Over the past few years, I’ve noticed I’ve begun to put on a few pounds. I noticed this primarily because my wife kept saying, “Hey, you’ve put on a few pounds. When are you going to do something about it?”
In my younger years, I used to treat my body like a temple. But lately my body has become more of a Temple of Doom. So I’ve decided to do something about it.
I tried various fad diets: the Nothing-but-fruit diet, the Everything-but-fruit diet, the Mango & Salmon milk shake diet, the “All-You-Can-Eat-Just-So-Long-As-It’s-Cabbage” diet. None of them worked, in part because I usually gave up after about 40 minutes.
I recently discovered – much to my chagrin – that there are no short cuts to fitness and good health. So I came up with eight very simple daily commitments in the areas of fitness and nutrition. I once raced in the New York Marathon. (Okay, meandered might be more accurate description of my pace.) Heck, by comparison, this should be a piece of cake. Drat! Now I’m craving a piece of cake.
In my younger years, I used to jog five miles a day, do 50 sit-ups each morning, and row 15 miles to work. I was a nationally recognized fitness expert and author of the best seller, Earlobes of Steel. But now that I am older, I know better. At best, all that exercise will add less than 30 years to my life.
Not long ago, I tried out a fitness class called sports yoga. I stuck with it for what seemed like forever, by which I mean nearly four sessions. There was just one small problem: yoga was really hard. Try as I may, I could never get my left foot to wrap around the back of my neck. I never got the knack for how to balance my body off the ground using just my thumbs.
I even wrote about my nightmarish yoga experience previously in a post called The World’s Least Flexible Man – the 100% true retelling of my very first yoga class. So I hung up my yoga mat. I’m simply not that young anymore. My body is no longer capable of contorting like a human pretzel. And before you know it, I’ll be celebrating my 80th birthday. (Okay, technically not for another 23 years, but in geologic terms, that’s a blink of an eye).
As far as I know, I am not the strongest man in the world. I doubt I would ever be mistaken for the fastest either. But I think I can say with a high degree of confidence, that if there were a category in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s MOST INFLEXIBLE HUMAN BEING, my picture would appear.
Our family recently joined a health club. What a terrible mistake that was. This past week, I took my very first YOGA class ever. Oh My God. Somehow – don’t ask me how – I made it through it. But if you’re over 50 and have never tried yoga before, let mine be a cautionary tale. Don’t even think about trying yoga – unless you enjoy intense pain coupled with public humiliation.
My competition in the class looked harmless enough: 15 women of various ages and sizes and three men of Indian descent who appeared to be in top physical fitness. These 15 women and the three Indian men (who, as best as I could tell came straight out of yoga central casting) all came equipped with their yoga mats, matching yoga outfits and bare feet. There was this one lone middle-aged white guy who came in without a yoga mat, wearing a dorky T-shirt that read “I’m in shape. Round is a shape” and sporting conspicuous white socks and sneakers. That middle-aged white guy would be me. In retrospect, I’m surprised an alarm bell did not sound the moment I walked through the door, declaring that a yoga pretender was attempting to break into this yoga sanctuary. I had absolutely no business being there.
One of President Obama’s campaign promises was to address the energy crisis. It’s one of his top priorities just after healthcare reform, job creation, education reform and improving his Baseball Opening Day Ceremonial Curve Ball (needs a lot of work).
I beamed with pride when I read that on one front, America is making amazing progress: Energy conservation. According to a recent survey by the widely respected and completely unheard of news publication, The Daily Beast, the United States now ranks #1 in the entire world in personal energy conservation. Okay, if you want to get technical, it actually called the USA the laziest nation on the planet. But I say it’s all in your perspective. Personally, I would offer my American countrymen a high five but I don’t want to have to get up out of my chair. Turns out, according to this report, we Americans rank:
- Number one in per person daily caloric intake
- Number one in number of trips to fast food restaurants per year
- Number one in per person hours of daily television viewing and
- Dead last in the amount of time spent exercising per day, or as I prefer to think of it, first in personal energy conservation!