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Getting in shape together

In spite of not typically making a huge fuss over Valentine’s Day, several years ago I gave my husband a significant piece of exercise equipment on the day. A gift from the heart (with my love) for the heart (cardiovascular health).

Before you gasp at what an awful gift for what is supposed to be a romantic day (just as several of his coworkers did), let me tell you that is was a piece of equipment my husband had been considering purchasing for several years but never quite got to doing so. He very much wanted it. He loved the gift, and told his coworkers so.It was, admittedly, a splurge and took a fair bit of planning over time on my part. Because of that aspect of it, my husband said that to make it worth our while, I must agree use it, too. Of course, I was seven months pregnant at the time and considered myself allergic to exercise even when not pregnant. I told him what he wanted to hear: I agreed. I said that after the baby was born, I would use it, too.My husband started using the equipment (a rowing machine, or ergometer) immediately. Although his work schedule prevented him from being as consistent as he wanted to be, he certainly started to feel positive effects. It was great. Meanwhile, I’d given birth to Sunshine and was so sleep-deprived that exercise was truly the last thing on my mind.Eventually, however, I did get on the erg — for completely vain reasons, and expecting the effort to be only temporary. I surprised myself by rather liking it. I started (gasp!) exercising regularly. Hell started ordering space heaters.Over time a little competition developed between us. His longer rows inspired me to try for longer rows, and my longer rows inspired him to try longer rows. Though I can’t begin to match my husband for pace, over the last couple of years I’ve out-rowed him in terms of distance. I realize this is primarily because of my more flexible schedule, but it’s still kind of fun. The competition aspect is light and playful. It’s a little extra push to get on the equipment some days. It’s a touch of tension, of spark. Both of us are in much better physical shape. We are healthier and stronger. This gift that was given from my heart, was received with great heart and has benefited both our hearts.

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