Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Exercise is evil

My body is in betrayal mode again, as I’m gaining weight for no reason whatsoever. It’s frustrating, because I don’t have a bad diet, really, but I’m sure that anyone who looks at me probably thinks I have no self-discipline at all. Of course, that wouldn’t be true of me or I would be unemployed, and half the telephone customer service agents and all the bad drivers in my path would be dead. See? I do have self-discipline.

In an act of spite, I had the fat and cholesterol special for lunch today. I had egg salad on a croissant, Sunchips, and a big, homemade brownie. I had some grapes, too, as a conscience reliever. I figured, if it doesn’t matter how conscientiously I eat, why restrict myself?

In the course of studying up on the latest innovations for insomnia treatments, I kept finding articles that mentioned a healthy diet and daily exercise as a necessity. I can state unequivocally that this simply does not work for me. Protect your heart—exercise! Keep a healthy bowel—exercise! Lower your cholesterol—exercise! Endure true and unrelenting evil—exercise!

Why do people in the medical profession believe that exercise is so great? To me, exercise is just another way to describe extreme discomfort, overheating, heavy breathing, runny nose, the brothers boredom and tedium, possible injury (I had knee surgery) and ultimately, pain. Lots of pain. There is no such thing as fun exercise. Telling me otherwise will make you soar off of my bullshit meter.

I have tried exercise in many forms, oh, how I’ve tried. I swam for awhile, and I’ve taken countless aerobics classes, step classes, and Body Pump classes. I hired personal trainers, and for years, I spent five nights a week at the YMCA working 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer and another hour weight training. I used to ride my bike anywhere from 50-100 miles per week. I walked an hour a day until I took up running an hour a day. I took a yoga class thinking it would help me sleep better, only to find that yoga is actually very, very strenuous and not a great choice for someone on lithium—especially a klutz on lithium.

I think I can say that I really gave exercise a sincere try over the last 20 years, and for what? I never got thin, I never looked toned, I’m no less uncoordinated, and no matter how hard I tried, I still loathed what I was doing, every step of the way. I did not improve my attempts at sleeping, either.

There are health benefits to exercise; I understand that. The thing is, I don’t care. If I’m going to suffer, I want visible results. I couldn’t care less about my blood pressure or heart. Nobody has ever walked up to me on the street and said, “Oh my god, May, your cholesterol looks fabulous! Have you been working out?” The number on my cholesterol test means nothing. It’s the size of my ass that really matters.

I read this article on WebMD about learning to like exercise. Frankly, I found it patronizing. Can you actually learn to like something—especially something deeply unpleasant and physically painful? I think not. Likes and dislikes are inherent to our very sense of self. I could eat okra on a regular basis, and I guarantee you it will still make me gag a year from now. I will never like rap music, no matter how much I’m exposed to it. Telling me that exercise will become something I like is ridiculous. It doesn’t mean I won’t do it; it just means I won’t feel good about having to put myself through the overwhelming effort and discomfort.

Can you imagine if I had to exercise to rap music and then eat okra for dinner?

1 comment:

Spilling Ink said...

"Can you imagine if I had to exercise to rap music and then eat okra for dinner?"

That would be like me excercising to country music and eating brussel sprouts for dinner. Yuck. So, you're a clutz, too? So am I!! Big time clutz. As a teenager, all the other kids knew to leave a wide, empty circle around me on the skating rink so I couldn't injure them on my way down. Nothing has changed about that kind of thing for me, either.