Once again I'm inspired by Jonathan Mayhew.
I stayed in shape thru high school by, well, having a high schooler's metabolism, & playing a lot of tennis. I stayed in shape thru college by doing a lot of running (ruining one knee in the process) and by living in out-of-the-way dorms on a huge campus, so that I had to walk several miles a day just to get to class. I stayed in shape thru grad school by living in Ithaca, where it was about a mile walk, much of it at what seemed a 30-degree incline, to get to the library or the department.
So now as I enter my twilight years of tenure & dim middle age, the machine is beginning to fall apart; years of sitting & reading, not to mention a general disinclination to do anything much active in the punishing South Florida climate, are catching up with me – minor backaches, stiffness, & a general Third Reich-like physical spreading out, as if my body needed more Lebensraum. (Having two preschoolers doesn't help, as it encourages one to view meals less as leisurely & carefully planned affairs than as ordeals – bolt one's food as quickly as possible, trying to head off infant disasters...)
After reading Jonathan's heartening post yesterday, I strapped on the iPod and walked a couple of miles, enough to get thru most of Give 'Em Enough Rope. Today (having changed shoes, as my Birkenstocks reduced my feet to bloody blistered ribbons) I did about half again as much – three movements of the Eroica. The after-pains are heartening.
Then again, there's this, towards which Margaret Soltan directed readers some months back. (That's not my picture, by the way.)