Until I retired I never realized how old my body is. Well, there were hints that I chose to sweep aside—like the increasing difficulty getting up from kneeling or sitting on the floor without holding onto anything, along with struggling to get out of that beach chair of mine that I use in the summertime for our local concerts in the park. My excuses have centered mostly on the conditions rather than my lack of ability. Chair is too low, I sat too long, these stupid shoes, etc.
And then I joined a workout class two months ago. There is a cross-section as far as age is concerned in this evening class—a fairly equal distribution from mid-forties to late-sixties. There is one 75 year old in the class, but she is awesome so I am not counting her. Anyway, I drag myself to this class three nights a week and for one hour it is one grueling workout—but I speak for myself! And I am confessing that here only. Because after each set it seems all the others clap and cheer, while I am filled with OMGs. Well, a couple of gals in the back row with me exchange glances while they gasp for breath.
I have discovered there is a sisterhood in this back row because we don’t always get the routine right away and we are in the back row so no one will notice—I figured that out the first week. I asked one of my “sisters” how long it takes to learn the sets and she replied that the instructor keeps changing them all the time so you really have to pay attention. Our instructor is great—beautifully toned and inexhaustible. And she is around 50, so there goes the age excuse. No excuses, ladies! Unless you honestly cannot get your breath you are fine. Keep it going! She says that all the time. The music is fast-paced and she is even faster—and when the music stops she keeps going with the next routine so we will see it as our preview; thirty seconds of silence is followed by more music, and this goes on for one solid hour nonstop!
The room is ice cold when we enter, so I wear a light jacket. It is colder inside than out in the parking lot! But after 10 minutes of warm-up, I throw that jacket back against the wall where my workout bag sits because I am sweating like all get-out. This is very good, the sweating. Yep. Another good thing is learning the routines, because I am exercising my brain—which, I’ve discovered, is gradually losing ground just like my body. And I didn’t really know this before! Ah-ha. Gee. Ooops, we only do four skips before we do the ball-change and then we punch the air four times with the right arm, then four times with the left. Got it! Hey, we stopped and now she is doing something else! Okay, I’ll get it. And I do get it—just not as fast as I expected.
But then, half-way through, it is time to get out our mats. And we slowly kneel down and then finally sit with our legs outstretched. We have an excellent workout stretching our legs, which is also good for the abs—my abs ache, actually—and then we are to rise to a standing position. That’s when I say, “Oh, crap.” It is this exercise that delineates me from the pack—except for my sisterhood of the back row, and they get on all fours like me and rock from side to side as they struggle to get the heck off the floor.
So, I have learned that I have to keep moving. Walk and exercise body and mind every single day. Because if you don’t, you’re screwed. Really.