Sunday, August 12, 2007


How midlife exercising differs:

Walking - Power walking, schmower walking. I lollygag. If I walk too fast, I miss the full visual of the 3rd house from the corner. I don't have time to fully judge the beauty, or lack thereof, of its front porch, whether I like the color scheme of the paint job or the placement of the wicker chairs and plants. I have to stop when I see a cat in the yard, call to it and spend a few minutes cooing to it and giving it a good morning petting. If I see a house under remodel, I need to look into the windows to determine if I approve of the layout or not. Those houses for sale with photo pages in the little clear boxes attached to the for sale signs need to be perused so that I can drop my jaw at the outrageous prices. It's a hard job, but someone....

Yesterday morning I decided on a new route through a neighborhood of lovely, stately homes. I was besotted with the gentle breeze, the fragrance of the jasmine and magnolia blossoms as I passed each garden. There was so much to see and judge, and I lost all track of time and place. I swam out too far...forgetting that my walk back would take at least as much time as my walk out. When I finally wound around to locate the route home, I was exhausted from all the lollygagging. And, there were nothing but hills to climb on these new streets. It started getting hot with the morning sun. I damned myself a few times, sat down and called my sister on my cell. "Hayulp," I moaned. "Come and get me!" She did, bless her heart. I was approximately 1.5 miles from home.

Water aerobics - I get exhausted just discussing this form of exercise. The first thing I have to do is disrobe from the safety of my oversized terry cloth robe to reveal all the signs of a female, middle-aged body in a bathing suit. My legs are so white they could light a dark room like two skinny flashlights. I look like I'm wearing white nurse stockings under my swimsuit. To add insult to injury, there are the vericose veins protruding from my knees. I don't know where they came from and why they are on my knees, but there they are, bulging out from what is normally the smooth, flat surface of the knee cap. At least that takes the oggler's eyes off the spider veins around both ankles, like starbursts of some purple mineral deposit in rock. When I was a child at the pool, I used to stare at 'the old ladies' with this phenomenon, and think, 'Eeeeeeeeuuuuuuw. that will NEVER happen to me.

It's time to get in the pool before I run back to the comfort of my terry cloth robe. Ahhh, now I'm in my element. No more prying eyes. I confidently begin to warm up by swimming a few laps. As a competitive swimmer all of my growing up years, I glide down the lane doing the most difficult stroke...the butterfly, certain to impress all those who might still be gawking. It nearly kills me. By the time I've completed the 50 meters down the pool, I hit the wall, completely out of breath and coughing up water and the rotten air from the 25 cigarettes I smoked the day before. Not pretty.

I make a feeble attempt at running in place under the water at the deep end, moving my arms and legs like a skinny crane attempting it's awkward landing on the water for the first time. This is ridiculous. Who ever thought of this form of exercise was completely insane. The water feels more like a flour batter of pancake mix as I attempt to push through it. After about five exercises, my face is red, my chest is throbbing, my eyes bulging with a blood rush, and I feel like I'm drowning. I dog-paddle to the ladder and try to get my
Jell-O legs up the side and OUT of the pool. Whew! As I wobble back to my poolside station, I vow to never ever do that again. At this age, pools are meant to be looked at. I'm much more comfortable watching the little children screaming, laughing and playing with complete abandon in the pool as I read my latest novel, drinking a cocktail with one of those little tropical umbrellas in it. I will come back to the pool next week, but this time, I will be wearing a hat, a full length caftan and ankle socks.

Yoga- I prefer nekkid yoga, which must be done in a room with a lock on the door and no mirrors. I have done yoga for 245 years, and I'm pretty good at it. Things have shifted on my body since I was in my twenties...llike when I'm laying on my back, my bosoms migrate toward the sides of my body leaving my chest as flat as it was when I was 10. When I am in the downward dog pose with my butt reaching skyward, the extra skin on my thighs melts down to almost cover my knees. And, when I'm on my back in an inverted shoulder stand, my stomach makes the slow, middle-aged journey toward my chest, replacing the bosoms that now reside in my armpit. It isn't attractive, but I keep doing yoga so I won't end up looking like my mother. I have renamed the cobra posture. It's where I lie on my stomach and raise just the upper torso of my body off the floor. I now call this posture the "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up." When I reach the point where I really can't get up, that will be it for yoga. I'll just watch it on TV.

I was with you at the pool yesterday. Thank you for noticing. Your lithe body is one I covet. There you go analyzing your perfect body as I lumber up to the diving board, thighs wobbling and do a dive that makes me look like a spastic, potbellied pig on crack. Thank you for not laughing.
I only walk if I need to: to the bathroom, to get food or to the car so we can go to happy hour.
I must admit I do like water aerobics. Floating and swimming, using water weights that weigh one ounce - that's where I do my lollygagging.
As for Yoga, doing it nekkid is just wrong. I must have my skivvies on and please tell me where you do your lotus position so I don't accidentally put my face on the rug where your asshole was.

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