Sunday, March 6, 2011

Silver Sneakers ... and other myths of aging

I'm giving up exercise due to illness and fatigue ...I'm sick and tired of it!!!

My many loyal followers ... all seven of them ... are painfully aware of my health 'issues' over the past few years. Three rotator cuff surgeries on my right shoulder in ONE year ... another rotator cuff surgery on my weakened left shoulder and then spinal fusion two weeks before Christmas a year ago. Five surgeries in just a tad over two years. It's taken a toll on me as could be expected. I used to do aerobic exercises three or four times a week at the Y. Following each surgery I followed up with physical therapy ... working diligently on the specific surgical area. Suffice to say, other areas were not exercised ... I put on quite a bit of weight during those two years.

The Duck encouraged me ... "you'll get it off once you are healed ... you need to start off slowly, though." I joined our local recreation center since it was much closer than the Y. I started off with an aerobic class but quickly found I could not get up and down on the mats thus aggravating both my shoulders and back.

So, at the suggestion of my physical therapist I was 'reintroduced' to water aerobics. I had done water aerobics at another rec center; deep water where you wear flotation 'boots' forcing you to work harder to keep the feet below you! I dunked myself unceremoniously more than once; the feet float up the head goes back and under ... scary stuff for one who doesn't really swim well.

Anywho ... during my 'surgical years' I walked for exercise and did some water aerobics. I forgot to mention that I have Fibromyalgia ... never had heard of it until about fifteen years ago when I was diagnosed. For those unfamiliar ... it can be sheer torture ... muscles, connective tissue, collagen tissue ... causing unbelievable widespread pain over your body. I had done water aerobics back in those days until I got a 'handle' on the pain and was able to advance back to cardio- aerobics.

Okay ... fast-forward to a few weeks ago ... I've finished all the physical therapy, I'm disgusted with my 'slug' physique and lack of energy. A friend (who just had turned 81 years old!) suggested I join her at Silver Sneakers. I was a bit insulted ... after all I'm almost 18 years younger than my friend! Besides, I had seen the ... uh, ... older folks at the Y doing their 'Silver Sneakers' exercises ... in a CHAIR!!!

BUTT <--- not a typo! I did have to do something, even walking was painful due to plantar fasciitis of one foot. So I strolled into the large gymnasium to discover about 60 'seniors' waiting for the instructor. Some were walking around the gym talking .. not to themselves, others were doing warm-up exercises, still others were sitting in the aforementioned chairs.

The young instructor turned out to be the 30-something cardio-aerobic instructor. Lisa 'takes no prisoners!' Everyone got weights appropriate to their abilities, a small rubber ball and an elastic band. We were to place all the equipment under the chairs. "Sit on the front of the chair, spine straight, stomach sucked in, feet flat on the floor, chest out ... and MARCH" March??? Okay ... I can do that ... wow, picking your feet up while your sitting in a chair ... whew, not a piece of cake ... hey, how much longer?

We were told to move our feet out and in, front and back, stand, sit, walk around the gym twice, up the stairs and back down into the room. We stood and performed balancing 'tricks' holding one foot up, using the weights in our hands above our heads ... SIXTY minutes ... we stretched, we moved, every part of your body was included. I had entered that room confident that I would whip some ... well, that I would find 'chair exercises' easy .... NOT ... I left feeling exhausted and more than a little humbled. You see, the gentleman next to me ... dressed in Dockers, street shoes, long sleeve flannel shirt ... leaned over and told me "you'll get the hang of it ... I've been coming for three years ... oh, and I'm 93 years old."

I've been back for more 'torture' a few times now ... these are amazing people ... there's no talk about aches and pains ... it's upbeat and fun. One lady is 95 years old... she pats my back and asks me 'how are you doing, honey?' as she passes me doing our laps. Growing old isn't for sissies!


Tatersmama said...

ATTA GIRL! You know what they say... Use it, or lose it - and at our age/s we need to get GOING and move it, move it!
Now to find a "Silver Sneakers" of my own!!

Oh... and a cute pair of pink panties. ;)

Bz said...

That's funny... I bet you are entertain for them... I know you are.
Glad you're moving- that's all that's important.
Keep moving.