Staying Fit

A Fool In NH Column Heading


Brendan is on vacation this week so we are reprinting this article from September 26, 2013. It is also one of the over forty columns in his new book “The Best OF A F.O.O.L. In New Hampshire” which will be out next week.

As I reach the winter of my fifty-seventh year I admit that I don’t have the get up and go that I had when I was seventeen. In fact, I don’t have the get up and go I had when I was forty-seven.
For a lot of men my age, “get up and go” is something that they deal with a few times in the middle of the night. I think that too much “get up and go” at the wrong time leads to not enough actual get up and go when it is really needed.
Of course, it is important as you age that you try to keep up some sort of exercise regime. Getting exercise and moving around is more important as we get older. (Note: for you men “get up and go” does not count for exercise.)
I have, through my life, always been aware of the need to exercise. That doesn’t mean I’ve always done it, it just means I have been aware of the need.
Recently, we purchased a treadmill and put it in the basement.
Legend has it that people buy treadmills with the best intentions but then soon lose interest. This can be verified by going to any yard sale. Nine out of ten times you will see a used treadmill or some other expensive piece of exercise equipment for sale. It is easy to negotiate a price with the owners, who are usually at the yard sale eating doughnuts, since they will do anything to get rid of the beast and not have to drag it back into the house. In fact, getting the damned thing out of the house and onto the lawn in the first place is most likely the most exercise they have gotten with the machine in a few years.
Up to this point, we have made good use of our treadmill. If we are not walking or running on it, we occasionally use the handles to hang wet clothes that are not meant for the dryer.
It’s been almost a year since we bought it and I use the treadmill a good four or five times a week. I do enjoy it more than when I used to belong to a gym.
Buying a gym membership is similar to buying an exercise machine. It is usually done with great intentions but then, after a few tries, other things get in the way, like the new season of “American Idol.”
Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of a gym membership at a yard sale.
I was never much of a weight guy when I was at the gym, but I would occasionally drift into the Nautilus Room. This is where you could, using odd-looking machines and equipment, tone up parts of your body you didn’t know you could tone.
“Man, look at the muscles on that guy’s index finger.”
“Ears are looking good, Joe!”
The Nautilus machines are stressful. If you don’t adjust them properly, it is all for naught. Once, I was using a chest machine for two weeks and had the seat level on 3. I was told by an instructor that it really should be on 2. It was clear that my chest wasn’t getting any bigger. I failed to notice, until it was too late, that my right shoulder was now big enough to play a game of chess on.
Once, I mistakenly went into the free weight room. Guys, the size of Mount Washington, wearing large leather belts were lifting Mini-Cooper sized weights over their heads with one hand.
All eyes turned towards me.
In order to keep my pride, I went to the largest dumbbell (the weights, of course) and lifted it over my head without thinking. After I put it down, I got a thumbs up from the Mount Washingtons and then quietly left.
My arm and neck were sore for two weeks. I never dared cross into the free weight room again.
I used to use the sauna at the gym, it seemed like a real benefit since it was something you couldn’t do at home. After a few months of spending ten minutes in a room with a lot of hot, sweaty, naked guys, the benefit of it suddenly eluded me.
At fifty-seven, I’m happy with just the treadmill and so is my doctor. It is because of his insistence that I sometimes force myself to get on the thing. Still, once I am done with a workout I do feel great and glad I did it.
The doctors have also told me I shouldn’t go crazy trying to lift heavy things so I guess I’m stuck with it since I’d never be able to get it out onto the lawn for a yard sale.

Brendan’s new book “The Best Of A F.O.O.L. In New Hampshire” will be published soon. Hear some of the stories at