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The other day my boyfriend became aware that my Fitbit has a feature that reads your resting heart rate. So he promptly insisted I take it off so he could check his own. As I was unclasping the strap, he caught a glimpse of mine.
“84?’ he exclaimed, “That’s not very good.”
When he put the Fitbit on, he noticed his was 77; and seemed quite satisfied with his own number. I have to admit, he isn’t a fitness slacker, so 77 made sense.
I began to protest, defending my own resting heart rate. I had read that anywhere between 60 and 100 is “normal” for adults.
“Look it up” he insisted. “60-100 might be normal, but it’s not healthy. Look it up by specific age.”
Being used to my boyfriend’s usual blunt style of communicating, I did not take offense to it; realizing he was voicing concern for my well-being.
I detest cardio and I am not ashamed to scream that from the mountaintops. I hate sweating and I resist exerting too much physical energy in anything I do. It’s kind of against my personal Code of Conduct.
I had recently rationalized to myself that if I went to the gym regularly and lifted weights I could get toned and that would be good enough, but I couldn’t easily forget my recent encounter with a nurse at our company’s health fair who informed me that my blood pressure was slightly elevated.
“Well, it could be that you were recently walking around,” she said. Of course, I grasped on to that excuse.
Nevertheless, after looking at the Fitbit’s reading of my resting heart rate, and seeing the digits 8-4 staring back at me, I was triggered to face reality. I knew I had to find some type of cardio activity that I don’t despise.
I have always been envious of runners because people talk about the runner’s high. I was never fortunate to get to that point. I’ve always given up shortly after breaking a stride. Perhaps it’s because I’m top-heavy or maybe because I am just not light on my feet.
I work from home a few days a week and take a regular lunch hour. Maybe, I pondered, I should take advantage of one of the benefits of running – which is you can run virtually anywhere and at any time.
I needed to “run” an errand at the Walgreens down the road, so I decided to take a jog down that way.
En route to the store, I could tell that damn Fitbit was misreading my heart rate, as I was completely out of breath and it was registering a measly 122. (A part of me hoped it had misread my resting heart rate too!)
Suddenly an ingenious idea popped into my head. When I was young, I loved to skip and gallop. I had my Latin dance music blaring. The bouncy experience of skipping seemed like an excellent alternative to literally pounding the pavement; but could you imagine how idiotic a 48-year-old woman would look skipping down the road?
I decided to forsake my public image and give skipping a try. Sure enough, it was much more fun, I didn’t feel like a heifer, and it got my heart rate up to a breathless 157 (which I had to verify with my smartphone’s stopwatch feature. Thanks a lot Fitbit!).
At one point, a car passed me while I was skipping to my Lou. Briefly, I felt like an ass; but then I figured hey, they don’t know me and this is an intimate affair between my resting heart rate and me, and people can keep their noses out of it.
Alas, I don’t see myself ever becoming a runner but maybe I’ve found a cardio activity I can tolerate, and even enjoy. Perhaps someday I’ll even experience a skipper’s high.