I talked about “extreme exercise”, Jesmer version, awhile ago, but the topic is important enough to revisit. Again, this may not work for everybody, but it’s been working for me – and it will continue to work, because it’s my Own Personal no-fail system.
It started even before I was thinking of exercise, when I got rid of my car. It wasn’t my decision – a hateful neighbor had the car towed because it offended his eyes, when I was too preoccupied to have it fixed because I was going through chemo at the time – but it turned out the bastard did me a favor. For a couple of years I had a close relationship with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, but that started getting too costly to maintain. I began to investigate the mass transit system.
Los Angeles mass transit is a joke, especially when you’ve been spoiled by the systems that work so beautifully in New York and Chicago. I used to take public transportation for granted; not anymore. And anyway, my house is a mile up a mountain from any kind of public transportation. So, my choices were either break down and get another car, or I learn the bus system.
It was less of a trauma than one would expect, because I hate owning a car. I used to love driving when it involved speed, but the only time I could put the pedal to the metal in recent history was the one day every month when I went to have my hair color done. Cars need gas, brakes changed, tune-ups, whatever. It wasn’t worth it.
I don’t know how long any of the services for physically challenged people will last in California – another hateful guy, our governor, is threatening to cut all social services for the elderly and disabled to balance his budget (could he maybe put a few million of his own dollars into helping out?…nah…) – but at the moment, a program exists that allows me to ride the trains and busses, for free. Once I walk down from my house on the mountain, I can get anywhere in the city on public transportation.
So that’s what I do. I have schedules for all the bus lines I take, I can get anywhere in the city without much trouble. Getting home is where the “extreme” comes into the exercise equation. My house is a mile straight up a mountain from the last bus stop. Trader Joe’s is right there, so I can count on carrying a few groceries, besides my travel bag.
The mountain is steep. I don’t kill myself getting home – I stop and talk to friends pretty much every day. But I don’t take the rides that are so frequently offered. It usually takes about 45 minutes to get to the steps, but those final 75 steps up the mountain to my home, seem easy.
I started out thinking “I can’t do this.” But I did it. I started out doing it once or twice a week. Now, it’s almost every day. And I feel great. I know my body is appreciating what I’m doing for it.
Here’s the special goodie that comes with this routine of mine: I find money. One day, there was a $20 by the side of the road. About a week later, I saw another bill and picked it up. A dollar. What?! Not a $50? Bummer. But seriously, I figure that with those bills and the coins I find almost every day, I’ve made about $30 since the first of the year.
I’m getting paid to stay healthy! What’s better than that?