Friday, July 11, 2014

Fitness Fanatic

At my last doctor's appointment, with no prompting whatsoever, my doctor informed me that I was "cleared" to start working out in a gym.  "What do you mean I'm cleared for the gym?", I grumbled "I only asked about swimming."  I wasn't overly thrilled with this clearance, but my family and friends said it would be a good thing.  They said it was necessary.  They even said it was time.  All of them assured me I would feel better and maybe even stronger.  I was told I'd have more energy and I'd build muscle to replace what Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease was slowly eating away.  Yes, the buggers all went in cahoots together and decided it was time I put down my chocolate and put on some walking shoes.

Public Domain image by the US Air Force

With great encouragement they enticed me into working out with the idea of using our city's community exercise center.  At the city's center, you can walk on an indoor, fully air-conditioned track and they even loan out hand-held track lap counters so you don't forget what lap you're on.  Wasn't sure I liked that so much since my favorite way to count is:  1, 2, 7, 9, 10, done!

Before I ever had the chance to make the argument of not being able to leave my children home alone since they are out of school for the summer, I was informed they are old enough to walk or run the track with me, as well as work out in the non-exercise machine area of the gym.

When I walked into the gym the first time, I had preconceived expectations as to what my experience would be and who would be there.  What I discovered upon entering the facility completely blew those expectations away.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I expected my children to run laps around me - literally.  My expectation was met in the first minute of stepping on the track when my son ran backwards faster than I could walk forward.  My daughter, not to be outdone by her brother, literally walked in circles around me as I walked the track.  I was ready to make them both go stand with their noses in a corner.

What I didn't expect though were the number of older people in the gym.......... who were all easily kicking my butt.  These people have gray hair, for crying out loud!  Ok, so do I but I'm at least young enough that I still want to color those grays.

You know, it's one thing to get lapped by a bratty pre-teen, it's rather humiliating to get lapped by an octogenarian.  Hearing that courtesy call of "coming up on your right" from behind made me want to block them so they'd have to stay behind me.

As if it wasn't bad enough to be getting passed on the track by people 20-30 years older than you, they can even do strength training exercises and work the machines as well as professional athletes in the prime of their lives.  Some of the older gentlemen even have muscles as well defined as Olympic athletes.

I mentioned to my mother about being schooled on my first gym visit by students from the Jack LaLanne era.  I thought she was joking when she mentioned they could be participants in the Senior Olympics.  I've heard of the Summer and Winter Olympics, as well as the Special Olympics, but the Senior Olympics?  Surely she jested.

She promptly got on the computer and showed me men and women aged 50+ competing in almost every regular Olympic sport.  Yes, they compete in track and field events (including the high jump), swimming, baseball, and lots more.  And they're having a blast while they're doing it! 

Here's the short video my mother showed me of these athletic seniors competing:  

Something I have discovered about working out with seniors is they aren't your typical gym rats.  They aren't competitive and they aren't there to put on a show.

When you walk in, they greet you like you're Norm from the old television show Cheers.  They encourage and motivate you..... and quite possibly rib you a bit with their well-seasoned humor.

After a week of working out with the oldies, I'm not feeling too bad about getting lapped by them.  It would be nice if they would consider a change, out of respect for us out-of-shape whipper-snappers.  Instead of calling out "passing you on the right", they should call out "free chocolate passing you on your right".  I think I'd be more inclined to pick up my pace than to want to throw out an elbow.

Written by Christie Bielss


  1. All the best with the new resolution and hoping you stick to it :D Go for that chocolate, girl, go!

  2. I've had to take a break while I've dealt with the emergency with my parents, but at least I've continued to lose weight. Back to the gym I go this week though. Looking forward to going and working off some of the stress of the past 3 weeks.