Friday, February 7, 2014

My Aching Back

Regardless of what you might think of my physique, I do exercise regularly. Five days a week, in fact, down at the local fitness center I will have burned hundreds of calories and stretched various dormant muscles beyond their comfort level well before the Sun has even begun to think about cresting over the horizon.

The staple during the past several years has been my willing participation in RPM classes. I've never researched if RPM stands for "revolutions per minute," because I'm fairly certain it really stands for "rectal pain motivation." If you've ever sat on one of those rock-hard bicycle seats for more than five minutes you'll know exactly what I mean. You could slam me square between the legs with a sledgehammer after a 45-minute class and my numb prostate probably wouldn't even register the impact.

The trick to succeeding at RPM is to buy those goofy-looking shoes that clip onto the pedals and don't stop cycling until you black out. If you don't need a paramedic to revive you with crash cart paddles at the end of the class, then you aren't doing it right.

Lately, we've decided to try a program called Body Flow, a maniacal mix of yoga, Pilates and torture rack stretches. I don't know why the name of the class is Body Flow, since the last thing my body feels like it's doing when I leave the fitness center is flowing in graceful movements. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the class and know it increases my limited flexibility, but I'm the only person in there struggling to bend like a double-jointed circus freak and breaking out in flop sweat. And no matter what anyone says, down-dog is not a resting position.

SEATED is a resting position.

PRONE is a resting position.

Propped up like an idiot on your palms and toes with your ass hiked up high toward the rafters is not a resting position. It's an upper-arm-stressing, all-the-blood-to-the-top-of-my-head position that would get me cited for lewd behavior if I did it in the middle of a crowded shopping mall.

A new core-strengthening class we've been attending called CXWorx is slightly more kind to those of us not born with the natural ability to slip our ankles behind our ears. I'd like it even more if those rubber stretchy tubes we use didn't pluck every last hair out of my calves.

Somewhere in the past few weeks, one of these self-inflicted, self-improvement classes inspired me to pull something in my lower back. I've never had lower back trouble before and I can tell you from the heart that I am not enjoying it. In the last few days the pain has spread from my lower back, around my left butt cheek and through to my groin.

That said, I doubt My Lovely Wife should start planning her funeral home-sponsored singles cruise yet, because my doctor's concern when I called earlier today for an appointment registered at a Level 4.

That isn't as bad as it sounds. Level 4 simply means they can't see me for four days. It's when you reach Level 0 -- like I did last year when my throat was closing up for no apparent reason -- that you might have something to worry about. If I'm in good enough shape to wait four days, then I doubt I'll be kicking the bucket any time soon, which is good because the way my back feels right now I probably wouldn't be able to kick it very far.

In the meantime, I'll keep attending the exercise classes and scale back when it comes to anything involving the lower back. I'm sure to get a few stares from those self-righteous workout-a-holics who'll cast disparaging glances my way when I skip a move here or there, but I don't really care what they think of me. If I did, I'd change into fresh underwear before going to the gym.

© 2014 Mark Feggeler

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