Sunday, March 19, 2006

So that's how you do it...

I knew before I crawled into bed last night that a day of painting had affected every single solitary muscle in my body -- and not in a good way. But that was just my first impression. My second impression was that I was still alive because everything hurt like a chronically aching tooth all over my body, except for my jaws. I didn't talk much yesterday because there was no one to talk to and because I was resting my vocal cords from the strain I put on them a few days ago when I sang for over six hours (my version of spring fever) without warming up first.

But how do you warm up for painting?

Wax on-wax off? The Miyagi painting method with a brush?

Wouldn't work. I was used a roller and an edging pad. Different set of muscles altogether. I did find I prefer the two-handed method of using the roller, which is a good thing because my triceps (that part under my arm that hangs and sways heavily in the least breeze or with movement) are equally sore. Somehow I managed to even work the muscles above my glutes. My back doesn't hurt, but the muscles on either side of my spine and along my sides definitely took notice of the activity. My feet, legs, knees, shins, calves, thighs and hamstrings definitely got into the act, as did all the muscles from my fingertips to my shoulders and back. Strangely enough my neck isn't sore either, just pleasantly relaxed. Must be all those years of holding my head up. I have not been this tired and sore or felt this energetic, despite the sharp reminder of yesterday's activities, since I lifted weights six hours a day six days a week in my twenties.

Suddenly, a light bulb goes off in my head as I argue with my body about staying in bed and rest my battered body instead of getting up and adding insult to injury. I worked out with weights and machines, swam, walked, sweated, grunted and groaned for thousands of hours and didn't get this much of a workout. I don't think it was because I was in better shape back then but because painting is more of workout. Instead of doing a three-day split working upper and lower body alternately, going from machine to machine, free weight to free weight, painting is much more efficient. Even taking breaks and not working quickly, I have found the secret. Painting is how to lose weight, improve muscle tone and increase lung capacity (by gulping fresh air with your head out the nearest window to clear the lungs of paint fumes).

There are other benefits to the painting workout. More people doing the painting body tone program would need rooms and houses to paint. The increase in painting would mean a boost to the painting manufacture industry. More color. More tools. More business. You could set up a gym in the nearest derelict house or building and paint, thus giving the neighborhood and the property a boost in look and appeal, making it more attractive to potential buyers looking for an affordable property, which would also drive out the criminal element, scurrying from the color and light like roaches in the kitchen when the light is turned on, thus bringing down the crime rate, raising property values and giving new life to old neighborhoods. I imagine once all the houses and apartment buildings are painted, you could start all over where you began because you'd be tired of the old color. Everyone wins. Healthier, fitter bodies and profound social and urban impact. What more could you want from an exercise program?

Okay, who wants to write the book and pose for the photographs? It's a billion-dollar industry just waiting for some far-sighted entrepreneur. I'd offer, but I have to go finish painting the living room, move around the furniture and collapse for as long as my bladder holds out.

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