Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Never Thought I'd Say This, BUT Exercise Can be Boring

I love exercise. On a normal day, I exercise at least 4 hours. I bike all over the city. I swim. I do yoga and Pilates. I do exercise videos. I jump on my trampoline. But since I got hit by a car and broke my collar bone, I'm denied all this. I'm not allowed to do anything that requires strength in either arm, because both shoulders are attached. And besides, recovering means I'm supposed to sleep an extra 4 hours a day. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to exercise.

I can do crunches with my arms folded across my chest. Same thing for oblique crunches. I can do leg extensions and ankle rotations. That's it for prone exercises.

Standing, I can do heel raises, toe raises, lifting my legs out to the side.

Boring.

So I went to the gym. The gym I joined so I can swim and do yoga and Pilates. And I asked -- what can I do while my collar bone heals? I can do the inner and outer thigh machine. Boring. I can do the baby elliptical that has stationary arms. Boring. And I can do the so-called recumbent bicycle.

This machine comes with a variety of computer programs. I can bike along a path among cartoon redwood trees. Since I can't steer, I thought maybe I'd get to run into trees, run through campfires, steal digital marshmallows while they roast on digital sticks. Nah! The programmers keep the bike on the trail. Maybe I can hit my digital pacer? Nah! When I get close enough for a good collision, the digital pacer on his/her bike jumps ahead. After being in a real crash, I'd like to have some painless digital crashes. But the programmers won't allow it.

I watched another rider. He found an even better program. He got to catch digital dragons and digital coins and digital balloons. He rode up close, tried to crash, and got a message that he'd caught the digital prizes. I don't know if you can catch these things without steering. I don't really know if the steering device counts a lifting something -- maybe it's just a gentle push. I'm going to have to try it.

The heart rate detector doesn't work if you only put one hand on the sensors. But the steering wheel has to work with one hand.

Today's plan. Catch a dragon. Visit a bike store to see what's in stock. No, I can't even test drive because I can't put any weight on my hands. But I can start to get my life back. I hope catching dragons isn't as boring as not being allowed to crash into trees. The programmers have quite a job -- trying to amuse people who prefer real exercise. Where's the wind in my hair? The sense of balance? The bounce of the road? Catching a dragon had better be good.

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