I began 2023 looking for ways to get into better shape. Having done some strength training over the years, I noticed that I’d let my fitness levels fall to the wayside a bit. I’ve never been particularly fond of cardio. In fact, it was only when I sat down to write this that I realised I had avoided doing any cardio for almost a decade! Embarrassing but true and this truth comes with consequences.
I feel out of breath more frequently; my stamina isn’t what it used to be; and my joints can feel stiff, especially in the morning. A definite ‘wake-up’ call and one I have chosen to ignore for a bit too long. So, I decided that 2023 was the year I would address this issue once and for all.
How to start? I knew from experience that running would NOT be my thing (my poor joints hurt just thinking about it), but I read about something known as the ‘12-3-30 Workout’. It involves walking on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour (4.8 km) for 30 mins while at an incline of 12%. I decided to give it a try.
With age comes wisdom (or so they say) and one thing I have learned over the years is to be kinder to myself. I decided, therefore, to start with a much lower incline (3%) and work my way up. I knew that if I immediately began with 12% and it proved too much, I would abandon my ambitious plan before it even began. I also decided to adjust the initial time to 15 mins instead of 30 and work my way up from there.
What have I learned? I’ve learned not to rush anything. Moving the incline up too quickly resulted in me feeling my lower back (and not in a good way). The same was true for doing a challenging incline for too long. I realised that performing the 12-3-30 (or 3%-4.5km-15mins or whatever your version is) with proper form is far more important than literally doing 12-3-30. No matter what the numbers are when we begin, simply starting is key. The inclines, percentages, and duration will all increase with time and effort – that’s a given.
Hence, I’ve learned to value my incremental improvements, be mindful of my form and consistency, and above all celebrate my journey rather than focus on a result!