play / exercise

One sure sign of adulthood is when snow goes from being a good thing to being a bad thing.  Another is when ‘play’ becomes ‘exercise.’  Back before I had allergy issues, before I had internet access, and before I discovered the joys of video gaming, I spent most of my time playing outside.  (Eww, that phrase felt so strange to type “playing outside”? who does that?)  Anyway, I used to run track and cross-country through middle school.  In high school that didn’t work out so well because these people could actually Run, and my knees hurt quite a bit so no more running.  I did some mountain biking and got into road biking because it was so much faster.  In college I tried the Ultimate Frisbee team but they took it real seriously and practiced almost every day.  I had to get a job so that fell by the wayside as well.  It was at this point that ‘play’ turned into ‘exercise’.  For the most part, physical activity is now something that I feel I have to do rather than something I want to do.

I used to have something motivating me though.  At this point I’ve considered joining the military three or four times in all.  Part of this consideration and testing process is physical training.  So I would run more and more, try to do some pushups and situps, then look at the target ranges for a 20-something male.  Once I realized I could maybe reach some of the minimums, I lost that drive and realized I just couldn’t be good enough.  Now with nothing really motivating me to get physical activity beyond the fact that I don’t have money to buy new clothes once I get morbidly obese, I’ve found ways to make exercise more bearable.

The most important change was efficiency.  I could ride my bike for about an hour and get a similar workout to running for about 25 minutes.  Since most of my 30min shows are about 24-26min on Netflix, this seemed perfect.  If I can watch TV it doesn’t count as lost time, so I watch my show while running on the treadmill and it takes half the time as biking so all is well.  In fact, I almost never exercise if I can’t watch something on my laptop at the same time.

Another change was trying to recover some of the lost fun and excitement that went missing from this forced-labor exercising.  So for the low low price of entirely-too-many-dollars a month, I joined a climbing gym vaguely close by.  After about four months of bouldering (like real climbing only more difficult, lower height, and with no ropes) I am kind of intermediate which is better than ‘n00b’ I suppose.  Despite reading some of this website before starting, the people there are actually ok and sometimes helpful.  Except the little kids.  The EarthTreks gym has a climbing team made up of (so far as I can tell) kids between 8 and 18 years old.  Which is great.  However it is extra disappointing to fail and fall off the wall to my death when I get up only to see a group of little girls standing there waiting for me to fail.  At which point they fly up the route I just finished falling off of (sometimes using only one foot, or presumably while laughing at my shambling disgrace of an attempt) as if to say “You couldn’t do this?  It’s just a V4 (out of 16), not difficult at all.  Maybe it’s because you don’t weigh 60 pounds…”  So now I know to not try something difficult if there’s any Team members around to see me.  I tell myself that one day these kids will grow up a bit, and have to worry about health insurance costs, and how much time they’ll have to take off work if they fall and get injured, and they might not be as fearless.  But in the meantime, they’re much better than me, so I’ll just try to watch and learn.

All that to say: exercise is terrible, but with a few adjustments, it can be less terrible.

play / exercise