No, I'm not the tall blonde or the short brunette for that matter. In fact, I don't wear those posh workout clothes either. My T-shirt says "So many books, so little time" ( a gift from my daughter, another bookaholic) or is from the Bronx zoo (a gift from my grandaughter). Another one has an Escher drawing. Still another has a mortar and pestle, with the comment, The Daily Grind, an in-Pharmacy joke. All of them have seen better days.
But I do drag my old body to the gym three times a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my inviolate gym days. Two years ago, I joined a program at the local university called Changing Aging, run by the Human Kinetics department. It's for the 55 and up and designed to keep us functioning healthily as long as possible. I pay a yearly fee which actually is quite reasonable and for that I get two body assessments, two personalized training sessions, access to spinning classes (which I hate, besides I have lousy knees and also it's not weightbearing, so I only went once to those), Tai Chai classes (which I would like to try, but don't like the time they are given) and unlimited use of the gym.
Now the gym is not the student gym but a special one for the Changing Aging group plus another group called Bodyworks. The Bodyworks members seem to come from the worker bees at the university and you know who they are because they are not 55 plus, although some are, but they always come at the lunch hour so you know they are Bodyworkers.
The gym is in quite a large space, has masses of exercise bikes, three treadmills, two steppers and an elliptical. The weight machines are Keiser which I love, so easy to change the weights, with a few being machines with plates, easy to change but not so flexible with weight range. Also there are lots of benches and free weights and Swiss exercise balls, BOSUs, exercise tubes, bands, etc. You name it, it's there. The complete gym.
We always seem to arrive at the gym about 11.30am. Yes, I persuaded my 70 plus husband to join me in this torturous exercise and he joined three months after I did. We are night owls and since we are retired, we get a slow start. As well, we can't leave until he's finished the Sudoku puzzles in both daily papers. So we toddle off to the gym for 11.30. Well, we drive actually, it's four miles away. Free parking since he's a professor emeritus, thank goodness.
It's also relatively quiet at this time and I get to use the treadmill I like, which has a great place to put my book. So I walk for half an hour, reading away and listening to my iPod, the most remarkable invention of this century! Can you believe, it's only six years since the first one rolled off the line, so to speak? Well, can you imagine how miffed I am if someone is using my treadmill, the only one with the "bookstand"? Luckily I'm the only one who uses the treadmill for a half hour so usually the interloper is gone in 10 minutes, after a warm-up and I hastily stop my "undesirable" treadmill and thankfully leap aboard the "right" one and finish my time.
Then I'm off to use the machines. By this time the Bodyworkers have arrived, so it's a little busier. Now comes the interesting part. If I come after another CA person whose weight is less than mine, I congratulate myself on how well I'm doing, especially if it's a man. If I come after a BW person I agonize over the fact that I can't manage that weight, which is totally ridiculous since they are all men and all younger than me. I know, I know, I'm so competitive even now. Totally crazy. Totally pathetic.
Next I'm off to the free weights, and do just what Blondie and Brunette, pictured above, are doing. For some reason, I don't care if my fellow free weight lifters are hefting bigger dumbells, it's those numbers on the Keiser machines that get to me.
Lastily I spend 10 minutes on the stretching mat, where I carefully remove my shoes but no one else does. So when I'm doing my stretches and Pilates and Yoga moves, I keep feeling the grit under my hands and face when I'm face down. Gross!
So I don't think, for my age, I'm in too bad condition and I'm very grateful indeed to be so healthy. But I know I'm on the downhill run and I'm trying to stave off the decline as best I can. Mixed metaphors, I believe. Well the old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be, but she's giving it her best shot.
Ah yes, the book. Sky Burial, by Xinran - an epic love story of Tibet. The true story of a Chinese doctor who goes to Tibet to find her missing husband in the 1950's and lives for years with a nomadic family.