This week, I was happy as a pig in a sty that I was able to run most of a 4 mile loop at lunch. Some people might think that is an odd position to be happy about, but it really is a big difference.
I have battled with plantar fasciitis for over 2 years. It has limited me to moderate walking, and lately bicycling for my exercise. While walking is rather pedestrian (ha ha), cycling is actually a pretty good workout. But it isn’t a “great” workout.
The reason why is pretty easy to figure out with my handy – dandy heart rate monitor.
Walking, 4 miles per hour pace, I burn about 560 calories in an hour. My heart rate rarely rises above 80 BPM. This is fairly moderate exertion by any measure (heightened by the beta blocker I take)
Cycling, 19 miles per hour pace, I burn about 1,100 calories per hour. Much better, and certainly a better workout. The monitor tells me that I average around a heart rate of 120 BPM. A pretty good aerobic workout, but again, it is affected by the medication I take.
Running. 6 mile per hour pace (very slow for me, but when I am in shape I can d0 8 minute miles easily). I burn about the same calories per distance as walking, but I go further in the same time. I burn about 900 calories in an hour. But the real benefit is my heart rate. I can overcome the beta blocker, and keep my heart rate between 130 – 145 BPM, a pretty good aerobic workout by any measure.
So, of the three primary avenues for me to exercise, running is clearly the winner in the aerobic sense, and pretty good burning of calories. Cycling’s benefit is that I can keep up a 19 mph pace for 2 – 3 hours, and burn a shedload of calories. Something that I enjoy.
But running has one other major benefit, the fact that when I am traveling, I can pretty much run ANYWHERE. If I get up early enough, I can do 5, 6, or even 7 miles before a day of work. All I need are shorts and shoes, and I am good to go!
BTW: Having a smartphone with a GPS and a bluetooth heart rate monitor makes tracking my progress easy, and VERY satisfying.