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Annual exercise in futility.

December 27, 2014, to January 11, 2015:

The New Year is upon us, bringing with it the usual array of resolutions and new leaves to turn over.

I have the same resolution I always have: get in shape. Finally.

Thanks to the World's Greatest Physical Therapist and Trainer Par Excellence (heretofore known as the WGPT), I already know exactly what to do:

Regular and varied cardio (pool, elliptical, bike, rowing machine or treadmill) interspersed with strength and weight training.

However, to the chagrin of the WGPT, my knowing the program doesn't automatically translate into my doing the program.

But this time, I am serious.

Coincidentally, I come across an online article asserting that the ideal amount of weekly exercise is 150 minutes of cardio.

Because it is late December and I am revved, I up the ante. I decide to set my goal at 200 minutes a week and hit the gym.

About three days in, I announce to the WGPT that this new 200 minutes a week thing is My New Plan and It Will Succeed.

He has heard this kind of thing from me before (many times), but he nods, withholding his skepticism for the moment. I think I see a slightly raised eyebrow, but I ignore it.

He finds an old runner's log for me so I can write down my daily minutes, along with each day's form of cardio.

I begin keeping track on Jan. 5, telling everyone who will listen that I actually began this new program a week earlier, well before all of the other fair-weather New Year's athletes. I congratulate myself for being well ahead.

Jan. 12Co18, 2015:

It's too cold to go to the gym.

I go to the gym once and do 20 minutes on a bike.

When I see the WGPT, he asks to look at the runner's log.

I tell him I forgot it at home.

Jan. 19-Feb. 8:

I have got religion now: I am an exercise fiend. I go to the gym almost every single day. I bike on the bike. I row the rowing machine. I tread on the treadmill. I ellip on the elliptical. I lift weights and do all the stretches I am supposed to do for the parts of my body that need particular help.

I record my successes in the runner's log and quietly gloat at my prowess.

My workout partner is too busy to work out, and so I start to settle in to the role of The Good Child.

Maybe I will run a marathon.

Feb. 8-March 1:

It is never going to stop snowing.

It's freezing out.

There is ice everywhere you turn.

Why do we even live here?

Who can even think about working out?

The only sane approach is to stay home, eat a lot of high-calorie food in order to retain heat, and consider canceling the gym membership.

March 3:

My workout partner is back and better than ever.

We borrow snowshoes and go snowshoeing.

She loves it. I think it is fine except for the snow part. And the walking.

We take pictures and send them to the WGPT.

He is trying to convince us to use the snowshoes to walk up a mountain at 5:30 a.m. to see the sunrise.

He is delusional. Has he even met us?

March 3-9:

Bike, treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine: Check.

Weights: Check.

Stretches: Check.

March 9-24:

Radio silence.

The runner's log remains empty.

Despite the welcome arrival of Daylight Savings Time, spring is obviously never going to come.

March 24:

OK, enough with the lassitude.

My workout partner and I work like demons, flinging heavy ropes, tossing weights like candy, doing jumping jacks.

March 25-March 29:

She is fine, but I can't move.

I do slow stretches, move gingerly getting in and out of the car, and use a heating pad.

Maybe the exercise class at my mother-in-law's assisted living facility is a better approach for me. They sit in a circle in chairs and raise their arms up and down.

I could do that.

March 31:

Over coffee, my workout partner and I decide that, from this moment on, we are going to get to the gym before 7 a.m. every morning before work.

April 1:

We both oversleep.

Laura Porter's Dispatches from the Home Front column is published on the first Sunday of the month.
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Title Annotation:Living
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 5, 2015
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