Since Thanksgiving, I’ve managed to hit the gym eleven times. That’s eleven more times than I went all summer long (apart from the one-off from time to time) and eleven more than I was expecting. While I realize that I still have a long way to go with regards to my fitness, I have been finding myself gaining back lost strength since the last time I was hitting the weights regularly. I feel my legs and arms swelling, growing muscles yet again. It feels good.
I’ve also noticed that my body is definitely aging. I’ve got a creaking right shoulder, stiff neck, and other parts of me that aren’t functioning as they once did. I am definitely noticing the effects of my sit-down/stress-laden job of bus driving. I have been reading over and over again just how bad my job is on a person’s body, with repetitive motion injury, stress, constant high levels of cortisol and the like. The gym, much as it always has been, is a proving ground for all of these things, and also an antidote to it, I hope. I hope it’s not too late for me to regain what I’d given up the moment my right knee gave out just under a year ago. I hope I can continue with this streak of going-and-doing the exercise that my body definitely needs.
Movement, as it always has been for me, is a method to sorting out my thoughts. I still don’t fully understand the chemistry or biology of it all, but I know that once I start putting my body into motion, suddenly, I can feel my thoughts stretching out into palatable lines of comprehension, rather than remaining a lint-ball of cross-purposes within me. I can take one idea and follow it to a logical and reasonable conclusion. I can ask myself the questions and do the reasoning that fully thinking something through requires, all while walking a fifteen-minute-mile on the treadmill, or bench pressing a few sets. I think it’s this dual purpose of exercise – not only to gain strength and stamina, but to also help process my thoughts with an added level of clarity – that keeps me going back. Sure, I’d like to once again be the skinny pretty man that I have been from time to time, but that might need to just be a by-product of it all, rather than the sole purpose.
It’s nice to be back there, back at the gym, back staring at the weight racks and noticing the fellas around me with the massive chests and multi-faceted arms and legs. It’s nice to feel my own personal power growing again, to allow myself the surge of endorphins that comes from a set well done. I’ve already got my eye set on the conditions outside so that I might make a return to running. I do need to purchase a couple of new pairs of sneakers – one for the gym, one for running outside – so hopefully I can find some good deals once the holidays are over. I want to get myself some new gym clothes too. It feels good to have something to focus on that I have complete control over, all while the political world that I find myself now inhabiting seems to be burning down around me. The gym is a respite from all of that, and I’m realizing that fact more and more these days.