Saturday, June 22, 2019

I Try to Exercise, I Really Do

     Last September B and I joined our local YMCA. We had to sign a one-year contract, which made me nervous because I was afraid I'd start out with a burst of enthusiasm, exercising two or three times a week through the fall, but then by spring I'd never darken the door of the Y again.

     B joined a yoga class. At 7 in the morning, no less. And she has been faithful about going, twice a week.

This is B ... well, almost
     As for me, I did go to the gym more often in the beginning. I even joined a spin class. But I must admit, as predicted, my enthusiasm waned. I didn't like the spin class, so I quit. And the twice a week eventually became once a week. And then I started to skip a week.

     But when the weather got warmer I started to go over there for a swim. Plus, there's also a hot tub, which feels good on my sometimes-aching back, and just feels good all over. And that got me to rededicate myself to going again on a more regular basis, to take a spin on the bicycle and grunt and groan on the weight machines.

     The truth is, I really don't like to exercise. Instead, I like to hit things. I like baseball and tennis and golf. The trouble is that these sports -- especially the way they're played by late middle-agers -- do not provide a good workout. And some of them can be dangerous for us aging baby boomers. Think tennis elbow, sprained ankle, torn cartilage. Do I know anyone who hasn't had back or shoulder surgery, or replaced a knee or hip?

     In fact, I retired from the tennis court several years ago, due to a bad knee and touchy ankle, and now limit my racket sports to Ping Pong, once a week at our local senior center. And golf . . . well, golf you can play in your sleep.

     So my doctor has told me more than once that swimming and riding the stationary bike are easier on my brittle knees and ankles than running (not that I did much running) or playing tennis, or even walking. So that's what I do now, when I do get to the Y.

This is definitely not me
     Some people can read while they use the treadmill or bike. I cannot. So I time my trip to the Y to early evening reruns of half-hour comedy shows on TV. I am now more familiar with "Friends," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "King of Queens" than I'd like to admit.

     Then there's always "people watching." I enjoy the spectacle of the women's Zumba dance class that takes place Mon., Wed. and Fri. at 5 p.m. There are young male bodybuilders in the corner. Girls on the ellipticals with their ponytails bobbing up and down. Some middle age women seriously into the treadmill. And a few of us older guys huffing and puffing on the machines.

     The funny thing is, at first I thought I might feel self-conscious exercising along with a crowd that's younger, better looking, and in better shape than I am. But it turns out that everyone is very supportive at the Y. I never get a condescending comment or dirty look. Just some occasional helpful advice, or a friendly greeting. And when I see a guy even older than me, who's fat and out of shape and shaky on his feet, it doesn't enter my mind that I'm better than him. I think, good for him.

     I don't get to the health club as often as I should. But it's still worth it. We'll definitely be signing up again for next year.

24 comments:

Juhli said...

Good for you! I'm struggling with finding how to turn anything but walking into a habit again. Once stopped it is hard to get back into exercising regularly. I'd love a 7 am class as I get up early.

Sue said...

I agree with you Tom... I go to the "Y" near my house and there are people of all ages exercising in the way that works best for them. It seems they are all interested in becoming or staying as healthy as possible.

Retirement Confidential said...

In addition to other exercise, I usually walk when I play golf. Not aerobic, but it keeps you moving. I use a pull cart. There are 80-year-old women in my club with all kinds of ailments who still walk 18 holes. One used to carry her bag until age 83 or so.

Barb said...

I use the rec center rather than the Y. But yes they are welcoming of all people. I've finally embraced using my phone with headphones for music or podcasts while walking the track. And my gym has a recumbent cross train er, God bless them.

gigi-hawaii said...

Well, good for you. I still prefer to walk and do housework than go to the gym. David goes to 24 Hr Fitness every night to exercise and socialize. He says it releases endorphins and he comes home feeling happy and cheerful.

Wisewebwoman said...

I've got everything set and ready to roll for my swimming days for about 6 months now, hanging on an oak rack glaring at me as I walk past. My inner 3yo sulks and whines about chlorine in the hair and climbing out of wet swimsuits and and and.

You inspire me to give it a try. I am sick of not doing anything and was in a space of missing my racing days and yes, the loads of tennis I played.

XO
WWW

Olga said...

I am into yoga and I do a lot of walking, biking when I am in Florida too. I would love to have a kayak, but so far have not made that purchase out of fear I wouldn't be able to load it on my car so I rent one when I need to. I think I get a good deal of exercise and I like that most of it is outdoors..

DJan said...

Glad to hear you're making a commitment to get some exercise. I have bad knees but with the help of braces and riding the stationary bike, they can manage my weekly exercise. You're doing great, Tom! :-)

Linda Myers said...

I dabble at walking (in Washington), riding my bike (in Arizona), and water exercise (both places). Not as much as I should.Just as much as I do.

Jeanette said...

Your observation about the friendly and supportive atmosphere at the Y holds true for the Y in my Canadian city. I belong to a private gym as well as the Y. Both have their charms but people at the Y are definitely more friendly.
My observation about exercise is that it becomes a habit if done regularly. When I don't go to 3 or 4 yoga or aquafit or strength-training sessions weekly, it feels like something is missing from my life.

Kay said...

Good for you, Tom! I'm also not one to love exercise, but I do go once a week now to Zumba. It used to be three times a week and then two, but the instructor cut a lot of the classes. I also walk once a week with friends at the mall. My brother in law played tennis every week and he's developed a terrible case of tennis elbow which is now really causing horrible pain so I see what you mean.

Tabor said...

Bravo. You deserved to take care of yourself. YOu will not regret it, and if a month or so goes by with no Y, then you can start it again! It lift weights and try to keep going twice and thrice each week. I hate it. I also watch a lot of TV.

Tom at Sightings said...

I definitely feel better after any kind of exercise. I don't know if it's the endorphin effect (if it is, it's pretty subtle!), or if it's just knowing that I did something good for myself. But I also sleep better too. That's for sure.

Janette said...

Raising my hand.
I have never had surgery (except two c sections). Knees, hips, ankles in place (so far).
I, too, love the Y. Everyone is different and welcoming. I stay away a lunch because the people who work in the State offices come and are in a hurry. I do laps - but on the width of the pool.....
Otherwise it is gardeing and walking for me.
use it or lose it.
Sort of goes along with your last post on sex and travel. LOL.

Arkansas Patti said...

Way to go Tom. You will feel better and live better. I use to do 30 minutes of walking daily and slacked off. Think you have inspired me to get back in the rut. Thanks.

Jennifer said...

Good for you! Glad to see you went back...a hot tub would entice me, too. You should try joining your wife at the 7am yoga class.

Mage said...

G and I belong to our local Y. I hate going but do 3 times a week. He hates going but does so under duress. LOL

Anonymous said...

You might try pickle ball. The court is much smaller than tennis. My husband is addicted to it now and rarely plays golf anymore.

Denise

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I like to keep it simple. I walk everywhere and explore my neighborhood. The grocery store is a couple of blocks away so instead of buying a bunch of things at a time, I walk there whenever I need something and only buy as much as I can comfortably carry. it's all exercise without thinking about it so much. I was thinking of joining the Y for more social reasons but then, I'd have to drive.

David @iretiredyoung said...

The comments seem to support your experience at the gym in that everyone is very supportive. I'll add my voice to that, anyone who gets out to make the effort deserves a round of applause.

For me, company is the magic ingredient. I like my exercise to be a social occasion. If I'm running, I like it to be like a coffee morning on legs, and cycling is a coffee morning on wheels. Exercising with others versus exercising alone are vastly different events for me.

Barbara said...

I find water aerobics to be my best "sport". The force of the water makes my workout hard enough to tire me out and tighten my legs and bottom. It's kind of a sissy way out but then I am a sissy kind of girl. The problem is that water aerobics is not in fashion now and there are not many choices of times or locations. I need to find a friend who has a pool and we could suffer together.

Laurie Stone said...

Wonderful. The most important part of exercise is finding what works for you. The social aspect of the gym is also nice.

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