I’m 51 years old, but this week I learned I have the body of a 58-year-old. Sweet! That made my day.
I met with a personal trainer in the hopes I might find the time and inclination to go to the health club more regularly and get in better shape – not great shape, just okay shape. The trainer said I should shoot for the body of a 45-year-old. Right. That’s a lot of years to lose.
When I was younger, each summer I could kick off the few pounds I gained over the course of the year. I played tennis and swam; the five extra pounds fell off easily. Those days are long gone. I’m carrying way more than five extra pounds now and they’re not going to “fall off “ anytime soon.
I don’t play tennis as hard or as regularly as I used to due to a bad back and knee – signs of aging and skiing injuries that finally caught up to me. I’ve gone from being active to sedentary. I sit at a computer or in a classroom all day.
I was feeling better about myself because I’d started to walk our pregnant dog almost two miles a few days a week. The vet told me to and no one else in my family volunteered. She can’t be in her doggie group anymore in case she picks up something from the other dogs and she needs exercise. But when I proudly told the trainer, I discovered that walking a dog really isn’t very aerobic. I need to get my heart rate up somewhere close to 150bpm, and it doesn’t come close to that walking Spray.
So now I have to walk the dog and go to the health club. On evaluation day, I learned I don’t drink enough water, my stretching is fair, which is better than poor, but not as good as good, and I can bike for six minutes before my heart rate gets up to its maximum. I think it should take longer, but I’m not sure. The trainer kept telling me seeing bad numbers was good – it gave me something to work with – I’d have a goal. I felt so good.
The prescription: yoga, bike riding and weights. This all sounds great and even sort of fun, if I didn’t have two teens at home, a husband, a teaching job, two dogs (one of whom is pregnant), a messy house and a writing career I’m trying to keep alive, and I’m embarrassed as all get out to walk into the club among all the fit members.
When I felt better about my body, I didn’t mind going to the gym. Even if I wasn’t the most body beautiful person there, I wasn’t embarrassed. Now, I’m mortified. I’m convinced everyone is staring at me – that they know my secrets: I’m out of shape, I’m old, I don’t know how to use the machines, let alone how to do yoga, and I don’t know what to wear.
I’ve been a member of this particular gym off and on for more than twenty years. My mother bought my first membership when I was single because she thought I’d meet someone there.
But I did get married and my husband fell in love with the club somewhere after our tenth year of wedded bliss. He stopped drinking and started working out. A lot. So much so that I, in my paranoid state, decided the club belonged to him.
I’ve convinced myself I don’t belong there – I’m sure all the members have body beautiful mini-clubs, and they’re watching me know not what to do. I wore old college sweats and a long sleeve t-shirt for evaluation day and that was not the appropriate attire. I need yoga pants (I’m not wearing shorts) and a baggie short-sleeve t-shirt.
I also don’t understand how all these people have the time to work out. They’re either crazy like a few people I know and go at 6:30 in the morning when I’m getting my daughter up and out the door to school or they have more flexible schedules than I do.
I don’t have high hopes for getting my 45-year-old body back, and who knew I’d even want it back. I’d just like it to match my chronological age…or maybe a few years younger, but with my Facebook friends and a cousin-in-law rooting for me, maybe I’ll find my way back there again.