My son nagged me to join a gym for a long time. Retirement nullified all my excuses for not going (such as inconvenient scheduling) that had proven trustworthy allies over the years.
Two weeks into the blissful state of retirement, the perfect opportunity to try a gym for the first time presented itself in the form of a Groupon offering a discounted one-month membership to the swanky Capital Athletic Club in downtown Sacramento. Hearing about this offer from a 20-something neighbor who was availing herself of the club’s many charms, I mentioned it to my Groupon-fanatic husband, and the next thing you know, I was filling out membership forms.
When you’ve been the oldest person in your office for years – decades older than your bosses – it shouldn’t feel weird to join a gym full of youthful individuals emphasizing their ripped-ness with skin-tight body suits, should it? Well, should it?
Maybe you’re old enough, I tell myself, to rise above the petty concerns of vanity. Forget how you look in your new Target workout pants, tight enough to hopefully contain and compress your accumulated flab and cellulite. No one’s looking at you. Throw yourself into a fitness regime, hoping to control that high blood-pressure and improve your core strength and balance.
I have tried several classes, including “Slow Stretch”, “Mat Pilates”, “Gentle Yoga”, and “Pilates on Ball.” (Yes, I am sore – sometimes super sore — after each of them. Thank you for asking.) I have steered clear of anything implying agony, such as “Abs Blast” or any class with the word “Power” in the title.
I swam a few laps one beautiful day in the outdoor pool and have calmed my post-class aching muscles in the (clothing optional) jacuzzi in the women’s locker room
I have avoided the weight room and the acre of torturous-looking machines. I did have a one-hour consultation with a fitness trainer (part of the Groupon deal) yesterday who concluded – possibly with an eye toward liability issues — that I should stay off the machines (whew!). She said I should satisfy myself, for the moment at least, with bench pressing 5-pound weights in various ways. This is good advice, I think. After so many years as a desk jockey, I don’t want to kill myself in my first month getting fit at the gym.
Susan Wolbarst lives in Gualala, CA