Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Men of Spirit: Journal #2--EXERCISE

"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."
 --Hippocrates, ?????

I think this sums up my current attitude toward exercise. While I may dream--and most likely, unrealistically expect--great outcomes for my exercise efforts, Hippocrates got it right. I am too old and too set in my ways to get a credible 2-pack. And Hollywood hunk status was never in my genetic cards ever. So I need to dial down to the Goldilocks amount of effort and nutrition that is appropriate for me. My goals and my aim should be on achieving improved health rather than superficial image improvement.

All terribly rational, right?

But we still can't escape the expectations and models of our terribly visual, incredibly narcissistic world. (And I'm as guilty of being a citizen of that world as anyone.)

The problem with exercise is that is can be hard.

It can be boring.

It can be painful.

It's not easy.

And I am privileged to live in a world of ease and comfort. So getting me to break out of that comfort is a tough nut to crack. But it doesn't have to be if I remember the things that make exercise a more attractive option--and NO . . . I'm not talking about making me more attractive.


FIRST--level of difficulty: I'm not becoming Mr. Universe. Arnold Schwartzenegger has nothing to worry about. So far I am confining myself to a good period of time on the treadmill--30 to 45 minutes to increase my heart rate and burn a tiny bit of daily calories. Second, I work on basic weight training on the weight machines. No free weights and the real goal here is to improve muscle tone and maintain strength for the long term. Again, no body-building dreams should be floating around here and I just need to stop imagining Captain America with his shirt off.

SECOND--convenience: I'm already a gym member and I can get there in five minutes day or night. (Heck, I could even bike there and count my workout half done.) This can be a huge incentive since I'm already paying for it so I had better not waste the money. And the fact that I am even a member at all is a step in the right motivational direction. So, keep that financial commitment in mind and remember to take advantage of the location when I'm not otherwise being pulled in a different daily errand. 

THIRD--entertainment: I'm already carrying it with me at all times. Podcasts are stacking up waiting for me to catch up to them and what better place to plug in than while walking on the treadmill? The only problem is which of my exercise shorts have pockets and which ones don't?


This meditation is not a zero-sum game. I should be focusing on what exercise is for. But a counterbalance of the aim for health is still there.

My other choices--food, portions, what I do when I'm NOT formally exercising. All of these things play a role in how I feel and whether or not I am going to exercise in the first place. So let's think about them.

Eating--I don't eat enough vegetables and I'm too prone to take the fatty, salty option. And I'm DEFINITELY willing to compromise tomorrow's health for today's chance at office cake or doughnuts. More than anything, I am great at rationalizing the choices of the moment for an unknown future that is--by definition--tomorrow's problem. Willpower is something I've got to get better at.

Non-exercise time--I have a standing desk at the office and I should more daily opportunities to use it. The nature of my non-exercising life is defaulting to too much sitting. It would be good if I worked more sports or outdoor efforts into my exercise as well, to provide variety.


Lord, help me to take care of myself so that I am ready and energized to take care of those who truly need intervention. Remind me that I am surrounded by luxury and opportunity and choice. Help me make sensible choices. Amen.



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