Sunday, March 3, 2013

Exercise


When I was a young child I played quite a lot of sport, of both the officially organised and backyard pickup variety with no external motivators required. During my high school years I played at different times cricket, soccer, royal (aka real) tennis, table tennis, and I orienteered (or whatever the past tense of doing orienteering is). I wasn't any good at any of them, mind you, but I played nevertheless and for the most part enjoyed it. The fact that it was compulsory in high school certainly helped get my motivation up, but enough kids managed to weasel their way out of it that I feel comfortable saying i would have played sport even if it wasn't.

Then I left school and promptly stopped being involved in any sort of organised sporting activity whatsoever. You don't realise until the supporting infrastructure of school staff and parents disappears just how much damn organising there is to be done to get fifteen people to show up every week to play a game of soccer, let alone how much it costs. All through university I didn't engage in any exercise, started again when I got a full time job and there was an indoor cricket team organised by someone at my workplace then stopped again not long after I switched jobs to somewhere where there was nothing organised.

I mention this to provide some context to my situation and attitude; I am not a once and always slob, in fact for a bare majority of my life organised and regular physical activity has been part of my lifestyle, and for a solid majority I've done some exercise. My attitude to sport is that of the interested but ill-disciplined: I'm totally on board if someone else is organising it.

I'm at the age now where a number of workmates and friends have had their lifestyles make the transition from being aggressively sedentary to having medically-prescribed activity. Weight moving from uncomfortable to dangerous, the occasional stiff back turning to bed-ridden pain, bad diet becoming imminent heart disease. Given a solid family history of heart attacks, strokes and late onset diabetes it's hard to imagine what my possible excuses are for not doing something. Worse, for stopping what I already was doing. (I do play lawn bowls, but considering the level of exertion and the fact it involves a weekly free sausage sizzle, I think it may actually be worse than doing nothing)

If I'm too ill-disciplined to play sport without someone else organising it, why not doing something simple like running? No teammates to organise, no rosters, no remote locations to travel to, just me and my lazy ass. It's not time constraints. Steam tells me I've spent 14.8 hours playing games in the last two weeks and in the same time period I've read three books, watched about a season and half of Archer, a few football games, and a half a dozen movies. Hard to look at those numbers and say there wasn't an hour here or there available for some exercise. It's not physical ability. Most anyone can run, I'd probably need to get some decent shoes to compensate for my once club foot but that could be dealt with in a lunch break. There's no external factors to stop me stepping out the front door an going for a jog a few times a week, no dangerous weather or civil war.

All that leaves as an excuse is that it's not easy. That doing something I have the time and good reason to do is slightly more effort than lying on the couch. That's all it boils down to: not doing easy things is hard. It's pathetic, but there it is.

Next week's word is exit.

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