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.

Trying out yoga again! Downward dog was never so hard!


English: downward dog posture I took this pict...

English: downward dog posture I took this picture for use in the Anahata Yoga instruction manual. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I decided to go and do a yoga class. This is part of my resolve to do something different every week. I am on my never-ending journey to maintain my health.  I have been stepping up the exercise and feel a lot better than a month ago! (I am also trying to eat smartly).

I used to do yoga about 6 years ago. I’ll be honest, I never much liked it. First of all, I have a lot of weight to hold up when I’m up on all fours. Downward dog is not my favorite position to be in . (Maybe it’s because I am allergic to dogs.)  Your hands are lower than your legs, and you have to hold your behind straight up. in the air. Not ever owning a dog, I’m not sure whether dogs actually do this yoga position.

Knowing I might not make it through the class, I did the elliptical machine for 20 minutes beforehand. I put it on heart rate zone, and it got my heart-rate up to 132 which I think is a little high for a 62-year-old woman who is overweight. So, I already was sweating when I went in the yoga class.

The instructor was making the room all dark and playing exotic music. These yoga instructors are all spiritual types who weigh hardly anything. They are real flexible and can do all sorts of tricks with their bodies.  They also spout off smatterings of pithy sayings coming from Eastern philosophy. I like that part.

Anyway, I was already tired after I was sitting Indian style. It must be cause I’m so weak. My back does not want to be straight.  Then I figured out that my pants were actually too tight around the waist. Not a good beginning. If you go, make sure your pants are loose! That’s why they make yoga pants.

I was bound and determined to make it through the class . One thing I should have known from experience is it’s not smart to eat cereal and drink 2 cups of coffee before you point your head towards the floor.   I reviewed my morning breakfast during downward dog. I was glad my breakfast stayed where it was. Then, for some unknown reason my eyes and nose began running. (Downward dog?)  I was having an allergy attack while I was trying to stretch my arm around my right side while putting my left foot in front of my right foot. Then my glasses kept falling off my head. So, I kept removing them, but I couldn’t see the instructor, so I had to keep putting them on and off.

I actually wanted to leave after the first 10 minutes, but I’m proud to say I did the entire class. Not like everyone else, but I did what I could. Which wasn’t a whole lot, but the sweat was pouring off my forehead.

The instructor was very sweet, and kept giving modifications for my benefit. In yoga they usually stress doing what you can, and not worrying about what other people are doing. I’m fine with that!

One thing I do know about yoga is that stretching and breathing is a good thing. I was so happy when we got to the part where we relax. I wasn’t expecting the instructor to put a towel around my eyes.  That was a little strange. Usually they put it on your body.

The class was finally over and I said my final  Namaste. I will say I felt terrific when it was over.

I’ll try again next week.

I would recommend yoga. From past experience, it helps burn calories and gets oxygen going through you body.  You’re so happy when it’s finally over too!

Do you have an exercise you don’t enjoy, but do it because you feel better when it’s over!

Weigh in on “The Biggest Loser”: Gimmicky or Real?


I hate to admit it, but I am a regular watcher of “The Biggest Loser.” I use it to motivate myself to keep on a good eating and exercise program, but I have some problems with the show.

Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition winner

Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition winner (Photo credit: audiovisualjunkie)

Problems I have with this show

First of all, trainer Jillian is a real witch. She’s really mean to people, then she does  pop psychology on them. She seems like she has a split-personality. On one hand, she is nasty, then she puts on her happy face and sweet voice. (She calls everyone sweetie when she’s being nice.)   I really hate when she gets contestants to drag her around as a weight. Plus, her smile is crooked which gives her a devious look.

On the first episode this season she threw most of her team out the door and told them to consider leaving.  (The poor people were all throwing up because the tasks she made them start out with were too hard.) Did she have to start them out with such difficulty?   Several contestants considered their options and went home. Can you blame them?

Last week she made some poor woman go in a coffin for a few minutes. It was to help her realize that she needed a new lease on life. She was fooling around with serious stuff. It’s a good thing the woman, who is claustrophobic, didn’t end up going crazy.

The other trainers are easier to take. Why Bob has tattoos going all over his arms and everywhere is beyond me.  Why get your body in shape, than disfigure yourself.  I like Dolvett, who is the boxer. He seems to have his head on straight. He, like Bob, have a more positive approach then Jillian.

The challenges

I have to hand it to the writers for thinking up those bizarre challenges. Traveling through bubble gum, slogging through mud. throwing them off heights. Contestants on that show are either desperate for money or attention. Some of the stuff they make them do seems downright life threatening. Last week they had to hold up weight, and when they couldn’t anymore they were dumped into water.

It does manage to hold my attention, so I guess the writers know what they’re doing.

The weigh- in

What kind of person would get up with all their flab hanging out to millions of people? All the contestants on “The Biggest Loser.” The weigh-ins are really odd. Who loses 12 pounds in one week? Either they’re starving them to death or working them too hard. They make it seem that this is a healthy weight loss. If someone loses 4 or 5 pounds in one week, you’d think the world had come to an end. I think this give people the idea that losing 10 to 12 pounds a week is normal. I wonder how many of the contestants end up with eating disorders after the show is over?

You know, some of those people are going to regain most of their weight after the show is over. They never talk about that.

Although I find some real serious  problems with this show, it does manage to motivate me. I think about what I look like, my health and what I’m eating.

I do like the promotion of exercise, but at my age, I’d never attempt half the stuff they do on the show. I do a lot of water aerobics, elliptical machines, and walking. I would never be willing to leap off of high places. Not even for money.

They added kids this season

Thank goodness they’re not making the kids put on embarrassing clothes, and put them on the scale. It’s mostly a promotion of exercise and healthy eating. Naturally, some of the parents of these kids are also overweight. Last week, they showed a teenager pleading with her mother to also try to lose weight, so she won’t die. Wasn’t it real exploitation  to show this on national TV?

Do you think this show is exploitation or it’s an earnest attempt to motivate the viewers? Or just get ratings? Is it ethical to humiliate people on TV to get good ratings, and people like me watch?

 

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The 600 pound woman on TLC: She ate herself to death.


My Neighbour Is A Big Fat Ugly Pig

My Neighbour Is A Big Fat Ugly Pig (Photo credit: ♥♥peppersmom♥♥)

Today is Day 4 of mindful eating. I guess that’s what you’d call what I’m doing.  So far, I’ve been doing fine.

I realize it’s boredom that causes me to eat. Boredom causes a lot of people to overeat. I am also addicted to food.

Last night I caught the TLC series about the 600 woman, who must have been really bored.  She was not a native to the USA. When she came to the USA (Florida)  she was a normal size.  Fast food really turned her on. In between having her six children, she kept gaining weight. It finally got too much for her husband and he left.

By the time she got to 600 + pounds she took to her bed. Somehow she got her daughters to cook and feed her a terrible diet. They also got her food to go. She couldn’t even sit up.

She was willful and it probably caused her death

She begs someone to help her, and finds a doctor that will do the surgery. She promises that she will go to a Rehabilitation Center after the surgery, and follow all the instructions.

Finally, the 600 pound woman goes in the operating room to have the bypass surgery. She has so much fat that they can’t find a vein to attach the IV to; it takes a long time.  It’s layers  upon layers of fat. Miraculously, the surgeon finds her stomach and does the surgery.

She is not happy during recovery. She is in pain, and doesn’t like that. Then, she doesn’t like rehab where she has to do some exercise. She is so irritated about the whole thing that she calls an ambulance to take her home. The doctor is incredulous. Now that she checked herself out of the rehab center what’s going to happen?

The next thing we know, we’re at her funeral. The question is whether the operation caused her death, her heavy weight, or it was a natural scheme of things. It’s just not healthy to be 600 pounds.

A Nation of Obese People

It’s frightening that there are more and more people at these weights. There are enough people to produce various shows about them.

It’s  like watching a freak show, but pretty soon it won’t be so freakish because there will be so many people to feature in these shows. Pretty soon, they’ll  have to audition.

McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Tim Horton, Sonic, Dairy Queen and Jolly Pirate Donuts are all within one mile of my house. Not to mention all the pizza places, so numerous I can’t think of all the names.  They are all within one mile of my house.  I can still walk to all of them, but if I regularly indulge I probably will have to drive.  Once in a while the temptation is too much, and I do go inside.

There is only one vegetarian restaurant in the little city where I live.

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

No wonder we’re all getting so fat!

What do you think?  I would welcome your comments!

Water Exercise helps people with disabilities and the rest of us too!


me29The petite woman is standing on the pool deck at Easton Fitness Center , in Columbus Ohio,  ordering 35 women and men around the indoor swimming pool. “Harder, faster, stronger, better!” she says. She crouches down to make sure her students are really working. “ I want to see you making waves in that pool,” she says.

Linda Mason is the lithe instructor. One thing you will find out about this motivational woman is that she is serious and passionate about her job. She teaches different aerobic swim classes that she designs herself. People in her classes are very satisfied with the workout she provides. “I feel so much better after I workout in the pool with Linda,” said Susan, one of her regular clients.

She’s been doing her job for over 25 years. She works with people of all ages  to improve their health.  Another one of her specialties is working with people with disabilities.  She is certified through the AEA  (Aquatic Exercise Association).

“ My passion is to help people improve their life…Water is such a forgiving, massaging, and healing medium. If you are experiencing inflammation, it will go down in the water. The pain threshold is lower in the water. People with disabilities can do things in the water that they can’t do on land,” she noted.

Mason first became interested in improving her own health when her father suddenly died from a heart attack. She was only 23 years old. “ I decided to take care of myself. A friend suggested I teach water aerobics.  I trained in a couple of months, and I really liked it. I was determined to stay healthy,” she said.

Lindsay, her foster child, taught Mason what it meant to triumph over disabilities.  Mason started caring for her when she was only 18 months old. At the time Mason was living in Detroit, Michigan. She met Lindsay through her church. Lindsay’s mother was unable to care for her little girl at the time.

“ I got involved with the Detroit Children’s Hospital. I trained with the physical therapy department. I worked with her at home. Before too long, she was crawling. By the time she was four and a half she was mainstreamed into kindergarten. Eventually, she could go back with her mom.  This pushed me into the realm of helping people . I learned to work with frustration. I found out this is all part of getting better,” said Mason.

One of Mason’s unforgettable clients at the JCC (Jewish Community Center)  was a former Buffalo Bills football player. He was 6’6” tall. “He came to my regular class and couldn’t go up and down the stairs of the pool. Before I started working with him I didn’t know that he’d had both knees, shoulders, and hips replaced. By the time I was done working with him, he could go up and down 10 steps. I worked with the muscle memory, and weight-bearing. He was also feeling much better, and finally sleeping at night,” said Mason.

Another client of Mason’s was Susanne Greenbaum who has suffered from multiple sclerosis.“Linda was very knowledgeable, and knew how to work with my MS. She helped my balance, and strengthened my core,” said Greenbaum.

Mason also works on land with people. “ I’ll start out just walking with people to see how they move. Then, I’ll create a program for them,” said Mason.

“My passion is to help people. I like to see people take little steps to improve their health,” said Mason.

If you want to learn more check out Mason’s website: http://www.hertn.org

Please reply about exercise you’ve tried!

 

A different kind of health group


There is one lone woman trying to inform people about natural health. She is Cheri Papier. She’s been holding a health group at her apartment for several years. She does have a degree from Harvard in public health. “I do this because I like to help people find out about ways to keep healthy,” says Cheri.

She does take the natural approach.  I’ve learned about homeopathic  and integrative medicine. She likes to talk about vitamins, the right food, and taking care of yourself. She is also a Reiki Master, and sometimes discussed mental health.

The women, and men who attend the group show up every week.  It’s more than a health group. It’s a social gathering. They ask each other how they are, and give each other emotional support.

I asked them what they got out of the group.

Here are some answers:

“It’s enlightening for a group with a common interest, eating properly and a healthy lifestyle, to get together to discuss it.”

“I’ve learned a lot, I pick and choose between what i want to learn. I come for the friendship

People meet weekly to talk about good health and share friendship too!

too.”

“Although I don’t always agree with everything Cheri says, I always pickup some good information. It’s always good to have an open mind.”

Cheri also brings in guest speakers who talk about their experiences with living a healthy lifestyle.

It’s very important to feel connected to other people.

It improves your health!

Pill Overdose: Are American Seniors Overmedicated?


Medicine Drug Pills on Plate

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Would you take 24 pills in a day? Maybe if you’re over 80, you’d be spending a good deal of time sorting, categorizing, and remembering to take all your pills in order. Are these seniors too trusting of their doctors and the FDA (Federal Drug Administration)

I first realized the enormity of this problem  when my own mother was taking so many pills she was obsessed with the whole process. She was practically blind which made the whole endeavor pathetic. She was trying to distinguish her pills by their shapes.  When she wasn’t taking her pills, she was falling asleep throughout the day.

I thought it was because she was old, but my sisters and I finally figured out it was because her doctor was over-prescribing medicine. One pill for one condition, and one pill to take care of side effects.  When she would complain about how she felt,  he would throw another pill at her.  Being of the generation which never questioned their doctors, she would obediently do what the doctor suggested.

My oldest sister took my mother to another doctor who cut her medicine drastically. She stopped falling asleep in front of me, but she was still loaded down with medicine. At least she was conscious most of the day which was a vast improvement.

Is the FDA in Cahoots with the Pharmaceutical Companies?

I have a friend who believes there are a lot of natural remedies for the pills that the doctors prescribes. She doesn’t trust the FDA,(Federal Drug Administration)

FDA (trade union)

FDA (trade union) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the pharmaceutical companies, and doctor training   “They teach doctors to treat symptoms not to prevent the problem in the first place,” she contends.

When I see all the older people loaded down with pills I have to agree. It seems really cruel to load these people down with all these pills they have to organize, sort, and take.

I wonder what their lives would be like without the pills? What if they ate the right foods, exercised, and prevented the conditions in the first place? Vitamins, and fiber?

I have to say, I do trust my doctor, and do take a pill she prescribed for my GERD (heartburn and esophagus) problem. She scared me with that word…Cancer. When I suggested I try a more natural approach, she told me it was too late for that. I am thinking about going to a doctor who believes in the more natural approach.

I refuse to take cholesterol pills. I figure I’ll take my chances. I would never take those awful blood thinning pills. All those horrible bruises old people walk around with are not worth it to me.

One might argue that people get so old these days because they take all these pills. What do you think?

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