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Three score and ten or more

Monday, February 18, 2008

Exercise, Exercise, Do Your Daily Exercise

Janet and I do water aerobics Monday Wednesday and Friday (and occasionally on Saturday.) I don't think I am overstating the case when I say that, in all probability, neither of us would be alive right now without this exercise, and if we were still alive, our quality of life would be minimal. Both of us have gone through phases where we had to go to the pool using a walker and had to be helped into the pool.. I am so grateful to the city for setting up a pool that is winterized and has had, over the years that we have used it, qualified and enthusiastic instructors.

The folks in our group range in age from the high thirties to- - a lot older than I am, and I am truly a coot. Right now we have only four men attending and almost twenty women, of varying ages and physical conditions. The shifts in participants have occurred largely though folks moving away, or through graduation to hospice programs or funeral parlors.

My forty plus year old daughter was visiting here from Florida a couple of weeks ago, and we offered to take her, her husband and my five year old great-grandson to the pool with us. Her immediate reaction was that she hadn't brought her suit with her, and that in spite of a youth spent as a top level junior competitive swimmer, she no longer looked very good in a swim suit. I informed her that, in reality, none of the participants in our program looked very good in swimsuits. On hearing this, Janet let me have it with a brown corduroy throw pillow, but the daughter borrowed a suit from her mother, brought her grandson and joined us in the pool --mostly entertaining the grandson. He loved it and they had fun while we exercised.

Of course, as soon as we entered the pool, my dear one announced to all present that I had told my daughter that none of the participants looked very good in swim suits. The men in the group shrugged it off, but I have caught about four shades of hell every day since then from the women in the group, and every time their antagonism begins to flag, Janet reminds them what I said. I'm still getting good exercise, but I'm also learning to dodge pool noodles and exercise equipment that happens to come my way (with surprising swiftness and enthusiasm) and am trying not to listen to the comments about MY swim suit, etc. etc.

It is interesting to have seen the various types of instruction in the aerobics group. Our current teacher is martial arts and pilates oriented so we do punches and jump kicks and stuff like that. Other instructors have focused on other kinds of water movement from flutter kick and a "cross country ski" movement to very slow and precise movements particularly for arthritics. I always feel like I get a good workout, and especially that I am able to move all day with more precision, a straighter back, and much more flexibility when I have been to the pool.

I do other exercises as well. My back porch is filled with stair-steppers, a cardio glide, and a variety of other gizmos, and Janet and I try to walk for some distance on those days when we are not at the pool., but the closer one gets to geezerhood and coot status, the less physical activity is possible without standing in water. I have a friend older than I whose wife is about my age, and they both still participate in marathons, half marathons, and ten K runs, and I really honor and admire them, wishing I could do that as well, but heck, I couldn't do those things (or wouldn't) when I was young and healthy


At 10:33 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Too funny, I have just been thinking of joining the gym near my office where they do water aerobics but have been reluctant because my aging body is so ugly. Yes, I'm vain. Maybe I'll check it out and keep my fingers crossed that it's mostly other old geezers.

I'm also thinking of Tai Chi because at least they keep their clothes on for that. I do a little yoga every day just to keep me supple but this is the first time in my life that I'm doing a desk job and it is making me stiff.


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