Drop and Give Me Zero

Resident curmudgeon Ed Dwyer takes on exercise.

measuring tape

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I just scheduled my annual physical, and unless there’s a surprise lurking, I expect the results to be the same as the last three or four exams. I also expect my doctor to advise me (once again) to exercise more; or in my case, to simply exercise at all. I’ll smile and agree, but I won’t follow his advice.

Sure, I should lose 20 pounds, my blood pressure’s a bit high, and I take a statin for cholesterol maintenance, but all in all I’ve managed to stay in reasonably good shape for a guy my age, without any kind of regular workout routine. You see, I don’t like to exercise, never have, and I’m not about to start, especially when I look around and see what’s happening to my friends who are exercise devotees.

As I see it, exercise is a dangerous proposition.

There’s the lifelong jogger, who is about to undergo her third or fourth (I’ve lost count) back operation. There’s the competitive tennis player, facing yet another knee operation. From others, I frequently hear tales of torn tendons and severe sprains. The bicyclists I know suffer concussions and broken bones. And then there are fitness enthusiasts you’ll read about in the paper who keel over and die while running a charity 10K.

As I see it, exercise is a dangerous proposition.

Mind you, I am by no means sedentary. I power up and down the stairs at least 30 times a day, and I have a pair of 10-pound free-weights that I fling about every so often to let off steam. Beyond that, I take a daily half-hour walk (weather permitting). I believe walking to be the perfect exercise. Heck, I can cover miles before stopping for a cocktail. (I’ll leave the endorphin high to others.)

Now I’ll admit such a no-impact, no-risk routine doesn’t come close to meeting my doctor’s definition of exercise — or most anybody’s — and I’d probably lose some of that unwanted weight if I added in a few sit-ups and jumping jacks (and cut back on the craft beers). But I’m sticking with the tried and true for now. So far, so good, I say: No pain, no sprain.

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