Tahlequah Daily Press


March 26, 2012

On exercise, husbands and the ‘resistance movement’

TAHLEQUAH — This is not the first time I’ve tried to lock in a permanent daily exercise program, nor is it the first time I’ve tried to get my husband on the bandwagon.

It’s become a pattern. I announce we’re going to be lifting weights, walking the treadmill, or swimming laps in the pool. He agrees to join me, and for a few weeks, he does. Then the trouble begins. There’s always plumbing to be fixed, trash to be carted away, a nap to be taken, or a new episode of “NCIS” to be watched.

When it comes to middle-aged men, there’s always something more important to do than tending to one’s health. I know some men will harumph and mumble denials, perhaps using similar words for me that Rush Limbaugh employs for those who don’t meet with his approval. I would ask you naysayers two questions: Are you a husband, and is it your wife who’s trying to whip you into shape? If the answers to both questions are “yes,” I rest my case. You’re part of the resistance movement.

I try to swim about six miles a week, if the pool’s not closed. I remember when I initiated this regimen, in 2003. I was sure I could do at least 20 laps (40 lengths of the 25-yard pool). I did four before I began to founder – or would the word be “flounder”? Either way, it aptly describes my predicament.

I tried to get my husband interested in swimming, and by his reaction you would think I’d asked him to undergo a manual extraction of his toenails, without anesthesia. He did try for a few months, but then began coming up with excuses for why it wasn’t the “right” program for him. Once, in a vulnerable moment, he admitted it bothered him that I could swim farther and longer than he could, and with better form (though mine’s not so hot). Now, seven or eight years on, he doesn’t recall saying it.

This year, for Lent, instead of fruitlessly trying to give up something like, say, caffeine or cursing, I decided to not just swim three times a week, but to exercise every day of the week. I asked my husband to join me, and he agreed. One part of the plan involved lifting dumbbells, which he normally doesn’t mind. The other was a yoga program I especially enjoy. I assured my husband the “gentle stretching” of yoga would benefit him immensely. He appeared doubtful, until I reminded him how yoga  had worked wonders for Eddie Glenn, a former Press employee.

With only a couple of lapses, I’ve maintained my routine, and have even managed to lose most of the weight I gained last fall when I suffered a lengthy attack of my brand of arthritis. This is despite my husband’s active participation in the resistance movement.

Every evening, before I leave work, I begin to devise a plan whereby I might get him to exercise without starting an argument. This isn’t always successful – especially on Tuesdays, when “NCIS” airs. I have more luck if there’s a rerun on. Since Tuesday is yoga night, he can’t watch the TV while working out, as he can during the boredom of weightlifting.

My husband isn’t as limber as I am, so he has trouble with some of the poses. What he lacks in dexterity he makes up for in heritage; being an Italian, he can produce far greater volume than I can in the complaint department.

“This is ridiculous! I don’t even know if I’m doing this right!” he hollered the other evening during one challenging pose.

I advised him to look at me, or the women on the video, to get the correct form.

“I can’t tell what they’re doing!” he yelled.

I advised him to stop making racket and concentrate on the “deep, even breathing” required for a successful yoga routine.

“If you’re gonna be that way about it, I just won’t do this again!” he threatened.

The hoped-for response from me – “OK, don’t do it anymore” – was not forthcoming. But I’m sure he won’t give up trying to give up. I have to be persistent for a few more weeks, when Easter rolls around, before I decide to let him off the hook. Hopefully I can “talk him into” continuing the regimen. I believe the verb most men would use to describe that type of “talk” is “nagging.”

It’s too bad stumbling blocks can’t be transformed into yoga bricks. My husband could use one until he get a little more flexibility.

Kim Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

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