Opinion Column

That sneeze is killing me

Tara Seel, Columnist

I am sore. It hurts to just sit up. When I breathe, my ribs protest. When I sneeze, I feel nothing but agony. I think my torso hates me. But I love all this pain because it means baseball season is here again. Muscles out of use over the long, not-so-cold winter are now creaking into action once again.

Last weekend, my team had its first practice of the season. We ran drills, held batting practice, and somehow I got the inglorious job of being "the runner" while we practiced double plays. All I did for about 20 minutes was run between second and third and get smacked by my teammates as they tagged me.

But it is the hitting for which I am paying the price. Swing after swing, I practiced until I couldn't lift the bat anymore. Now, I cannot even do a half-turn to shoulder check without cringing. As my younger sister gleefully pointed out, I am getting older, but I think that is only part of it. Many of us are leading a far too sedentary lifestyle. And when we become less sedentary, it hurts! I am active all summer and fall playing ball, but once the winter hits, I slow down . a lot. I have great intentions of walking through the snow to keep my fitness level up, but as soon as the windchill becomes a factor, I'm done.

The problem with my workout regimen is two-fold. One: I need to be enjoying it, which is why sports are such a good outlet for me. I find the gym dreadful. The thought of spending an hour in a room with a bunch of sweaty strangers waiting to use machines while I, red-faced, gasp for breath and inhale nothing but stink as I run to nowhere on a treadmill holds absolutely no appeal for me. So, yes, sports are definitely my activity of choice. Two: The big picture is daunting. I don't like to think about the pounds that need to be shed - it seems to be an unattainable goal, so I lose interest. Losing interest is the kiss of death to any fitness regimen.

First of all, find something you enjoy and stick with it. If it is a seasonal sport, find something to replace it. For example, if you love baseball, try racquetball or tennis in the winter. A replacement sport you will enjoy is important not only to keep you active, but to keep you in game shape for next season. After all, you don't want to begin your season with sneezes that bring tears to your eyes.

The big picture can certainly be overwhelming, so think of fitness in smaller increments. For example, if you burn an extra 250 calories a day through exercise (which is not really that much), and you decrease the calories you are consuming by 250, then you have a daily reduction of 500 calories. That's an attainable goal each and every day that will have nothing but great results in the long run.

Tara Seel is a contributing columnist to The Daily Graphic.


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