Heart Healthy - the rest of it

I dedicate a lot of blog space to the food side of heart health. The truth is, as a family we put as much emphasis on exercise as we do food. But talking about exercise habits seems even more pretentious then talking about being a foodie. People may joke about their pant size but they don't talk about their physical fitness (unless they're a certain male from the New Jersey coast). That is why I find it very hard to press the importance of cardiovascular exercise on anyone. Starting now I'm going to make an effort to change all of that - at least on this blog.

The foundation of our exercise regime is three weekly visits to the gym. Oliver also commutes to Georgia Tech on his bike. When we travel to Baton Rouge to visit family then we go to the gym there (our membership is nationwide).  No excuses, we go to the gym.

This weekend Oliver challenged me with a bigger workout then usual. He suggested we ride bikes from our house to Stone Mountain (16 miles away), then hike up the steepest (mostly unknown) mountain path, walk down the easy path and bike home again. Three years ago I would have said no because I would have known I wasn't strong enough. Today I said yes because I wanted to find out if I was as strong as I think I have become.

The ride is along a 19 mile state bike PATH that starts at Piedmont Road in downtown Atlanta and goes to Stone Mountain (a giant bubble of granite east of the city). Oliver started at our house, two miles from the actual start. I skipped the first ten miles by driving my bike to YDFM and jumping in there. We met up, shared a lunch of left over homemade pizza and then got on our way.

It was great. The bike ride was almost easy. The steep backside of the mountain was a piece of cake compared to the first time I tried it two years ago. I know I have the countless hours on the elliptical to thank for the bike ride and the weight lifting to thank for the hiking. Three years ago either activity would have left me breathless. This time I had the strength of heart and body to not only keep going but to also truly enjoy it.