Thursday, November 28, 2013

Springy G's Gym

I have a confession to make:  I don't like to exercise.  In fact, as the Goddess of Punctuation (and various other things that happen without My divine intervention), I'd much rather meditate on the proper use of the ellipsis than to properly use an elliptical trainer.

It may be too soon to make this claim, but here goes.  Maybe, just maybe, My attitude concerning fitness is about to change.

This began simply enough, in the middle of a perfectly ordinary work day earlier this week.  I have a job that requires Xtreme Sitting, and over the course of the day it's not unusual to get a little bit stiff in the joints.  What I usually do in such situations is to get up for a minute or two and stretch out whatever hurts.

This time, though, I tried something a bit different:  I sat in the chair and flexed and extended My lower leg, as if I was using a leg extension machine.  As I did this slow-motion kicking, I noticed it was much easier to keep good form than when sitting atop a stack of fancy iron plates and trying to move as many as possible.

This is the  "OMGeveryeoneiswatchingputonanothertenpounds" effect, and you may have done this yourself.  (I know I certainly have.)  Somehow, in the thumping, blaring and rubber-scented mayhem of the average co-ed fitness place, the right amount of weight is never enough.

This is how people get hurt, of course -- If not physically, by inflicting grievous and unnecessary harm on a muscle with a fancy Latin name, then psychologically by going home frustrated because the last lift on the last set didn't go exactly as planned.  Or because it did.  The gym ethos seems to combine pain and boredom in equal measure.

I'm starting to think that before engaging in such masochism, one should already be confidently strong.  This would, of course, obviate the need for gyms and weight stacks and creased, slightly dog-eared posters full of curls and presses and such.

I'm also starting to think that body improvement doesn't need to be scheduled, and that in fact it should not be scheduled.  It needs to find a place in the middle of other activities so that it doesn't feel like a duty or an interruption, and it needs to be functional fitness.  By functional fitness, I mean the kind of movements and strengthening that helps improve something specific that's important to one's life.

Example:  I play clarinet.  Going to a yoga class, for instance, would take time and money out of My day, and with the possible exception of the breathing exercises I don't really need it for anything.  Similarly, unless I want to change a tire without a jack, doing knee-numbing squats or a 500-pound calf raise is a bit of a waste.  For music fitness, I think I can get by with some light aerobics.

And tap dance lessons.  Just in case.  (Springy G wanders off in search of a how-to site)