Friday, January 09, 2009

Walking the walk

Exercise was never my long suit. For decades, the only activities in which I regularly engaged were jumping to conclusions, running myself ragged, and pushing my luck.

Over recent years I have modified my sedentary ways by adding walking and bike riding into my schedule. I have even figured out methods to do most of my in-city errands sans automobile, which does require some ingenuity; a large, sturdy backpack; and better time management. Payoffs however, include improved health, a sense of global pride by helping to some extent to heal our planet, extensive gasoline savings, and an enhanced ego (as many find it way cool to see a middle-age guy in a tie riding a bike; causing them to lavish praise upon my person, which I demurely accept - as to not offend of course).

Lately, I had to ratchet up the activity as the aging process and slower metabolism are having an expansive effect on my midsection. To further that aim, I established a "fitness center" in our house. (OK, to be honest, it's really a TV, DVD player, and three exercise videos in the guest room; but c'mon, you were impressed when I called it "fitness center," weren't you?) Weight loss remained elusive so I reluctantly decided that in order to achieve results, I must actually WATCH the videos and perform the routines (as opposed to leaving them inertly stacked on the bookcase). Grudgingly therefore, I dragged my sleepy body into the guest room, - er, fitness center - and have endeavored to emulate Billy Blanks in his kickboxing routine, Tae-Bo.

Progress has been made; I have advanced from inept to clumsy to awkward, and have - believe it or not - started looking forward to morning practice. This newfound over-enthusiasm drove me a sinew too far, the result: a pulled muscle.

In earlier times, such discomfort would have been a welcome rationale to abandon my schedule (having been known to forgo previous routines because of broken shoelaces). Yet, something shifted; instead of attempting to justify inactivity, I turned my thoughts toward, "What can I still do?"

My pulled tendon had not become a barrier; rather, it became a source of pride. I'm not just speaking of how, when queried, "Why are you limping," I could assume a manly, macho, Bruce Willis, swagger and reply, "Pulled a muscle during my workout." Of much more import was the fact that I was not looking for excuses to quit, rather seeking methods to endure.

I consistently profess, "My health is my highest priority," while finding countless validations to avoid the steps necessary to act as such. "I don't have time." "It costs too much." "There's always tomorrow." Such internal dissonance feels plain lousy, generating feelings of hypocrisy and shame; burdens less visible, but equally as weighty, as a few extra pounds.

It is worthy of note that soreness in my quadriceps generated healing in my thoughts. No longer am I only "talking the talk," I am proudly "walking the walk" (albeit with a limp).

1 comment:

taebo said...

Hi! My name is Melanie, I am from Billy Blanks' Enterprises and we want to thank you for using Tae Bo, and hope that you are enjoying the workout.

We would love to send you a "thank you" t-shirt. Please email me at with your mailing address and size. Also, please check out our website(s) at,

Thanks again and God bless!