Sunday, July 25, 2010

Exercise Schmexercise

Sweaty post-run game face!

Believe it or not, I have always been a fairly active person.  I started modern dance classes at the age of about 5 or 6 and have continued that my entire life.  I ran track in elementary and middle school.  I went to summer gymnastics camp and was on the gymnastics team through 9th grade when I switched to drill team in the marching band.  Maybe I was the chubbiest kid on the team or whatever, but I still participated and had a great time doing so.

You know, people have many different reactions to the events of September 11th.  One of my clients said that on 9/11 she figured that since we clearly have no control over our future, we may as well eat as much as we want.  That's one way of looking at it, but I had the opposite reaction.  I lived in NY on 9/11 and knew people who literally ran for their lives.  They climbed down 80 flights of stairs, they carried injured people in their arms, they ran an all-out sprint as Hell came down on their heads.  As I sat there listening to the survivors tell their stories, I felt my heart turn to ice.  I was a 220lb diabetic.  I would not have been able to run away.  No one would have been able to carry me either.

When I decided it was time to lose weight several months after that event, I could barely walk to the mailbox and back.  I began by walking in place during tv commercials.  That was exhausting and embarrassing.  But I stuck with it.  After awhile I began to walk outside, then slowly added jogging, and 18 months later, here's me still smiling after 2 hours and 13.1 miles!
When I crossed the finish line, I happened to be all alone because I was miles behind most everyone else and my son shouted in wonder "Mommy, you WON!"

During my run this morning, I began formulating this post and decided to tell you WHY exercise rocks and why you should be doing it if you're not already.  And yes, this list is in order of importance:

1.  Endorphins
I'm an endorphin junkie.  I admit it.  Some of us are born like this.  And if I hadn't gotten a D in Neuropsychology I would be able to tell you why.  (And a mercy D at that due to the fortunate nepotistic fact that the professor had been a doctoral student of my Dad's and he just couldn't believe I was quite that stupid.)

I work out, I get high.  Simple as that.  True, I could eat a box of cookies and achieve the same effect, but exercise makes my butt look good and cookies don't.  My sneakers are the hypodermic needles and the road is my juice.

If you're the type who has other addictions, ie to food, you are likely to be the type who will get an endorphin high from exercise.  Want to know how I bring it on?  I work really hard and get out of breath and then I slow my breathing way down.  Two or three deep breaths and I'm singing The Carpenters at the top of my lungs and blubbering over the beauty of the world. 

2.  There are good looking guys at the gym
Yes, I am this shallow.  I'm also happily married, but hey, I'm not dead.  Super fit women are inspiring too, but unfortunately, they're a rarity.  So see, it's not a perverted sex thing.  I just am heavily inspired by the well-taken care of human body at it's peak of fitness and beauty.  You are too, no use denying it.

3.  I get to eat more
Simple math here.  Expend alot of calories and you can eat them back and still be in caloric deficit.  I could never fit cake into my life without gaining if I wasn't regularly working out.  I like cake.

4.  Me Time
Sixty glorious minutes without mommy this and honey that.  MY favorite music blasting in my ears and no one complaining that South Pacific is totally lame.  One hour to get lost in my daydreams of being 17  years old and having to choose between a beautiful vampire and a hot werewolf.  Maybe I am confessing a little too much?

5.  Problem Solving
Every idea I have EVER had in my life, has come to me during a run.  I can sit in front of this computer for HOURS of mind-numbing writer's block or stuck on some stubborn problem but 10 minutes into a run I am having breakthrough after breakthrough.  Getting married, going back to school, moving to Israel, having babies...  blame it all on the Nikes.

6.  The Regular Stuff
Strong heart, low blood pressure and cholesterol, good blood sugar, lubricated joints, flexible muscles, depression banished, body trim and toned, skin firm and smooth, confidence built, pride activated, and if I need to outrun anything, the knowledge that I CAN.

7.  It's fun
If it's not fun, you're doing the wrong kind of exercise.  You will be working out for the rest of your life so it'd better be a good time...

See, I told you there are cute guys at the gym!
OMG, if he sees this I'm dead.
You should see him in his spinning shorts!

Run, Walk, Swim, Bike, Spin, Dance, Tennis, Golf, Basketball, Soccer, Ski, Skate, Lift Weights, Stretch, Yoga, Jump-rope, Kettle Bells, Body Weight Exercise, Pilates...  SO many choices. Don't let me catch you saying "But I don't LIKE exercise!" There's got to be something you at least don't hate.

A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs. ~Joan Welsh

The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down." ~Rita Rudner

If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise. ~Author Unknown

My always ready, not fat, running partner.


  1. Nice post (of course I read it while eating some chocolate but never mind - I just signed up for the 160km relay in October so I've gots lots of training ahead of me!)

    I'm always trying to sell my friends on exercise - they just don't get it. And meanwhile I'm searching out even more ways to get high!

  2. lovely post Emily, you write well. My dog is very fat, btw, because an old widow keeps giving him leftover challa bread. He eats the entire loaf within a nonasecond.