It happens every four years—February 29th and the presidential election. The first is just—well—an oddity, especially if it’s your birthday. The second is a day to endure, especially if you are an avid political animal as I am.
Don’t worry, this is not a political, partisan article and it matters not which political animal I am—elephant or donkey—today is a tough, long day for any one of us who is involved and engaged in the political process and is truly hoping that our guy wins. Let’s face it, it’s the Super Bowl, the World Series and, in Oregon, the Civil War—Ducks versus Beavers—all rolled into one big game but with more serious, long-lasting consequences.
What to do? Because I refuse to be political or partisan (at least in this article), I have decided to approach today as a cardiac rehab nurse which is my job but I have the day off. How do I get through today—the longest day every four years—without stressing out which I know is not good for my heart? My solution: The Election Day Workout.
1) Instead of a “running” commentary with my TV set, I plan to get up early and run off my energy—every mile a vote for my guy. If you’re a swimmer, do it swimmingly, stroke after stroke, every stroke a vote for your side. If you’re a cyclist, every revolution a vote for your choice. If you’re a walker, step it up, every step a vote in your direction.
2) We all know that being sedentary is a major risk factor for your heart so, after you run, swim, bike or walk, don’t just sit there and watch the results crawl in on the crawler—get up and pace! That’s right—back and forth across the living room rug or the kitchen tiles. For extra credit drop down to the floor and do some push-ups, sit-ups and leg lifts. People on the east coast don’t know how hard it is for those of us living on the west coast to have to wait SO long for the polls to close.
3) Stress is another major risk factor when it comes to your heart. It gets your blood pressure up, so, go ahead and yell at the TV if you don’t like the results—heck, even if you do. Let it out! It will help release that pent up tension. Or, better yet, call a like-minded political animal friend so you can yell together! Then . . . breathe . . . 1 . . .2 . . .3 . . .
4) OMG! It’s only 10AM!!! Polls don’t close until 8PM! This may be hard to do but—turn-off the TV! WHAT! Yes—Go for another walk, go shopping, read a book, write a letter (the old-fashioned way), pick-up some hand-weights—every rep a vote for your guy—oops, there I go again!
5) Now. Sit down. Relax. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Say a prayer. Give thanks for our freedoms, for our right to vote, for all who have gone before us and given us that right. If you are reading this early and you haven’t yet voted—vote now. If you have already voted—you have done the right thing. You have done all you can do. Now, wait.
6) Go ahead. It’s 8 o’clock. Turn on the TV and see how you did. You made a difference because you voted.
God bless America on this Election Day and every day.
Yours in fitness,
Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM