In this two-part series, I'm going to explain why after years of experimenting with different forms of exercise, I've settled on cycling. In part two, I'm going to explain how even though cycling may not be as fun as a barrel of monkeys, like the famous musical, it is "Les Miserables" ( English translation = "less miserable") than other forms of exercise.
Isn't it funny how when you're young, you have to be told to stop exercising? Those lame old grown-ups are so strict that they don't let you playing ball in the house, or run up and down the aisles at the grocery store, or sumo wrestle with your brother at your great aunt Edna's funeral.
And then, when you're finally a grown-up yourself, in charge of your own life, you have to be told to start exercising! This is because exercising solely because you know you should for your health is about as enjoyable as a root canal, or a tax audit, or being forced to use a vacation day only to stay home and watch reruns of "The View" all day.
In the words of Shakespeare, "Doth exercise sucketh? Ay, dear friend, it surely doth, nearly as badly as The View."
Ever since I graduated college, and exercise went from something "fun", like playing basketball or ultimate frisbee with your friends, to "suffer through it to avoid getting fat", I've struggled to find an activity that doesn't leave me reciting the words "I hate my life, I hate my life" repeatedly.
I used to run long-distance in high school, but now it just exacerbates my back pain and leaves me feeling like a frail old man in a nursing home that can't handle anything more physical than drooling into a half-empty pudding cup.
I tried working out in a gym, but I always have an existential crisis, running on a treadmill alongside other people. It makes me feel like I and my fellow gym-goers are lab rats stuck in some superior being's twisted experiments. And if that's not an issue, there's always some meathead who's obviously in much better shape than I am, leaving me feeling like an insecure middle school girl. I take one look in the mirror, yell, "Why are my ankles so fat? I hate my body!" and then run crying into the showers.
I tried doing my own "bodyweight" workouts at home. Ya know, doing burpees, handstands, swinging from the ceiling fan like Tarzan, etc., but that didn't last. I still do some stretches and ab exercises early in the morning, but since I'm laying on the floor when I do these exercises, it's so easy to just ... lay on the floor. I don't do yoga, but if I did, I'd have my own pose, "Sun Bathing Walrus."
Basically, any time I tried to exercise, I'd want to give up altogether.
"Forget it," I'd think to myself, wanting to resign myself to a future of gorging and moving only to blink and chew, until I weighed 500 pounds and it took a team of stocky Eastern European hospice nurses to lift me off the couch, and the only thing I had to look forward to in life was my own TV show on TLC.
When I got a road bike, though, that all changed.
Well, it mostly changed. I still hate exercise, but when I'm riding my bike, I hate it a lot less. I'll discuss why, exactly, in part 2.