I am going to prove here today that exercise doesn’t burn calories, at least not enough to make any difference for me.
I’ve always felt like there is an alternate rule in some universe far, far away that my body lives by as far as burning calories. Now I know there is.
I get it honestly. Pictures of my female ancestors can easily be mistaken for a formidable offensive line of any football team.
Well, I exercised plenty in Portugal as I sight-saw. (“Side-seed” is not a word, right?)
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I mentioned in last week’s column that my son’s Fitbit measured he had walked 20,000 steps and up 79 flights of stairs at the end of a day of visiting two castles. I walked most of that behind him, except for the highest part that had no railing.
I do not think the land of Portugal has a department of public safety. So many high round-the-castle walks and so few railings.
So my fear of heights saved me some steps and gave my burning leg muscles a rest.
I am not the only one in my family who left Portugal with the conception firmly implanted in our minds that the country is all uphill. I don’t recall ever going downhill.
I looked from one castle to another as my daughter said, “We’re walking to that one next.”
“But it’s a long way away and across a valley,” I said, struggling for breath. “And I’m sure the path down to the valley is uphill too.”
They think I’m funny. I rarely am taken seriously.
They had laughed at me as we trekked an hour-long 10-minute hike up to the first castle.
To be fair, there was a bus going to the top my kids suggested for me, but not wanting to be an elderly weakling in front of them, I had waved it off and said, “I easily walk three miles at a time.” (Sometimes. It’s usually less, but I could if I really wanted to and took snacks.)
So I labored up that cobblestoned hill, with a sore foot might I add, at the end of the line of hikers, as the kids kept looking back and asking me if I was okay.
“I’m not that old,” I said. But I sure felt I was even older than whatever old they thought I was.
Finally, we saw the bus heading up the road behind us.
“Oh good,” I said to the group. “Maybe it will run me over and kill me.”
They laughed at that, and I’m not really sure why my potential death would be funny to them, but oh well. They should have stopped that bus and begged the driver to let their angel mother on.
We finally made it to the castle, though, and then over to the other castle, which was all uphill down to the valley and then uphill up to the castle, as I recall.
The point is, however, that I must have burned lots of calories walking so much miles, literally dragging the mass of my body along thousands of cobblestones. It must have been so many calories burned that eating a humongous chocolate croissant and something else called “pastel de natas” every day would have evened out with the exercise.
We actually had to stand up at two pastry shops to eat the pastries, so that must have canceled the calories out. Right, right?
Well, it didn’t, and I came home having gained three pounds. And this was after toting my bag full of heavy pastries to bring home.
The only conclusion is that exercise, at least for me, doesn’t burn calories. There is no justice in the universe.
At the very least, exercise should be as much fun as eating chocolate croissants.
Elzey is a columnist for the Register & Bee. She can be reached at [email protected].
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