Slogging Along

Since my hip replacement roughly two months ago, I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m at the point with my Blessed Airdyne that I’m riding 10 miles in about 30 minutes, and I do intervals which is challenging and keeps it from being completely boring. Since the biggest problem I’m contending with now is a knee as bad as was my hip — and the non-surgical solution to that is weight loss (and I’m absolutely willing) — I did some research to find out what I have to do to make the Airdyne a weightloss tool. You know, besides, basically, ride it. 🙂 I have arthritic knees which makes a bike (stationary or otherwise) a perfect tool for rehab and fitness especially as I HATE the other good exercise, swimming. I even found a video of some buff guy working out (doing intervals) on a machine exactly like mine:

But when I researched how FAR I need to ride to lose weight, I got useless information. “Ride 60 to 90 minutes five days a week for weight loss.” This means NOTHING. A person can go 1 mph and that’s not going to work. The question is HOW FAR? (Or, alternatively, how fast for how long).

A long long time ago when I was a kid I had like a baby science book. In that book was an illustration of two chairs, both nailed to the floor, each with a feather on the seat. In picture one, a guy (in a toga, no one knows why) struggled to lift the chair off the floor. Sweat sprayed from his face and body (ah, that explains the toga; it helped show how hard he was endeavoring to lift the chair). The other toga-clad lad had lifted the feather from the seat of the chair. THAT was the physics definition of work. He had succeeded in lifting the feather and transporting it somewhere. That stuck in my mind.  The first guy struggled; the second guy worked, so when I googled “How far should I ride my bike for weightloss” in other words how many miles (real or virtual) do I need to move this feather if I hope to lose weight. I got,

As you get comfortable spending more time in the saddle, schedule longer rides during the week. If you do three cycling workouts each week, complete one short ride (30 minutes), make one ride a moderate duration (45 minutes), and set a goal to ride one longtour (60 to 120 minutes) each week

I kept googling questions involving “how far” for both stationary and actual bicycles and kept getting the same answers. No mention of “distance.”

Therefore, to lose body fat, you want to burn as many calories as possible during your stationary bike workouts. Increasing your workouts from 30 to 60 minutes is ideal. According to Harvard Health, a 155 pound person will burn about 520 calories per hour of bicycling at a moderate pace. The stationary bike is not the most effective cardio activity to burn calories, so longer workouts are more ideal.

Added to that absurdity is the phrase “more ideal.” Ideal is the, uh, ideal. There’s nothing above it.

So… long long ago I remember learning an equation that 1 mile walking is roughly equal to two miles riding a bike AT ANY SPEED. Because what matters is how far you take the damned feather.

Soon I’ll be taking the real bike out of the garage and riding it. It’s pretty boring to ride a stationary bike all the time. My dog walks aren’t going to be very far for a while, and I really really really want to put off knee surgery as long as I can.

The other slog is the Schneebelis. I spent part of the morning describing their log cabins and gardens. I have to say this about my upbringing. I grew up out here in the last frontier (other than space)  and log cabins are still common sights everywhere I’ve lived (except downtown Denver and San Diego). All I have to do if I want to see a log cabin is saddle up Bear or Dusty and head across the golf course, so there is a dirth of excitement in this writing about log cabins and pioneer kitchen gardens, but I’m doing it. It must be done and after it’s done it will be edited (yay!) so perhaps readers will not have to slog as I am through the historical remnants of Schneebelian life.

Oh, the cabin in the photo up top was built by one of my ancestors, a guy named Jacob Leber. He was from the mountain area near Lucerne. It was built in York County, PA but moved in the 1980s. He built it over a stream which was apparently a common thing to do. All I can say is the streams back east must be a lot more predictable than the streams out here.

Slogging is OK. I just requires patience and faith. Also the understanding that maybe it won’t work, but at least you don’t have to live without having given it a shot. I’ve gotten pretty skillful at slogging by now.

As for the word of the day? Forgive me but I have no clue what to do with clew in any of its meanings. At least now I know it for if someday I need it.

17 thoughts on “Slogging Along

  1. The problem with weight loss at our age is that we don’t need much in the way of calories to remain exactly the same. Men, with all that long muscle, can lose weight three times faster. The last time I tried a 1200 calorie diet, I realized that was basically what I already ate. I tried it anyway and to no one’s surprise, I did not lose weight. Not any. I was exactly the same weight at the end as I was at the beginning.

    My doctor pointed out that I should NOT be trying to lose weight and the only one it was bothering was me. I thought my back would really like me being at least 20 pounds lighter. It isn’t going to happen because I’d have to literally starve myself and I’d probably wind up heavier rather than lighter.

    That being said, I’ve heard that dancing works really well if you are up to it. You will probably need to do something different that whatever you are already doing. Lifting weights? Rowing maybe? That uses different muscles.

    • This is exactly what I work out on. It looks like I’m just going to have to work my way up to 20 miles (ultimatey) instead of 10. And, maybe, though it’s an inferior workout, I’ll start riding my real bike. I need workouts that are low intensity on my knees.

      Marilyn, I just had a hip replacement. For the past several months (years?) I have not been able to walk far or well. I’m not too worried about what I DO for exercise. I’ve been an athlete all my life. The only thing I cannot do is anything that involves high impact on my joints — but how likely am I to play basket ball anyway or do the high jump? I don’t even plan to run more than one time. I just want to run ONCE to remember how it felt. I wish I liked to swim, but I hate it. Dancing is knee intensive and I would rather save my knees for hiking. What amused me is that every site I researched gave the same NON-information.

  2. I’ve worked out at Curves for several years, and recently tried adding a food component to my routine. For a while, the nutritionist had me on 1200 calories, which should have been low enough to lose considerable weight — when that didn’t work, she did a metabolism test (basically breathing in and out of a hand-held machine) and dropped my calories to 8-900. I am now successfully losing a pound or two a week, b pretty ideal goal.

    • Everyone has suggestions. 🙂 It’s how we humans are even without knowing anything about the habits of the person we’re talking to or what their limitations are or what the professionals have advised. I do it too. This post wasn’t supposed to be about weight loss.
      It was supposed to be about how sometimes the thing you want to do just requires a lot of pretty dull work for a long time. I know what to do and I’m in good hands (doc and physical therapist), so I’m really grateful for your reluctance. 😉

      But I’m pretty sure I’m done posting for a while. I find I don’t want to read anyone’s anything and feel that the stuff I write isn’t saying what I mean it to so it’s probably time for a break.

      • I understand that, Martha. You’ve got to be in the mood for it. You will be at some point. But just now, you can probably only handle so much dull stuff. 🙂 Time to smell the roses, grow something. Tend your patch. Life goes on.

      • My apologies — I didn’t mean to suggest anything other than talking to a doctor about a metabolism evaluation — it helped me to understand what’s going on in my body.

  3. I see your non-interest in input from the comments above. I do have input if you’re so inclined, and will await your okay. Cheers!

    • I’m really past caring, Steph. I was irked because I wrote about one thing and in response I got weight loss advice. Considering the limitations I’ve lived with for the past year (leading me to a more sedentary life than I’ve ever lived) and those I’m still living with, I’m really not worried about it because as time goes on I’ll be able to do more and more things.

      I was trying (and clearly failed) to write about 1) some things in life just require that we slog along even though they’re not interesting and we don’t like them yet they take us where we want to go, 2) and as Einstein said a rational question doesn’t always yield a rational answer. I’m thinking of going and riding my Airdyne 1/2 mile and spending an hour at it and burning 500 calories… 😀

  4. The way to get an exact number for weight loss is to calculate how many calories you would burn to cover a mile. A 150 person cycling a steady pace of 14 mph will burn 48 calories per mile, that same person traveling at 20 mph would burn 56 calories per mile.

    Faster does burn more calories than slow over the same distance. The nonlinear rate of burn increase at higher speeds is due to aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance which increases as the square of the velocity. You also burn more going uphill than you save going downhill.

    The simple math indicates that for every 250 calories burned you lose an ounce of fat. The benefits are greater than this, however. An ounce of fat also translates into a bit of water weight lost. Just be careful not to dehydrate.

    Here is a website that makes it easier:

    Other factors enter into this. Regular exercise increases your metabolism when you are NOT exercising. This means the actual amount of fat burned is greater than the exercise alone would suggest. It improves blood circulation and increases cardiovascular capacity. It also improves lean muscle mass. This means that burning the same amount of calories actually gets easier as you go on.

    I would suggest asking your doctor what your target heart rate should be. Play around until you discover how fast you must go to achieve that heart rate and then maintain it however long the doctor suggests. As you get in better shape, you’ll be able to maintain it for longer periods. Wind and hills and tire inflation will cause your speed to slow and increase accordingly. Higher elevations will make the workout harder from reduced oxygen.

    You may discover that pain on your bottom is the limiting factor. It is for me.

    Of course, it also requires dietary discipline if weight loss in the objective. If you don’t change your eating habits, an ounce of fat loss per ride can easily disappear into a bigger appetite. And you might discover (as I did in basic training) the loss of fat is counterbalanced by an increase in muscle mass. It is possible to put on weight but still be healthier because you are stronger and fitter.

  5. Just realized you are using a *stationary* bike. Ignore everything I just said about drag forces and hills. You will do the same amount of work per mile regardless of speed. That translates into the same amount of calories burned over a distance regardless of speed. A slow speed will take longer and not challenge your cardio as much but burns the same calories.

  6. Strangely enough, I know all this. My frustration came from not being able to find a website that would help me calculate this exact thing you’ve written, “The way to get an exact number for weight loss is to calculate how many calories you would burn to cover a mile.”

    It was all about time, never about distance, but ultimately I found what I was looking for.

    I’ve been an athlete since I was a kid and have had to lose weight a couple of other times in my life. That doesn’t worry me. I’ve never been in a situation where I needed to rely on an exercise machine, however, and mine is not the few-fangled ones with a fancy computer. I had one but it broke. I replaced it with a virtually indestructable 1970s Airdyne (which I love). Now I know I’m riding 12 in an hour and that’s roughly 500 calories a ride. Fine. I can’t walk far yet and certainly not fast, so this is where I am. I have no pain in my hip any more, but I also don’t have (and am not allowed) full range of motion yet and there are nerves and muscles that are re-learning their jobs plus a compressed IT band from years of compensation for not being able to stand up straight. It’s going to be a long haul but whatever. At the end is a mountain trail.

Comments are closed.