I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a fat guy. Of course, that’s obvious to anyone who sees me, but I’ve tried to be honest about it here as well. And now that I’m past the half-century mark, the consequences of being a fat guy are likely to start arriving in bunches. Furthermore, the campus radio station blats thrice-hourly messages about the benefits of “thirty minutes of exercise, five days a week” — which, given my Calvinist background and typical worldview, I tend to think of as the dire consequences of not engaging in said exercise. My baseline treadmill stress test a few weeks back came back just dandy, thanks, but since it might be nice to keep it that way, I decided it might be nice to move around a bit more than I typically have.
My family has a membership at the local Y, and I thought it might be nice to upgrade the family’s usage of that membership from 67% to the full complement. So on Tuesday and Wednesday, I went to the exercise room there and had a go at the treadmill. Some observations follow.
I actually used to enjoy walking. In my late teens and early twenties, I’d walk one-mile circuits of my neighborhood, sometimes six or seven times a night. It wasn’t exercise walking — more something between an amble and a lumber, really. But I enjoyed it, either alone or with the Mad Dog, with whom I’d talk about music and girls and sports and girls and work and, frequently, girls (Yes, Mad Doc, including you.). I hope to recover some of that enjoyment before too long, but it’s different on the treadmill.
For one thing, I suspect I’m walking faster than I did, and certainly faster than I usually do. Maintaining the appropriate speed requires a certain amount of attention — on Tuesday I walked too fast, stepped forward, and bumped the killswitch, while Wednesday I was adjusting my stride and pulled the safety key loose, again shutting the treadmill down. I was back at it within moments, but the pause was still disconcerting.
For that matter, just focusing on what I’m doing is a little odd. I’m not known for physical grace or coordination — I’m as awkward as Michael Vick at a PETA meeting. No one who knows me can understand how I manage to play drums — to tell the truth, neither can I. And I suppose I’ve testified to my general clumsiness in the paragraph above this one. So when I look around the exercise room and see people using elliptical trainers while reading magazines or using iPads, I find myself awed: “Who are these strange beings who can move on The Wobbly Things and check texts?” All I know is that I am not among them.
I also noticed that while some people on The Wobbly Things look to me as if they are “traveling” forward, others appear to me to be moonwalking. Is this just because my mind starts the movement cycle from my first sighting, or do people actually do this stuff in reverse? The mind reels — or mine does, anyway.
In any case, two sessions on the treadmill begat the traversal of an imaginary distance that would be impressive were I a glacier, and I suppose is okay for a middle-aged fat guy. They also have begotten a half-dollar-sized blister on my right foot where the ball meets the arch, basically along the center line. Nonetheless, I was on my way back this morning when a hard rain struck and I decided to go back and make sure the downstairs section of the Mid-Century Mondohaus was dry. It was (and is — I’m writing from there right now), and the rain seems to have slacked off; the birds are active in the backyard, so I think I’ll go back to the Y now. Maybe I’ll have a go at the stationary bicycle… but not The Wobbly Things.