Add Planking to Your Non-Exercise Workout.

I know you’re just like me and a couple of times each year you go and wipe the dust off the tread mill, the bicycle and any other machines of torture you have purchased over the years. We keep buying these incredible body building machines that we think will magically create our old shapes. You would think all those trips we made from the kitchen to the dinner table would let us subtract a few calories but I guess not. What’s really interesting is finding articles of clothing that used to fit our old shapes on the bottom of the stack. That would be the same stack of old garments you threw on the treadmill months ago. Although you never missed not exercising, the disappearance of those clothes that used to fit you has been a mystery.

Always looking for the easy way out, I picked up a pamphlet from Humana, Inc. which I’m sure you know is another vastly wealthy health care company. This booklet is called, “Humana Vitality.”  Naturally there are disclaimers in this booklet that read the same as a,  “Do not try this at home warning!” It says here the booklet is strictly “informational and should not be construed as medical advice.”

There is also not one word about the person who wrote these articles. I would like to speak to her/him at length. This was apparently written by a 35 year old nameless health nut who can actually touch their toes with their fingers without bending their knees, and since there is no way to communicate with them except through a website, I thought I would just tell you about my problems with this kind of health-nonsense-newsletter.

Some of these suggestions are good but we’ve been knowing for long years that kale, chicken soup and fish are great additions to our diet.

It gets a little hairy when the nonsense newsletter begins to suggest what you should do to get a good night’s sleep. There are six tips: We know exercise helps sleep. We never exercise but we know all about how it helps sleep. We know to turn down the heat (especially in the summer). Then it says, “Lower your stress level by writing down all your concerns and to-dos before sleep.” This shows the ignorance of a got-it-all-together 35 year old. Old people like me can’t write. It hurts my arthritic fingers and, besides, it takes me about an hour of lost sleep to find something to write with and something to write on.

“Cut the lights” is a super bad idea. How am I going to find my way to the bathroom at 1:00 AM and 2:30 AM and again at 4:00 AM? You can really hurt your foot when you jam it under a low slung love seat in the living room when you’re trying to find the bathroom. “Mute Your Environment.” Do they mean ear plugs? Hasn’t this fool heard about home invasions. I’ve got to stay alert and if I don’t “git further over” during the night when Katie Mae tells me to, I won’t have to worry about sleep. She’ll knock me out til noon. “Stop hitting the snooze.” This last glorious piece of wisdom does not apply to me. I haven’t used the alarm clock in three years.

Now on page seven they really get to the core of the message. They’re talking about crunches. The only crunches I like are those Crunchmaster Crackers from Sam’s. The writer then gets right on down to resistance-training exercises and I know those are not for me because I have tried resistance-training exercises with Katie Mae. When I try to get cozy with Katie Mae, my resistance-training is pathetic compared to hers. Not only do I completely miss the intended cozy moment, but resistance-training leaves big knots on my head. I must be allergic to it.

The 35 year old health scribe has finally gotten the best of me when he/she describes how you can use your body weight for exercises like push-ups, planks and lunges. This writer is undoubtedly slap-damned nuts. How many 70 year old people do you think are doing push-ups and lunges?

Now let me introduce you old boomers, boomerettes, geezers and geezerettes to that word, “PLANK.” I knew I had seen or heard that word or the term, “Planking” before. I thought it was a visual joke young people are performing today to amuse themselves because they obviously don’t have enough TV and video games to go around.

To plank you must be face down. You can be on the ground or aerial, whichever you choose to be depending on how far you think you can fall without seriously breaking your face and most other parts of your body. I saw a picture of three young guys face down, one atop the other on the top of a refrigerator. They were fully clothed so I suspect the act of planking itself was the only kinky part of the performance. I saw another young guy in front of a convenience store with his head (Face down, of course) on one gas pump and his feet on another gas pump with just a lot of air between the main part of his body and legs and the pavement. A third kid had his head face down on one hump of a kneeling camel and his feet perched on the hump of a second kneeling camel.

Now before you go completely whacko and run outside and try to plank on your neighbor’s kneeling camels remember one thing, planking can be extremely dangerous and it could cost you your job. I know it’s hard for you to believe that people who have real jobs actually plank.

A young Australian man was killed because he chose to plank on a seventh floor apartment house balcony rail and he slipped and fell to the ground. Another strange case of planking occurred in the UK in 2009. That’s right, old people. That’s how far behind we are because we just heard about planking and, yet, seven doctors and nurses were suspended from work at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, England for planking while on duty. This happened in September 2009.

Some people refer to planking as “The lying down game.” I will leave it to your own discretionary imagination to decide if they were just playing a new- fangled version of, “Doctor and nurse” or………. were they actually planking.

To add insult to injury, for us old peoples, this nonsense newsletter has suggested we use our bodies to perform resistance-training exercises by planking. You can do the two point plank. You can do the elbow plank. You can do the elbow plank while face down on your exercise ball. You can do the up-down plank (I think we call this doing push-ups). The side plank leg lift looks interesting but my favorite is using the exercise to precariously balance on one foot and the opposite hand while performing the booty strengthening donkey kick.

Don’t you dare attempt any of these things. This is just something to consider before you take a long nap. Strenuous work-outs for people our age can really hurt you and if it turns out you are allergic to resistance-training exercise like I am, it can leave big knots on your head.

Throw all those clothes back over the treadmill. Go relax and give all this nonsense the kind of thought that will leave you so bored you’ll get a great night’s sleep. Dream about exercising. It can’t hurt you.