On misleading exercise equipment

Exercise machines are grossly misleading.  They malevolently trick you into thinking you are much fitter than you actually are.

See, I’ve been trying to get healthy.  I’ve made some dietary changes (which is harder than you’d think, but more on that next week), and I’ve started to exercise on a regular basis.  Being very unfit, I started slow.

We have an elliptical walker at home and I started out on a few minutes a day which almost killed me those first few weeks.  But soon I grew used to it and before long I started getting antsy if I missed a session.

By the beginning of March I could easily run six kilometres a day and still feel good afterwards.  I reckoned I was ready for the road.

I bought myself some proper running shoes (cheap ones, though – not planning on doing any marathons…yet) and worked out a route using Google Maps (loving the new look, by the way).  I went on my run.  I enjoyed it immensely.  A few hours later I could barely walk.

I used to do cross-country running waaaay back in primary school, but I swear I was hurting in places I had never hurt before.  I even developed a case of that great nemesis of runners everywhere, shin splints.  I never want to get those again.  (Luckily they weren’t too severe and cleared up in a week – apparently it can take as long as six weeks to heal in some cases).

And the worst thing of all?  I only ran four kilometres in double the amount of time I usually did six on the exercise machine with no ill effects.  This has led me to the conclusion that exercise equipment are deceptive.

Whether this is due to a conspiracy among exercise machines to lull humanity into a false sense of physical fitness in order to more efficiently facilitate the eventual takeover of the machines, due to the machine’s odometer being poorly calibrated, or simply proof that a kilometer on a machine is simply not the same as a kilometer on the road, I don’t know.  What I do know is I don’t trust that thing anymore.  I still run on it on every alternate day as it works my upper body and core muscles as well which regular running doesn’t, but I no longer believe a word it tells me (except, perhaps, in the case of the stopwatch).  I currently do two kilometers on the road on the other days.

Of course all this is moot at present.  I seem to have developed slight inflammation in my achilles tendons (both legs) so no running till that clears up.  Perhaps it’s a sign that I must go back to following the wisdom of Solomon:  “The wicked man runs away when no one is chasing him…” Proverbs 28:1

8 thoughts on “On misleading exercise equipment

  1. Also, the elliptical remains flat or at a constant angle. (I’ve heard of treadmills that can adjust their angle while you go, though.) The minor ups and downs of a real road affect different muscles greatly over a long jog. So there’s that too.


    1. Definitely. I can increase the resistance of my machine, but that doesn’t affect the angle of my feet against the pedals and it also doesn’t vary while I’m going, so that’s most certainly a factor.

      That first run had a lot of ups and downs…


    1. That’s why we bought it. My wife has scoliosis, so any impact-cardio is completely out for her. But I’ve gotten the hair-brained idea in my head to start running marathons, so I have to get used to the road as well.


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