2010.11.10 Exercising with David: It's pure torture

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I am a total wimp when it comes to exercising my body on my own volition. It takes more gumption than I’ve got for me to get up and go...my get up and go just sits down and stays, or maybe it got up and left town. If it weren’t for David, I would be a lumpy couch potato, a big bowl of mashed potatoes.

David possesses the most amazing amount of self-discipline and sets such a good example. Even when he doesn’t particularly want to exercise or when he doesn’t really have a whole lot of time, he will exercise indoors.

I’m not a real fan of indoor running.

Besides the fact that I spent half my mothering years yelling at the kids to stop running in the house, and thus, it now seems hypocritical to jog around the joint, there are several other reasons it just isn’t a good idea.

Number one, it’s really hard to mash into the couch when the only other person in the house is jogging past you and bounding up and down the stairs. The peer pressure is way too intense, the calls of “C’mon Leddy, get your butt off the couch” are too hard to ignore; it means I have to join him.

Number two, once I join the fray I worry that our old house won’t stand the pounding of two people jogging down the hall into the kitchen, back down the hall into the entry for a round of fake rope jumping, clamoring up the stairs and fast-pacing it around the bedrooms, back down the stairs and through the living room.

Number three, the first minute is insufferably long. It just never ends. Every bone and muscle in my body screams, Stop! And the first five minutes? It’s like five hours. I just want to jump ship and be done with it.

But David happily carries on, so I follow behind, doing whatever he does: the silly walk through the hallway, the pumping of hand weights, the dance moves—I laugh, but I can’t wait for it all to be over. It’s pure torture.

However, I must admit that the last five minutes kind of sail right by. It’s not the kind of sailing that makes me want to stay all day on the water; it’s the kind of sailing that makes me think, Well, that wasn’t so bad, after all. I know it’s just another example of my common everyday inertia regarding other things like getting into the shower in the morning and going to bed at night.

Still, my reluctance to exercise without David’s “encouragement” was the first thing I thought of when I heard something on the radio about some prisoners having a hard time adjusting to life on the outside. Once released from prison, they have a hard time creating their own schedule, going about their business without being told what to do and when to do it. Life in prison is predictable and regulated, and oddly comforting for those reasons. It makes some prisoners commit crimes again just to get back to the “easy life.”

When someone is “making” you do something, it’s a heckuva lot easier to carry on than if you have to do it on your own. It’s the reason I would be a great prisoner or member of the armed forces.

And, it’s the reason I found a recent radio story about a torture study so scary. A really high percentage of ordinary everyday people continued to inflict pain on others when ordered to do so by a person in authority.

Unknown to those in the study, the people they were hurting and causing to scream and writhe were actors. But, they just kept on administering an electric shock (also fake, but unknown to them) to the subjects.

Even though I subscribe to the “question authority” school of thought and I would like to think I wouldn’t do something that would harm another, after listening to the show and considering my exercise attitude, I’m beginning to wonder about myself. Would I succumb under pressure to torture someone?

Let’s just hope my proclivities to torture are limited to yelling at my kids to stop running in the house—and that David’s soon....

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