Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Exercise: Pain is Beautiful

While helpful, reminders that exercise is good for you usually fall on deaf ears. Folks read articles like this for a nanosecond, and move on. After all, everybody knows that exercise is good for you, but the reality is, few practice it. And I am as guilty as anyone. It is far easier to sit and blog than get off my duff to huff and puff.

And my wife knows it. She's watched the forces of gravity over the years tug and pull on every adipose cell on my body, kindly remarking, like the saying on the cereal boxes, that "some settling of contents has occurred during shipment and handling." Thanks, dear.

But at her insistence, I started something recently that I feel a bit guilty about. You see my wife is much more intelligent than me. It occurred despite my many objections about the time commitment (after all, I'm a doctor!), insecurity (can I do this?) and a feeling that I'd be over- self-indulgent.

I started exercising with a personal trainer. Okay, there, I said it. I know, not everyone can afford a personal trainer, but I have discovered a few things on this venture:

I still hate getting up and going in to exercise at 6 AM.

I always feel better afterward that I did get up and go in at 6AM.

I sweat a bunch.

It takes a long time to start to feel stronger.

Exercising 10 minutes burns about 140-200 calories, depending on my workload on an elliptical.
My back doesn't hurt as much.

It's not as hard as I thought.

I still hate getting up at 6 AM.

No matter how I conquer an exercise, that guy ALWAYS adds a new twist, and more weight.

My own body mass serves as enough weight for 97% of all the exercises I do.

I should never eat before I exercise.

It's tough to blog before you exercise, especially if you have to get there by 6AM.

Once many years ago, I took care of a Marine Gunney Sergeant who was having a LARGE posterolateral myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the Coronary Care Unit. Sweat dripped off his brow. His face grimmaced with in pain. And when I asked him how he felt, he barked in true drill-sergeant fashion:

"Pain is beautiful, Sir! ...

"Extreme pain is extremely beautiful, Sir! ...

"And agony is ecstacy, Sir

Those words spoke volumes about this incredible patient. He was remarkably strong in character, even in a time of great adversity. He hung in there as we mixed our thrombolytic (a clot-buster: we didn't have stents back then), and slowly infused the nectar until we saw his face brighten and the reperfusion arrhythmias occur, indicating effect. He later got his angioplasty and returned several days later to his delightful wife and four kids.

The Sergeant had a 'Charles Atlas' physique, exercised every day, didn't smoke, yet still had a heart attack. (Genetics aren't fair, I guess). I could have used his situation and misfortune as an excuse not to exercise now, but that Gunney Sergeant taught me a lot that day about attitude and its benefits in tough situations. Thanks, Gunney.

So, like him, I have hung in there. Reluctantly. But I think this exercise thing is starting to pay off. I feel stronger, can do more reps, and don't huff and puff as much. Maybe I can avoid his fate. Agony is ecstacy, indeed.

But I still hate getting to the gym by 6AM.


1 comment:

Jordan said...

Hah! now this is funny. If i had know I could find you in blogland I would never have to page you!

Jordan Grumet