You’ve probably heard me brag before about how I was a jock in high school. I might have even mentioned that I played a couple of years of college baseball.
So it’s more than a little disingenuous when I say I hate exercise. It is fact that I stopped any sort of formal workout about five minutes after that last baseball season ended.
I stayed in fairly decent shape for a decade or so playing mountain man back in Colorado. Working at a sawmill, then a silver mine, required a lot of physical muscle, even if the mental muscle atrophied. And cutting, splitting and stacking enough firewood to last a winter is a serious workout, even if you wouldn’t call it exercise.
Still, I gave up physical efforts as soon as I could. Mine was the life of an academic, then a journalist. My exercise consisted of carrying a book from shelf to desk, or chasing after the cops for a hot story.
I’m the guy who argues that it makes no sense to run anywhere unless someone is chasing you. For years, it’s been a bone of contention with my golfing buddies that they walk and I use a golf cart (and they still beat me). I complain of a bad leg, or point out how I’m helping the cause by using the cart GPS to get yardages and the like.
I’ll admit to a few weeks of organized workout around 15 years ago, after I had that heart attack. I think the insurance allowed for 12 sessions. I went right back to the couch after the time had expired.
Whenever the doctor asked if I was getting any exercise, I talked about walking the dogs — but I didn’t mention that we just go around one block. I also contended that doing yard work constituted exercise. At least I worked up a sweat when I was doing it.
We won’t talk about the time that Maria conned me into buying a bike for her — and one for me. My car was running just fine, thank you. The bike was the loss leader in the next yard sale.
Well, I’ve seen the light. I’m a convert. I only pray that I don’t become a fanatic like so many exercisers seem to become.
You see, doctors apparently think focusing a patient’s attention on exercise will make them forget that said doctor deliberately split the chest open like gutting a deer. They have co-opted nurses on the deal, and a walk in the hospital hall is required the day after — two days at most — the surgery.
It’s a sign of the times that my hospital discharge came along with a “prescription” for 36 sessions of cardiac rehab. That means an hour three times a
week in a little gym with lots of equipment and three RNs hovering.
This workout is done while wearing a heart monitor, and blood pressures are checked so often it seems the nurses get paid on a per test basis. Remember, this is a roomful of people who went through open-heart surgery just a month or two ago — it pays to be cautious.
Maybe those surgeons put something in my chest along with the rebuilt heart. It’s the only explanation I have for this sudden enjoyment while exercising. I honestly feel better at the end of the hour than at the beginning.
Not only that, but I’m going out on real walks on the days when I don’t have a workout scheduled. I’m talking a mile plus in less than 30 minutes (you’ve got to start somewhere). I still say I’m not going to run anywhere anytime soon, but this exercise thing has become a habit.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m big on habits. It’s kind of nice to know that I can pick up a good one once in a while.
See you at the gym.