I usually give myself a free pass on exercising on Sunday. Getting out the door to church is complicated enough even without an additional allotment of a half hour, and I can easily and piously enough rationalize the day of rest. But this morning I reckoned that I might miss exercise either Monday or Tuesday in order to get down to jury duty on time. (I decline even to consider the possibility that the case won’t close on time.)
The soundtrack for my exercise this morning was terrific: “Lullaby,” by the Judybats; “Move On,” by Mike Doughty (from the Future Soundtrack for America fundraiser for MoveOn.org); and U2’s “Even Better Than the Real Thing.” (I caught Richard Thompson’s “Beeswing” as I was folding the laundry as I cooled off.) The tempo of the songs varied, but was steady enough to keep me pedaling, sometimes quite rapidly, and they’re sing-along-able enough that I could pant out the parts I knew by heart as I was laboring.
Here’s a side note about our recumbent exercycle: the other day I lifted my self off the seat by gripping the sides of the seat and pushing up. As a result, my legs moved more freely (the seat evidently hinders my hip muscles) and my weight shifted to my extremities (my hands, holding my upper body, and my feet, which were pedaling). I can go much faster and more comfortably in this position, which also presumably gives my upper-body muscles something to do.
“Lullaby” is one of my long-time favorites. I enjoy compositions that involve sequential changes in melody, tempo, or verses, so the modulation in “Lullaby” from the quiet introductory section to the faster, louder second half pleases me. The lyrics (in the extended section) are strong, though they might be even stronger if they had found substitutes for several cliches and improbable clauses (Might there be an alternative to the eke-syllable in “where the innocence it goes”? How many rock operas are there to occupy one’s afternoons?). “Move On” ambles agreeably through Doughty’s version of patriotism, and “Real Thing” distracted me from my odometer well enough to elicit an extra tenth of a mile from me.
I have begun to detect concrete benefits to exercising, which makes the nuisance more bearable. No six-pack, at this point, but at least I’m moving away from the amorphous blob toward which my middle was heading. Not yet slender enough to fit into my wedding suit from twenty years ago, and perhaps my body has permanently changed away from that shape — but it’s been a while since a pair of pants felt too tight. That’s progress.
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