Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning I wake up and start an argument.
Maybe I’ll just skip the cardio dance class today. My hair looks too cute to sweat.
“Think Nike, Lezlie. Stop your malingering, you twit. Get your ass up!”
That teacher at the senior community center seems to forget how OLD we are. So what if she is running marathons every month and she is in her 50s. Big whoop!
“Just do it, you wimp. You know how good you feel after you’ve done the last stretch and stagger out into the searing sunlight toward your hot car.
Today is a weight training day. I hate those *$&%&#* weights. My shoulders get so tired and she just keeps counting. 50 – 49—48 –47--
“But look how much easier it is getting for you to keep up. And look how much looser your waistbands are fitting. Knock it off, old lady. Get up!”
And so I did. I dressed in my oh-so-sexy (NOT) workout clothes, tied a bandana around my head to catch the copious amounts of sweat that come pouring out of my forehead and the nape of my neck and walked the dog to warm up my rickety hip joints. No sense in putting on makeup; it just ends up running down the sides of my face.
One of the reasons I push myself to go each time is because it is so good for my ego. I mean, let’s face it, there are a lot of old people over there! It’s hard to say just how old they all are. Several are recovering from strokes and have visible issues of facial distortion and limited physical movement. But the age minimum is 55 to even use the facility, so, at 67, I’m definitely where I belong.
Don’t shoot me for saying so, but for an old broad, I’m really in pretty good shape. The first 15 minutes of our class are devoted to walking around the gigantic multi-purpose room where we convene. Each time I find myself aching to zip past the bottleneck created by people walking at a pace a snail would find frustrating. I don’t want to seem rude by blowing past them like a speed walker on speed, so I just go wander around the building for 15 minutes.
Any sense of superiority I might briefly entertain is quickly squelched by the pace and rigor of this sadistic teacher’s aerobic and anaerobic regimen. With my 3-lb. weights in hand, I am drenched in sweat and gasping for breath before Michael Jackson (rest his soul) can finish “Billie Jean.”
The pushups, I can do like a champ. They are the old people’s version – using the back of a chair instead of the floor, but I can do all 50 without stopping. But YOU try sitting and rising out of your chair without using your arms 40 times at a rapid pace. My quadriceps start burning around count 15. I think about Jane Fonda yelling feel the burn!
Just Do It!
Around count 25 my thighs are sending smoke signals into the air. I glance over at the woman next to me who appears to be well into her 80s. She is bouncing up and down like a toddler on Skittles. My competitive spirit is screaming at me to stop my whining.
By count 35 the burning has stopped. In fact, everything has stopped in the tops of my thighs. No burn, no pain, no MOVEMENT. Nothing. I have hit what my son the ex-personal trainer calls muscle fatigue. Miss 80-something is still bouncing up and down.
Mercifully, that’s the last set with the weights. Ordered to stand behind the chair, I rise too quickly or something and feel my head lighten to the point I fear I will faint. That’s why the chair is such an integral part of the exercise – it catches woozy seniors whose heart rates have exceeded safe levels.
I mop my face, neck, chest and arms with the towel I always bring, take a long quaff of my chilled H2O and hold on to the edge of the table until my head stops spinning.
Shoulders back, with an effort, and towel draped around my neck, I strut – okay, I stroll to my car, pull open the door and fall, still panting, into the driver’s seat.
Free at last! And I Just Did It!