Saturday, January 15, 2011

Metabolism and its ilk

Eldest and I went to a spin class last night. For the first seven minutes I was sure I was going to die. By the time we hit the fifteen minute mark the burning muscles in my thighs had been cremated, and I decided that this near-numbness must be the exercise equivalent of frostbite. In this insentient state I figured I might be able to survive half an hour. To encourage that, I abandoned the sprints and focused exclusively on keeping the wheels of my stationary bike moving. I made the pretend hills I climbed very, very small. I've overdone exercise before, and though that was a few decades ago I wanted to reserve some strength so I could get out of bed today.

Eldest did much better than I did; I was impressed with her perseverance. We both made it through the full hour, and survived the stretching afterward, too. The reward was a neck massage by the teacher, which made me forget anything in my body had ever ached.

I am not accustomed to pain from physical exercise. That's a consequence of not exerting myself, ever. My upper-arm workout consists mainly of turning the pages of books; my abs get their strength from picking up after kids. Like all city folks I walk a lot -- I can go three or four miles easily -- but I don't go out of my way to induce muscle spasms. I paid my dues by going through labor five times, and that's enough muscle contracting for a lifetime.

But there's this unfortunate matter of the paunch that has become attached to my abdomen, and the odd addition of skin jello on my thighs. I'm not always sure this is me inside my body. Until I stopped nursing Little Guy, the most I'd ever carried on my 5'6" frame (pregnancy excluded) was 130 pounds.

And then my metabolism had a mid-life crisis. Maybe it got depressed, and wanted to do something different. Maybe it wanted to expand its horizons. Whatever the case, though my diet didn't change my waistline did: in the space of four years I went from size small to medium.  The last time I went to the doctor I looked at the weight chart and realized I was a mere five pounds from tipping into Overweight territory.

Hence the spin class. I woke up this morning wondering if one session had jostled my metabolism back into shape, or if it would take two. Somewhere in the back of my brain I know this is a longer-term endeavor than I want to grasp, but I'm going to take this one torture session at a time. The good news is that today I'm still moving and functional. Whew!

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