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.

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!