Always with the Exercise!

jane fonda gym togsWorking on new Resolutions for Self,  fetch fresh pad of paper, write “Use-it-or-Lose-It, Just-Do-It, Better-to-Wear-Out-Than-Rust-Out.”

Put pen down, stretching out on couch to ponder motivating strategies. 

Whistle.  Hum. Search ceiling corners for spider webs.

Thirty minutes later, sit up, print following words: “WHAT GOT SELF TO EXERCISE IN PAST?” Easy enough:

One, School System. Exercised because school forced Self to. In 8th Grade High, 90-year-old gym teacher with tight grey perm and pale dead eyes yelled at Self, struck Self’s calves with old-lady cane, merely to get Self to stand up and uncross arms.

Two, Cute Outfits, though these not in play in high school years when Self is made to wear inmate-style gym suit with name stitched on back. To avoid this fate, Self learns to fake low-level seizure activity every Tuesday and Friday. Works like charm.

Time travel past matriculation at women’s college with gym clothes from WWI: rough cotton tunics with, God help Self, bloomers underneath. Wear for all freshman and sophomore sports ‘til Student Revolution sweeps country, causing Phys Ed requirement and so much more to go down like the Titanic.\

Three, Adulthood and The Need to a Earn Living, requiring Self to look presentable, display admirable levels energy. Exercise methods in these years include:

  • Standing All Day at Work
  • Labor and Delivery
  • Baby/Child Care.

Four, Fact That Running for Running’s Sake Appears On Scene. Jogging invented! Self is out of house at 6am, alone for 25 whole minutes. Self thinks died, went Heaven.

Five, Exercise Morphs into National Obsession: Nautilus invented. People pay to push/pull/lift objects not in any way needing to be pushed/pulled/lifted. Also tossed up from same vast change: Aerobics. Cute outfits in play at last!  Self gives both resistance training AND aerobics a try in get-ups of the day: high-cut leotards and tights-with-leg-warmers, short-shorts and muscle shirts, giantly ballooning satiny workout pants and matching jackets.

Upshot of all the Above: Self goes full tilt at various modalities. Runs for six months, collapses arch. Aerobicizes for 12 months, turns ankle. Weight-trains for 12 years, working muscles to failure, but more than muscles fail.

Tired of so much me-focus, Self spends six months doing no exercise at all, has annual checkup with young doc who delivers stern lecture, mentioning his own daily soccer game.

Self nods head, pities guy’s wife.

Then one day Self sees old friend, tells her she looks great, what’s her secret? “Pilates at the Y” friend answers.

Self joins Y where Self does Pilates, too. Also Zumba, Yoga, Jazz, Tai Chi – not alone but with 20 to 30 others dressed any old way. When woman to the right of self reveals she is 88 real goal of exercise dawns on Self: to get to that age too.

Later, in Locker Room of Honesty, Self looks around at women of all shapes and sizes, ages and degrees of able-bodiedness. Smiles big at dawning enlightenment. Never mind “died and went to heaven;” let Self live and live, right here on Earth.

,But still who didn’t love Richard Simmons? 😉

richard simmons

13 thoughts on “Always with the Exercise!

  1. This is absolutely hysterical! I remember those one-piece gym outfits designed by Omar the Tentmaker (who went on to design maternity clothes in the eighties).

  2. T, you are right on with all of this, including awful gym duds back then. Now they are writing last names on asses of girls’ sport uniforms (middle school!) Ugh. For the pedophiles, I guess.

    Me, I love the old lady exercise on Vermont PBS at 6:30 a.m., Particularly the Esmonde Technique of ballet-based stretching, she is BELOVED by us followers. You can get at link below or make a donation to your local PBS and get a copy of Aging Backwards or the actual classes–look here [or call your local PBS station/seek Aging Backwards on your TV’s “guide”]:
    She has totally made me able to do other stuff, like tennis, golf etc. without injuring flabby old self. It’s only :30! Do it in the ayem and it changes your whole day. You can do by SELF at HOME, or get DVDs and put a group together in a larger apt. than mine!

    1. this made me so happy to think I might find a tape like this for days when the Y is just NOT going to fit in my day!

      Also loved the last names on the bottoms of the girl athletes.

      1. so infected by your post..everytime i get on the treadmill i end up thinking about it…😊😊

  3. I laughed through Self’s excursion into past and present exercise motivations. If you like sports, playing games, like your doc does, is the way to go. It’s its own motivation. It’s fun! (think Fernwood; that’s mostly what we did.) Try pickleball at the Y. They tape the court on a basketball court. The net is portable. It’s aerobic but you never get exhausted. Doubles is great. Get three other people and set up regular games. In summer you can tape it on a tennis court and use its net. I’ll send a picture of the ball and paddle in an email.

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