Sunday, October 27, 2019

Dogs versus Treadmills

Right before Quinlan and I left DC I began a routine of working out in a gym, owned by a friend across the street from our apartment in Southwest.  That evolved when we got back to California to consider competitive running.   One of my brothers was a good long distance runner in high school and college and for at least one year I ran for my high school cross country and track teams.  Competed is probably not an apt definition - I think I still hold the PVHS record for the slowest 1320 ever recorded.  In my last two years of high school I wrestled - it was much more to my tastes and interests.

The return to California got me to try long distance running again.  I eventually evolved to compete in both Marathons and Ultras (more than 26.2 miles).   But then I tore tendons in my ankle and it ended my racing.  I tried competitive cycling, but it was not the same.  One of the delights of running is that you don't need much equipment and you can pretty much do it anywhere.   After the injury I have tried to incorporate aerobic activity into my daily routine.  For the last 30 years that has mostly been in a gym with a treadmill or an elliptical machine. With the advent of the iPad one can dispel the monotony of these kinds of machines.

As mentioned in an earlier post I am currently excluded from my gym because of a compromised immune system, part of the process that chemo is trying to repair.  And while I try to walk every day with Indiana (Mentioned Previously) there are days when he or I don't want to go out for very long. So this week I purchased a Treadmill.  (Author's note this is one area where being penny wise is foolish).   The differences in machines in the commercial grade are mostly on features but many of the home treadmills are terrible.

The purchase got me to thinking about the relative merits of each as an exercise companion.   The value of the dog - or simply walking is that you are in touch with your surroundings.  You get the sun in your face and car fumes.  An additional benefit is that the dog seems to sense when you don't feel like going fast, so he slows down.   The treadmill doesn't care how you feel - it is after all a machine - well calibrated, but unfeeling; an insensitive task master.  But one benefit of the treadmill is that if you don't use it for a day it won't poop in your house.

The first workout I tried on Friday, which was at a level I did in early summer, proved a bit too much.   There is an old rule about aerobic activity - if you can talk when you are doing something you are improving the oxygen efficiency of your body.   There are certainly times for anaerobic activity - especially when training to improve speed.  (Which I am not doing right now.)

So I will have to evaluate when and how to use each over time - Indy certainly does not like to be out in the cold.  This morning at 6 it was in the mid-40s and he was not all that enthusiastic about feeling the wind in his face.  For that matter, nor was I.

This is going to be an ongoing investigation, mostly likely with a mix of options depending on conditions outside, Netflix and Amazon Prime offerings and what strikes my fancy.


  1. From a Friend who cannot seem to post comments ---
    Very nice msg. There are some pros and cons. The treadmill doesn’t look up into your face and whine to go outside, thus making you feel guility. The dog doesn’t have a bunch of stupid buttons to push that may or may not be what they seem. Altho I have not calculated this carefully, the cost per mile of the TM is probably less than that for the dog. If the TM dies, it makes you feel mad, not sad. No one I know has buried a favorite treadmill in their backyard under a small stone engraved with the words “Sissy — she always went her own way.” No one I know carries a picture of his treadmill in his wallet. If I meet someone who does I will quickly un-friend them.

    You have probably optimized the situation by having one of each. No, don’t send me any more pictures of your treadmill.

  2. From Quinlan who also cannot seem to post comments -

    Wife likes no dog poop in the house.

  3. Jon, Sunday seemed to be a good day to catch up on my JB's blog reading. You sound as if you are doing OK, all things considered. We had anticipated you both being here in SMA a month ago, but we will all just re-calibrate. It does sound as if you are in good hands. Is your treatment at Palo Alto? I agree with Nancy: Indiana reads you ever so carefully. I have taken the liberty of sharing this blog, e.g. with Peter, so that other friends in addition to Indiana might read you. We will keep sending those positive vibes your way, JB

  4. I would vote for a short walk in the fresh air with a dog over a longer one on a treadmill for so many reasons. nbb

  5. Then there is the idea that treadmills do not require a leash.

  6. Dogs are way more entertaining than treadmills, and they (perhaps foolishly) love you no matter your shortcomings. Ruff, ruff!

  7. Perhaps the dog would like to try the treadmill sometime.