PUMPING IRONY: Easy Does It

My Lovely Wife and I got married on Facebook this evening. She, sitting comfortably in her favorite chair across the living room from me in my favorite chair, noticed in a bit of a panic that she’d not identified her husband on her Facebook page and quickly remedied the situation with a few keystrokes before giving me that look… Read more »

My Lovely Wife and I got married on Facebook this evening. She, sitting comfortably in her favorite chair across the living room from me in my favorite chair, noticed in a bit of a panic that she’d not identified her husband on her Facebook page and quickly remedied the situation with a few keystrokes before giving me that look and suggesting in her most persuasive voice that I might want to reply to the request that I confirm our relationship. So now we are coupled in cyberspace.

That was easy.

I recount this magical moment not so much because I want you all to be part of our digital nuptials (our actual wedding almost 29 years ago required only a bit more planning than
this evening’s celebration), but because it synchs so nicely with my current fitness vibe: Do what seems necessary at the moment.

For the past month or so, I’ve been hitting the gym maybe once a week at the most, neglecting the tennis court altogether, squeezing in a few pushup-and-planks workouts before work, and generally opting for a take-care-of-myself approach to living as opposed to my normal über-disciplined aspirational semi-obsession to fitness. This past weekend, for instance, I felt a real need to de-stress, so I slept late, read books and generally practiced eliciting my body’s parasympathetic response (AKA breathing) while steering clear of any activity that didn’t veer toward leisure. It’s a good thing to do once in awhile.

I’ve been thinking recently that I’m harboring more stress in my body than I care to admit to myself — or anyone else — and that I need to make a conscious effort to unravel those knots. And, yes, exercise has been shown to be a great antidote to stress, but sometimes — when your son takes away the car for a weekend and that weekend’s temperature barely inches above zero and the pantry’s well stocked and gosh isn’t it quiet and isn’t the sun shining in on that chair at just the right angle to attract a purring cat to your lap and, yes, a cup of tea would be just lovely, thank you — it’s more productive to just take it easy.

This “what, me worry” attitude has been embraced by one of the nation’s most prominent doctors, Susan M. Love, whose new book, Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health, celebrates a more laissez faire approach to fitness. In this interview in Tara Parker-Pope’s (is she married on Facebook?) New York Times health blog, Love explains that we’re a lot healthier than we tend to think we are and that we ought to just chill a little on the whole weight-loss, carbo-loading, six-pack-abs-and-buns-of-steel thing.

“Everything is a U-shaped curve,” Love tells Parker-Pope. “There may be times in you life when you’ve gotten too much of this or too little of that, but being in the middle is better, and most of us are probably there already.”

I’m good with that. But I’m still going to play tennis tomorrow night — just because it’s fun. And tomorrow morning I’ll bundle up and walk that 2.5 miles to work — just because it’s, well, not fun, but eventually pleasant. And maybe Wednesday night I’ll go and sit for an hour or so at the zendo — just for the chance to breathe and unravel and see what happens. Ice skating on Saturday? Perhaps.

But Sunday I’ll be drinking beer (not too much) and watching football — because that’s fun too. That is, if my new wife will let me.

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