Next week, I am going to be offering some reviews on stationary cycling equipment and elliptical machines. In the meanwhile, let’s talk about cardio machines and why we need them. Fifty years ago, what we’re discussing here wouldn’t really apply. Twenty-five years ago, cardio machines were a novelty, but they were hardly practical as we were usually on the move ourselves.
Today, we live in a society of convenience. We drive to most of our destinations. We order things online. We have plenty of products delivered to us at our homes. We don’t even have to get up to change the channel on the television, we don’t have to hang laundry on a line and in some places, we don’t even have to push a lawnmower – we can ride on one.
We’re so much less active than our parents and our grandparents, it’s no wonder that they consider obesity to be epidemic. It’s not epidemic of our biology so much as our lifestyle. It’s hard to give up luxuries once we’ve had them – it’s easier to let someone else do the hard work and it’s certainly easier to drive the car than it is to walk to the store.
When I was growing up, my mother did not drive. My grandmother did, but my mother did not. To this day, she still doesn’t drive. She elects to walk to most of her destinations, including the grocery store, the pet store and the mall. If it is more than a mile or two, she will take a bus or a train. The Dallas-Fort Worth area actually has a good mass transit system now – twenty years ago, they didn’t.
If I wanted to get comics from the store, I took three busses and then walked three-quarters of a mile to get there. I walked a lot. I didn’t struggle with my weight in those days – in fact, I never even gave it a thought. When I got my driver’s license, like so many others, I drove everywhere. The novelty was a thrill.
As I grew and left school and went to work – I started increasing my income. My life was padded with little luxuries – like a house that had a washer and dryer in it. I didn’t have to walk to the Laundromat anymore, I could just do the laundry at home. I got my first television with a remote – and that was a novelty.
Now my life is populated by novelties and I rarely have to walk anywhere anymore. I don’t have to walk to the store. I don’t have to walk to do much of anything. If I walk now, it’s because I choose to. And in the last decade, my weight gain and fitness levels showed the negligence that convenience and novelty gave me.
I’m not alone in this circumstance – there are plenty of us facing the same issues. We’re too busy, we’re in too much of a hurry, and it’s too much trouble to do things without the convenience. Ultimately – this is why we need cardio machines. We need them because they are a convenient way to replace the regular exercise we used to get and to supplement our busy lifestyles.