Monday, August 19

Pumped up kicks

When friends engage in lamentation and brouhaha about turning 30, it is easier to go along with the general chest-beating, even if it is just a token gesture on your part, than to voice your private opinion that involve the words 'unnecessary drama' & 'overreaction'. Though it is difficult to accept change (and more than half the posts here rail against it), you eventually shrug (mentally perhaps) and carry on living your life.

The first thing that does ring in the march of time at a personal level, are changes to your body. Unless you're one of those lucky born-athlete bastards blessed with great metabolism and fantastic stamina, you're going to notice that your physique isn't what it used to be. Along with the thinning hairline (at least for guys this is the first sign), you begin to feel the love handles, the beer-gut and the gently suggestive curves of the faintest double chin. Activities you'd carry out without breaking sweat (figuratively also) now do take on a slightly more challenging role. You can't eat as much as before, drinks hit you harder and hangovers last longer. There is also a marked reluctance to engage in any activities that require a little more than the usual physical extension. Except, you know, sex; which I'm sadly not qualified to comment on right now. 

Thanks in part to the fact that I still look like I just passed out of junior college (thank ye, Mother Nature), I haven't really paid much attention to these changes. In my school days, I was not into sports, and a chronic sinus problem left me with the lung capacity of a pygmy marmoset. Still, I cycled to school for years, which was something, because my school was on a hill, and the slope was a lot steeper than it is today. Not that any children are cycling to my school any more, mind. Last I checked, the cycle shed has been converted into a motorbike parking. Quite.

After a particularly lazy summer at home, mum told me some home truths about our family's delightful proclivity for cardiovascular diseases rather than good looks. That shook me, particularly because the sudden discontinuation of cycling and a partiality to kacchi dabelis and bread pattice had turned me, how shall I put this, into a chubster. The tyres abandoned my cycle and stubbornly attached themselves to my sides, a state of affairs I have yet to reverse, 13 years on. Thus, to prolong my incredibly delightful life, I took up running. Pune University had a decently maintained 1 km track weaving its way through some peaceful glades. I went there pretty regularly, if for nothing else than to get away from many troubles, both real and imagined. By the time I left for the U.S, I could do about 5 km at a steady trot without too much worry.  Thanks to the merciless ribbing of a close friend, I had also completely cut out the fried snacks. 

Though I often did not have the time to take advantage of the excellent Rec Centre at UAB, I did visit as much as possible, both to use their superb indoor running track and play some rudimentary squash with Batman (roomie). A combination of a hectic work schedule, stress, nutritively dubious diet and the Rec Centre made sure I gained no sudden weight in the U.S, as people are wont to do. My uncle, for instance, went from a stringy bag of bones to someone who could have been mistaken for a runaway minor planet.

Then I came back home and began working in Bombay, pretty much ending whatever vestige of a fitness regime I had. I tried gym for a year and gave up once I shifted jobs and the work time intruded. Then I joined my current workplace and well... let's just say that questionable choices have been the norm, as regards diet and lifestyle. The fact that I still am rather thin assuaged my feelings, I think. This past weekend, sheer boredom drove me to put on the shoes and head for the University track. I did my regular warm-up, which is nothing at all, and began ambling down the familiar path, confident that a regimen of dietary abuse and sedentary living couldn't have completely affected my fitness. After all, I did walk to and from the railway station everyday, a good 20 minutes away.

800 metres in, wheezing like a geriatric asthmatic, I had to stop. After my heart and lungs had ended their attempt to leap out of my chest via my throat, I reached the sad conclusion that unless I incorporated a serious amount of exercise, I wasn't going to see birthday number 45.

So then. Change must happen. I have chalked up a tentative schedule of exercise and hope to follow it. Let's see where this goes.

Song for the moment: Eye of the tiger - Survivor

(Like there was any other choice)