Friday, January 9, 2015

Onward and Upward: The Gallison Exercise Program

Self-improvement! Am I still at it? You would think, considering the towering stack of to-do lists in the corner of my office (dating back to 1972), that I would have got wise to myself by now. But, no. Although I canceled my gym membership last month when I noticed how seldom I showed up, I am still at it.

Here's my latest plan. I bought an exercise bike and stuck it in my office.

Now, everybody tells me, and you're going to tell me, too, that riding on an exercise bike is so boring that I'll give it up in a week. But I tell you what. The bike is only half of the plan. The other half involves the Metropolitan Opera, which offers an online subscription service. You have to see this. For fifteen dollars a month (way cheaper than a gym membership) you can see any or all of 500 plus operas. Here's a link to their catalog of offerings.

Look at this stuff! Traviata! Contes de Hoffman (two versions)!

So the big idea is to get on the exercise bike and pedal away while I watch the world's greatest operas. So far I can do five or six minutes at a stretch, enough to see an aria and a bit of recitative, but I plan to get fitter and fitter.

Some of you will be unable to understand the attraction. Bah, you will say to yourself. Culture. Well, I don't like culture either, but grand opera isn't culture, anyway not in my book. It's drama, all wrapped up in gorgeous music, beautiful costumes and imaginative sets. The modern singers are fine actors and attractive people as well. Nowadays with the subtitles anybody can figure out what's happening onstage. Try it! You can have a week for free. Maybe you can work out while watching it.

Here's the sort of thing you can see, though this is Anna Netrebko on YouTube.

© 2015 Kate Gallison


  1. Good luck to you! People always tell me to read while I pedal. My bike doesn't really allow that. And, let's face it, the book would always win. I'd simply sit on the bike reading. I'm afraid I would be transfixed by the opera and once again just sit on the bike. So I use music, The Beatles (because they always cheer me up), Stevie Wonder and The Pointer Sisters

  2. You are brave! I have a brand-new rowing machine in my living room that has never been used! Will donate to anyone who wants to haul it away! tjs