Opinion: Time to get moving


“You need to move more,” said the person properly known as a physician’s assistant. I prefer to call her the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

“Forget it,” I said. “I moved 23 times before I was 40 years old. I’m not loading another truck with furniture.”

“That’s not what I was talking about,” replied the health care professional you see when the doctor no longer considers you interesting.

“I know,” I answered. “I just thought I could delay the inevitable a few seconds.” I chuckled to let her know it was a just a small joke. Too small, as it turns out. I got nothing. Not even a smile.

“Just get some exercise,” she said.

Ah, exercise. How I have not missed thee.

I haven’t always felt like this. I used to be a dedicated gym rat. Then the warranty ran out on my body and things that used to make me feel good, i.e., picking up extremely heavy objects and putting them down in precisely the same place, began causing damage. My time in the gym dwindled as I told myself I needed to be gentle on my tired old bones, muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. Also fingernails and hair.

As you can see by those last two, I was just looking for any excuse I could find. It never occurred to me to slow down or lighten up. It hurt, and I wanted to quit.

This was the start of a long road downhill that led to me gaining an enormous amount of weight and endangering my health – as in making it unlikely I’d have enough birthdays to collect much in the way of retirement benefits. That in turn led to the surgery I had earlier this year, which caused some pretty dramatic weight loss but which also requires I see a lot of health care professionals. And that is the reason I was dealing with The Unsmiling One who was telling me to get off my shrinking keister in order to shrink it some more.

Through the summer and fall, one of my day jobs did that for me. It required that I pick up heavy stuff and put it down again, repeatedly. I was exercising without knowing it, which is the way I like it.

But now that winter’s almost here, I have to get back in the gym. Assuming I can find it. When you build your gym in the garage and don’t use it, it tends to turn into a storage unit. I figure cleaning counts as exercise of a sort. It involves movement, after all. But let’s keep that between us for right now. I don’t think the Sorcerer’s Apprentice would agree.


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