Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)
By Lisa Graham
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When it comes to fitness,
I’m tired of being bombarded
And lamenting monies discarded
On so-called “miracle” exercise equipment
Hawked by celebrities, past and present.
Newly-released medical guidelines recommend 90 minutes – yes, 90 minutes – of exercise DAILY! Now, before we all gasp in disbelief, or give up because it sounds impossible to achieve, let’s take a moment to reevaluate.
The experts probably don’t expect us to do cardio until we drop from exhaustion . . . tiredness doesn’t equal fitness! Riding a stationary bike for 90 minutes is not exactly a scenic tour, not to mention the pairs of sneakers worn out in a year of daily trudging 1.5 hours on a treadmill!
We should exercise every day, but it’s a good idea to employ variety to prevent boredom. With this in mind, grocery shopping should “count” as exercise. We can get a cardio workout in “Supermarket Sports,” where fitness is defined as survival of the fittest on every aisle:
1. We improve flexibility by dodging kids zipping by on Heelies playing field hockey with canned food;
2. We build muscle by hefting a case of Oreos into the cart;
3. We improve stamina by outracing fellow shoppers when a cheesecake sale is announced;
4. We use soccer moves to navigate around fallen produce or people engaged in cell phone conversations;
5. We develop quick reflexes during races with sports fanatics making snack runs at half-time, trying to get in, get out and get back to the game.
As with any sport, there is always a potential for injury. Face it . . . shopping carts can be dangerous vehicles! The need for defensive driving is no longer reserved for the roadways, but that’s no excuse to burrow into your recliner in fear. You, too, can survive the supermarket superhighways, if you develop and use coping mechanisms.
Sports lore features countless David vs. Goliath tales of underdogs overcoming difficult odds to win over a much larger oppressor. The Goliaths of “Supermarket Sports” are known as “Cartzillas”:
CARTZILLA ‘kart-Zil”a n : aggressive demolition derby-style grocery cart driver characterized by: sneaky movements and locomotive momentum, zero courtesy, and unwillingness to relinquish aisle real estate. WARNING: when encountering these dangerous creatures, use extreme caution.
Recently, I was cut off by a vicious Cartzilla on the pain reliever aisle. Since grocery carts aren’t equipped with rearview mirrors, I had no warning that a fast-moving grille was bearing down on me. I heard the rapid clickety-click of rickety wheels and as she tore past, the wind in her wake blew my hair into a fright wig! With nerves jangling, I threw extra boxes of aspirin into my cart, and started my cardio workout with deep breathing exercises to calm my racing heart.
In the produce aisle, she stopped her cart and glared at me. I recoiled in fear, and backed away, which also served to strengthen my hamstrings. Oh, how I was tempted to soft-pitch a few tomatoes into her cart, but past experience has taught me to catch Cartzillas unaware.
Over in the pet supply aisle, I lifted weights – two hefty bags of birdseed and cans of cat food. In frozen foods, I caught her sampling directly from several tubs of ice cream! Now, THAT is a serious crime! Since she was sufficiently distracted, leaving her cart unattended, I decided the time had come to act. Like a discus hurler, I launched a slightly opened can of cat food into her cart and made a quick getaway. Only one thing left to do . . .
In the parking lot, I spied Cartzilla pushing her cart at Mach One to her SUV, and slamming groceries in the hatchback. All of a sudden, she started throwing a temper tantrum. She’d found the partially opened can of cat food! In a huff, she stomped back into the grocery store without closing the hatchback.
I quickly hefted two large bags of birdseed and jogged over to her vehicle. After scattering birdseed in the still-open hatchback, I sped off as a swarm of black birds converged on the parking lot. Hearing the happy trill of songbirds, the chattering blue jays and magpies, I smiled, as satisfaction washed over me, a feeling that comes with successfully completing a strenuous workout!
*NOTE – “Cartzillas” exist everywhere, as we all know, but the cat food/birdseed caper is purely fictional.
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