Exercising my right to work out watching great TV

Last week I revealed my long-standing fondness for donuts. In recent years I have largely put donuts behind me (no pun intended). But once in a while I still feel their siren pull, and occasionally I answer that call, most often with a simple maple bar at Coffee Hour at Grace Church.

Although my overly cozy relationship with the donut family of food products is now largely quenched, my historical appetite for donuts may have been a factor in one of Wendy’s Christmas gifts to me this year – a 10-day pass to the Bainbridge Island Park and Recreation Center at Meadowmeer.

It’s only been a couple of months since Christmas, and I haven’t completed my 10 visits yet, but I’m already feeling better. For one thing, my clothes fit better. That’s partly due to my three or four rigorous visits to the gym, and partly because I used the money I’ve saved from not buying donuts the past few years to buy larger-sized clothes.

One goal I have at the gym is to lose about 10 pounds. I understand that one can really only lose weight if one consumes fewer calories than one burns off. But keeping track of the number of calories I consume each day sounds suspiciously like math to me, and math is something I indulge in only when all other options fail. I also understand that a good workout should include both cardiovascular workouts and resistance training. Sadly, I’ve also been reminded that alternating between an hour spent sitting in a hot tub and an hour sitting in a steam room does not qualify as either. At some point, I’ll have to consider pumping a little iron. I thought about pumping some iron on my last visit, but decided against it because the weights all looked so damn heavy.

Much to my surprise, however, I’ve discovered an affinity for walking on the treadmill. There is something oddly comforting about walking briskly for as long as you can but still ending up in exactly the same place you started, which is both good exercise and an apt metaphor for my life. The treadmills at the Park and Rec gym have an added benefit. One of the treadmills I like is positioned directly in front of a wall-mounted television set with the best picture I have ever seen on a TV.

Until I was gifted with my 10 passes to the gym, I was reluctant to join one. I think I was intimidated by what I imagined would be flocks of totally buffed hard-bodies tossing around weights like Frisbees and laughing at my skinny legs and/or my choice of workout wear—a style I like to call Aging Dad Fashion Fiasco. And that’s pretty much exactly what happened. I was greatly relieved to discover that I am far from the oldest or least physically fit person in the gym. I suspect I am also not the only connoisseur of the donut in the house.

The gym has numerous fitness machines that work every known muscle in the human body, including a number that in my own particular case have evidently atrophied, never existed in the first place or moved on to greener pastures.

Wendy has encouraged me to attend one of the many basic yoga classes the Park and Rec offers by way of supplementing my vigorous walking, pedaling and TV-watching regime. I have resisted such invitations. For one thing, I am not a particularly bendy person. And as I approach 70, I have taken a more mature approach to getting down on a floor for exercise purposes. These days I consider getting onto a floor to be a lot like visiting North Korea or Iran – you don’t just go there on a whim, and you make sure you have a solid exit strategy for getting back on your feet.

I am anxious to watch some of the upcoming NCAA March Madness college basketball championship while briskly walking on the treadmill in front of the really cool TV set. That means I’ll have to carefully ration my remaining day passes and be sure I bring an adequate supply of beverages and snacks. (There’s a reason each treadmill has a built-in beverage holder, and that reason is guys like me.) If Gonzaga goes deep into the tournament, I may drop my 10 pounds on the same day I use up my 10 pass. Which I will celebrate with a donut.

Tom Tyner of Bainbridge Island writes a weekly humor column for this newspaper.