Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mom Arms

I have Mom Arms. You know – those upper limbs that come complete with built-in bat wings. I’m beginning to understand why my mother never wore sleeveless shirts in public.

As a writer, I do more heavy sitting than heavy lifting and my biceps and triceps have atrophied. Not the skin surrounding them, however.

I know exercise is important for a balanced life, but I detest going to the gym. I just can’t bring myself to drive 17 miles to town so I can work up a sweat in a big former Safeway supermarket with people I don’t know, slinging dead weight around and trying to hold my stomach in at the same time.

So I walk. Most mornings before sunrise, I tramp out a two-mile hike down the road and back again. But that doesn’t help my arms.

This morning My Son The Body-Builder put together a home-front workout regimen for me based on his own weight-lifting exercises. Since I don’t have to attach 100-pound weights to my lifting, a gallon of water or a loaded laundry basket will do just fine, he said.

“Resistance is what you want,” he explained. Demonstrating with a long rubber jump rope I bought years ago from Avon, he stood on the band, a handle from each end in each hand, and effortlessly stretched his arms above his head.

“Keep your elbows close to your head, and push slowly upward.”

I‘m good at slowly. I barely moved, so he showed me how to reduce the resistance for now and how to increase it later as my strength grows.

I don’t enjoy this resistance-pressure thing, but I know what little strength I have left will fade even more if I don’t do it. God knows it too, and He uses the human body as a great object lesson for the human spirit.

“You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors,” says The Message. “Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2-4)

Well-developed: that’s how I want my Mom Arms to look. I guess it’s going to take a little workout.

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