Tag Archives: exercise

This is why I exercise


I actually used to really hate exercising. I did it because it was a “good” thing to do but I never really enjoyed it.

Now, though, I really truly enjoy it. I look forward to walking and (when I get the chance) running. There is no dread or “ugh god I don’t want to do this.” It’s excitement. I’m not sure when that changed for me, but exercise is definitely the highlight of my day now.

Maybe that just means the rest of my life has lost meaning, who knows.

The Matter of the Heart

So here’s an interesting article.

It talks about a study that focused on comparing the hearts of chimps, gorillas, and humans (classed as one of the following: endurance athletes, football linemen, farmers, and inactive people). The researchers wanted to look further into human’s rather unique endurance ability – our ability to run/walk long distances.

For the gorillas and chimps, they spend a lot of time sleeping or just generally being inactive and have occasional quick bursts of energy and stress (such as quickly climbing trees or fighting). The researchers believed that these quick bursts caused spikes in blood pressure, but found that the shape of the gorilla and chimp hearts were suited well for these spikes. The hearts were round and had thick walls.

The human heart is different. It is larger than chimps’ hearts and less thick and also twists/rotates when it pumps blood (the gorilla and chimp hearts don’t). This allows for a more efficient blood delivery system and is ideal for endurance activities. The trade-off, though, is that the walls of the human heart aren’t as thick and thus are not as well-built for sudden blood pressure spikes.

Another interesting finding from the research is that if a person tends to live a sedentary life, their heart will “remodel” itself and become more like a chimp heart: less flexible with thicker walls. These hearts also appear to look like the hearts of people with chronic high blood pressure even before high blood pressure actually sets in.

They use this finding to emphasize the importance of regular exercise, noting that previous research showed that hunter-gatherers (in certain areas) tended to walk somewhere between six and nine miles a day. Physical activity, as we’ve all been told, is key to maintaining the flexibility and durability of the human heart.

HIIT me with your best shot

Heyo, so as you all probably know by now (if you pay even the slightest bit of attention to my rambling (wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t)), I like to walk. I like to walk for relatively long distances, which takes me quite a bit of time.

A while ago, I was thinking that there’s probably a name for that type of exercise—doing something relatively “mild” but doing it for a long time.

Turns out there is: LISS cardio.

“LISS” stands for “Low Intensity, Steady State.” Basically, you do an activity that raises your heart rate to about 60% of your max heart rate and then continuing to do that activity for at least 45 minutes.

(I do it for about 240 minutes, but I’m bad at moderation.)

It’s kind of the opposite of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), during which you hit 90% of your max heart rate during short intervals, then take short “break” intervals in between. I used to do HIIT when I first started working out at UBC. I’d get on the elliptical machine, go at a moderate pace with little resistance, and then crank up the resistance for a minute and a half every three minutes. This worked really well for 30-minute workouts, but I don’t think a 30-minute workout could make me feel worked out anymore, no matter what I did during the time. I need to be exercising for a long period of time to feel like I’m getting anything from it.

But yeah! LISS is great. My resting heart rate is in the 40 BPMs most of the time (my Garmin says my resting average is 47, but I don’t have my Garmin on all the time) and I feel like I have really good cardiovascular endurance. My heart rate still shoots up when I go up hills and stuff (~130-140 BPM), but very quickly comes back down to normal.

I’d say it’s the LISS.


This is a really good article discussing just how much daily exercise a person needs to do in order to “offset” the damage done by how much time they spend sitting during the rest of the day.

Actually, the main message of the article is that we can’t really “undo” the nasty effects of sitting for eight hours a day. One study is cited as showing that 60 to 75 minutes of planned daily exercise might be enough, but not necessarily enough to bring about any additional health benefits. But the main point the article wants to make is that a good rule of thumb for health is to simply “sit less, move more”—no matter what that movement is. Which I can definitely get on board with.

Are Humorous Baristas called Brew-Ha-Has?

Since February 26th of this year, I’ve walked* the equivalent distance of the span of Romania.

One of my 101 in 1001 goals I added a month or so ago was to have walked the equivalent distance length of Idaho over the course of the year (that’s 479 miles, approximately). But then, when I was researching the lengths of states and various other things, I found out that the distance across Romania is pretty similar (approximately 460 miles). Since saying that you walked the span of a country sounds a lot cooler than walking the length of a state, I changed my goal. It’s a little shorter in reality, sure, but I figure I’ll hit 479 miles soon enough, anyway. I took a 9-mile walk this afternoon that brought my total to 464.89 miles.

And you know I can’t do anything like this without bringing you all some STATS!

  • Total distance in Vancouver: 234.5 miles
  • Total distance everywhere else combined: 230.39
  • Longest walk: 22.64 miles (47,132 steps)



           distance   calories      steps      speed
distance  1.0000000  0.9760977  0.9904710 -0.2836056
calories  0.9760977  1.0000000  0.9422555 -0.1071855
steps     0.9904710  0.9422555  1.0000000 -0.3922823
speed    -0.2836056 -0.1071855 -0.3922823  1.0000000


*Walking distance includes only “intentional” walking times—times I walked to walk (including all Canadian Mall destinations)—and more specifically, the times I actually had my iPod Touch with me and utilized the iTreadmill app and excludes distance accrued while walking to/from campus, going to the grocery store, prancing around the house, etc.

Blog 1,370: holy crap, that’s a lot of blogs

Today at the Dubar Rec Center:

I heard a conversation between two girls on the treadmills (they were walking, hence their ability to converse semi-normally) regarding using Christian songs in workout playlists. One girl made a very strong argument similar to “hearing about the coming of Jesus makes you run faster so that you won’t miss it.” Then the one Christian song I have on MY workout playlist came up on shuffle and I just had to quit.


Today’s song: Invincible by Muse