My little Thought Landfill has touched on such eclectic subjects as inaccurate corn harvest estimates to bras that fit to haircuts that don’t to sleeping around. It’s time to take a big step forward and confront more controversial issues. If this post drives off my regular subscribers, I’ll have to live with that as I grow into my convictions as blogger and a responsible human being. So, if I offend anyone I’ll have to suffer the consequences since this subject has been on my mind for some time now.
What the hell are we doing that we’re calling exercise?
I subscribe to a few email newsletters to keep my little-used brain sharp and on its mental toes, so to speak. Last week I received two separate e-mailings from WebMD, which is a sentimental favorite website of mine, about hot fitness crazes. I imagine C. Everett Koop in his bowtie and glasses lovingly writing each newletter on a manual typewriter with only America’s best interests at the center of his patriotic heart. Dr. Koop always seemed like such a sensible man. Now I realize he either has nothing to do with WebMD, or he’s on vacation, or they’ve put him out to pasture. Does the following photo appear sensible to you?
No, me either. These are called Kangaroo Shoes and can be worn for low-impact aerobics or jogging. They also come with the following caveat: if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or balance problems, stick with springless shoes. I simply cannot wait to see someone jog by my house wearing these. These contraptions should come with a plaster cast for the inevitable broken ankle. I assume they come in a kit with itty bitty, impossibly tight workout shorts since everyone in the photo wears them.
Next up: pole dancing. Yes, this is indeed a legitimate(?) fitness suggestion. I’ve seen any number of classes offered locally, and I bet you’ve heard all about Pole Dancing for Jesus. (No, I’m not giving you the link — go look for yourself out on YouTube.) The WebMD newsletter says you’ll burn calories while working your abs, butt, thighs and “more.” More what? Tongue muscles? Risks include falling(!), rotator cuff strain, and tendonitis. These must be some of the more interesting injuries being seen in emergency rooms. (I have to admit, I’m kinda likin’ those silver boots, though.)
I’m a long-time follower of yoga. The breathing, the focus, the stretching have comforted and strengthened me both mentally and physically. Its rising popularity is also its nemesis, bringing competitivenss and “extreme” to the practice, neither of which can or should be applied to yoga.
This is referred to as floating yoga. A stench by any other name still stinks. Balance during yoga poses is intensity enough without having to try to also remain afloat.
Aerial yoga — beyond ridiculous. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years with a minimum of props, and there are enough downward-facing poses without adding bungee cords, or “hammocks” as they are euphemistically named. The New York Times recently published articles about the increase in the number of yoga-related injuries — well, duh. Injuries will occur in any form of exercise, particularly when competition, peer pressure, and bad judgement are involved.
The photos above show women participating in these “exercises.” You can read into that whatever you like; one fact I read is that these examples are not “manly” undertakings. Fear not, though, the boys are going for the glory as well through “elite” fitness such as P90X and Insanity Workout, which promote “muscle confusion.” (Egads — intentional confusion — shouldn’t that be illegal?) The newsletter instructs the reader to consult a physician prior to engaging in these, particularly in regard to pre-existing joint problems. I take that to mean if you don’t have joint problems, you probably will after going Insane.
WebMD is not the creator of these crazes, just the purveyor of the newsletter which afforded me an interlude of “WTF?” and “WTH?” moments, significant eyebrow exercise and astonished blinking, and some some mental gymnastics. I’m thankful to them for that. But I’m going to keep my yoga grounded, my shoes spring-free, and my insanity level low. I think I’ll take a walk, do a little dancing or a little Zumba, push a lawnmower, take the stairs. You get the picture. I can hear my joints whispering “thank you” and my blood whooshing gently through my arteries. Wherever C. Everett Koop is, I think he’d agree with me.
I might have to get me a pair of those silver boots, though.