I blame Doug Wilcoxen.
I went to college with Doug, and haven’t seen him since around 1975, but it’s still his fault.
On December 31, 2015 Doug posted to his friends on Facebook that he went to the gym 315 times last year.
“Hmmm!” I thought. We are about the same age and I didn’t recall him being a hard-core jock at school. So, if Doug can keep a commitment to regular exercise, I should be able to, too. I’ll try to match him in 2016.
So last January 1st, I started going to the gym every day and doing at least 30 minutes of exercise. Most days it was the elliptical machine, but I worked in a day or two a week of core body stretches and sit-ups for my back. And, for vanity, I mean variety, I decided to do some chest and arm exercises one day a week. Or, two.
At the end of January, I had a perfect gym attendance record, and I started feeling invested in the exercise mission. Three-hundred and fifteen days of work outs in a year doesn’t allow for much skipping, so I made myself go even when there was no time or I was feeling only 90% well.
By the final week of February, I had kept my perfect record, but faced a road trip to Oregon. I went to the gym in the morning the day I left but had no gym membership in Oregon. I decided that even if I didn’t go to my normal gym, I would count 30 solid minutes of exercise as a day of working out on the way to meeting the 315 goal. The aim was activity, wasn’t it — not just walking through a gymnasium doorway. So, I did outdoor walks around Ashland for a couple days to keep my exercise record perfect to the end of February.
By March it became a game. Can I do a whole quarter year exercising every day? Then, how about 6 straight months? For our 10-day summer trip to Ashland I joined a gym there so I could do more than just walk around town every day, and I realized I was trying for a whole year of daily activity.
I was lucky that I didn’t get any flu or debilitating colds all year. The day of my early-morning colonoscopy in June I did a 30-minute outdoor walk around our house because the sedative drugs were still in my system. I also did a local walk on Christmas Day because the gym’s hours conflicted with the need to cook dinner for 8. The walk was over 40 minutes because I took short stops to take quick pictures… I think the day counts, anyway!
I worried the final week of December about a sudden illness or weird food poisoning that would keep me bedridden. But, nothing evil happened. I showed up at the gym yesterday morning about 7 and worked out for the 366th time in 2016.
I wasn’t trying to lose weight, and really didn’t. I was in the range of 175-180 all year. (This morning I was 174.8 on the scales at Fitness SF.) And, I don’t believe I can exercise my way to immortality or eternal youth. But, I do feel more energetic, calmer, healthier, and, yes, of course, self-satisfied!
Now I know. If Doug Wilcoxen can go to the gym 315 times in a year, so can I.
Every day in 2016 I did at least 30 minutes of exercise. Doug, it’s your fault.