Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Charles Owens

January 2, 2013

Moving a cumbersome treadmill up and down a narrow set of steps is quite a workout

— It’s day two of a new year. And while saying 2013 still sounds a little odd, I’ve concluded that the new year has to be better than 2012. As always, a new year also brings renewed hope, and tons of resolutions that are meant to be broken.

I got an early start on my New Year’s resolutions late last year. Reluctantly, I pulled the old, beat up, treadmill out of retirement, and I’m now trying to walk on it again, and on a more regular basis. There is no question that I need to buy a new treadmill. The old one is in terrible shape — the victim of one too many moving projects over the past few years. The last move to my current location involved cracking and ultimately knocking the digital speedometer off of the top of the treadmill while trying to get it through the door of my old place — and that was after I had to drag it down a narrow hallway from the second floor to the bottom floor of the old townhouse-style apartment I used to live in.

The treadmill is now on the bottom floor of the new place. I’m not even thinking about trying to drag it upstairs — even though I have a better entertainment center area upstairs than I do downstairs. In fact, I currently have a 100 plus channels — many of which are finally in high definition courtesy of the local cable company — upstairs. Of course, I’m also paying an arm and a leg for those HD channels, but that’s a story for another day. The cable box doesn’t run downstairs. I could get another cable box, but of course that would mean paying a higher bill than I’m already paying now. And since my local congressman seems determined to throw me and my neighbors over the fiscal cliff, I’ve been holding off on a lot of unnecessary, expenses. And that includes a new treadmill.

So that leaves me with two channels downstairs — the ones you can pick up for free over the air with a digital tuner — WVVA and the CW Network. And it goes without saying that flipping between two channels can get a little tedious while trying to pass the time away walking on a treadmill. And the last thing I want to watch while working out on a treadmill is “The Biggest Loser,” a show about people — well — walking on a treadmill and trying to lose weight. That’s not entertainment. Please NBC — cancel this show already. But at least I can find repeats of “Seinfield” and “Cops” on the CW Network. Sure I can also pop in a DVD — but you can only watch the same movies so many times over and over again. Suddenly, I’m finding plot inconsistencies and other problems with movies that I once thought were great. So I guess it is time to pick up a few more new DVDs.

So given the lack of television channels downstairs, I try to limit my time on the treadmill to 30 minutes or less. But with the old treadmill, I have no way of knowing what speed I’m walking, or how long I walked, unless of course I use a stop watch or simply monitor the clock on the wall. And I believe it’s time to change the batteries on that clock. My goal is of course 30 minutes a day, but finding the time to accomplish the necessary exercise between work and everything else that has be done in a 12-hour day is never easy.

I did walk on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and have been walking on and off since then — usually 20 to 30 minutes at a time. I’m also lifting what weights I have laying around at the house.  It’s not a gym. Not even close. But this will have to do until I rejoin the gym. And now that I’ve finally gotten a flu shot, I should be able to go back to the gym soon without the fear of catching the flu from someone else who may be sick. Call me paranoid I guess, but I’ve found that when certain people have a bad cold, they decide to head to the gym. For some reason, they think that by walking on the treadmill and lifting weights, that bad cold will suddenly go away. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way. But I will confess, even I did the same thing a couple of years ago when I was dealing with a stubborn cold. But I had different reasons for going to the gym back then — including socializing with other people. Nowadays, the only reason I would consider going back to the gym is to exercise and lose weight.

I don’t need to lose much. Maybe just a couple of pounds at most. But, once again, I’m getting mixed signals from my lawmakers in Washington. It seems they are telling me I should hold off on rejoining the gym because they are working instead on a scheme to raise my taxes.

So that brings me back to where I am today. Trying to exercise on a worn-out treadmill at home following a long day at work. That’s because I decided to hold off on buying that new treadmill in late 2012. Maybe I will reconsider the purchase in 2013. If not, I can always rejoin the gym.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at cowens@bdtonline.com. Follow him @BDTOwens.

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