Get That Fitness High

Once again, I had overdosed. I knew what I should have done: Walked away from temptation, made some business calls, logged a little more desk time.
Let’s Get Physical:
Whatever it is you like to do, pick a day and do it twice as much as you normally do.
Do what you love with different equipment. If you play golf, for instance, play an entire round with a 3-iron.
On Sunday morning, walk out your door, and keep walking until midday. Then turn around and walk home.
Take a lesson in the sport you love to watch. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself or fail again and again until you learn it.
Play with your kids or someone else’s. Really play with them, at their level, by their rules.

But man, oh, man, the drug is sweet. I just couldn’t say “no.” Three hours after pushing off from the beach, I dragged my bone-weary butt out of the river.

My hands were red and raw. I had a bruised arm and a skinned shin. My arms and shoulders were like rubber. My legs were starting to cramp. And across my face, I had the idiot grin of your typical blissed-out junkie.

Drug of choice? Endorphins, I think we have come to call them, but heck if I know the chemical constitution of what hard play had pumped into my veins.

To describe the feeling, a friend a few years ago appropriated a slogan from TV advertising for a brand of dog food. She called it “the high-pro glow.”

We who have gone over to the bright side all have our own favourite sources of “high-pro glow.” For some, it’s skiing deep powder. For others, it’s riding big waves. For still others, it’s barrelling downhill on two wheels.

Whatever the source, it leaves you totally trashed at the end of the day. Nothing beats the feeling, and yet, it’s so difficult to say why, and even harder to explain it to someone who has never pushed himself to that limit.

Part of it, I think, is the way total fatigue makes you feel so totally alive. With the high-pro glow, your body takes on a sort of voice. Your arms are crying, your legs are moaning, your belly is squealing.

“That’s masochistic,” you might say.

Maybe. Never thought of it that way, but there might be a link. True, it does smack a little of self-induced arthritic paralysis — by most estimations, a less than desirable physical condition.

But if the truth be told, the “high-pro glow” is less about pain and fatigue and more about our aversion to the alternative: lethargy, boredom, a numb lack of sensation derived from a bland, shrink-wrapped life of pre-digested and sanitized entertainments.

Spare me the zombie existence of those who will never know the drug of play and its choice euphoria.

Boiled down to its essence, the high-pro glow is about life and death, and making the most of each.


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