20 days of exercise sobriety
by, May 26th, 2009 at 12:44 AM (1509 Views)
Since semi-recovering from Swine Flu Lite on May 5th, I have launched on what has arguably been my longest unbroken streak of exercising in my life.
This has consisted of:
- swimming (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) 39,450 yards
- Nautilus weight lifting (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with occasional exceptions for tennis)
- Tennis (some Tuesdays, one Thursday, and every Sunday)
- Stretch cord rotator cuff exercises (most nights)
How have these past 3 weeks of unbroken daily exercise affected me? Physically speaking, I feel that I am slowly getting into better swimming shape, not good enough, mind you, to compensate for the recent loss of the B70 body boat, AKA, the HMS Good Times, may she rest in peace! But perhaps enough to slightly undercut the accelerating rate of decrepitude that might otherwise be greeting me with each passing week.
I have found that the weight lifting and stretch cords have seemed to reduce shoulder pain, which was pretty uncomfortable upon first returning to the pool after my 8-10 day sickness layoff.
Possibly, the weights and stretch cords are also offering some inoculation against shoulder and elbow pain from tennis (and water volley ball, which I played for the first time today after our noon-time Memorial Day Swim Practice that only Bill and I actually showed up for.)
Other impacts, which may or may not be imaginary:
- I definitely feel the need for more sleep, and if this keeps up, may have to double my use of amphetamine like drugs in order to coax any hours of non-exercise consciousness out of my typical day
- There's a sense that my immune system is getting a little cranky without regular breaks in the daily exercise schedule. I have begun coughing lately, and feel the first faint pricklings of neuralgia here and there where neuralgia has long been in abeyance
- My mood is perked up by the exercise, only to settle back into its ruts a couple hours later.
Which brings me to the following questions, which I will throw out in the hopes that one or more of my fellow travelers might provide answers or at least a sense that I do, indeed, have fellow travelers on this road upon which I tread:
- Am I the only person out here who thinks that the natural human lifespan is overly generous?
- How many summer openings of the summer swim club pool, how many Christmas carols, how many fireworks displays, how many gourmet engorgements, how many libidinous blowouts, how many professions of religious rapture, how many celebrations of vicarious or personal sporting victories, how many bonus checks, and the like are necessary to live through before life begins to seem, even in its alleged high points, a grindingly monotonous proposition?
- With what insult begins a lifeview riddled with mistrust of ones fellow apes and their schemings and larceny and generally lousy ways? At what point do dreams of glory transmogrify into lust for revenge, and at what point does even this turn to powder in a dry and bitter mouth like sugarless gum masticated for days on end?
- I suspect our neuroscientists' current best understanding of the mind is as primitive in its way as Edward Jenner's observations about milkmaids and cowpox and the nature of immunology were in 1796 -- on the right track, perhaps, but not terribly far along. This said, and with pre-acknowledgment that the dopaminergic reward system is most likely not much more than a metaphor at this point, the question is this: can we become exhausted to the effects of the chemical broth that goads us onwards and pats us on the head when we succeed? Is this something that must, by its very nature, lose its hold upon us with enough repetition, just as the once delicious candy corn of youth becomes an emetic in old age? Or is the brain constructed is such a way that it is never immune to joy juice, if such can be naturally coaxed into lubricating our synapses in the right regions? So that the problem is not so much that nothing, after a time, can bring verve back into life--but that we have given up the search for what it is that can naturally generate this verve? And are there just too many moral impediments and causes for exhaustion blocking our way?
I throw these questions out to my fellow swimmers and exercise nuts so that when your own doleful topics of rumination run out during your next bout with gravity and friction, you might have something fresh to consider.
But even as I say this I know I am deluding myself! There is nothing new under the sun! Nothing! And these are the questions that we all ask ourselves, in perhaps slightly different ways, in words that begin in wails and end in demented grunts, all our days upon God's green earth!
Tomorrow, if it rains, I will do Nautilus and play tennis on Thursday, unless it rains then, too.
Students of Abraham Maslow: Is the pain of descent along his hierarchy of needs uniform? Or does it hurt more, for example, to fall from the next-to-bottom rung to the lowest one? Or perhaps the other way around--might falling from the top to the next-to-top rung be the most painful? Or is the most painful rung to fall from just the one you are, right now, losing your grip upon?