I've always been a couch potato: overweight, inactive, awkward, and lazy. I was never athletic; I never participated in any sports in high school or college. I've certainly been prodded by parents, doctors, and friends to get moving, but I've seldom done so. The inactivity brought on by my fairly recent knee replacement surgery only made things worse.
Now I find that this retirement paradise where I live is serious about fitness. Not that anyone forces anyone into any activity, but there's always a list of exercise classes and activities, from beginning to advanced, on the schedule.
Thanks to my visiting niece, who prodded me gently, I began to attend a beginning excercise class three times a week. Guess what? I've stayed with it. I also try to visit the fitness room to use the exercise bike, recumbent cross trainer, even the treadmill, twice a week or so. For the first time in my long life, I seem to be sticking to an exercise routine. Will wonders never cease?
I once owned a treadmill. Along with the recumbent exercise bike that replaced it, it served as a good rack for clothes and as a dustcatcher. I seldom bothered to use either. So what's the difference? For one thing, I have a "now or never" feeling. If I don't get into shape now, when will I? Time may be running out.
Then there's peer pressure. We have a skilled, kind leader who understands elders. It's comforting to see fellow residents obviously older and less fit than I (along with others more fit) exercising together. I'll never be the star of the class, but I can generally keep up. It's annoying and embarrassing to have one arm I can't raise over my head and legs that give out occasionally, but I'm used to those problems, and nobody comments.
The Clare is serious about all this. I had to give permission to contact my doctor (she'll be overjoyed to hear that I'm getting out of my recliner to exercise) and sign an agreement not to hold the staff responsible for injury or death. Actually, I'm more likely to die at the dinner table than on the exercise equipment, so signing was not a problem.
Now, I hope I can keep this up. It's easy to make excuses when I feel tired or sore, but in reality, exercise usually peps me up. Now if I can stop using food to cure depression, my body may have a chance. I guess it's better late than never to give up my couch potato status, but it may be a struggle.
Copyright 2009 by Marlys Marshall Styne