Why I exercise

Some people work out to look good. Maybe I should adjust that to most people work out to look good naked. A smaller percentage do it for health. Sure, many people say it is for their health, but it is usually secondary to looking good. I am not making a value statement, just an observation, after all, I like looking at a fit body also, and I strive to eliminate self-hypocrisy in my life. I suppose I can say i exercise for health, but the direct reason is this: I workout to avoid pain. It is kind of funny, in a world where so many people have a choice to exercise and stay fit, or not, I don’t really have a choice. Well, I do, but it isn’t much of a choice. Let me elaborate.

Shortly after 9/11/2001 I dislocated my pelvis. That sounds terrible, but it was technically a Sacro-Illiac joint sprain and dislocation, accompanied by a L5 disc bulge, and a S1 disc collapse (read failure) that pressed on my sciatic nerve. for those that don’t know, the S-I joint (sacro-illiac joint) is the joint that connects your spinal column to your pelvic ridge (illiac crest). So while I may not be technically correct in saying I dislocated my pelvis, functionally, this is what I did. I took several months of Chiropractic care, massage therapy, and a L5-S1 Laminectomy to ease the pressure off my nerve. This did not fix the structural problems, this only alleviated the associated nerve pain. I still walk around with this injury, and the residual effects of it. What this means in a practical sense  for me is this: if I do not maintain a certain level of muscle tautness, strength, and posture, my lower back pops in and out of place, carrying with it a certain degree of discomfort I like to call massive pain. Unless I pursue some sort of surgical reconstruction years after the fact, I am living with this for the rest of my days. This requires I maintain a low-impact, high-strength exercise regimen regarding my lower back and legs. Well, at least my butt, as too much slack in my musculature there starts to have consequences, like delayed gratification, except I get delayed consequence. I have learned this from many trial-and-errors. Injury requiring exercise #1.

a few years after, i started having strange pains, and after several months, i finally got a diagnosis: I had 3 or 4 vertebrae out in my neck, and at least one disc was damaged. Minor pressing of the vertebrae on the spinal cord, and the foraminal canals that lead out to my arms. So my neck has to stay in shape, or my arms start to go numb and feel like pins and needles are constantly poking them all over. Also, the spinal cord contact seems to give me sporadic gastro-intestinal issues, and other internal system problems. So, I must maintain good posture, and keep my shoulders and neck in good shape, keep the tendon infrastructure tight, and maintain good hydration. If I slack in any of these, such as the hydration, the nerves become inflamed, start rubbing on the bones, and i get to experience more discomfort of the type “constant burning and pricking hell-on-earth” which I am not partial to. I am still learning the extent of how to live with this, but I have learned how under most circumstances. Injury requiring exercise #2.

The last one here is really a 2-part injury, one from 2005, and one from more recently. I broke my heel in 2005, and had a plate put in to partially reconstruct it. Recently, in  2012, I broke both my Tibia and Fibula, and also an explosive ankle fracture, that required a lot of metal inserted into my leg to reconstruct and facilitate healing. The effect of this: I will never be able to get very heavy. No massive muscle building campaign, no overeating in a fit of depression. I also must walk. No running, yet, just walking, at the moment it is between 1.5-2 miles per day. Low impact, high mileage, everyday work. If I slack too much in my diet, I will experience this state of discomfort I like to call, “Looks-like-a-pimp-limp-but-hurts-like-hell excruciating pain”. Funny thing is also this: it creates a need for sustained, low-impact cardio training that focuses on my lower body. So I must walk, or something like it, everyday of my life, and I cannot allow myself to get very heavy either, so as to avoid undue strain on the metal fabrication work my outstanding surgeons did.

which brings me back to the beginning. I have a bittersweet blessing. I have to watch what I eat, I have to do regular cardio exercise, and I have to strength train in some sort of free weight fashion. Well, I don’t HAVE to. I can choose massive pain, with a dependence on a healthcare system not set up for me, and live with the knowledge that I gave up, quit, didn’t do it. I have already made my choice to workout. To maintain a regular regimen, to try different programs, to use my knowledge and learning abilities to continually try to improve my life and fitness to the best of my abilities. I like to think of it this way: I get to spend the rest of my life working out, getting and staying fit. I will never be a heavyweight bodybuilder, and I never wanted to be. I will get to have a lifestyle that will always include fitness, I will always be fighting my natural chocaholism, and I get to indulge myself in learning new fitness and diet styles for many years. I get to take a long-term view and strategy, as I cannot have short-term-only goals. I get to work hard, and tell people things like, “watch this cripple work harder than everyone else.” I get to take personal notes as my limp gets less, my waist shrinks, and my physique changes. I get to choose what I wanna look like, and be the engineer of my body. I get to live a lifestyle that most  people only see as an option, and know I am lessening my impact on the world while I am at it.

And hey, I may even get to look good naked. As good a reason as any I suppose. Perhaps that is what I should tell everyone anyway, all the other reasons start to sound like whining, even when it motivates the hell out of me. So here goes;

I just wanna look good naked. What’s your excuse?



Hi Fidelity

Fidelity. Definition via http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fidelity gives us an overarching idea; strict observance to promises, duties, facts, loyalties, and conjugal faithfulness. Hi-Fi audio reproduction is a faithfulness to the original sound or recording, even if today’s recordings are often digitally created with no instruments. Fidelity investments are usually considered honest and long-term investments, as opposed to short-term gain investments that are often “sketchy”. It seems redundant to say conjugal fidelity is at LEAST as sketchy.

We continually strive to live in a more Hi-Fi world. It seems in all aspects, we admit an impossibility of “perfection” yet continually seem to pretend that everyone should be able to comply with the demand to produce it. All of the dominant social philosophies/religions preach and practice (to varying degrees of course) some form of this basic truth about human duality, the fruit of knowledge so to speak. yet they also advocate some form of the term “forgiveness”, and also “responsibility”. I use responsibility separate from duty in this reference. I mean it as a consequence of action. I like Hi-Fidelity myself, I believe it is an essential tool for the seamless operation of any society, and like any society, there will be failings, and like any good engineering project, there are margins of error. Tolerances, so to speak.

As for me, I have made almost every mistake at least once. Well, not every mistake, but most of the ones concerning a state of higher fidelity in my life. Most as a young child, some more recently, often i have found it happens when I respond to the world around me in kind, and do not take a proactive stance in my life. Many philosophers  new and old, and I include the great poets I know in this, proclaim this in some fashion too. It is how we learn, all too often. I have often said, to my son, “there are 2 ways to learn, and one of them is the hard way.” Mistakes are often what happens when you push boundaries. A questioning curiosity is a good thing, and should be encouraged as one of the main paths to stimulating creativity. Mistakes are what happen when you haven’t learned everything yet. to me, that is an eternal optimism about the future, permanent rose-colored glasses I suppose some would say. I often change, I actually strive to change a little every day. I want  to learn something, deliberately, every day of my life. It adds a richness to life. I suppose in some way, that means I am actively seeking to make a mistake somewhere along the line, every single day. I guess that means I am just not done yet.

One of the great things about having optimism about the future? The power of the word, “Yet.”