Tag Archives: Older adults

Lifetime Fitness Awareness

Three little words.

We’ve all heard them: word trios that drop on our heads like clusters of miniature anvils.

  • You are overdrawn.
  • The IRS called.
  • What’s our deductible?
  • Congratulations! It’s quadruplets.

But the three words on my adult college registration eclipsed them all.

Dress for exercise.

Dress for exercise?

“Lifetime Fitness Awareness is required for everybody,” my college adviser insisted.

“But I’m already aware,” I whined. “My knees crack and I injured my back reading the newspaper. Why should I throw away perfectly good money to find out what I already know — my abs of steel are flabs I conceal.”

She gave me a sympathetic look, but said nothing.

At the first session, I felt encouraged. Our instructor, a Nice Young Man (over-50 translation for hunk), prayed at the beginning of class for health and well-being. A Christian college has its advantages; I could use Divine help, especially since one glance told me I was at least 10 years older than any of my co-sufferers.

He prayed, his voice full of compassion.

Then he proceeded to kill me.

“Okay, everybody, let’s hit the weight room!”

Weight rooms exist for football players. Olympic medalists. Japanese wrestlers in loincloths.

I don’t even like to swimsuit shop.

As we filed into the weight room, young men with biceps the size of hams gave us polite smiles as each hoisted half a house above his head.

I stared at a machine.

It smirked back. Deep in its shiny metal innards, it knew the truth: to me, heaven presents no mystery, compared to the incomprehensible operation of any and all machines.

I refused to be defeated by a lower species. I grasped the machine’s cold, skeletal limbs and yanked them toward my chest. The machine fought back, but with grim determination, I conquered my opponent. I had nearly completed a whole set when the instructor interrupted me.

Would I please stop wrestling with the equipment rack?

He stuck close after that, introducing me one by one to various torture devices:  machines that

  • bent my biceps,
  • pulled my pectorals
  • decreased my height
  • reversed my elbow direction.

“Can you believe it?” I asked my adviser later, after describing my brush with death by machinery. “We spent the last class session talking about managing stress. I’ll tell you about stress. Taking ‘Slow Execution 101.’”

My adviser looked up from her schedule of classes. “You’re mistaken,” she said. “That course is required next semester.”

What exercise horror stories are you trying to forget?