TREENA MIELKE / On The Other Side
I am an exercise junkie, jumping on the bandwagon with other like-minded souls every spare minute I get, anxious to push my body to new limits and exhausting myself almost beyond human endurance.
The truth is I am none of that, even writing about it makes me shudder.
Instead, my natural inclination leads toward falling on the couch in utter exhaustion after supper, with barely enough strength to hold the remote to flick through the channels. After I have assured myself there is nothing on worth watching I usually fall into some kind of semi-conscious state until it is time to go to bed for real.
And, then, before I know it, it’s tomorrow, I’m home from work and it’s pretty much ‘ditto.’
However, last week as I flicked listlessly through the channels, the little voice in my head chided me that this type of behavior is not good.
“You need to exercise,” the voice said.
I tell myself I can’t go for a walk even though I know my heart and lungs will thank me for it. I can’t because I see the cover of darkness has already descended and night has arrived, a sure sign that little mature women such as I should stay inside where it is safe.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Walking is out!
But then the little voice says, “What about the exercise bike.”
I know the bike is in the bedroom. Sitting there. Silent. Waiting.
I groan. The bike is old and kind of rickety, but I know it works really well, because my husband uses it faithfully, which means the seat is far, far back and I can’t possibly reach the pedals with my short little legs.
But my husband, in a sincere, but misguided effort to help, showed me how to move the seat up and attach this thing to my ear so my heart rate could be measured. He also showed me how to set the time that I wished to inflict the exercise torture on myself, and how to adjust it to the level that I wished to inflict the torture.
And then he disappeared into another room to play solitaire on the computer.
I began the exercise regime which I set for 30 minutes with enthusiasm born out of naivety.
For the first five minutes I felt really good. Strong. In control. Proud.
For the next five minutes I felt all of that, but less so.
As the last 15 minutes ticked by and my short little legs continued to pedal, pedal, pedal, the exercise regime turned into something of an endurance test my couch potato self was totally unprepared for.
I began to sweat profusely in a totally unladylike way. Sweat, sweat, sweat, pedal, pedal, pedal, this has to be good, I told myself.
With 10 minutes left, I was sure the timer thing had quit working and I had actually been on this horrible machine for hours.
I kept pedalling.
“You can do this,” I muttered to myself. “You are woman, you are strong,” I muttered, with the last little bit of strength I had, thinking the woman who actually said that was probably in a spa somewhere getting her nails painted pink.
Princess, I mutter to myself, pedalling furiously.
With five minutes left, my son called. I took his call, thinking he would be proud of his mom, the wonder woman, exercise machine that I had turned into.
He said he would call me back when I wasn’t panting.
I finished the 30-minute workout, showered, and rewarded myself by only indulging in a tiny handful of nacho chips that I found lurking in the pantry.
I washed them down with a Diet Coke, proud that I could check off exercise on my ‘to do’ list, except that I didn’t really have such a list.
Unfortunately, the thing about exercise is it is not a one-time deal.
But, it’s got to get easier.
That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway!