Like probably most of you, I’ve had a love-hate (fine, all-hate) relationship with exercise. Throughout the years I’ve tried aerobics classes, swimming, running, jogging, slogging, creeping, tripping, limping, stumbling. I’ve biked, hiked, rollerbladed, rollerskated, break danced, ‘Sweated to the Oldies’…walked slowly while texting and/or guzzling iced capps topped with whipped cream.
No matter what program I try, I’ve never been able to stick with it for very long. Maybe because after 10 minutes of sweating, huffing and puffing I think to myself, “Dear God, why?! Why am I doing this? It’s pure torture! Oh god! I’m dying here! It hurts! Oh, how it hurts! My legs burn, my lungs are on fire, my heart’s gonna explode!…is this any way to spend my time when I could be sitting on a couch eating nachos? Oh, gawd, make it stop! Please make it stop!”
Once you start hitting midlife though, you notice a few things. Big things. People die. Friends, relatives, that guy in the obituaries that was the same age as you. When you hit forty this death thing starts to get real, in your face and up in your grill. An unsettling feeling begins to dawn on you as you look nervously around the room. You scratch your head and think, Hey, wait just a minute…. What on earth is happening here?! That won’t happen to me though. Death. Ha! Right? Right, God? Huh? Death? Fffft. Not me! Never me! Right?
So I’ve been exercising pretty religiously since New Year’s Day when I made the resolution to not die. I went out and bought a brand new elliptical. Since January, I’ve made sure to get on that torture device every other day and work out until either 45 minutes have passed or I’ve passed out.
On my days off, I do yoga, go for walks and lift weights. I know. Crazy. My mom doesn’t get it. She calls me up and leaves messages on the phone: “Darla? Darla! Are you there?! Are you working out again?! Jeezum Crow! What is it with you and the working out all the time! It’s like you’re obsessed with it or something! Always with the working out and the thing! GAWD! Jeez!” [click]
Back when I was younger, I used to workout for some pretty shallow reasons: either to lose weight so I’d look good or to lose weight so I’d look good. Now? Please! I’m afraid that saggy, wrinkled ship has sailed off across the cellulite ocean. But is my heart going to give out in 10 years? Will I have a stroke? Will I live a long life and be around for my kids and grandkids? That’s what concerns me.
Death is a great motivator.
My dad died of a massive heart attack brought on by atherosclerosis (he was a smoker) at the age of 53. Fifty-three. Whenever I think maybe I shouldn’t bother with exercise, that pesky voice in the back of my mind whispers, psst..hey you! Yeah, you with the donut. Just a friendly reminder…you only have 11 more years to live if you die at the same age as your dad. Just something to think about. Carry on.
My mother had congestive heart failure, quintuple bypass surgery and a mitral valve prolapse at the age of 69. Both my parents had severe heart disease. Yeah, the odds for this chick ain’t lookin’ too good. Reminds me of the scene in Big Bang Theory where Leonard asks Howard, “Does your family have a history of heart disease?” Howard: “My family is the history of heart disease. There’s a cave painting in France of one of my ancestors doing this:” (mimes a heart attack)
You add all of this up and what does it equal? Me– running from death.
It’s working so far.
Let’s hope he isn’t wearing Sauconys.
If you exercise, what motivates you? What exercise program works for you? Let me know because I’ve only been at this for eight months and I don’t want to quit now.