Saturday, March 17, 2007

Clowns on the Racquetball Court ?

After I accepted Yoga and Weight Watchers into my life I started to think that I needed a sport. I had reduced my weight in those first months by 10 pounds to 248. However, I found myself stuck at the 248 pound mark and knew that I needed something more than 20 non inspiring minutes on the elliptical machine to kick my metabolism into gear and get motivated.

I needed a competitive sport. I wanted to get involved with something that would cause me to work up a sweat. My try out for Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest failed at hot dog 18. However, if you are interested on June 3rd they are holding a qualifier for the big event at Shea Stadium.

Fortunately, just a few days after my competitive eating career stalled I received an invitation from a friend to play racquetball at the YMCA. The idea of chasing a bouncing rubber ball with a metal racket in a small enclosed chamber sounded appealing. I took my buddy up on the offer and found myself running around the court on a fairly regular basis each morning at 7am.

First, I was shocked to learn that a large community of devote Racquetballers meets every morning at the Y. Secondly, I was surprised to learn they would embrace an out of shape man who had last played racquetball in the 6Th grade. The morning community is comprised of squash, handball and racquetballers who are doctors, lawyers, wine importers, actors, one Rastafarian, and one juggler who occupies court number 1 with bowling pins and a jump rope.

They almost immediately extended invitations to play doubles and singles matches. While I have yet to notch a victory, I've learned that there is honor in hitting yourself with the ball on game point and that racquetball is great exercise. I'll burn a little under a pound of fat for every 4.4 times I show up. At my height and weight one hour of racquetball burns about 793 calories. So I guess if I show up 220 times this year I'll get to my ideal weight.

How does Racquetball's caloric burn compare to other activities you might enjoy?

Calories Burned in 1 Hour of Exercise - Mayo Clinic
Racquetball: 539
Jump Rope: 770
Running: 1,040 at 8 mph
Volleyball: 231
Stationary Bike: 539
Juggling: 272
For more exercises click here

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