I Don’t Need A Stinkin’ Gym for Cardio

0 Yang

Famous fictional cardiologist

I once had a music teacher, a professional concert musician, who told me that her doctor was concerned that she didn’t work out, that he thought she needed some kind of physical, aerobic, activity.

Her response was, “Have you seen me play?”

He hadn’t.

“You should. You should see me perform.”


Olga Kern

He did, and promptly retracted his statement that she was not active enough. After seeing the fervor with which she played the most complicated, extended, and beautiful music, witnessing the amount of control she exhibited to transition from flashy virtuosity causing her to angrily rise from her bench, to quiet, sweetly melodic passages
where she swayed to the music like she was rocking a beloved child, and when he  observed how often her arms were lifted above her shoulders, how her feet, head, and torso were in constant motion, how, though in a gown and full make-up, her sweat dripped off her nose, brow, and lip, how she did all of this live, by memory, in front of a full orchestra, while following the lead of a conductor, in a concert hall packed with paying patrons — her doctor was like,

“My bad.”


Now I know that working out aerobically is good for us, and that doing so will only enhance our other activities, getting us in shape for our performances, our work, our life in general. I get it.  And I’m going to figure out some sort of exercise regimen I can stick with. I will. I know I have to. But dang it, I, like my teacher, feel like there are many times in my week, in my day, sometimes in an hour, where  my heartrate soars for extended periods without ever lacing up my sneakers.

So here, in no particular order, is the list of crap that raises my heartrate to and beyond its target zone.


  1. Riding shotgun with a teen who only has a learner’s permit, on the highway.
  2. Riding shotgun with a college student who arrogance is only matched by the speed at which he takes the car on wet, windy, dark, residential streets.
  3. Asking my kids to do something and getting no response at all.
  4. Telling my kids to do something and getting no response at all.
  5. Screaming at my kids to do something and getting an eyeroll, and after that, a,”I was just gonna do it. You don’t have to tell me.”
  6. Checking my bank account.
  7. Receiving my cell phone bill.
  8. Forgetting or thinking I forgot at least three items before I leave the house, and running back in while the car is running, three times.
  9. Doing college financial aid forms.
  10. Spending time with wealthy people who are concerned about whether they are putting enough away for retirement while I am concerned whether I’ll have enough room on my card to pay my share of the fancy dinner.
  11. When Netflix is down.
  12. When Netflix is up and my child is binge watching something  that sounds horrific while I attempt to do the million things I must do.
  13. Job hunting.
  14. On the rare occasions when I am with my ex-husband, allowing others to assume that we have a mutually respectful relationship, and have made equal child raising contributions.
  15. Checking Facebook.

Woo! I’m tired just thinking about it. I need a cool down and a shower.

Just Me With . . . no gym membership, and no resting heart rate. Like, ever. 

5 responses

  1. So happy to find your post in my inbox.
    You have been missed!! I kid my friend that I worry for exercise and I manage to stay slim to my constant state of anxiety. My soon to be ex husband has taken up triathalons in lieu of actually having a job that makes..actual money. I think uber fitness people become flattened by all the working out and their favorite subjects are often their workout regimens, their equipment and their times. Fascinating- not!!

    I love your list of things that you make your heart go putter pat!!

    Wishing you happiness and less stress in 2017!!!

    1. Thank you so much. I just need to do something. But it’s hard when I feel like I have the world on my shoulders. I mean do I take the weight of the world with me to run or powerwalk or dance? That just seems like over-kill. But I know that exercise will help. Intellectually I know it. I’ll do it. Something. I will. Yes, I will.

  2. Practical Parsimony | Reply

    All those things that raise your heart rate are exactly the reasons you need to work out. But, I do understand how they make you become exhausted.

  3. I love your blog. So glad i found it via a post on GardenWeb linking to your open floor plan piece. Wishing you success in getting yourself to exercise. The best advice I ever got about motivation came from a lovely Bulgarian teacher. He said people think first I’ll get motivated, then I’ll accomplish the dreaded task- it’s easier to begin the task- motivation will come afterwards.

  4. So happy to find new posts from you. I love your writing, and keep your blog bookmarked. Sometimes I go back and read things you wrote years ago when I need a humor “fix”.

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