After today’s Title boxing class, I approached the trainer and asked her about a muscle in my thigh that seems to hurt in a strange way whenever doing leg raises (or even going up stairs or uphill!) and she said, “Well, I can already tell that you’re sedentary.”

I took this picture at the Salem Art Gallery at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Ma.

I am sedentary. When did this happen? This is the thing I’ve dreaded for much of my life, because I recognize that I am a reader and a writer, and these often eclipse more active exercises like running or engaging in other long-term cardio workouts. Twice a week at the gym will not solve this issue.

A tutor at school suggested working out for at least an hour every day. But even with this, my muscle problems have not changed. I hike, I do yoga, and I boxing interchangeably throughout the week. I am a goal-starter with very little discipline, but I can basically get in an hour every day.

Let’s get back to that word though: Sedentary. It makes me think of a bog. Stagnant water that hasn’t moved in decades. On the surface a bog just looks like your typical marsh, but be careful where you step, because that patch of dried marsh grass could actually be covering water that is many feet deep.

Sedentary means what it sounds like—sitting, unmoving. But bog has a more interesting etymology. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Bog started out from the PIE root *bheug-, meaning “to bend.” That’s a strange origin. Could it be because you could sink down into the earth? Bend into the earth? Maybe I’m trying too hard.

One thing is for sure though; I’m always reaching down into the depths to get at the center of a story. That just doesn’t result in a whole lot of exercise, keeping me sedentary.

Here’s a plan that fellow stationary artists might want to try out (people with dogs already do this):

  1. Morning: Get up early and work out for 20 minutes.
  2. Afternoon: Preferably before lunch, work out for 20 minutes.
  3. Evening: Preferable before dinner, work out for 20 minutes.

I’m dipping into running to stretch out my muscles, but you can do so many things: you can do hot yoga, climb trees or rock walls (this isn’t cardio, but it’s great for stretching and building muscle!), hike uphill, jog, or engage in a daily boxing routine. You can even get a dog to encourage multiple walks a day. Whatever you do, don’t fall into ailments like mine. Find that balance of art, movement and fulfillment.

That, I think, is true success.

From my climbing days during my early 20s. This was a FANTASTIC climbing gym in Hadley, Ma.

One thought on “Sedentary

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