Like a lot of people these days, I lead a sedentary lifestyle. I’m a security guard in my day job. I work weekends, two 12-hour shifts. There’s some walking involved, but it’s at a slow pace as I write down information, so it’s not like I get my heart rate up to a three-digit number. On the other hand, I guess it’s (barely) better than nothing. Between this lifestyle, middle-age spread, and an addiction to sweets (peanut M&Ms in particular; they should just call them legal crack), I have dunlaps disease—a condition in which your belly dunlaps over your belt.
Also like a lot of people these days, I have trouble finding motivation to exercise. I have one of those Bowflex sets of dumbbells (the kind where you turn the dial to change the weights) with the matching weight bench. I also have a hand-me-down recumbent bike for that all-important cardio exercise (or so some sources say; others aren’t so sure).
I actually don’t mind the weights. I can feel the results pretty quick when I bother to work with them—sore muscles are both a pain and a sense of pride (“I’ve done it right!”). But that recumbent bike….
When I was a kid—a loooong time ago, mind you—as cliché as it sounds, I didn’t have a lot of money, and neither did any of my friends. So we ended up walking just about anywhere we needed or wanted to go. Or riding bikes.
We were fiends on bicycles. I’m not talking about being menaces (except to ourselves, of course) or any of that extreme stuff you see these days. Hell, we never thought about doing some of the things I see these days. If we had, I doubt I’d be here writing about it. But we still did some neat, sometimes crazy stuff, and we lived to tell about it.
But the point is, between the walking and riding, we covered miles a day, and some days we could go lots of miles on our bikes. They were a quicker method of transportation and, what was more, we liked riding them. Top that off with growing up in the Ozarks—where level ground is a place you build something like a house to live in—and we unwittingly got a ton of exercise.
Then I grew up, went in the Army, and was unwillingly introduced to the idea of organized exercise. It ruined me on anything that’s good for me, I’m pretty sure. Having to get up every morning and do calisthenics (this was the eighties, mind you, when calisthenics were the ultimate form of exercise), and then go on a run that lasted anywhere from two to eight miles wasn’t my idea of a good time. I was a metal head, so my idea of a good time was an Iron Maiden concert (lots of exercise there if you’re into the whole headbanging thing, and especially if you hit the mosh pit).
Thing is, I grew up and—get ready for it—got a car. This was a death knell for exercise. Walk somewhere? That’s kids’ stuff, man. I’m driving cuz I’m an adult now.
Another thing I’ve realized in the last few years is this: I may have grown up poor in the financial sense, but I was raised on a farm. Mom grew a huge garden every year, and we always had a calf to butcher. Home grown food, man. Maybe not good enough to get into the current “organic” craze, but it wasn’t processed, either. I drank raw milk, ate homegrown beef and vegetables, and got lots of exercise and clean air. No wonder I was skinny compared to what I am now.
I’m closing in on fifty, though, and I gotta do something. Problem is, that recumbent bike? It’s boring as hell. I’m sitting there, pedaling like an idiot…and staring out the window. I’m not going anywhere, man. The view never changes. And the results are so slow it’s hard to feel like I’m getting anywhere in any sense of the term.
I need a real bike.
But even the things you can get at Walmart aren’t cheap, and I’m still not exactly rolling in the money, so affording a truly good bike is a reach at this point. And yet, I can’t motivate myself to ride that stupid go-nowhere bike. Ride for miles and never leave the room. Yay team. It’s a conundrum (when’s the last time you saw that word used in a sentence?) and no mistake (I like pretending to sound British occasionally).
Sigh. Oh well. Gotta cure that dunlaps I got, so I guess I’ll have to climb on that stationary recumbent thing anyway, whether I like it or not. And scrape together my pennies to get a real bike like this.
Then I’ll be putting in the miles, you can bet.