Saturday, May 14, 2011

Retirement Transitions - Sneaking Exercise

My first thought when the flier boldly titled "Renew" arrived in the mail was: “AARP has redeemed itself.” The mailing came hot on the heels of the bulletin with the sex video ad and was subtitled: “Easy Ways To Sneak Exercise into Your Day.”

On closer inspection, clarity and disappointment set in. The clarity was that the flier came not from AARP, but from my supplemental health care provider licensed to use their logo. The disappointment was that by the end of paragraph one, I was promised only a way to maintain my weight, not lose any. Since I’m now at my maximum weight ever, the last thing I want to do is maintain it. Searching for that glass half full (and hoping it will contain some red wine,) I read on.

The first tip was: “Bending and lifting keep your body in motion.” Unfortunately, my problem is not so much keeping my body in motion as it is getting it in motion in the first place. Furthermore, they recommended reaching higher as a way to increase calories burned. In my extensive experience, reaching higher is a reliable way for someone under 5 feet 2 inches to pull a muscle, thus making it even harder to overcome inertia for the next few days.

The flier also suggested hefting cans of beans a few times when unloading groceries, using them like hand weights. In our kitchen we use mostly fresh vegetables, but I assume canned soup would do. However, there are three sets of hand weights of varying poundage in the house. If I don’t heft them, it’s not likely I’ll be inspired to heft soup cans, other than to stretch too high to put them into the cupboard. If we’re talking wine bottles, that’s a whole different story. If I pull my back out pumping wine, I can just open a bottle and drink away the pain.

There was also a little trick for when you’re stuck in line at the bank (or the Social Security office.) “Boost your balance by standing on one foot, then the other.” I don’t know about you, but if I saw someone shifting from foot to foot, I’d figure they were desperate for a bathroom. That’s one of the problems that have not yet caught up with me in retirement. I have no desire to make folks think it has, but if it helped me move up in line, I might consider it.

The tips on sneaking exercise ended at the bottom of page one. Page two provided a safety check list. Halfway down it urged me to make sure that frequently used items are stored in cabinets within easy reach. I hate to be picky. Actually, that’s not true. I love being picky. It’s one of my more endearing traits. Just ask my husband.

Anyway, it seems to me that the “put it where it’s convenient” advice flies in the face of “find ways to reach even higher.” Are they deliberately trying to confuse me? Or is this a test to see if I’m paying attention? Maybe the “sneaky” in the headline wasn’t about the exercise after all. Maybe it was about the editor. If so, here’s a message for Sneakypants. “Put it where it’s not at all convenient.”

I should be more charitable. At least they didn’t have mid-afternoon quickies as one of the ways to sneak some exercise into my day. The contradictions probably weren’t intentional. Maybe they hired a cadre of retirees to write the articles and then some lazy, sloppy, not-yet-retired editor plopped them into the flier without taking time to read it as a unified piece.

If that’s the case, I have some advice for Sloppypants about proofing for continuity and clarity. (For those who missed last week’s post, it’s from the headline in the AARP sex video ad.) “It’s never too late to learn something new!”

Come to think of it, maybe pumping wine isn’t such a bad way to sneak some exercise after all. I’ll drink to that.

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