My 44th birthday is just around the corner. The doctor tells me that as we get older, exercise becomes even more important. Weight bearing exercise can increase bone density. Getting your heart pumping is supposed to be as good for your mind as it is for your body.
I tried to take my doctor’s advice, but I’ve discovered that exercise can actually be hazardous to your health.
The first nice day this spring, I put on a pair of rumpled sweatpants and a t-shirt. I laced up my sneakers and went for a walk. I envisioned a healthy brisk 3-mile walk around the Pembroke neighborhood where I live. I didn’t expect that I would be attacked by wild animals. But about a mile and a half from my apartment complex, among an expanse of colonial houses with big yards and SUV’s in the driveway, I had a run in with a wolf…a fox…a dingo…I don’t know what it was, but it scared the heck out of me and sent me actually RUNNING back home.
Fearing any more wild animal attacks, I headed inside to the gym, but that was equally unsuccessful. First of all, there were the mirrors. (I don’t know which was worse the fox or the mirrors!) There are two things that you should never watch yourself do, and one of them is exercise! In addition to that, I’m not a big fan of sweating – it just doesn’t seem, I don’t know – lady like. I know it’s healthy. It eliminates toxins from your body and all that, but yuck. I’ve seen other girls on the treadmill, they glow, some even perspire — but I sweat! My hair gets all matted, mascara gets in my eyes. It’s not a pretty sight!
Swimming seemed like a good alternative. (After all there’s no sweating.) I packed my bag, drove to the Y. I signed in, went to the locker room, but on my bathing suit, looked in the mirror and headed right back home. (Damn those mirrors!)
I tried the stationery bicycle. I mean, you are sitting down after all, how hard can it be? But after 45 minutes of pedaling and not getting anywhere I just got exasperated!
In a last ditch effort to “just do it,” I took up golf. I bought a set of clubs at Target, signed up for lessons with a pro at the country club. I even practiced Saturdays at the driving range. My drives went 100 feet – not yards – feet! Straight as an arrow, but not too far. Despite men in funny pants complaining about it all the time, golf is a forgiving sport. With the skills I had, I could still play a course or two – but you don’t burn many calories trying to hit a little ball through a lit-up windmill.
Now, although I’ve generally avoided physical activity my entire life, I’ve somehow ended up with bursitis in my shoulder. I’m going to physical therapy twice a week and am doing strength exercises in my bedroom while watching TV. I was making progress too, but last week, as I was doing my third set of these flying butterfly exercises I got a pinched nerve in my neck. I’m worse off than before.
See, what did I tell you? Exercise is hazardous to your health…staying on the couch – now that’s safe!