Lately, I’ve been trying to increase my exercise and decrease my daily caloric intake, after years of approaching these activities from the other direction. I’m doing reasonably well with the diet – smaller portions, avoiding seconds, and cutting out dessert (mostly). My weakness is my sweet tooth, so I made a vow at the start of the new year that I’d permit myself ice cream or cookies only once a week, and on birthdays. Initially, I struggled with this since it’s somebody’s birthday nearly every day, innit?
The exercise has been the bigger challenge, because I am essentially an immobile person. If I could afford it, I’d pay someone to grab me by the ankles and move my legs in a simulacrum of jogging while I remained seated on the couch watching “Law & Order” reruns. Of course, that’s a very impractical idea since this approach would likely block my view of the TV.
I saw a report on the news the other night, discussing the results of a long-term study showing a connection between increased levels of exercise and decreased incidences of dementia. To obtain the data, researchers in Sweden followed a group of women for forty-four years; don’t they have anti-stalking laws in Scandinavian countries? Regardless – the recommendation was that 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week was the required amount to stave off… uh, what was I talking about?
I’ve gone through a variety of exercise equipment over the years – a treadmill, an elliptical machine, a NordicTrack. Like most people, I started out as an enthusiastic user but eventually got tired of the repetitive activity. “Why don’t you just join a gym, where there are a variety of machines at your disposal?” you might ask me if I could remember who you are. Well, first of all – I’m a cheap bastard and gyms cost money. Also, I don’t like to get undressed in front of anybody who is not my wife, a close blood relative, or possibly a supermodel. Third, hot fudge sundae.
At the present moment (sidebar: all moments are in the “present”), I’ve got my road bike (the tires of which have rarely touched pavement) attached to a stand that converts it into a stationary bike (which is essentially what it was, anyway). I’ve got it set up in the bedroom, positioned in front of the patio doors that lead to the deck, so I have a clear view of the backyard and the lake we live adjacent to. The view is captivating, regardless of the season, and I keep up my momentum by pedaling along to a playlist of high-energy songs on my iPod. I manage to work up a pretty good sweat, and that’s just from properly adjusting the height of the bike seat.
I’m ten weeks into the new regimen and am certainly feeling better – although I haven’t lost as much weight as I’d hoped. But, as they say: it’s the journey, not the destination. Which doesn’t make much sense, since I’m already *at* my destination because I’m riding a stationary bike. But the view is lovely and I must remember to thank whoever lives in this house for letting me exercise in their bedroom.