I’ve never really been much into exercising. Sure, in the past I’ve played sports, ran races, and once I even took a kick-boxing class–but for the last few years I haven’t done much of anything. That’s about to change.
The turning point was almost being crushed by a giant bottle of water.
I was at my office, trying to refill my own water bottle out of one of those Highbridge water systems, when the tank went empty. Usually, if I had noticed it was almost empty and needed to be changed, I would have walked right by and skipped filling up my own bottle. I know my own limitations and I’m basically a wimp. I’d rather suffer from thirst than exert extra energy any day.
But there I was, halfway through filling up my water, and the tank ran out. It’s considered customary office etiquette to put a new tank on if you are the one using it when it runs out. (I’m guessing here…I haven’t been in a real office in 8 years, but it seems like that is at least one thing I remember from way back then. That, and how to change a typewriter ribbon. kidding)
It should have come as no surprise to me that I couldn’t lift it. As I staggered under its weight I recalled several people recently telling me that I need to build up some muscle tone. I’m not going to use names, but one of them was a five-year old who had to help me carry in the groceries. Even after a coworker rescued me from the gigantic water bottle and helped me heave it on top of the water dispenser, I was gasping for breath from such an expenditure of energy. I knew then and there what I’ve been trying not to admit for a long time: I shouldn’t be this out of shape. Your 80-year-old grandma (if you have one) could beat me up.
The problem is, I’m just not motivated to change. My friend Angie and I discussed this recently on a walk, which I set up as part of a concerted effort to counteract my inertia. “Without external clues, for example–gaining so much weight we can’t button our pants–how are we supposed to know that we need to exercise more?” we mused. It would just be so much easier if I had a little meter on the inside of my forearm that gave me a reading on how close I was to getting cancer or dying of heart disease. I could check my meter at any time and assess how badly my body needed exercise. For instance, if I saw that I was getting too close to the dangerous zone, I’d say to myself, “better put down that slice of pizza and go for a walk instead!” So random, I know. But it would totally help.
You would think little clues like not being able to run up a single flight of stairs would be enough to get me to commit to some sort of exercise program, but so far it hasn’t. My Twitter friend Emily recently posted on her blog Skinny Emmie, “What motivates you?” I have to admit, I read her blog mostly because I think she’s a talented writer and a very neat person in general, not because I’m looking to get fit. But this particular post stuck with me. What motivates me to get fit? Sadly, I could not think of a single answer.
And then, as I staggered under the weight of the giant bottle of water that could surely crush me at any moment, I realized–I could be motivated by imminent death. And really, death, whether it’s in a few seconds or in a few (hopefully 60) years, is exactly what I’m facing if I don’t start taking fitness somewhat seriously. And while I can’t exactly train for a 5K (doctor’s orders–no running), there is nothing stopping me from walking around the block or putting down the potato chips and picking up a 5 pound weight. In the end, it doesn’t matter how big or how small you are–some sort of exercise is a must.
It’s that, or risk death by a water bottle.