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Can Exercise Be Exorcised?

Aug 18, 2007
My conscience won't go on vacation. I can slather it with sunscreen and lay it in the sun, I can buy it maps and take it sightseeing, I can dress it up and take it out for a romantic dinner - but it refuses to go on vacation.

While I'm trying to have fun, my conscience continually lectures me. Although I try to explain that a vacation is time to do and eat things you don't at home, it won't listen. My conscience nags me most about exercise. It insists I make time to exercise on vacation.

When I first started an exercise program, jump roping was my exercise of choice. Yes, it had its ups and downs; but I didn't need coordinated outfits, rainy days didn't dampen my spirits and I could exercise my mind at the same time by watching early morning news on television.

I switched to jogging to spend more time with my husband, but time together sucking for air and dripping with perspiration wasn't exactly quality time. Nevertheless, I persevered.

I thought I was doing fine. I was jogging less and less slowly. In spite of that, my doctor insultingly diagnosed me with walking pneumonia. Walking became the only exercise my doctor allowed me. He also advised against heavy lifting, overdoing and overtiring. Basically, he advised against being a housewife and mother.

When my lungs finally cleared, my desire to jog didn't - until a vacation in Florida. As I was taking a brisk, morning walk along the beach, people my parents' age were jogging past me. Damn! I was bitten. No, it wasn't one of the scurrying sand crabs that bit me. It was the jogging bug.

I started jogging again, but not with John. He jogged for speed. I jogged for endurance - a euphemism for my still being slow. I contentedly jogged for several years until I was slowed to a walk again - this time by back problems.

Although I was forced to become an energy conservationist and missed jogging, exercise continues to be a big part of my life. I'm constantly running errands; and when I forget my shopping list, I jog my memory.

Unfortunately, my conscience isn't satisfied with that. It wants sixty minutes of bonafide exercise every day - either walking, practicing yoga or working out at the gym - even when I'm on vacation. Frankly, I think I have a fat, guilty conscience.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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