Hang on sec, I’ve got to catch my breath.
Whew! You would not believe the torture I’m putting myself through. A few weeks ago, I started taking a body sculpting class. That’s a mix of aerobics and weights for an hour, including warm up and cool down. When I first started, I thought, “Oh, this isn’t bad. I can do this.” The instructor led us through a difficult workout, but with a few seconds of downtime between each new exercise. I was really sore for several days after that first class. The next few classes were sort of the same, but each one had a different instructor. I began to understand the usual instructor was out on vacation.
She was back on Tuesday and let me tell you, I have never worked so hard in my life. I don’t usually sweat with workouts, which lets you know that I’m easy on myself. Even in this class, I’m not keeping up. Some of the exercises I just can’t do, such as movements that strain my lower back. I modify the movement or do just a few reps, never getting to the point of pain. I will never take the chance of rupturing another disk – no sir. Other exercises just require a little more time for me to work up to them. Build those muscles, y’know?
So Tuesday was my first “real” workout and today was another one. I’m dripping sweat about halfway through. It’s kind of funny – my hair gets curly when its wet. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror after class, and I looked like Shirley Temple! Honestly, my hair was soaked.
I’m happy to be doing this. I need to build strength for all the usual health/aging reasons – it lowers my blood pressure and cholesterol, reduces arthritis, and hopefully builds up my bones to prevent fractures as I age. I’ve never been very strong and I’ve always had issues with my spine – witness the ruptured disk when I was only 45. Also… poor posture. Lousy posture. I’m trying to work on that because I do not want to be a bent-over little old lady.
Little – yes. Lady is questionable. But not bent-over.
So I’m having fun. There’s something about a physical challenge that makes me feel good. It’s why I forced myself to climb the rock wall on the cruise, even though I’m afraid of heights. It’s one reason I went into geology – I wanted the strenuous test of days spent hiking in mountains. I felt alive. Long hikes do that for me more than anything else, but this body sculpting class comes close.
It doesn’t matter if I can’t keep up and I lose my balance a lot. It didn’t matter in geology field classes if I was the last person to come panting over the rise and missed part of the lecture because it took me so long. I still got a thrill out of doing it. It’s the difference between grabbing for an opportunity, or just sitting around waiting for something to happen. Just the act of grabbing – of getting out there and doing something – makes you grow. Makes you stronger, whether it’s physical strength or the self-confidence that comes from trying something new. We never get too old to keep doing that.