My husband wanted to sign up for a massage package. “Wouldn’t that be frivolous?” I said. But, after the massage I had this morning, I’m reconsidering.
I pay $64 a month for my gym membership, plus parking and babysitting. I hold that cardiovascular exercise is more beneficial to one’s health than massage, but, what if massage is what his body needs after a long work week? I don’t know anyone who works more hours. I stop counting after 80 a week, since it boggles my mind. Maybe relaxation before or after a grueling week is as important to him as training is to a marathon runner. After all, beside his voice, his wit is an asset on the job. He has to be sharp, especially when he’s live on the radio. He’s also had back surgery, so massage may be even more beneficial to him.
Who am I to decide what mode of therapy would be best for someone else? In 2003, I ditched my shrink for horseback riding lessons. I couldn’t afford both. I was in a much better mood than when I’d started psychotherapy, and then I knew I’d benefit from mastering a new skill (riding English style), relating to the horses, and toning my body for the exercise. I took lessons at Claremont Riding Academy and experienced a part of New York history before it disappeared. The stable had been housed on 89th Street for more than 100 years, and I was among the last of people allowed to ride in Central Park, the season before its lamented closure.
Maybe it’s just as important to relax as to strengthen. With cardio exercise, I feel, the benefits are manifold. Right now, I need to shed some weight (it’s about time—I’ve dropped two pants sizes in the last three months, but not until I started jogging). Maybe my husband’s goading worked, after all.
Where are you holding tension? What’s your favorite way to relax? Are exercise and relaxation synonymous for you?