What Kevin Hart and my mother taught me about exercise
Never underestimate your funny friend as a workout partner
“I can’t take her seriously,” my mother said. “Look at her pants.”
I huffed, “Mom, will you just do the dance moves?”
“No, those ugly pants are making me forget all the choreography,” she said.
The more annoyed I got at my mother — who was determined to give her critiques during my hourlong WERQ routine — the more inspired she was. I refused to admit that I didn’t like the dancers’ panda pants either. I was already trying hard not to laugh at the Fashion Police who birthed me.
A few weeks later, I switched up the workout routine to Kukuwa Fitness. By that time, my mother declared that she “only wants to do old people exercises. I’m in my 60s, little girl.”
But I was ready for this new protest, especially after she declared “the woman in the headwrap is worse than the other ones. Don’t you know I’m old?”
Her new response, “My gawd, I’ll never hear the end of it now.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get 150 minutes of exercise per week. Although I was doing that anyway, I have suckered my mother into coming along for the ride via speakerphone and streaming exercise channels three days per week. While I continue to work out (quietly) at least two more days of the week, there’s no way to deny that I miss her exercise critiques.
She reminds me of Kevin Hart in “What the Fit.” While Boss (Kevin Hart’s trainer) is laser-focused on the workout, Kevin Hart (and my mother) randomly trail off. They will do the workout, but there’s 100 percent chance they cannot control whatever ridiculous thought comes into their minds. And like the comedian, my mother always feels the need to share.
She’s even made exercise ball workouts somehow funnier than they need to be. She just falls off the ball — legs spread Eagle in the air, yelling, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.” It’s a mess. (Generation Y and Z will not understand that joke. Type “Life Alert” into your search engine, and laugh about it later.)
So why do I keep working out with her? Exercising with your funny friend — or mom, in my case — gives me the one thing that exercising alone may not. In addition to this laundry list of exercise benefits, her entire personality is a stress reliever. Regular exercise improves self-confidence, lowers depression and anxiety rates, pumps up endorphins, and is considered “meditation in motion.” Meanwhile laughter itself “enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air; stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles; and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” according to Mayo Clinic.
No matter how much she’s in rare form on Exercise Days, I have to appreciate that positive thoughts from laughter can help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses (via neuropeptides). She may stand firmly against dancing with women in Hammer pants, but she’s still doing me a physical favor by being who she is — the worst-best exercise partner all at once.
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing serious workouts with your more solemn or determined workout friends. But if you can find a workout buddy that takes the edge off and makes you laugh a little, enjoy all 150 minutes while they last. Life is short. Laugh more.
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