September 17, 2007


Lake Michigan Shoreline in Early Spring

I've got friends my age that still pound the pavement. They're addicted to running and cardio. I've tried to tell them that it's bad for their joints. These same people can't do the lifting and digging I do on a daily basis and wear out faster than a pair of cheap shoes from Wal-Mart. No endurance or strength.

Now Dr. Kenneth Cooper, a Texan who coined the term " aerobics " and inspired a whole generation to take it up has suggested that shifting to even more strength work as you age is good for the joints. Don't get me wrong, running is good for the heart, but bad for the joints, and I don't care how old you are. Forty year olds get knee and foot problems from it.

Jim Karas, a Chicagoan, who wrote " The Cardio-Free Diet " thinks that cardio overstrees the body and works against those trying to lose weight. He's the one who worked with Diane Sawyer to give her that beautiful bod. He was converted in the 80's as an aerobic instructor who witnessed a huge number of dedicated students that despite the exercise didn't loose the weight. One day he peeped into the weight room which had few participants and noticed that all of them were very lean. He switched to strength training and discovered that he and his clients were able to keep the weight off.

How much strength training is effective ? Karas says that 60 minutes a week is sufficient. Heck I get that much on a daily basis.

So, once again, gardening which involves a lot of lifting ( 40 to 50 lb. bags of manure, peat, etc. ) digging , bending and stretching is beneficial.

Moral of story : Grab the dumbells and walk, don't run.


  1. I have done well with my weight over the summer (having lost 15 lbs I needed to lose), and I do think gardening is a good 'low-key' exercise. Now my challenge is to keep the weight off thru the winter!

  2. Good post, interesting information. I find that by the end of the summer I am stronger and can work longer in the garden without tiring out.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  3. Glad to hear it Muum. Would we be skinny if there was no winter ? It's a curse to be housebound !

  4. It's no surprise, Carol, with the amount of work that you do that you're stronger by the end of summer. Too bad we have to pause for old man winter.


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