Monday, December 10, 2012

Row Harder, Swim Faster and Hit the Peak

For the last month I have been sidelined with a couple of injuries. One requiring surgery and the other will possibly require surgery but that will be determined at a later date. I read this great article in the New York times about encouraging people toexercise by getting them to find an exercise program they like.  The article cites research by Daniel Kahneman from his book  “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. I am familiar with his research from my research project in graduate school.  In Chapter 35 he talks about his research findings that people remember the peak of an experience and the end of an experience.  The New York Times article applied this to exercise and encourage people to find an exercise that they liked and would remember the peak and end of the exercise.

Since I am currently dealing with injury  I could relate to this. I am 43 years old and have been CRUSHING IT in the Army for the past 25 years as an Infantryman and Armor officer. Other than being wounded in Iraq I have been pretty much injury free. One thing I loved about running is how I felt at the most intense part of the run and at the end of a run after pushing myself hard. Since I am not able to run at the current time or do my regular upper body workouts I have been looking for alternate forms of exercises that gave me the same feeling that running did. 

These injuries have led me to look for alternate forms of exercise that are non-impact but physically challenging, which is the purpose of this post.  There is always a way to exercise even if a person has physical limitations.

I have turned to swimming and rowing.  I have been a triathlete since 1997 so swimming has always been part of my workouts. Lately I have been swimming more frequently and I find that if I swim 1000 meters plus hard for time I achieve the "peak"  feeling I used to have during and after a good run.

 I decided to try our rowing on a Concept 2 as an alternate cardio workout to swimming and as an alternate way to do a strength workout. Rowing between 5000-7000 Meters at 25-26 strokes per minute (SPM) with a focus on the drive also gives me the same intense "peak" feeling I had during and at the end of  a challenging run.  Another rowing workout I enjoy is doing 7 X 1000 meter sprints on the Concept 2 rower with kettle bell swings in between each sprint.

One of the keys to staying physically active when you face physical limitations is finding a form of exercise that you enjoy.

If you are interested in rowing here check out the Concept 2 site for rowing techniques and workouts.


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