I ran. For several years I ran. Because an "expert" told me it would improve my level of fitness. I used to run three times a week, for miles. I enjoyed some of it, mostly when I was finishing the last stretch - the last 20 yards.
Then, just like that I gave it up. I didn't miss the hot days, the cold days, the pounding of my joints, the aching in my feet. None of it. I don't miss any of it.
But talk to a runner and they look at you like you got a screw loose in your head. They love it. I'm not sure what it is about it - the "runner's high"? Can't be that, you can find that in every corner dispensary and you don't even need to run and get sweaty.
I had another problem with running and that is, what exactly are you exercising? Not your arms, not any of your upper body. Your legs; quadriceps, hamstrings, a few gluteals and maybe some calves and anterior tibialis and peronial muscles. But certainly there are other ways to exercise these muscles.
See what I left out? The heart. Do you really want to exercise these muscles or do you want to exercise the heart?
Ok. If you want to exercise the leg muscles there are less stressful and more effective ways to exercise them. If you want to exercise the heart, might there be other, less stressful and more effective ways to exercise it?
The other day I was speaking to Ryan, a guy who works for a very reputable instrument company that specializing in active wearables. I told him I was looking for a way to measure several markers to evaluate the effectiveness of my exercise machine. This guy was very knowledgable, he had just earned a Master's in exercise physiology and we were having a solid conversation. Then I said to him, "but I want to measure maximum heart rate in very short increments, like 45 to 60 seconds; that's how fast I can get to maximum heart rate."
He said "What?"
Yes, like in 62 seconds I can get to my maximum heart rate because I'm exercising full body, complete Range Of Motion. There's nothing that can do this.
I showed him a very unprofessional video of a few test subjects we found in a gym. Ryan watched a video and said that he'd never seen anything like this.
I know. I'm looking for data points that we can measure. At this time we have no reference points. I'm really looking to engage the most muscles doing work so we can have the greatest effect on the cardiorespiratory system.
It is the intensity of the exercise that is most profound. The higher the intensity the greater the effect on the cardiorespiratory system as well as the many other metabolic processes.
The greater the intensity the greater the heart rate and the quicker the heart rate will reach maximum output.
Ryan said there were several features on his watch (to think we can get data like this on a watch) and that he would send me a graph of his 2 mile run. Here it is...
The data shows a beginning and an ending and graphs the heart rate over the two miles. Very good.
You can see his maximum heart rate at around the 12 minute mark.
What would happen, what is the physiological affects, if that maximum heart rate would happen sooner? Might a person get into Anaerobic Metabolism much earlier thereby creating positive physiological effects without having to expend energy and exhaust metabolic reserves over a longer time?
Like why not exercise to maximum exhaustion quickly and be done with it?
In the graph below, I placed an arrow along the "X" axis of time where my heart rate is typically maxed out, at 160. It's at 60 seconds. Sometimes I can get my heart rate up higher but usually not in a longer time. Sixty seconds, that's it.
Ryan understood what I was getting at and helped me figure out what wearable to get started with gathering data.
He still might run. But not me, done with that. Running still sucks. It's a matter of figuring out that there are much better ways to exercise, faster, more effective, and far less stressful.