unfitStarting with our decision to move to Utah back in September, my exercise regimen (such as it was) began a slow decline.   Almost daily 3 mile walks became several weekly then occasional.   As the business of downsizing and packing got serious, my sole exercise was packing and moving boxes, some heavier than I should have been carrying.  Once we reached Utah freezing temperatures and unpacking kept me from walking … while moving heavy boxes left me with a sore back and legs that were hardly an invitation to workout.   So, here we are, settled into our beautiful new house and I am as physically Unfit as I’ve ever been in my life.  OK, that may not be entirely true.   I  recall a photo taken eons ago, when we moved to California, Oldereyes sitting on the hood of the car in shorts and a bright purple T-shirt.   I looked like a giant, round grape.  Seeing that picture after it was developed (remember film?) set me off on the first of my many diets.

But face it, being Unfit at 28 is a lot different than being Unfit at 75.  Within a few years of the Big Grape Photo, I was down to my college weight, playing tennis, running and swimming.   Eventually I would run 13 marathons and a dozen triathlons.  At 75, the decline in physical condition is steeper and the climb back is slowed a body that likes to say, I can’t, in spite of what the forty-year old in my head says.  Living at an altitude of 5000 feet sometimes leaves me breathless doing household chores.  If unpacking boxes leaves me leg-sore and tired, how am I going to exercise?

Well, carefully. First get back to the morning back and leg stretches to ease out the morning aches.  Every day, like it or not.  Oh, and add in some neck stretches until I can find a good orthopedic pillow.  Star walking again.  First walk?  Down to our neighborhood coffee house, about 2000 steps.   In 22 degree temperature.  Lungs hurt so much I wondered if I’d make it.   Reset.  Walk outside only when its warmer than 35.   Go grocery shopping at Smith’s with my wife (like we were newlyweds) which nets me 2500 steps.  Or walk at Home Depot (A guy can always come up with a reason to go to Home Depot.  Can you ever have enough screwdrivers?) or Walmart (always a free entertainment experience).

Then it’s time to get serious … join the Herriman Rec Center.   One of the great things about the Salt Lake areas is the beautiful rec centers in most cities.  Ours has pools, basketball, handball and volleyball courts, weight machines, exercise machines (bikes ellipticals, treadmills … you know … everything the 40 year old in my head needs to break me).  And very reasonable prices … about $200 for the year for my wife, Muri, and I.  First time, I tried the elliptical machine, truly the devil’s device … I lasted ten minutes and will not be visiting it again.   But I spent 20 minutes on the stationary bicycle and another 20 walking on the indoor track.

lapsOf course, what I really wanted to do … and dreaded doing … was get in the pool and swim some laps.  Wanted to do because I swam in high school and enjoyed swimming for much of my life.  Dreaded because I stopped swimming about 20 years ago and was afraid, not that I’d drown, but that swimming would be the penultimate demonstrationno speedo of how far I’d fallen.   Bravely, I made my way to Scheel’s, Utah’s massive sporting goods store, and bought a new bathing suit (NOT a Speedo) and swim goggles.   And the next day I swam laps.  Well, properly speaking, I swam lengths, since a length the most I could do without a rest.   Still, I did 10 lengths of 25 meters each.    As workouts go it was modest and no one said, Wow, you’re fast for an old goat.  But the stroke was still there, smooth and easy.   Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I’m not as Unfit as I was afraid I was.

So dear readers, I’m on my way back.  I’ll see you in the Olympics.   Well, maybe the Senior Olympics.   Well, maybe at a local Master’s Meet.   Well, maybe if you happen to be at the Herriman Rec Center, I’ll be the bald guy with the white goatee and the green (NOT a Speedo) bathing suit swimming freestyle in the lap lanes.   Working myself back into shape at 75.  It’s not all fun but it beats the alternative.


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One Comment on “Unfit”

  1. Denny K Says:

    Easing back into exercise is best. Small victories and perseverance lead to greater things. Best wishes on your journey.

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