It Takes Courage and a Sense of Humor to Grow Old

This week, I started exercise classes at the county Senior Center. On Monday, I attended the Siver Strong class, utilizing balls, three-pound weights, and ropes to strengthen our bodies. We moved to music, which was pretty cool. But I underestimated how much moving to music can leave you feeling pain in places you didn’t know you had!

The young leader was so enthusiastic and had high expectations of us over 60-somethings. I kept up with the others, although I didn’t always perform the same moves. I just kept shaking my hips and moving my feet until I finally understood the moves and caught up with the others.

One of the women who has attended for a while advised me to take an Ibuprofen when I got home to minimize the inflammation. I followed her advice because every part of me screamed in pain. I decided on Tuesday just to take a two-mile walk and not go to a second day of Silver Strong. But two other women invited me to come on Wednesday to Zumba and yoga classes.

So, on Wednesday, I grabbed the new yoga mat that my son had given to me, and I went for more punishment. I admit I loved Zumba, but it was harder to do than Silver Strong, for it was an hour of continuous movement. I kept hoping for five minutes between songs, but no go. I sweated and felt places in my body that I never knew existed start to come alive, and not in a good way, people! Yet, I was determined to keep up. I did pretty good, I admit, except for the moves that required us to cross our legs and feet. I nearly tripped myself trying to do the ones meant to improve balance.

Thankfully, we had 30 minutes to cool down before the yoga started. I didn’t know to go forward and inform the yoga instructor that I was new. I was also supposed to place my mat near her to learn the moves. Instead, I took a place near the back.

Needless to say, I had no clue what she asked of us, and with the lights off and soothing music playing, I never had the opportunity to ask. With my eyes closed and trying to inhale and exhale as she commanded, I was so lost, but I still tried to do the moves. It is hard to concentrate on breathing and moving legs, arms, and head at the same time!

I was so glad when we were told to stand and face her. But I couldn’t get up off the mat! On one knee, I was stuck. Then, a lady at least ten years older than my 71 years very kindly came over to help me, and with both of her hands and my pushing my lower body, I finally got to a standing position. I have never been so glad that a class only lasted 45 minutes. Another 15 minutes would have sent me to the urgent care center!

Yet, one of the ladies told me that I was good for it to be my first time. That’s because it’s easier to follow standing up than trying to bend into a lotus position on the floor! When I returned home, I knew I needed two Ibuprofen. Boy, my muscles are still in pain, but surprisingly, I feel exhilarated!

I will go back on Monday and Wednesday next week! I look forward to it, as I find it so uplifting to see so many women and men my age and older who have perfected the moves in all three exercise courses, which gives me hope that I will, too. It is a moment of being with people and having fun as we get physically, mentally, and socially healthy. The camaraderie and lack of judgment are just so positive. I also know that the pain will lessen over time. But, I still maintain that it takes courage and a sense of humor to grow old.

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