We have an exercise room in our house.
Let me clarify. We have a room roughly the size of two small closets that's full of dusty equipment.
The walls are plastered with exercise posters and even an exercise calendar circa 2003. Paper clipped to the calendar are pictures of my wife and I wearing swimsuits in some sort of awkward "before" pose. From the looks of us, I'd guess sometime "before" 2002, the "after" pictures still inexplicably missing.
In the great expanse of our mini-gym (think of a guy standing in a phone booth trying to swat a bee with a dumbbell), there's a ten-year-old exercise bike. The odometer reads 67 miles. Next to that is an elliptical machine. I'd need an actual NASA engineer to decipher its odometer reading.
There are dumbbells and a weight bench. On the wall hang two mirrors to watch a dumbbell attempt once a year to use the weight bench.
On top, under, and around the bench is a staggering amount of infomercial profit margins. Two styles of push-up rigs, one set with those fancy rotating handles and one set that sits stationary only until you attempt to use them. If you look closely you can still see the remains of a bloodstain in the carpet from the impact of my nose on one of the "stationary" handles immediately following a surprise capsizing maneuver during my initial push-up attempt.
We also have a bar that fits on the top of our doorway so we can do pull-ups. You remember pull-ups? In ninth grade you could do about three, yet 20 years later you believe the infomercial guy who says that you can now do 50 in 30 seconds.
Let's not leave out the world's most expensive rubber band thingies, with the instruction booklet that basically says, "We don't know how they work; you bought them …" Or the huge oversized kick ball that you sit on, but that merely rolls you ever so gently into a sitting position on the floor every time you attempt to use it.
And don't forget the TV/DVD combo that's hung on one of those special wall brackets just like the one in a fancy hotel's exercise studio. You know, that little room you pass by on the way to the pool.
So a couple years back, my wife and I realized that we were not using our homemade torture chamber enough. Realizing our lack of motivation, we made a deal and purchased our very own massage table. The professional kind. Well, professional enough to be sold on eBay. It even has one of those little padded toilet seats on the end that you stick your face into. Very high class.
My wife and I agreed that if we use any piece of exercise apparatus, we reward each other with a rubdown. Not only was our new plan genius, compared to all the rest it was a fairly cheap piece of equipment.
I've got to tell you, this plan changed our lives. Not that we started exercising more. That sad attempt at a reward system master plan lasted all of a week. We've simply skipped the exercise part and gone right to the table.
Our massage table is amazing. The best thing is you don't need to watch some steroid-built, big mouth exercise expert on DVD explaining how to use the thing. You don't even need to be motivated to use it again tomorrow. We simply take turns lying down, and enjoying life. Add some soft jazz and a candle or two, and it just might be the best exercise program ever!
Thank goodness there's no odometer.
The bonus, giving a rubdown burns, I don't know maybe 25 calories, and that's not even talking about the "cool down lap" that often comes afterward—and you know I'm not talking about the elliptical.
All I'm saying is, if you're looking to get your pulse rate up, and maybe even find a bit of motivation for spending more time together, forget the exercise equipment. Get a massage table.
James Rock is a freelance writer and camp program director. He lives with his family in Minnesota.
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Kyria.com.
Click here for reprint information.