A humorous look at finding the Fountain of Youth: at the health club


Two years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution  to exercise every day  and it’s stuck. Why? I like the high! It gets the blood to my head, releases endorphins. Half-way through I start feeling marvelous.

I look at exercise as an alternative to the FDA’s solution,  pills.

I had to find my own way until  I figured out a routine that suited me.

Seeking the Fountain of Youth at the high-priced Health Club

I’d been doing swimming aerobics at the health club pool for a while, but I thought, why not try for the heavy-duty exercise, the land exercise. Why not try a personal training group?

The first step was signing a contract, and handing over my credit card.

An extra $15o.00 plus monthly membership gave me entry into the newly formed group.

The second step was evaluating my fitness

The next day I headed up to the gym to get my fitness tested. I had to wear headgear that looked like a scuba mask to check my oxygen level on the treadmill. I carefully placed a little gizmo into my bra to record my heartbeat.

When I started by walking as fast as I could, the heart gizmo did not read my heartbeat. I went several times to a back room to put this heart monitor  closer to my heart and aging, sagging bosoms, but to no avail.

” I have another appointment coming, and you’ll just have to try tomorrow,” said the sheepish, red-faced  trainer who was about 19.

I  slowly limped out of the gym, thinking I was already a failure at land based exercise.

The next day, the gym manager, a shapely muscled 24-year old woman, figured out another way to detect my pulse. She read it off the machine somehow, or just made the whole thing up. I was glad to find out I wasn’t heartless or clinically dead.

Joining the personal training class

The next day I showed up bright and early to attend my first class. It was a variety of women of all persuasions. I was the oldest, but I wasn’t the heaviest! They all were running on the treadmills, so I joined them.

Then, the trainer rounded us all up to start our real exercise session.

The affable trainer, Greg, running the session was like a friendly drill sergeant. I furiously rowed on a rowing machine,  rapidly bounced a rubber ball off the wall,  held a plank position, and startled the entire gym when I awkwardly released the weights on a machine and sounded a loud clang.

The worst was the stair-stepper

I would only recommend the stair-stepper for people trying to get information out of a terrorist. They just have to make the thing automatically go really fast. I seriously feared for my life while on this contraption. As my heart began to jump out of my chest, I yelled,” How do I stop this damn thing.” After finding the emergency stop, I thankfully climbed off.

I did last about three months, and I did attempt things I thought I could never do again, like 100 sit ups, burpees, planks and push ups. My stomach was shrinking. I was proud of myself, but I wasn’t  looking forward to the personal training sessions. After a while,  I arrived later and later . Finally,  I didn’t come at all.

So after spending extra money, and torturing myself, I discontinued my contract.

What I needed to do was accept my age and have fun! 

I decided to try things like bike spinning, Zumba dancing, yoga,  running on the elliptical ( while I watch TV with my headphones), and lifting weights with Silver Sneaker (Medicare sponsored) exercise groups.

I also bike ride with my husband, take long walks in the woods, get down on the floor with my grandson and play like a two-year old.

To be truthful, I was never admired for my svelte figure. But I do believe the Fountain of Youth resides within yourself. The right exercise for you, and attitude are important parts of it.

I do have great blood pressure, and an athletic pulse. I have a lot of energy and feel great. Okay, I’m not at an ideal weight, but it’s been worse.

Taking those extra steps makes it possible not to keep 30 or 40 pills organized.

Harmony Project gets loads of bikes to give to kids for Christmas


305432_10151280280413070_1024731632_n305432_10151280280413070_1024731632_nHere’s what can happen if people work together, and do something positive. The Harmony Project, a philanthropic group that sings and shares had a one day drive in Columbus, Ohio, to buy bikes for foster kids.  It worked!  In one day, enough money was raised to buy 155 bikes!

In light of what has happened recently, this is encouraging news. If we put our minds to it, we can do anything.

We just need to believe in ourselves, and what we can accomplish! Picture by David Brown, director of The Harmony Project!

A baby boomer recalls her biking experiences: both good and bad!


My husband and I riding bikes on vacation!

My husband and I riding bikes on vacation!

My first bike was blue , and I remember my dad teaching me to ride it. I have a vague memory of him running with me and pushing the back of the bike. I was about six. Suddenly, I turned my head to look at him and I realized I was riding it all by myself. The first taste of real freedom. I can still see him standing there with a satisfied smile on his face. Then he said, “see, I knew you could do it!”

I had a disaster with a bike when I was 10.  My mother told me, “don’t leave the house today because we’re going to Cedar Point.” (An amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio). I didn’t listen. As soon as she left for work, I rode  an old clunky leftover bike to the neighborhood pool. On the way home, I decided to carry all my friend’s swimming bags on my handlebars.

Disaster struck. The swimming bags, filled with towels, flip-flops and floats,  were too heavy. I stood up on the bike,  fell off the bike and onto the sidewalk. I spent the evening getting a  plaster of paris cast on my broken ankle.  My mother was more than a little annoyed with me.   She did slightly warm up when the doctor was putting that clunky soon-to-be- smelly awful thing on my leg. She wasn’t the only one who was upset with me. My two older sisters were not happy.  My father was the only one who displayed any sympathy toward me.

I hadn’t learned my lesson

No disasters —at least on a bike—until I was 19.  My roommate and I decided to go for a ride on the graveled alley by our apartment. I decided to stand up, and guess what? That’s right. I fell over again. This time I landed right on my chin. It smarted when I hit the gravel. Ouch!

Being the trusting naive girls that we were, my friend and I hitchhiked to the University’s hospital ER.  First we ran in the apartment to grab a towel. My chin and lower face was profusely bleeding and it frightened me.

Strangely enough, the  two clean-cut looking guys who offered us a ride also provided us with mixed drinks. They had a little set up with a decanter and some fancy drink glasses. I held a towel to my chin with one hand,  and drank the welcome drink with my other. By that time, I was  really worried about what I’d done to my face.

When I got to the hospital, they took me right away. I inadvertently caught my reflection in the doctor’s glasses while he was sewing me up. I watched as the dimple in my chin disappeared.  It saddened me because I was the only one of the children in my family to inherit my dad’s dimple  and I was quite fond of it. Fortunately the rest of my face was unharmed.

I still ride a bike

After all those problems, I still ride a bike. I’ve finally learned to be careful.  I bought a brand new one several years ago, and named it “Freedom.” I’ve experienced a lot of joy riding her around town.  I’m really glad riding bikes is now acceptable for mature adults. At one time this wasn’t a cool thing to do. (That tells you how old I really am).  It’s fun and great exercise.

My daughter wins a bike

Naturally, all parents want their kids to ride a bike on their own. It’s a proud moment, but it’s the beginning of the end. You suddenly realize that one day they will be leaving you.

I proudly remember when my determined little daughter won a bike in a contest. She had to ride a certain amount of miles in the local park to get a new bike. I was quite surprised when someone rang the doorbell and awarded her a shiny red brand new bike. It didn’t surprise her at all.

The Harmony Project

Now, another one of my links with bikes is the Harmony project, a philanthropic organization. One of the things we do is raise money and give bikes to foster kids.  I’m sure they will get a lot joy from their bikes. I just wish I could see all their faces when they get their bikes on Christmas morning.  You can still contribute to this worthwhile project. So far, we’ve bought them 150 brand new bikes.

I want to thank all the people who contributed yesterday to our one day event on 12/12/12/ . It’s an example of what people can really do when they want to change things!

If you want to know more about us, check out our page at http://www.harmonyproject.com/bikes

If you have a story about your bike, or want to tell me about your first one, please comment!