Exercise: That which makes one proud to be tired

There are two places in our town to do Water Aerobics. One is free, but it’s done outside in the sun at the city pool. The other costs, but is done inside the Wellness center at the hospital. I have to take medicine which causes problems when I get too much sun, so I’m relegated to the shady, fee-based exercise.

Both of these programs are great exercise, especially for those elderly among us who can’t do the weight-bearing exercises like Zumba. People who do Zumba will someday wish they’d been a little nicer to their knees.

Gray is the color of people’s hair who do water aerobics. It has nothing to do with the chlorine in the water and more to do with the age of the average member of the class. Oh, we have a few black-haired members, but I always expect to see them leave a trail of shoe polish when they swim the length of the pool. We actually have had a few young ones … in their 40s … but they don’t last long. Maybe it’s the fact that most of us spend about half the class bragging about our grandchildren. 

This summer, many of our members have been gone. Probably some are at the free classes at the city pool. They will come back in the fall, brown as a berry and not sure why they have to go see their dermatologist again. I’ll be there with my white hair and whiter skin, jealous because I had to pay for my artificially heated pool water and roof over my head. 

Many of our group spend a lot of time on the road. Since many are retired, the call of grandchildren, cruises to Alaska, and appointments with our various doctors make many of us miss class. But we muddle on. That’s what happened today.

There were two of us who showed up ready to “dive-in.” The other woman got there early, and when she thought no one else was coming, she went home. I showed up a little late, as usual, and was the only one determined to get my time in. The young woman who leads the class offered to work with me, but I decided I could do it on my own. After all, I’ve been coming to class (however irregularly) for over ten years. I know the routine. 

The problem with working by yourself is that you don’t have to wait on instructions. You don’t have to wait for the “new” person to find their place. There’s no one to save from drowning. There’s no resting between sets. There is no one to visit with. You just exercise.

I swam a few laps first. With no one there to tell me how many laps to do, I did about thirty. It seemed like thirty. Maybe it was five. 

I did lots of exercises with the “dumb-bells” which I prefer to call “weights” although they are made out of foam. In the water, they are heavy. I jumped the “noodle,” which I call a “wiener.” I held the ball between my knees and did excruciating feats of abdominal superiority. I kept wanting someone to clap, but alas the only noise was the banging of the real weights in the room next door. No one was even watching. Forty-five minutes of constant exercise wore me out. I dripped all the way to the car … telling everyone I met how tired I was.

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