Our New “Toy”

Exercise. What a lofty goal. And yet, our 30-something bodies have been admonishing us that we would do well to care more about them, and specifically, to offer them some more frequent physical activity. Perhaps this was most keenly noted during a recent park date with friends and their children. The kids begged the mommies to be “IT””, i.e. chase them like mad all around the playground. How could we resist our sweet children’s request? So of course we joined the game.

But sadly, I didn’t end up having quite as much fun as I’d anticipated. Because it was during this little game of chase that I discovered I run more slowly than my 8 year old daughter, you know, the girl who has “gross motor issues” and spent time in physical therapy as a youngster. Or at least, I run slower than she after about 30 second’s time, because I, unlike her, have ABSOLUTELY NO CARDIO-VASCULAR ENDURANCE!! She spends time every day running, running, running. I used to be like that. But now I’m just old and somewhat “fluffy”….and my pants are tighter than they should be!

So Jay and I put our heads together to try and find a good exercise option we both could use. And quickly decided that a gym membership probably wasn’t the answer, at least for now: it exceeded our budget, and was just too challenging to fit into our already-busy-enough-for-us lifestyle. Plus, if children were ill, my ability to work out would pretty much go away.

Jay’s lower-back spinal fusion and nerve disease rule out a bunch of other exercise options, like running or playing basketball, or even (and he was really bummed about this, folks) doing step aerobics. So we began considering the idea of a workout machine in our home….and with the input of his doctors concluded that an elliptical machine would provide both a low-impact as well as a pretty intense workout all in one package. I myself have really enjoyed working out on ellipticals in the past, so it seemed a great choice for both of us.

As we started researching ellipticals, we discovered they come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. There were plenty on the used market but at first we tried to buy a new one, since, we reasoned, mechanical issues could arise and with a preowned machine, we might not be getting a good value potentially (i.e. we could pay less up front, but wind up with a lemon which would be useless). We set ourselves a modest budget, and went shopping at the stores. And after trying quite a few ellipticals, we made the discovery that the only ones which fit Jay’s “funny” foot (*the one which is permanently sticking a bit out to the side after numerous surgeries and which makes standing on many of the workout machines just an impossibility for him) were way out of our price range on the new market. Way. Far. Out.

Since purchasing an elliptical on which Jay could exercise was a priority, we figured that perhaps we would do better to check the used market for a machine which is known for holding up well, that had seen little heavy use. Now that we had a good idea of which brands we wanted to stick with, and which machines would accommodate Jay’s foot well, we had what we needed to shop the used market. And almost immediately, a deal popped up for Jay’s top pick, the lowest end machine made by a company called Octane Fitness, who manufacture only elliptical machines, unlike many other makers of exercise equipment. The Octane machines are famous for great quality, and also very specifically for a very narrow and unique spacing between the feet that ensures your hips don’t have to shift laterally and tax the lower back. This was a wonderful feature given Jay’s lower back issues.

The Monday morning Craigslist posting for the Octane machine was asking a price around half of what the other USED postings listed this elliptical for. It took Jay only a few minutes to work a deal with the seller, and on Tuesday night, with the aid of a friend’s truck (thanks, DC!) and the help of my very wonderful (and very, very strong!) brother Peter, we set the machine up in our bedroom. Thank you, Peter! (editor’s note: the machine weighed 270 pounds!)

After getting the elliptical home, we had a nice surprise: we happily discovered that we had actually gotten a better deal than we’d even thought: the seller had advertised the machine he was selling as this model. What we purchased instead was this higher-end elliptical, with even more features and options for us to enjoy! All the additions to this model were electronic upgrades mostly related to heart rate during the workout: the ability to carefully monitor it with a wireless device, and several additional workouts designed to target the heart specifically. These will certainly be fun to try out.

Well, cheer us on as we embark on the long and challenging road to physical fitness…in a few months maybe we’ll post pictures of our less-fluffy and very buff selves (um, yeah, probably not) but for now I leave you with a photo of my favorite Elliptical Guy:


3 Replies to “Our New “Toy””

  1. Well, it’s nice to have something to make up for my social ineptitude (“I know, I know, but be nice to him; we’re moving soon!”)

    I don’t know what other kind of strength (aside from the “man” kind) Michael thinks I would have… should I be worried about that?

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