Exercise people piss me off. I’m not speaking of people who enjoy exercise or even the women who eventually come to say "I kinda miss it" on their day of rest (though I kinda want to kick them in the vagina). I’m referring to those who advise others to find an exercise they enjoy and can stick to, the ones who use the word "routine" and say "habits" and "burn" without referring to illegal substances. As fond as I am of tennis, if I have the choice between chasing a fuzzy yellow ball or loafing about on a boat with a cold crisp glass of white, I might just sprain an ankle dashing for the nearest life vest.
When I was last in Italy, Smelly and I went on–what I thought was going to be–a leisurely stroll in Cinque Terre. It was the hike from hell. Never mind that I wasn’t prepared and was lugging a 40lb. backpack while wearing an ill-fitting bathing suit, walking shorts, and pumas without socks. It was treacherous, and I was about as in shape as Humpty Dumpty after the fall. And yet…
When we finally made it to the last town, I didn’t want to stop. It was not, I assure you, anything to do with endorphins. It was the sunset falling over the buildings, the lavender shadows, and the way white seemed to have a pulse. I dropped Smelly off at a bar, and despite my quivering thighs, I negotiated more steep hills and chased the sun to capture the moment, to get the gesture, to remember a time when what was going on around me seemed so much more important than the hurly-burly defeatist crap in my head. And it was then that I realized, if I was ever going to exercise regularly, I wouldn’t be allowed to know it.
Sex these days hardly lasts 4 minutes, never mind a continuous 40 minutes. Sure, once upon a time hunters got their exercise by, well, hunting, searching and sometimes tackling their prey. Sadly, even composing each and every suggested item on a Bon Appetit menu wouldn’t burn enough calories to negate the caloric damage of an aperitif. So as enjoyable as sex and cooking may be–and as much as they might be the direct route to a man’s heart–they’ll never be the solution to my exercise woes.
Those mall power-walkers are onto something. Jean shopping, I’m convinced, has to burn as many calories as elliptical-machining my way through an episode of Army Wives. A shopping spree, or even the idea of running errands as if the time it took to complete them earned me some type of valuable points toward a grand prize (much the way the program "Supermarket Sweep" worked), might just do the trick. When I was younger, I could easily spend the day at an amusement park without even once thinking about food. I’d buzz through the park, racing from one accident-waiting-to-happen to the next. And I realize, it’s really just about finding what it means to you today, to go outside and play.
What activity can you do without even noticing the time? Sure you might be tired, but you’re too excited to stop. I imagine it’s the way some kids feel playing tag. I’ve never once found a sport that I wished would never end. Running my mouth doesn’t count.