“I feel great,” says the Hubby.
“I’m so glad, poopsie,” I say.
“I didn’t think I’d feel so good so soon,” he says.
“Yeah, it’s something, isn’t it?” I say.
“No, but it’s amazing how much better I feel today than yesterday,” he says.
“I believe it,” I say.
“After just one day?!?” he says. Now clearly exasperated.
His problem: He thought I was doing that half-listening thing that long-married couples can sometimes do, or so I’ve heard, but which I have never done, and would never do, of course not. I pay strict and absolute attention to every syllable he utters. Double-pinkie-swear I do. Cross my heart.
It’s just that I know, I know, I know, already, that he feels great after just one day of exercise. I get that. I’ve seen it, done it, lived it for years now. But I forget what it’s like for someone to discover this for the first time themselves. It’s astonishing.
Yes, a good, solid workout of more than 30 minutes, combining aerobic exercise and strength work, that doesn’t exceed your fitness level, makes you feel amazingly good, immediately.
We’ve taken to starting our day together at a new gym. This is something I do for the fall and winter and spring, when the light leaves Michigan, when I grow too much afraid of the dark to keep running or walking. But hubby has never joined me at a gym, because there’s the part about getting out of bed in the morning, really early. There are the dogs and their care to consider. Workout clothes. Our coffee addiction to feed. Strangers. Sweating in public. What music will they play? How far away is it? All of the same agonizing considerations each of us needs to answer when we decide to join a gym.
We shopped around, found a gym where the televisions never play Fox News, a gym with hot showers, lots of aerobic machines, and a good location for both of us.
After the very first day, after breathing pollen-free air while peddling for 20 minutes on an elliptical machine for the first time ever, then running a short circuit on the weight machines, Hubby was astonished how he felt for the rest of the day.
He felt great, clear-headed, calm, peaceful. His body felt warm, his back and shoulders and neck didn’t hurt as they always do. Or not nearly as much as they always do. He finished his workout and returned home before the dogs woke up, and with the satisfaction of knowing he was done for the day. He’d already gotten his workout in, and didn’t have to wonder and think and try to figure out how to shoehorn exercise into the avalanche that is his daily schedule.
And yes, I did know what he was saying, I understand completely how exercise has not just long-term benefits — we all know how it can reverse and ward off scary diseases — but how it has immediate benefits, too. It’s a great anti-depressant, it’s a great anti-anxiety fix. It shakes out, warms, and loosens your bones and ligaments, making you feel better, function better all day long.
There is very little in the pursuit of good health that offers immediate rewards. But exercise, when done within your fitness range and comfort level, gives as good as it gets. Right now. Right away. After just one day.