Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Develop an Exercise Addiction

1. Dislocate your left shoulder by trying to yank a dull serrated knife out of thick plastic.

2. Admit to your youngest son that he was right; you should have left the trash can alone instead of trying to cut it down so it would fit under the sink.

Me with stupid arm sling. And cute family.
3. Don't go to the doctor, even though WebMD says you should.

4. Wear a stupid arm sling for, like, a week or something until you get impatient with it, and then "forget" where you put it.

5. Whine and whine for months and months every time you have to lift your arm above shoulder height.

6. Be forced to give up all your favorite sedentary hobbies like knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and rug braiding because they all irritate your rotator cuff.

7. Receive a very beautiful skein of purple yarn for Christmas from your son, decide your shoulder is probably healed, and knit for about an hour.

8. Make your shoulder very sore.

9. Whine for a few more weeks, and finally, six months after your initial injury, give in and go to the doctor.

10. Squirm sheepishly when he tells you that dislocated shoulders don't really heal very well on their own and you need physical therapy.

11. Go to physical therapy at Summit Rehabilitation in Lake Stevens. (Where everyone should go for physical therapy. If they live, you know, near Lake Stevens.)

Arm Bike
12. Start your session with a six-minute warm-up on a mysterious contraption called an arm bike.

13. Proceed through a lot of short little exercises that seem pretty anti-climactic.

14. Be all like, "That's it?"

15. But recognize that you are completely ignorant about physical therapy, acknowledge that it's a legitimate science, and show up for your next appointment.

16. Declare that the little piece of foam you stood on last time was way too easy for you, and widen your eyes when your physical therapist produces half an exercise ball and says with a wicked gleam, "We're going to change that."

Bosu Ball
17. Learn that the new device is called a bosu ball and you will henceforth be required to stand on the black side while you perform several of your PT exercises.

18. Get on the stupid thing one foot at a time whilst cutting off the circulation in your physical therapist's steadying hands by clamping onto them in a death grip.

19. Wobble. A lot. The whole time you are standing on the bosu ball.

20. Learn foreign-sounding phrases like "strengthen your core" and "keep your balance" and "don't fall off."

21. Keep getting on the bosu ball at each session, and after a few times, stop wobbling so much. And then one day, get on without hanging onto anything for support.

22. Feel very proud, grin a lot, and tell everyone that you did it all by yourself, kinda like that guy on those old Cheerios commercials who kept telling random strangers that he lowered his cholesterol.

23. Start to love physical therapy.

24. Wonder why.

25. Realize very slowly, as your brain demolishes old hardwiring and creates new pathways to truth, that you love it because a) it gets you moving, and b) it works, actually. Your shoulder is getting better.

26. One day, while you're zoned out on the arm bike, realize that you're zoned out on the arm bike. And that you're having a marvelous time enjoying a lovely outdoor view of tall trees, the back of Target, and birds dive bombing each other.

27. Have an epiphany. Like this: "Dude! If I can zone out on the arm bike, I bet I can zone out on the treadmill, too!"

28. Think about your sister-in-law's gym that you drive by every morning after you drop your son off at school. About how she went there and danced her pregnancy weight off at zumba. About how you watched her shrink over a year's time. About how dedicated and impressive she is and how you want to be like her when you grow up.

29. Drop by the gym one morning just to get some information, and leave fifteen minutes later with a new keytag and an official membership to the Lake Stevens Athletic Club. (Where everyone should go for all of their fitness needs. If they live near Lake Stevens.)

30. Be pretty clueless about anything gym-related, so just walk on the treadmill for an hour the first few times you go.

31. A few days later, while you're sitting innocently at a stoplight waiting to turn left, look in your rear view mirror just in time to brace for impact before a Dodge Durango slams into the back of your Jeep.

32. Sprain your neck and back.

33. Agree with your doctor that it's a good thing you're already in physical therapy, and return to PT with new orders for a new treatment plan for your new injury.

34. Also take the fitness advice your doctor gives you. Which is that an hour on the treadmill is a little intense because it creates a repetitive motion that could cause injury, especially for someone with extra sensitive tendons.

Recumbent Bike
35. Add the recumbent bike to your routine. Which is great because it pretty much leaves your sprained muscles alone.

36. Send smoke and sparks out of the computer system at PT because it doesn't normally handle two cases for one patient.

37. Move your shoulder rehab to the gym and do a bunch of your shoulder exercises on the bosu ball.

38. Every single time you get on the bosu ball all by yourself, decide to yourself that everyone at the gym thinks you're amazing because you can get on the bosu ball all by yourself.

39. But be really nice to your sore back because it hurts a lot from getting rear-ended.

40. In fact, be in so much pain from getting rear-ended that you have to sleep in your recliner for nearly a month because it hurts too much to lay flat.

41. Seriously lament the fact that you can only get relief for your back pain at PT twice a week. Woe is you.

42. But after a few weeks, discover something awesome: PT is not the only place to alleviate back pain. You can also alleviate your back pain at the gym. By being in motion. Because motion is lotion. And exercise is medicine.

43. Begin to go to the gym out of desperation onaccounta you're in lots of pain if you don't.

44. Hope.

45. But because you still don't quite have enough reasons to develop an exercise addiction just yet, decide to have a hysterectomy.

46. Call to mind all the horror stories you've ever heard about what happens to a woman's body after menopause... weight gain, a little facial hair, weight gain, weird hormone issues, weight gain, and weight gain.

47. Purposely schedule your surgery for a full two months out because you are determined to get in the best shape you can before surgery so that your recovery is fast and you can get back to exercising.

Elliptical Machine
48. Start going to the gym every day. Stop using the treadmill and recumbent bike, and replace both of those things with 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, alternating strength-training routines for core and shoulders, and lots and lots of stretching that really gets a little old after a while if you don't have a super awesome workout playlist that includes inspiring hits like Living' on a Prayer, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Footloose, Walkin' on Sunshine, Accidentally in Love, Jack & Diane, The Living Years, Run Around, Roll to Me, and You Give Love a Bad Name.

49. Realize one day that your reasons for going to the gym have changed. You don't go so you can trick yourself into exercising while you zone out. You don't go so you can shrink over a year's time and be like your sister-in-law when you grow up. You don't go because you should strengthen your shoulders. You don't go because you're in lots of pain if you don't. You don't go so that you can be your best self on the surgery table in two months.

50. Realize, after five months of PT and four months with a gym membership, that finally, at long last, you go to the gym simply because you want to go to the gym.

Congratulations. You have successfully developed an exercise addiction.