By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
I, Gwen Rockwood, do take you, brand new stationary bike, to be my lawfully wedded exercise equipment, to have to and use from this day forward.
I don’t take this vow lightly because exercise equipment doesn’t come cheap. If I fail to live up to my vow, it will not only be a waste of a few hundred bucks but also the waste of a waistline. You see, I enter this commitment at a time in my life when an aging metabolism and a hectic schedule threaten to sabotage the trim figure of my youth. My “skinny jeans” have been hanging in the dark recesses of my closet since the third baby was born, and I’m beginning to wonder if they’ll ever see sunlight again.
But this is not just about skinny jeans, swimsuits and appearances. It’s about being appreciative of a body in relatively good working order and taking care of the internal organs God gave me. I’d like to stick around as long as possible, so I can’t afford to let my heart get corroded or too tired to keep up with the kids. All those pesky doctors and fitness experts seem to agree that cardiovascular exercise is a “must” for staying healthy as the years tick by.
While it’s certainly true that you make my heart beat faster, I have to be honest about my feelings. I can’t promise to always “love and cherish” you the way I should because I don’t want to begin this union with a lie. You know how some people just can’t sit still? Well, I’m not one of those people. In fact, I’m really good at sitting still, and I like it – a lot. At the end of a busy day chasing kids and running errands, nothing is quite as relaxing as settling onto the sofa and moving only my index finger on the remote control. I love that kind of down time. I crave it. I relish those moments when I can crawl into bed early and spend an hour doing nothing but quietly turning the pages of a great novel.
I never get up in the morning and have the urge to go on a run. I have never once planned a brisk hike through the woods as a weekend activity. I do, however, enjoy mall hiking. But apparently leisurely window shopping doesn’t burn nearly the number of calories one would hope for.
Despite my sedentary tendencies, I hope you can accept me for better or for worse. I know my life will be better with you as a part of it, and I have to imagine you’ll be happier here than you were on the sales floor being ogled by so many strangers. I just hope we don’t drift apart over time and lose interest and momentum. It’s so important that we spend quality time together several times a week.
So I’ll promise you this – that I’ll never lay a sweater across you to air dry. I will respect you as the exercise machinery that you are and treat you accordingly. I will truly do my best to forsake all chili dogs and cheesecake, keeping myself only unto you.
No doubt there will be rocky times and bumps along our imaginary road. But there really is no just cause why we should not be joined together. If I could think of a good one, believe me, I would most definitely speak now instead of holding my peace.
If we can just combine your pedal power with a little of my willpower, we could build something special together – a body with a strong, healthy heart and (ideally) thinner thighs.
So I’ll see you in the morning. I’ll be the one wearing sweatpants wishing loudly that I was still in bed instead of pedaling to nowhere. And perhaps over time, I’ll come to love spending time with you. And maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll ride happily off into the sunset.