We, as a nation, love exercise - as long as it's not inconvenient, sweaty or, you know, hard work.
That's why we've made a booming business out of workout equipment that is, um ... let's just label it "unique."
Knowing my dedication to all things physical (sometimes it takes a lot of strength to break the tape on the doughnut box), a friend sent me an ad for the FitDesk. Basically, it's a laptop-sized desk attached to a stationary bike. Sing with me: ''Pedal while you work. Pedal while you work. La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaaaa.''
I figured they could improve the design by rigging the pedals to the laptop power, turning the average fitness freak into a human hamster. I was too late. It turns out there's already something like that on the market, too.
The EnterTrainer is a combination heart monitor and remote control. Wear while watching TV as you tromp your treadmill. If your heart rate drops, so does the TV volume.
Then again, why should we, the fit, have to do the work? This is the land of innovation and convenience. What we need is a workout without actually working out.
Order the Hawaiian Hula Chair for your office. You sit. The chair moves. True, it might be a bit tricky writing the Klingermeier report the boss wanted yesterday while clinched to a chair whipping around like a berserk Frisbee, but hey, at least when you're fired, you'll be booted out the door with toned abs and firm glutes.
Then you can go home and jump on your Osim iGallop. It's like a rocking horse, minus the horse's head. And tail. Basically, it's just a seat with a handle where the saddle horn should be. You can let that thing firm your core at trot, gallop or race speeds. Yippee-ki-yay.
After a day full of strenuous exercises like those, you may fret about sleeping in. That's covered, too. A company called Lazybone markets dumbbell-shaped alarm clocks. The buzzing won't quit until you've completed 30 reps. THEN you can heave it across the room.
I believe the craze for "unique" exercise equipment began with the ThighMaster back in the 1990s. Someone attached two bent metal tubes to a hinge and paid Suzanne Somers to stick the contraption between her knees and squeeze. The current day infomercial equivalent is the Shake Weight, a dumbbell that - well - shakes. It sort of hops around like a fish on springs.
I have none of these in my garage, where I keep my instruments of torture. There's a weight bench with a bar and iron plates. A treadmill, missing a couple bolts for added excitement. And a pull-up bar that seems a little too high for my chin. Pretty basic stuff.
It was while snoozing on my weight bench that I came up with my own "unique" idea - a bench press refrigerator. The door won't open until you hammer out 15 reps of at least 20 times the weight of the food you plan to extract from the cooler.
It's not the exercise that would help us lose weight. We simply detest putting that much effort into gathering the fixings for a ham sandwich. We, as a nation, dislike anything that's inconvenient, sweaty or, you know, hard work.
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