Monday, April 20, 2015

Confessions from a Treadmill

As part of my recovery from my heart attack, I go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for an hour-plus of physical therapy. The therapy is designed to increase my heart rate and working blood pressure within the aerobic parameters. The main reason for this, ostensibly, is to give me confidence that I actually can do these things: walk on a treadmill for prolonged periods of time; ride a stationary bike; and work the Nuflex, which makes you pump with both your arms and legs. With that confidence, theoretically, I will have confidence to do other physical things. Well, I have the confidence. Thank you! The stated goal is to get me able to walk 5 miles a day 5 days a week. I think I can, I think I can. But there is another key goal: to make it fun, to make me want to exercise. “You will want to come to the gym!” the brochure says. Every day! Well, that’s never gonna happen. I know I need to do this, but I don’t need to like it. I lived a physical life as a mailman and coaching kids in various sports, but I was never an enthusiast. I hated PE in school. I think I have a long standing allergy to exercise. I get weak and sweaty and just a bit nauseous just thinking about having to go. Intellectually, I understand the benefits, but when I weigh them I sometimes wonder. I mean, eighteen minutes at 3.2 mph on a 2.5% incline, and all I burn off is 95 calories? That’s a serving of chips. A light beer. I could burn 95 calories eating celery and channel surfing from my chair. In a full hour I am lucky if I burn up 200 calories doing all that work. And then according to a recent study I saw on the News, junk food is just as effective as health food in recovering from the immediate effects of a heavy workout. So I guess my post-therapy stop at McDonald’s is allowed, maybe even encouraged. Just don’t tell my therapists I said so.

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