Sunday, July 26, 2009

No excuse for no exercise

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you would rather not - Mark Twain

Virgil once famously remarked that the greatest wealth is health. I think people ignore that advice. They spend their health to gain wealth in the first half of their lives, and then spend their wealth to regain their health in the latter half. In fact, a person's health can be judged by which the person takes two at a time - pills or stairs.

As I approach middle age, I realize what 'middle age' means : it is when your age starts to show around your middle. A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. I have been employed for the last 12 years, and my only savings have been the added girth around my equator. But I feel better off than a colleague of mine, who has what one would call a soldier's stomach - everything that he eats goes to the ‘front’. He also has flabby thighs, but fortunately his stomach covers them. If he had acted in the place of Russell Crowe in Gladiator, the character would have been named Gluteus Maximus instead of Maximus Decimus Meridius.

For a large part of my life, the only exercise I got was eating and sleeping. I can imagine a lot of readers nodding their head as they read this. No, I am not implying that that is the case with them (though honestly, I am). In fact, if it weren't for the fact that the TV and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all. I guess women are better off, since they get a lot of exercise doing shopping, as they walk up and down giant shopping malls, occasionally resting to make a purchase.

Then computers arrived, and I started getting my exercise by swiveling on the computer chair, typing on the keyboard, and clicking the mouse. Once I got employed, I got plenty of exercise at work by jumping to conclusions, beating around the bush, dodging the issue, going back on my word, swimming against the tide, and pushing my luck.

Despite all this, I have always ‘wanted’ to be healthy and fit. But as they say if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I have this constant fear that if I don't take care of myself, the undertaker will overtake that responsibility for me. In fact, I have become so obsessed with health these days that I sense there is something fundamentally ‘unhealthy’ about it.

I do exercise once in a while, if only to hear heavy breathing again. As I have to force my body to exercise, I do it early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing. At other times, when I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes. Like every one else, I have 'joined' several health clubs and spent a lot of money. But I haven't lost a pound. Apparently, you have to show up! I guess if I were born in UK, I would have lost a few pounds (GBP).

Though there are a host of health books, articles, blogs, etc, I never read them heeding to Mark Twain: “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” Also I never bought any home exercise equipments, because everybody I knew used them as clothes hanger. In fact a friend of mine argued that his food is enriched with high iron content because he uses his dumbbells to bash meat.

Walking/jogging/biking could help stay fit. As per research (my blog, my research!) for every mile that you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you, at age 85, to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5,000 per month. Talking of that reminded me of the famous joke – “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60; now she's 97 years old and we don't know where the hell she is”. How I wish I could say that about my wife one day (Rakesh, this joke is dedicated to you). By the way, I do enjoy long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

Then, there is dieting. It is an alien concept in the part of world where I come from, where people think that they exist on this world to eat. When I heard about the benefits of a healthy diet, I switched to 'fat-free' chips and 'light' beer. The diet experts claim that red meat is bad for you. I don't believe them because I have never seen a sick-looking tiger. If you see blue-green meat, now, that might be bad for you. By the way, have you heard of the cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good, spit it out!

Everybody these days are advising me to buy Wii Fit. Of course, I would need to buy a TV and Wii before that. But isn’t it ironical to think that you could be fit by playing games on TV? However, it is not too funny if you consider that most people do seem it logical to 'drive' to the gym doing their best to avoid walking, or to order a 'diet' coke along with a 'double cheese' burger.

I got to work out. I keep saying it all the time. But it has been about three months since I have worked out. And I just don't seem to have the time. That is funny considering that I do find time to go out on long lunches and dinners. To watch movies. To update my Facebook status message and to write blogs. But the question that I keep asking myself is - Do I exercise to keep fit? Or do I need to be fit to exercise, in which case do I need the exercise?

So my dear readers, here’s wishing that you live as long as you are fit, but no longer. Or, may you rather die before you cease to be fit, than after. Ok, if that sounded awkward, then here’s a tip to keep fit!