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Time Sends a Warning Call

I just got back Monday night from my 30 year college reunion (with sidetrip to visit family), and I'm telling you all: EXERCISE! Include some weight-training!

Thirty years ago, we all graduated wearing the bodies that genetics had granted us, and some of us were paupers, genetically speaking, and others were nabobs and captains of industry. Now every time we return (and the college, hoping not-so-subtly for funding, encourages us to come back every five years) our bodies are increasingly the bodies we have earned. Now, I have never put myself forward as having a glamorous body - even for a middle-aged woman - but the take home message for me from this reunion (other than the fact that I graduated with a fascinating, kind, smart, and caring bunch of people) is that exercise well repays the effort and discomfort of doing it, and it staves off the inevitable effects of gravity and time noticeably. I could easily tell which of my classmates was serious and dedicated in sticking with their exercise regime.

Remembering what I saw will be a major motivator the next time it is raining or freezing cold out and I have to run, or the next time I just don't feel like struggling with the weights. And it's not all about looks, or even primarily about it. The real improvement, the one that matters is in function and abilities. It's use it or lose it.

I'm tellin' you guys. Run, swim, or bike. Lift weights. It's sooo worth it.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
ansostuff
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:08 am (UTC)
Exercise is almost always worth the effort. Unless you get injured. I used to swim a lot when I was young and have also run and always walk a lot.

I too was at something of a reunion/people-who-grew-up-together-party last weekend. It wasn't for college but for primary school/secondary school and not really a round number of years, but it was fun allt he same. :)
ziparumpazoo
Jun. 2nd, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
It's use it or lose it.

I need this tattooed on the backs of my hands where I can see it as a reminder each day. My youngest child took a lot out of me (he was 11lbs at birth and I ended up with torn ligaments and a dislocated hip in the process), so it's been a very slow uphill battle to get back into shape after him. It's less about looks, for sure, but more about getting function back without pushing hard enough that I keep re-injuring myself every time I do get into an exercise routine that works. It's also frustrating to realize that I can dead-lift 50+ pounds no problem, but can't run a mile to save my life. Children - you *can* get your body back, it just usually ends up looking like somebody else's.

Thank you for the gentle reminder. :)
thothmes
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
Eleven pounds! I'm impressed that you can walk at all. My son was 98th percentile for head size, and that was bad enough, although I did derive a fair amount of amusement at the studied and deliberate blandness of the medical professionals as they came to check my labial tear. Poor dears thought they were being so good and giving nothing away. The after-the-fact numbing medication was too efficient for me to know from personal experience, but their faces were a dead give-away, and priceless. I'm surprised the female docs and the nurses weren't holding themselves! It took a while, but it all works, and naturally the strapping son was worth it!

The real gift that Cardiac Rehab gave me was that they insisted that I build back painfully slowly. I'd gotten into that cycle of pushing too hard, having to back off, and then start again from zero or near zero before. As a former athlete I knew what a good workout should ask of me, and I got impatient. They said that no, this time the stakes are too high, and you need to go slowly, and as irritating as it was, the end result was full function and the ability to run 5 miles a day, something I had never thought to do again. So think very long term, and be one with your inner tortoise! It's what worked for me.
ziparumpazoo
Jun. 2nd, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
I almost laughed at the dead silence in the room right after he was born, followed by the doctor's "Well, that's pretty much the size of a three month-old" to her med student, who looked like was about to pass out.

The first stroll around the neighbourhood the day after we brought him home from the hospital almost ended with me flat on my face at the end of the driveway. (it was mother's day and the weather was beautiful, and I was finally mobile, damnit! I wanted out of the house! lol) Now, three years later, things are mostly better, even if it is a different kind of better some days.

As a former athlete I knew what a good workout should ask of me, and I got impatient.

That's exactly the problem. It's having to remind myself that a whole day of yard work is as effective as a two hour hike in most cases. And very good advice to work into it. Better to take a year to get up to jogging and have a long life to perfect it, than to hobble yourself from the start.
bluewillowtree
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
I need lots of reminders like this, so thank you for it. I was supposed to go on a hike with some friends over the weekend, and between it being stupidly hot and my being ridiculously out of shape, I gave up after less than an eighth of the hike. And though my (complete lack of) ability to deal with heat was definitely a factor, my calves were ridiculously sore after about five minutes, and I realized yet again how much I really do need to exercise.

Of course, I realize this all the time and rarely ever do anything about it. I just don't generally make it past the "oww, this hurts" stage. But as I said, I need all the reminders I can get, so I'm definitely going to exercise when I get home tonight. Thanks again!
thothmes
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
The best thing about attending Cardiac Rehab six years ago was that they made me build into my exercise program slowly. Glacially slowly. They started me with 10 minutes of strolling, and worked up to 30 minutes of strolling. Then they let me walk. Then they let me walk as if I was late for an appointment. They only let me run after several months. As a former swimmer, I knew what a good workout demanded of me, and how it should feel, and since I naturally tried to achieve that standard whenever I exercised, this lead to a cycle of starting to exercise, having overuse injuries, having to rest the affected tendons or muscles, and then starting from square one. The slow buildup gave the tendons and muscles time to recover, and made the whole process easy, if frustrating to my impatient and goal-oriented inner athlete.

That inner part is important, btw. I may be a race horse on the inside, but the outside is pure burro. Back when I was at BMC we were required to take two of three gym offerings: Sports Orientation, Dance Orientation, or Relaxation. Relaxation was right out, because it consisted of lying on a mat and tensing the muscles and then consciously relaxing them. Been there, learned that in high school. So I and my two left feet, in gym shorts, sneaks, and a t-shirt, trapsed off to the dance studio in Rock, to be surrounded by these graceful, lithe, slender creatures in leotards and tights, with ballet shoes and leg warmers. It was definitely a case of Pooh Bear among the storks. And then the first exercise we did was a run across the room in a step-step-leap! pattern. I'd just finished a summer of sharpening my diving skills step-step-step-hurdle&dive!, and I couldn't break the pattern while on the fly. If the teacher went gray, I take full responsibility. I admit to being an athlete, but not to being a good one!
not_a_zatarc
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
Oh yeah. I like exercise...when it involves fun stuff like sports or skateboarding, etc, mostly. It has to be fun and entertaining for me, like a bike ride. My fitness class elective last semester opened my eyes to new ways of working out. I plan on doing lots of biking this summer, if I can ever get the time. I'm determined to make time for it, though. 'Cuz I like doing it. :)
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