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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Exercise - A Love/Hate Relationship

For over a year now I have been trying to get in more exercise. There are numerous reasons for this. About a year and a half ago I had a scare after I went to bed, the paramedic said my blood pressure was considerably elevated. That may have had something to do with watching the State of the Union address while eating a brownie (or two). More than likely it has to do with a couple of other things. Genes and weight. The genes I can do nothing about, the weight I can.

For several months I faithfully rode my bike 10 miles a day. But then in March I started driving a school bus. I fell off the bandwagon, not all the way but most all of the way. I found it hard to get back on track. Then I went back to the doctor, because now I am taking prescription medication to control my blood pressure. He said he would probably need to increase my medication unless I lost some weight. I weighed about 223. That was in November of last year. In January of this year with a doctor's appointment coming up in May I thought I had better get on track.

So I did. Riding my bike 5 miles a day, walking two miles a day, and lifting weights three times a week after a game of racquetball with my son. From January till March I lost about 20 lbs. Then came the end of the school year and the number of field trips I was doing increased dramatically. Time crunch, first thing to go exercise?? I fell off the bandwagon again, not totally and not as bad as last year but still not being as diligent as I need to be. I am riding my bike 6.25 miles some days and lifting weights mostly faithfully, but I can miss for a couple of weeks at a time sometimes. Then I lose some of my strength and the soreness comes back. I'm sore today after lifting weights on Monday after missing two weeks. I will lift again tomorrow. I did ride my bike 6.25 miles this morning. A pretty stiff east wind. I did set a personal record. I averaged 13.5 miles an hour and covered the distance in 28 minutes.

Now for the paradox. It is a paradox that to me serves as a microcosm of the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. It can be hard to exercise. I did not want to ride my bike this morning. I did anyhow. When I finished I felt great, empowered, energetic. I thought why do I struggle doing this when I feel so good after I do it. Tomorrow I will not want to go to the weight room to lift. I hope I will somehow find the determination to do it. I always feel great after I lift weights.

I think some of the good feeling comes from knowing that I subdued the flesh and made it do something it did not want to do. I won a victory. Consequently when I do not exercise, because I know I should be, I feel rotten. Because I was defeated, my flesh won out and in the process my flesh is killing me. It dawned on me several years ago that the flesh if allowed to have its own way will kill you. It will cause you to engage in self-destructive behavior. It may be a slow, slow destruction, but destruction nevertheless.

My doctor is waiting to see me again in November. That is about a month and a half. He was so happy to see that I had lost weight the last time, I hate to disappoint him this time. I do need to lose about 10 or 15 more pounds. I hope I can climb on that bike tomorrow and beat back the laziness of the flesh, and then spend an hour at the weight room, crucifying the flesh and working the soreness out. If I can manage to do that I will know the good feeling I had today when I rode my 6.25 miles in 28 minutes, I will burn some calories, I would like to think I will live a bit longer and what life I have will be more productive, my doctor will be happy, God will be flesh does not want to ride a bike for exercise and my flesh does not want to lift any weight except the fork to my mouth.

So every day when I face this love/hate relationship with my bike I know that it is simply a manifestation of a spiritual struggle that reminds me of how frail and spiritually dependent I am.
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