30 May 2011

An Idiot's Guide to Exercise

The summer I was 10, I swam every morning for an hour during swim lessons. I rode my bike the mile or so back to the pool every afternoon and swam around for about 3 more hours. I think I was in pretty good shape then.

And that was probably the only time. I have what French scientists have recently identified as a genetic mutation of the 19th chromosome, also known as Canapé-Pommes-de-Terre Syndrome. This is a very serious syndrome in which otherwise perfectly healthy adults find themselves inexplicably drawn towards soft, fluffy places to sit for extended periods of time. There is no known cure for this syndrome, and various studies have found mixed results for treatment applications.

Nevertheless, I recently began a personal campaign to treat this affliction and described part of the process here. My desire has been fueled mostly by (in this order) the determination to get into a size 8 before all is said and done, and also to be healthy and live longer and all that rot. It’s a two-pronged approach, but in the blog entry I spent far more time discussing the healthy eating bit than the exercising bit and here is the reason: I suck at exercising. If Gardner ever identifies exercising as the 10th multiple intelligence, I would probably score a 32 on that IQ test.

I am actually amazed that I have yet to seriously hurt myself in this endeavor. And don’t think it’s through a lack of research. I’ve taken time to read plenty of websites and blogs on how to exercise (specifically jog), carefully digesting and considering every piece of information. Then I go to exercise, and I totally 1) forget everything I’ve read, or 2) think that I am some sort of Super Human to whom the rules do not actually apply. The only way I seem to remember anything is to expose myself to seriously embarrassing and/or painful situations in order to permanently scar the piece of information into my exercise-impaired brain.

All that being said, I will therefore share a few rules that I have (finally!) learned throughout the entire process:

1. DO spend the money on nice exercise clothes. Wearing your husband’s old boxers or exercise pants and a cotton t-shirt seems like a great idea until you remember about Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion: Chafing.

2. DON’T keep thinking that you don't really need to being water for a short jog. You are not immortal, no matter how many times you have seen Thor.

3. DO engage the services of a personal trainer. Mine is about 2 ½ years old. He sits in the stroller on our walknruns and shouts things like, “Run, Mommy! Go fast! No walk!” It’s terribly motivating but sometimes we have to stop and have the talk that if Mommy keeps running, she might possibly die, which means that Eamon would then be in charge of waking everyone up in the morning, feeding the dog, giving everyone their medicine, and driving himself to his grandparents’ for the day. That is an awful lot of responsibility for a young child, so maybe Mommy should just walk for awhile. That is why we call it a WALKnrun.

4. DON’T eat right before exercising. Just don’t, okay?

5. DO consider whether your ancestors came from cold-weather climates when planning your run. Just because you can comfortably jog in 75 degree weather with only 10% humidity does NOT mean that you can comfortably jog in 90 degree weather with 70% humidity. Listen to your body or else train your child how to dial 9-1-1.

6. DON’T forget to buy new exercise clothes when you go down a size. Unless you enjoy running down the street with one hand pushing a stroller and the other hand holding up your shorts so that you don’t expose the entire neighborhood to your Laundry Day underwear.

That’s all that I can think of right now. There are probably more rules that I have learned that I have already forgotten until I can manage to embarrass and/or injure myself somehow and remember them permanently. Hopefully, writing these few things down will help ascertain that they stay in my brain a little longer than usual.

Of course, those of you reading this probably had 1 of 2 reactions: either you are not exercise-impaired like I am, and you are now dubious as to whether I am actually bright enough to live; or you and I are of equal exercise-intelligence, and you have already forgotten everything that I wrote. Either way, happy exercising. I have to go do some laundry.

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