When I was in physical therapy, Young PT gave me a list of exercises, complete with pictures, and asked if I was willing to do them every day. He sounded bored, like he asks everybody this question and is ready for an argument.
“I will do more than you ask,” I said.
He freaked. “That’s a problem.”
“Why?” I asked. “I was working the elliptical next to a woman about my age. I had to get off at 12 minutes and she kept going for 20, which is the time limit at our gym.”
Then he told me a story that he discovered during his own rehab from a shoulder injury. Exercises work better when you do them every other day. Take a day off. Go for a walk.
I thought about asking him why he had told me I should do these exercises every day, but it wasn’t worth the argument. Did he usually compromise with people and act like they were getting away with a special favor if he agreed to every other day?
It sounded odd, but I decided to give it a try. I skipped a day on the elliptical. When I came back to it, I could do 15 minutes and I wasn’t tired. I got off because my replaced hip was feeling sore. That’s a 20% improvement just for taking one day off.
My insurance gives me $150 back after I complete 120 gym visits. I didn’t want to miss out on that, so I started alternating, elliptical and treadmill. And I switched from doing a steady pace to doing intervals. 2 minutes warm up, 30 seconds maxed out, whatever it takes for my heart rate to return to normal (2 - 2.5 minutes usually) Repeat for 4 intervals on the elliptical.
For the treadmill, I put it on a slope of 15, warm up at 1.5 miles per hour for 2 minutes, then do 4.5 miles per hour for the intervals, and go back to 2 mph for another 2 minutes. Repeat for 4 reps. The heart rate monitor on the treadmill is insane, so I’m just guessing.
I didn’t get any more dramatic improvements. But I didn’t lose ground, either. Finally, I got my 120 visits and my $150 check. So, this week, I started taking every other day off – not going to the gym at all – going for a walk by the river.