Monday, January 18, 2010
Trying My Best
This is a NuStep cross trainer exercise machine. It is one of two machines from the Clare fitness room that I can use, but unfortunately inertia often sets in and I stay away. I am, at best, a reluctant exerciser.
I'm sold on the value of staying active, but I seem to be the ultimate recliner potato. I am lazy and tend to be inactive. Anyway, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (barring special appointments and responsibilities) I appear for exercise classes on the 19th floor. The leader, Jan, is wonderful: always complimentary and encouraging no matter what one does or does not manage to do. "Modify this exercise" is her frequent instruction, usually directed to me. Why?
Some parts of the exercise routine are simply impossible for me. For one thing, I cannot raise my right arm; it's been that way since an accident in 1942, followed by another in 1952. By then, my arm was misshapen and nearly useless, although I continue to write with my right hand. Due to arthritis in my shoulders, my left arm can't be raised very far, either. Despite various bouts with physical therapy, arm exercises are a lost cause.
My legs don't work especially well, either. Two knee replacements helped, but I still lack strength and a sense of balance. I'm the one who can't get out of a chair without using my hands, and the one who clings to the back of the chair during most standing exercises.
Fortunately, my fellow senior exercisers are not toned athletes, but some of them, including some of those considerably older than I, do very well indeed. My many unathletic years seem to have caught up with me. I'm overweight and clumsy, even after more than a year of these exercise classes. It bothered me when our oldest resident, age 101, connected to her oxygen tank, did some of the excercises better than I did.
Many times, I've thought about discontinuing my participation in the exercise program. Still, I keep going. This is one area in which I cannot be a perfectionist, but I'm conquering my embarrassment and trying my best. Some movement is undoubtedly better than none! I'm reminded again, though, that old age is not for the weak. And I'll try to visit my favorite exercise machine regularly soon!