Exercise common sense.

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?

Jumping shoes. Really.

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.

Where else are calories burned?

 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.

Water + board = waterboard 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.

Suspendasana. No namaste here.

 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.

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12 responses to “Exercise common sense.

  1. My favorite fitness post of the weekend: “10 Little Ways to Burn of Lots of Calories.” Among the suggestions:
    > Kegel exercises when stopped in the car (“Hang on officer, just three more reps. Ahh, there we go. Now why did you pull me over?”
    > Sitting up straighter at the dinner table (“Hey, I’ve been sitting really tall today so could you pass me seconds of the fried chicken?”
    > Doing squats in the shower (“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Don’t ask why I’m in THAT position just help me up!”
    > Fidgeting as much as possible while in the office (“No, I don’t have a crack-cocaine addiction. No, I’m not going through withdrawals. I’m BURNING CALORIES, DAMNIT!”)

    But I’m willing to bet that any of these suggestions could be improved upon with some jogging shoes. It’d surely double their effectiveness.

    (P.S. Found your post on the WordPress thread on “what did you post today.”)

  2. I suddenly feel very inspired to try exercising…or perhaps just lying in bed watching “Biggest Loser”. Yep. The latter wins tonight.

    Thanks for the funny and thought-provoking post (just don’t ask what thoughts and we’re all good)!!

  3. I try to avoid any new exercise craze that requires me to look like a freaking idiot…. just one my own set of self-imposed standards. Enjoy always, T

    • And although I cheered on the weight-losing dog using the exercise ball during the Superbowl commercial, it just proves my point that humans using exercise balls look like circus dogs. Thanks for checking out the Bus Stop.

  4. I saw that trapeze yoga thing and thought, “What the hell is wrong with people?” Then I thought, “That’s go to be making someone a boat load of money.” Cool post.

  5. What’s that old saying about a fool and their money? The shoes and all that other equipment… really about one thing: making a buck by tapping into the trends. Why just walk or run or do sit ups or yoga, when you can pay big bucks to ride the latest wave.

    I weep for our civilization sometimes. Big tears of shame.

    • We are sheep-ish at times, following the majority rather than taking our own sensible path. I know I advocated crying in a comment I made elsewhere, but no weeping for our civilization. As we each hold out for what’s right, another will see that and find their own right way. And that, Wyrd, is cause for smiling, which is contagious and magical.

  6. Indeed! And I do smile, and laugh, far more often than I weep! There is much to celebrate, much to regret, much to enjoy and much to change. Keeps life… interesting!

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