Friday, April 19, 2019

Hard work

I'm just back from my hour at the gym and as usual, my muscles are overwhelmed by the whole experience. We go to a fairly large gym, but it does have a Senior Wellness program where you can use a limited amount of equipment and only 3 days a week, for 4 hours each day. All for a limited price. We decided to join about 7 years ago and it has become a good habit for us. Before all of my mishaps and hospital stays, I would use the gym for 2 and 1/2 hours and then the pool for water aerobics and another 45 minutes. 4 or 5 years ago I had become very fit and I was quite proud of it. "Pride goeth before a fall" is the saying I remember and it certainly applies to me. After attending a pulmonary rehab program for 8 weeks I knew I had to get back into shape. It has been challenging to say the least. I get onto the treadmill and begin walking. About 6 weeks ago I was walking at 2.4 mph for 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes on a device called a NuStep. All cardio/pulmonary exercises. I am finally up to 2.9 mph and have switched to resistance machines to gain some muscles. All the  time that I am exercising, I am monitoring my pulse and my blood oxygen levels. My pulse is coming back to its old levels of 80 to 85 after 30 minutes on the treadmill. Back when I was doing marathons, I was able to keep my pulse at 80 for close to the entire race. But that was 'then' and then was 13 years ago.

Gyms are funny places once you get past the intimidation period. Gym are usually crowded and noisy with some people sweating over weights while you hear the 'clang' of dropped weights. There's lots of 'posing' in front of mirrors while muscles are flexed. But, if you get past that and stick around for awhile, you see that there is a lot more to the gym. There are people in their 90's here along with a crowd aged 30+. There are lots of overweight and unfit citizens as well as people using walkers. And there's me; aged, long gray hair and using a cane. And, while you use the treadmill, you get an elevated view of the gym and its occupants for 30 minutes. If you are a 'people watcher' this is a great place for it. I think I could write a book about the people and their habits. For instance, there are the 'Fitness Flit'ers' that flit from one machine to the next, never staying longer than 2 minutes. I watch them, wondering if they will ever land on one they like. They usually travel in pairs and have headphones attached to their phones. At the same time they carry on a lengthy conversation with their fellow Flit'er. Some people come to occupy a machine while they fiddle with their phones, listening to music or a podcast. They never exercise. Then there are those that love to gather in larger groups, 4 or 5, and discuss world events or whatever, all sitting on or draped across the equipment and using very loud voices. And then there's me...I don't know what group others would put me in, but I'm sure I have been categorized by someone watching, just as I do.       

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