Deborah needs to convince her “inner brat” to do more exercise than just light weights at home

My inner brat just won’t listen. Some people are blessed with an inner prince or princess, but I am saddled with a brat, verging on a rebel. The adult me tells the inner brat about the benefits and merits of exercise.  
“I have COPD,” I tell her. “And exercise is critical to maintaining my health.” 
“Nope,” she says stubbornly.
I go on. “Exercise may combat type 2 diabetes, dementia, depression, high blood pressure, and on and on. It also helps prevent sarcopenia–or frailty–that can hit we non-exercisers pretty hard in later years.” 
Still a stubborn nope.

I try to entice her with an exercise-promoting video that asks what you will do with the other 23.5 hours of your day after you finish your 30 recommended minutes of tedium.  “See? Only a half hour!”

But the inner brat also reads and, unfortunately, the media is now full of headlines that this kind of exercising cannot undo the damage of hours of slothful sitting or, as she likes to call it, thinking time.

I have been trying to think about why she hates exercise so much. Maybe it’s the same kind of rebellion as I feel when people tell me I should do something. Of all the finger-wagging words in English, “should” is the worst. (I would say it should be outlawed, but that would definitely fall into the ironic category.)

Maybe it’s because the inner brat  has not found very many forms of exercise that are not poster children for boring.  

We do have some experience with exercise. I like walking. That’s great when it is above -20 with no wind and the sidewalks are not piled high with ice and snow. It’s also great when “eau de smoke” is not the overwhelming fragrance in the outdoor air, whether from cigarettes or improperly burning wood stoves.  

Please don’t tell me about the Canada Games Centre walking circle. It’s an option, I guess, if you don’t mind spending money for clock-watching boredom. I’m with my inner brat on that one!  

I took a Nordic walking course several years ago.  The classes were wonderful but I found it embarrassing to watch some spry 80-year-old zoom past me, walking sticks a-blazing, up hills that make me dizzy just to look at. The walks were so long for my arthritic joints that I could have spent weeks recovering. (“More thinking time,” says the brat).

Wii Fit or similar games appealed to both of us at first. I enjoyed bowling and tennis games, but they should come with a warning. I played them so much–not just once!–that I could not lift my arms for days afterwards, resulting in more of the aforementioned thinking time.

I love dancing to old time rock and roll, but I get tired of the dishes rattling in the cupboards, stemware getting cracks and the cats running from me in terror, all due to the mini-earthquake that can result from my thumping. There is also a risk I could injure myself as I dance with the blinds down–out of deference to the neighbourhood.

We don’t actually mind lifting light weights at home while watching something excitement-free. (Hockey is out, as I can come perilously close to throwing the handiest thing at the TV when viewing a stupid referee call or fight. Weights can inflict lots of damage!)

Definitely I need to do more. I’m still looking for the trick that will make the inner brat get out of my way, and help her get motivated so that I turn some of that “thinking time” into good, hearty exercise. (She does respond to bribes of anything with whipped cream, but that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?)

In the meantime, I will try to avoid the “should” trap of exercising and focus on the fun or, at least, the non-tedious parts. So, do you hear that, brat? On we go!