Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stuck up to my Chi and Sinking into a Blog. My Quest for the Do-able Workout.

So, there I was, good to go, (health-wise), but with limited resources and no reliable transportation. I had my weights, sure, and that would help (somewhat) in the rebuilding of my health but, as mentioned before, I’m one of these souls who needs to accomplish something on a level other than just physical when I exercise. After 35 years, I can say that for myself, boredom is the quickest way to failure. I think, ultimately, I got this from my dad. For him, keeping healthy was easy, as 95% of his daily exercise was keeping the farm from slipping back into arboreal chaos while making sure that the family had a good supply of heat for the winter. There weren’t too many days when we wouldn’t be able to find him knee-deep in the underbrush trying to drag out yet another fallen tree from the thousands he had planted to be dumped beside the driveway in preparation for the chopping block.

Sadly, however, this isn’t an option for me as, given my current residence, if I tried something like that the condo board would be sure to unleash its equivalent of its squadrons of flying monkeys at me (albeit if only to deliver a stern letter to stop chopping up condo property). So, what to do? Playing with the kids and housework weren’t enough. Routine exercise was boring without a raison d’etre. In desperation I tried to join Jen on one of her many yoga sessions. Yeah, yeah, I know. It hurt. And I looked pretty silly doing it (and even sillier trying to undo it). But it did manage to create more of a feeling of accomplishment than I was used to with just the weights. (I guess the humility was just a perk.) So, was there something else I could do that didn’t require me looking like an overweight precooked (read: doughy) pretzel? Why, yes. And like Yoga, it came in handy DVD form as well. Kewl. My solution? Tai Chi.
This was it. This was where I wanted to go. A workout based on balance and meditation with all the perks of strength-building and flexibility. And I didn’t have to listen to my joints popping while I did it.

At first, I'll admit, I felt kind of conspicuous. At 6’8’’ I’m not the world’s most graceful individual and I suspect when Tai Chi was being developed by the original masters they didn’t have towering 30-somethings envisaged as potential beneficiaries. Moreover, as my only time to workout was either last thing at night or first thing in the morning, it was always a tough call to decide which I preferred more: to yawn my way through the PM set when my body was pleading for sleep or risk an unsuspecting crane doing his best to spread his wings (It’s a Tai Chi move. Look it up.) to being pounced on by my giggling and pajama-clad six year old. My solution? I rotate my timings to make sure I get an equal yet liberal amount of fatigue and indignity.

Still, it seems to be paying off, not only am I now becoming halfway competent at the routines, I’ve also discovered that my overall physique is slowly improving (though I will admit, I still engage in weight-work to assist in the acceleration of what I one day might dare to call a “physique”. I figure next step will be to find a Tai Chi instructor I can get to on a regular basis. Mind you, the chances of finding one who teaches at 11pm and 6 am… Oh well. Sink the Chi, everyone.

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