Old people exercising
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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Old people exercising

A couple of months ago this writer decided that we needed to get our body into shape, one more time. We were once an active member of the local YMCA for about thirty years. A few years ago we stopped exercising and began to really enjoy evening ice cream and a movie. We are paying the price for our indulgence.

So a couple of months ago we started to formulate our plans for reentry into the world of exercise. Every evening, while eating our ice cream, we would think about the equipment we would need. We had to identify problems areas and set some goals. Our problem areas surfaced quickly – we weigh too much. Our cardio-pulmonary system looks like Baghdad. Our joints are crumbling under the weight of impoverished support; our skeletal system was long ago divorced by a totally irresponsible muscular system.

So we decided to build our own weight bench. This served two proposes, we could tinker in our garage and think about the science of weight lifting. We were on our way to renewed health. Weight benches are complicated engineering marvels. Sometimes we would have to sit in a lawn chair in our garage for hours at a time, drinking coffee, studying the design and function of my project. We were trying to imagine what two hundred pounds of weight would do to our frail body if the thing collapsed while we were laying on it.

Oh, and it had to be the right color. We chose maroon for the metal skeleton and a hunter green fabric to cover the padding on the bench. Color coordination is important for elderly exercise. Our weight lifting equipment now accommodates all necessary upper body work.

But what about the cardio stuff. We live four blocks from a beautiful hiking and biking trail that runs along our parkway system, right through the heart of town. Walking seemed the logical choice. We found our Nike running shoes in the back of the closet and got right in the truck to drive the route. Meticulously checking the odometer, we staked out two routes, a two mile trek, and a three mile marathon.

Four or five weeks ago we launched the long planned ‘program.’ we walked two miles. When we returned we were too tired to lift any weights – so we took a shower and took a nap. We had earned an extra portion of ice cream that night. The next day we had to return to the closet to find our cane to assist in walking around the house.

Surprisingly, we have remained faithful to our program. Stretching is more important than ever – but laying on the floor has awakened my sense of how often we need to vacuum the carpet. We walk at least four times each week – and that depends on how sore we am. Our regular route is now three miles, and we actually jog for about a hundred yards three times in that venture.

The weightlifting is starting to come around. There are fourteen different exercises in our three day a week routine. This routine always follows the walk. It feels to us like the walk warms us up, gets our blood flowing, invigorates us – and we are compelled to tackle the weights.

We can feel the strength building. Our expectation is that in two to three months we will be jogging the entire three miles – with one qualifier.  We stepped on the scales this morning and we have not lost a single pound. This is a problem for jogging. We are carrying too much weight and if we try running too much we risk damaging the knees – and our ego.

We no longer eat ice cream. The ice cream has been replaced by an apple or an orange.   Small life style steps, for sure. But It feels like we am stepping in the right direction.

“Life is drawing without an eraser.” Unknown

There Are 6 Responses So Far. »

  1. I would have gotten stuck at the “needing to vacuum the carpet” part and decided I’ve got to much else to do to excercise!!! This post is a HOOT!!!!

  2. Enjoyed reading this…very amusing.

    As a marathon and half-marathon participant (mostly walking), I’m always interested in what motivates people to get started and stay involved with any kind of exercise regime. A couple of years ago, The Sun News, a Myrtle Beach SC newspaper, did a big spread on the local marathon and its participants. As I recall, one of the women who was then in her mid-sixties was interviewed about her training and her future goals. For starters, she planned to run a marathon on every continent, and while that doesn’t seem so lofty (not like running one in every state), what was amazing is that at one time she had been so obese that she could hardly to outside to check her mail. When she went to her doctor about one of her myriad health problems, he refused to give her any more meds and told her to stop eating so much and start moving more. Oh, and she was a smoker, and the doc insisted that she put them away too. She was pretty irate at first, but then one day she walked to the end of the drive to check the mail, and after doing this for several days, she realized she wasn’t gasping when she plopped down in her chair. She began walking halfway down the block, then all the way down the block, and then around the block, and then around twice, and then to another neighborhood. Somewhere along the line she she went out to check the mail, and threw out the cigarettes and replaced candy with apples. I wonder if she’ll show up at the event this year too…or if she’s in South America.

  3. Oops, didn’t mean to click submit so soon. A colleague came by and I hit click before proofreading. Please excuse the errors and in the next to the last line, delete “She went out to check the mail, and”

  4. psychcentral,

    Thanks for the inspiration. I have walked two consecutive days now and the pain is subsiding. I don’t have any marathons on my calendar – but who knows? I am just going to try to get stronger every week. I have a lot of experience with exercise – but I am just beginning to understand the impact of aging.


  5. One of the classes I teach is Human Growth and Development, and one of my most constant refrains is that the decisions we make today will affect tomorrow. That includes decisions in all areas-financial, career, social, physical, and so forth. Of course, I realize that you know all of that already (from personal experience), but I’m mentioning it in case you might want to drop by our site and impart some words of wisdom.

    About the marathons, my brothers and son-in-law and I are all participating in the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February, and while all of them will run and endure all sorts of pain and duress, I’ll walk with a few short jogging moments here and there. It’s a fun event.

  6. […] someone from psychcentral commented on Old People Exercising and I went to visit them.  We had a cup of coffee and … all figurative …  hope to […]

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