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Rev. Michelle's Message February 1, 2024

Wow, it’s really raining cats and dogs out there! When the weather is wet and we are stuck inside, it can be hard for us to get enough exercise. But I want to tell you about a type of exercise I have recently added to my own weekly fitness routine that anyone, at any fitness level, can do, even at home when it’s raining outside.


You probably weren’t expecting your associate minister to be offering you health and fitness advice, but I have been a lifelong fitness enthusiast and over the years I have acquired a certain amount of knowledge and expertise. Most of you know I work out a lot, lift weights, and such, but a few months ago I started adding a new kind of workout into my weekly routine called Zone 2 Cardio.


Zone 2 Cardio is cardiovascular exercise done at a low-intensity, low-exertional level for a prolonged period of time. Zone 2 Cardio can be walking, light hiking, swimming, cycling, or any other type of exercise that can be done at a mild-to-moderate pace for at least 15-30 minutes. When doing this type of cardiovascular exercise, your heart rate should be between 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, I am 52 years old so my max heart rate is 220-52 = 168. Then multiply that number by .6 and .7 to get your Zone 2 range. So for me, it would be 168 x .6 = 100.8 and 168 x .7 = 117.6. So when I am doing Zone 2 Cardio I aim to stay between 101 and 118 bpm. You can use your Fitbit to make sure you are in the proper range, but if you don’t have a Fitbit you can simply go by how out of breath you are. Zone 2 Cardio should be done at a pace that makes you breathe a little bit harder than normal but where you are comfortable and can carry on a conversation.


The benefits to this type of exercise are myriad! It improves circulation, strengthens your heart and lungs, improves digestion, helps you sleep better, burns calories and fat, builds athletic endurance, and improves your mood. What I love most about Zone 2 Cardio is that I can do it right in my home any time I want, even when it’s raining outside! YouTube has all kinds of Zone 2 Cardio walking-style workouts (check out Jessica Smith’s Walk and Talk series or the “Walk at Home” YouTube channel). Just about anyone can do this type of exercise because it is gentle and low exertion.


The reason I’m telling you this today is because it’s supposed to be raining for the next few days and I know it can be really easy for us to become sedentary when we are stuck inside. A quick Zone 2 Cardio workout done in your living room can lift your mood, get the blood flowing, and make you feel like a million bucks.


Caring for our body-temples is an important part of spiritual growth as well. When we take care of ourselves, we feel good, we have more energy, and we live longer! So go to YouTube, choose from the hundreds of walking-style workouts, and get moving, while remaining safe from the weather right in the comfort of your home. You’ll be so glad you did! (Also, if you have a step tracker watch, it’s fun to see those steps add up!)


Rainy Blessings,

Rev. Michelle 


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