Thursday, February 1, 2018

February: the Month of Fresh Starts

Today marked my first anniversary of being a regular in the Senior Core Fitness class at our local recreation center. Last year, I waited until February to sign up, not wanting to get caught in the crush of all those New Year's resolvers jamming the gyms in January.

Today I celebrated by re-upping for this class through the end of May. I would take out a lifetime membership if they offered it, but enrollment currently only goes through May 30. I have taken many fitness classes over my lifetime but now, at the patriotic age of 76, I discover the best one.

Our wonderful instructor, Sarah, takes us through a series of exercises enhancing strength, the core, balance, and flexibility. She is attentive to the differing physical challenges each of us faces and advises that we back off or modify some of the exertions when we need to do so. Since senior starts at age 45 for this class, that means I potentially could be 30 years older than some of my classmates, so I probably do as much exercise-modification as anyone. Mostly it is my replaced left knee that won't tolerate certain of the balancing movements, but I try to pull off some semblance in order to gain strength and flexibility.

My mended heart has not been a factor: no shortness of breath, no dizziness, no pain.

My stenotic back causes occasional discomfort, but stretching brings relief.

When I started this class, I had never heard of planking. Also, I was afraid to do push-ups while stretched out on the big exercise ball. But now I have found a will and the way, and Sarah, who encourages us all, has told me I am a "rock star" for how I plank and do push-ups. Today, Sarah had to be out of town to help a family member, and our substitute teacher had us do a series of one-minute planks, which is a tad more strenuous than the typical playbook prescribes for seniors. (If you want to test how slowly time can move, try holding a plank for 60 seconds.) But we all survived.

And no worries I am not neglecting my dawg Ellie's daily walk. Today we did our jaunt after class on a gorgeous February day in the 60s. It was a refreshing cool-down,

Below is a picture of some of our merry band from last spring (on silly teeshirt day). Often I am joined by at least one other guy in class, but none was around for this photo. Why so few men take these classes, I have no clue. They don't know what they are missing.

                                                       © Robert Gray Holland  (2018)

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