Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hey Doc, Is exercise okay?

I've been spending a lot of time at the gym lately, trying to get into "the best shape of my life." I love it when people say that. I think anyone over the age of 10 will never be in the best shape of their life because when you're 10, you're in the "best shape" of your life. You could fall out of a tree, stand up and brush yourself off and keep on playing. You fall out of a tree today, you're done for the day.

When you're 10, your whole life is exercise. "Hey, let's chase each other around the yard until we can't stand anymore, then we'll eat a cookie and bike to the next town." Not when you're a grown-up (which I'm not, but I know some grown-ups), you have to schedule time to exercise.

One thing I've noticed on almost every machine at the gym are little signs that read, "Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program." Is that a special appointment you're supposed to make? I can just picture that phone call:

Patient: "Yes I'd like to schedule an appointment to see Dr. Smith."

Operator: "Okay, what seems to be the problem?"

Patient: "Well, I was going to start exercising but I wanted to check with the doc first."

Operator: "You want to check with the doctor to see if it's okay to exercise?"

Patient: "Yes."

Operator: "Okay, he's not available until a week from Friday."

Patient: "Well, I guess I won't start exercising until then."

It always makes me wonder, what doctor in his or her right mind is going to tell someone that they shouldn't begin an exercise program? "No Bill, I think you should continue to sit on your couch and eat potato chips, that seems to be working well for you. Your arteries are only 90% clogged and your blood pressure is 800/345."

I've actually been doing a lot of biking lately in preparation for a bike ride this summer in Glacier National Park. I guess I never asked my doctor if it was okay that I exercise, hopefully it's okay....after all, I'm trying to get into the best shape of my life.

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