can have your Perfect PullUp sent to you. (Mr. Meaty not included).

So instead of bad news, let's have a poll!

Oops, no, not that kind of poll.

So I was thinking about aerobics the other day. Or cardio, as we now seem to call it.

(C'mon, you remember the good ol' days.)

And here's what I was wondering about:

We in the health and fitness blogging world tend to act like everyone reading us does some sort of cardio. And by cardio I don't mean just walking around like you do in the grocery store; I mean the heavy-breathing, sweaty, get-your-heartrate-in-the-target-zone kind of workout. Even though we don't necessarily assume you're doing strength training or balance training or endurance training or HIIT. (Or even SHIIT).

But how valid is that? I have tons of friends and relatives who don't do the huffy-puffy stuff. Many of these fine folks are active and healthy and get plenty of exercise--just at a lower intensity level. Probably fewer than a third of my "real life" acquaintances regularly do aerobic workouts, let alone high-intensity interval work.

And when I started thinking about that, I realized that of all the health blogs out there, we're probably more likely than most to have lower-intensity folks checking in. We're Cranky Fitness for goodness sake! Yet I act like everyone here does cardio. Time for a quick reality check.

I know for me, personally, I don't feel nearly as fit if I don't do something regularly that gets my heart rate up. I never look forward to aerobic activity (even though I sometimes accidentally enjoy it) but I make myself do it anyway. And I could go scrounge up a bunch of links to justify why aerobic exercise is generally a good thing for people, but so what? Eating nothing but natural whole organic foods and never touching sugar or chemicals might be good for people too, but you don't see me assuming you all manage to do that. (And I sure as hell don't).

So, two questions. I'm hoping that people who don't normally comment might join us in voting, please? Pretty please? It's kind of humiliating to put out a poll and have 7 people vote.

Here goes. (And will sticking in a couple of poll thingies break the blog? We'll just have to see!)

The first question is your opinion about cardio:

Is it Essential to do Cardio to be 'Healthy'?
Yep, Skip Only at Your Own Risk
No, You Can be Healthy Without It
I Hate" Yes or No" Questions!
pollcode.com free polls

And the second question is what you actually do yourself:

Do You Do Regular Cardio?
Pretty Religiously
Er, Every Now and Then
Screw Cardio, Life is Short
pollcode.com free polls

Feel free to elaborate in the comments!


  1. Oh dear, sorry about the ads that this poll thing throws in the way. Didn't know about that until I posted. But I didn't want to put a poll in the sidebar; I wanted it specifically to this post so I couldn't use the regular google gadget.

    Thanks for playing!

  2. I think cardio is essential for my well-being. It keeps me sane and helps beat away stress. And while low-intensity exercise can help, for me it's the high-intensity stuff that really makes me feel good. But we've established that I'm not normal. Really, any type of exercise in my book is good!

    And I really enjoy Richard Simmons' DVDs. There, I said it.

  3. A Richard Simmons fan comes out of the closet! Excellent! :)

  4. I haven't been doing as much cardio as I should. By which I mean, I've kinda stopped doing it. And I haven't been eating so well either. For shame! :(

  5. You'll get back on it, Chicken Girl! I have every faith in ChickenPower. You can't keep a good Chicken down!

  6. Honestly, I had a weird atypical response to cardio. I don't really mind doing it, but when I started my diet thingie, I was doing cardio and weight training and walking and running sometimes, and really just not losing very much weight. Tiny little bits of weight.

    And then I had to stop for a while because I had an injury, and the couple of weeks I took to rest saw my weight loss shoot up like someone put springs under it...

    So... I haven't really gotten back into it. I'll reconsider it as an option when my food plan stops working ;-)

  7. I rarely set out to do cardio. I exercise, but I'm not big on the big deal workouts. Lazy more than anything.

  8. Cardio is good for you and I know that if I did, the weight loss efforts would probably pay off faster but I just can't. Power walking is about as high intensity as my legs will allow without giving me screaming pains.

  9. Must admit give me an hours power walk through the woods and i'm one happy camper!!
    I do truly believe it's what helps keep me strong and healthy :-)

  10. I don't LOVE cardio, but I always do it. Like you, I really don't feel like I've gotten a workout without it. I think I was brainwashed in the 80's. The only non-cardio item that makes me really sweaty and exhausted is when I do a bunch of push-ups.

  11. I'm training for a half-marathon so I have to get those miles in!

  12. Cardio and I have had an interesting relationship. For years I was in competitive sports, followed by a period of gym junkie time, and now I've hit a slump. Time plays a huge factor but I think I'm simply burnt out from over ten years of organized athletics (including college sports).

    My thoughts on cardio now tend to run along the lines of any movement is good movement. Get outside and be active doing something you enjoy. It doesn't have to be an hour long run or 45 minutes on the elliptical as long as your moving. I still love sports and try to play (non-competitively) as much as I can. So there you have it.

    By the way, I'm a new poster but have been reading Cranky for a while now and I love it!

  13. Hey Sam, thanks for popping in and saying hi!

    And I love hearing what everyone actually does. It's refreshing to see there's a whole range of approaches; I spend too much time in blogland where everyone but me seems to be running marathons!

  14. I found that after I injured my knee, I really slowed down. I never really set out to exercise that much, but I really moved around at a high rate of speed accomplishing things in my life (and garden). Now that I have finished PT six months ago and never really took up any physical activity with purpose I am finding it increasingly difficult to be motivated to move at all. DAMN!

    I need to get out some DVD's and get with the program. I have some Walk Away the Pounds DVD's and like them.

    I especially need to get this done since I am doing a cancer walk next weekend and don't want to have to limp across the finish!!!

  15. Usually I have to talk myself into doing the huff and puff stuff, but always feel great afterwards. However, I don't have to force myself into my daily long walks with the pups. I may not huff and puff, but walking 4 miles a day is still a great investment in your health. :)

  16. I've found cardio is essential to managing my stress eating. Haven't been able to do a food plan without doing intense cardio at least an hour a day. With cardio? I rarely even think to snack. So I'm doing it more for sanity than physical benefits, though certainly I see both!

    I like the fact that I can see results so quickly, too -- I started with 1 and 2 mile walks and am now regularly doing 5 mile walk/jogs and 10-20 mile bike rides.

  17. Oh geez, should not comment before coffee. It's your fault for posting so early in the morning. :P

    Just realized how stupid my comment sounded - of course power walking IS cardio - I was thinking more along the lines of aerobics with the scary stepping thingy and all that jumping around.

  18. Are all the people who talk about doing marathons reeeeeeally going out there and doing all that running? That's a question.

    Of course, on the Internet no one lies or exaggerates e'en a tiny bit. I myself, for instance, am tall thin and blond, with long dark lashes, legs that go on forever, and ... oh, sorry. Wrong blog.

  19. I think cardio is valuable, especially as we get older. Perhaps HIIT is OK when young and more resistant to disease, but cardio seems to have plenty of benefits with aging, and, if done properly, no real downside. All the studies show that there are more problems if you don't do it. Notice, I did not say, no problems, just fewer. :-)

  20. Cardio is a requirement in my life. I hate sitting around not doing anything. It helps me to think. It makes me feel as if I have accomplished something during the day.

  21. Yeah, Merry, "I have a black belt in karate, and I drive a Maserati!" I'm so much cooler on line!

    Honesty is tough, no?

  22. I'm kind of shy about this because I feel like no one will believe me when I say it: I've discovered that I love to run and I want to run faster. I run 25-30 miles a week with a little speedwork and HIIT (sometimes just SHIIT). So, that's my cardio. I look forward to it as the best part of the day. It clears and reboots my mind and honestly, it makes me feel like a badass and I like that.

  23. Oh, shit, are we supposed to exercise?!

    I do not do 'cardio' on a regular basis. There, I said it.

    Although I did throw in some jogging yesterday, just to see if it would kill me. It didn't, but if I ever do it again, I swear, I'm gonna get me one'a'them-there whatchamacallits - jock-strap thingy for the "girls"! Sheesh, they never bounced like that when I was a kid! Oh, wait, I was skinny then, and didn't have any "girls"!!

  24. Aw, man! You WOULD do this poll on the day I decide to give up running for 30 days. Rub salt in my wound;)

  25. Cardio keeps me sane...there's something about being alone with nothing but my thoughts. This is pretty rare in NYC!

    And I'll come out too--I love Richard Simmons!

  26. Hmmm, interesting question, Crabby. I've been wondering how essential the heavy-cardio stuff is lately, too. In the past year and a half, I took on a whole diet-and-fitness overhaul and dropped 120 lbs. I turned into a fitness nut, getting in heavy cardio via first biking and then running (culminating in 2 marathons this year) pretty much every day. I was also undereating for that activity level, which is why I lost so much weight in such a comparatively short time. Then, somewhere around May of this year (after starting my journey Jan 2007), things fizzled. I burnt myself out and just stopped.

    Since then, I've done only rare bits of the heavier stuff - running or elliptical at the gym maybe once or twice a week - but otherwise just going out social dancing a couple of times a week and leisurely walking to and from work (4 miles all told) when it doesn't look like rain. I often wonder/worry about whether or not I'm doing "enough", but I guess that's the thing that none of us really knows - what exactly *is* enough...

  27. I think the definition of "cardio" is probably pretty wide to a lot of people. One person might consider a morning walk "cardio", while another it has to be a spin class (or something just as difficult). Whether or not that "walk" is actually pumping that cardiovascular muscle...well, that's another issue...
    As for me- most days, I actually LIKE the huffy puffy. Other days, I go way more low-intensity. But I consider both cardio.
    I'm up and moving so it counts!

  28. I do think that Cardiovascular Exercise is important...But I don't necessarily think it has to be high intensity. I'm thinking about this from a general health standpoint, not so much for weight loss. I think for weight loss, many people find they need the higher intensity.

    So I voted that yes, cardio is important.

  29. Hello luvvies, you're probably already onto this but I was just listening to Jillian Michaels' radio show podcast and was chuffed to hear you mentioned in glowing terms! It's around 21 minutes in :)


  30. For me a 30-35 minute heart-pumping, bucket-sweating walk on the treadmill 4-5 days a week is considered cardio. I feel "off" when I don't walk and I feel noble when I do - like I've outsmarted myself or something because I do it early in the morning before I'm really even awake.

    I love my cardio, I just wish 5am came a little later, like at 8.

  31. I love the feeling I get from cardio. That said, I don't think it's completely essential to do it daily.

  32. Cardio is my god and sugar is my white satan.

  33. I tend to be the sweaty-huffypuffy- cardio type. But the experts actually say that moderate exercise might be better for you, fitness wise.

    I just put a post on my blog today about how to make exercise fun (and unconsciously, when I said exercise, I seem to have really meant cardio). Funny how these things parallel, don't they?

  34. It's one of those things that I know I really should do.. and when I do get into the habit, I feel pretty good about it. I'm guessing I should get back into the habit again eh? (hangs head in shame)

  35. I love cardio. But most of mine is simply in the form of walking at a reasonable pace everywhere I go- between school and work plus extras I usually get in between 1-2 hours of walking every day.

  36. I think of cardio as something that makes my heart beat hard and my breathing fast, and probably gives me a slight headache from the heat (I get those fairly easily, so it's not as scary as it sounds.)

    That said, in order for me to do cardio it has to be FUN: Richard Simmoms, TurboJam, TaeKwonDo, Ballet, Tap Dancing, etc.

    I refuse to run on a treadmill because it's boring. I don't do boring exercise, LOL.

    A few years ago, I would have said that anything NOT "cardio" as defined above wasn't getting me the same benefits. Then I did yoga.

    Due to a knee injury, I couldn't run (outside in the park - see aforementioned "fun") for about 6 months. I did yoga (DVD: Rodney Yee's Yoga Burn) instead. It didn't raise my heart rate, I didn't feel tired afterward, I built some muscle, but not THAT much, I didn't think it was doing me as much good as cardio.

    But. When my knee finally healed? After six months of not running and no other cardio? I was 3 1/2 minutes/mile FASTER. That is a LOT of minutes.

    I'm not sure what that means, other than that the yoga DVD HAD to be providing me with cardio benefits, even though I didn't feel like I was doing any cardio. If that makes sense.

  37. I love me some intense cardio workouts. If by intense cardio workout you mean "running." I don't think it's the only way to health, and I think that walking every day is probably a great way to live, but it takes a lot longer, and running is so much more fun.

    And I ran for 23 minutes last night (new record since my injury). WOO!

  38. My feelings about cardio are very similar...I hate doing it, well, I think I just hate getting there. Then I sort of enjoy it while I am doing it and I feel great right after. I do a ton of cardio. I was told yesterday by my trainer that he wants me to do NO cardio for a week! I don't know what I am going to do with myself!

  39. Hi! This may sound as a way to avoid doing exercise, but sometimes taking care of a five year old girl and a 6 month old baby is enough to make me feel like I used a lot of energy at the end of the day...

    I do want to exercise more, but I don't seem to find the right time when there is no interruptions (maybe I am being naive, hehehe)...

    But, after working in an office for some years I can tell that taking care of my kids full time it's changing me (I am slowly loosing some extra weight I had), so even if cardio is better, I believe doing other energetic activities help too.

  40. I wish I was a practice what you preach, but I'm with chicken girl. Kinda stopped being healthy :( I'll get back to it soon.

  41. First off...I'm a running nut, so cardio is essential, at least to my mental health.

    I don't know if intense cardio is needed for everyone though. My mother walks everyday, and she is in perfect health, and thin. So lower intensity is good for you too.

  42. I think you can be healthy by eating well and simply walking 30 min at an average pace most days.

    But, I love the way cardio makes me feel. I need the extra kick to keep up with my kiddos and I am also doing it right now for the weight loss benefits :) I do cardio 5-6 days a week.

  43. I hate cardio...HATE it..But alas, I do find it is a good hour to catch up on my reading. With a good book and my own music isthe only way to manage the monotony of it in the gym. I know it's good for me, but I need more stimulation. I want a DVD player attached so I can watch a movie or a really cool "running through the forest" course. You know what I mean??

    It is a necessary evil, and I have seen the effects in my weight loss battle, so I need to get my butt back on the elliptical as much as I can.

  44. Thanks guys, love these comments!

    And was that the Amazing Diet Girl who stopped in and said she was chuffed? Cool!

  45. I think getting your heart rate is important, which is my definition of cardio. I prefer sprints or bodyweight circuits to stead-state myself, but the elliptical is a lot less strenuous so I do that occasionally too =)

    I hate running/jogging as an endurance activity though. If that were the only cardio I'd rather die young.

  46. Thank you so much!! I am so excited that I won the Perfect PullUp!! I just e-mailed my info. We will definitely put it to good use!

    As for cardio, yes I think it is important. I do it, but I could do a lot more of it!

  47. I hates the cardio! Hates it! Seriously, I don't remember the last time I voluntarily did traditional cardio. Oh wait, yes I do--it was about six years ago as part of the "Body For Life" program. Suck.

    My problem with cardio is two-fold: first, finding a method that doesn't hurt (boobs, ankles, knees, etc.); second, the heat/increased bloodflow/whatever triggers a massive sinus drain that leaves me coughing up and sneezing out my brains. Although I haven't done it since I had a sinus surgery that prevents huge blockages in the first place, so maybe it'd be easier now.

    I do get what you might consider "light" cardio a couple of times a week--I waitress and sometimes we get busy enough that for 30+ minutes I end up at a brisk-walk level of exhertion. I do get cardio effects sometimes from activities I enjoy (weight lifting, swimming), but I doubt you'll ever catch me doing the stair master/treadmill/elliptical or jogging or whatever.

    As far as weight loss, I think straight cardio is pretty useless. It burns calories while you're doing it, but not nearly as many as people think. Strength training exercises that increase muscle mass, on the other hand, burn calories both during the activity and around the clock to maintain that mass.

    In terms of overall health, I think occasional cardio can keep you from keeling over dead when you DO have to exert yourself, but I think nutrition, stress management, and overall body condition are more important.

  48. Gotta get in my cardio. In my case, it's hiking. And it's intense. Lots of uphill. It's good for my muscles and my balance, too, since there are plenty of rocks and roots and slippery and sometimes trippery going.

    Hiking in the mountains makes me feel better on every imaginable level: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and last but not least, creatively. And since I combined my hiking with healthier eating, I have lost 12 pounds! :)

  49. Yes, I do cardio--when I'm well enough, which these years is most of the time. I hatehatehate working out on the stationary bike, but when I do it I get my heart rate up to 145, and it feels like not much more exertion than when I get to walk. When I next get a chance to go somewhere and walk (which will be after the fall pollen season!) I'll have to check. I do some kind of exercise at least three times a week and more likely six, and I do yoga every day.
    I had to get healthier than I was in my twenties to be able to exercise that much, but now than I can it does a lot to keep me that way.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  50. I do cardio, I love it I think it is essential, but I cannot deny the fact that I know plenty of peeps who don't do it and are very fit.

  51. For me, cardio is running. The amount of running I do varies along with external factors. When the council put in a walking track through the bush near my house, I went running more. When the golf course brought the land and closed it to the public, I ran less. When my family inherited a patch of bush land and decided to turn it into a state park, I started running again.

    My cardio workout is somewhat interrupted though, because every time I see a new species of plant I have to write it down for the Parks Council. For another less noble but equally as valid reason, whenever I see a mob of kangaroos I have to chase them. Chasseing kangaroos makes for a good workout.

  52. I do cardio at least 4 times a week, plus a few other things. On the Richard Simmons topic, never seen a Richard Simmons DVD, and I don't really have a desire to................:)

  53. cardio is defintely key to keeping yourself in shape. you'll feel a lot betting and have a lot of energy. It is hard to make it a daily routine but once you get into the swing of things it becomes second nature. I'm a bit over weight so I try to do anything that will help me lose weight. I was recommended to try out these bike shorts that take the shape of your body and helps you tone up and lose weight. If you want to give it a look go to fitandsharp.com. It's worked for me so far.


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