Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Rebecca Ward Says "Use It or Lose It"

Remember those commercials where some elderly person is lying prostrate on the floor howling “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”? I always wondered why they couldn’t get up unless something had been broken but most of them looked okay other than that they were flat on the floor like a turtle on its back.

Well, I have fallen and so far I’ve been able to get up but the older I get the more I hear about folks who cannot.  Researching this because it’s so easy with a magic machine that burbs out answers almost as fast as I can type them in, I’ve discovered some interesting information: as we age, we lose some ability to balance ourselves and if you don’t exercise them, muscles will just quit being themselves. They will gladly, easily turn into flab because it’s nature’s way, gravity and all.

The answers I found to help reverse these inevitable issues was to get myself to a gym about as fast as I could and find someone who would guide me in this endeavor to re-create muscle that had disappeared from gross negligence and build some that may have never been born. My “People” don’t really seem to be people of muscle. We may have been hunters and gathers in centuries gone by but I doubt we had to run very far or gather too much heavy-stuff. We actually were probably berry-hunters and pickers if the truth were told.

I found a wonderful trainer who I’m nearly certain looked at me and had to stifle himself to keep from laughing out loud and who must have nearly choked when I got on some of those muscle-building machines and could do no “reps” which is the word they use for an agonizing sequence of repetitive movements. The goal it seems is to be able to do  many of these “reps” at one time on many different painful areas of dilapidated tissue that was formerly, perhaps, muscle or maybe not but the aim is to turn this useless tissue into muscle by using them over and over with “reps”.  There were no sweeter words to be heard than when TM (Trainer Man) would say “Three more.” Usually he said that after I’d done one.

But that was then, almost a month ago, and now I’m doing 10 reps two times on most of those machines that look less and less threatening each time I go.  TM has me on the go from the minute I get there until I leave. I stand, I sit, I lift, twist, turn and  I squat, lift and drop small heavy balls . I pick up big ropes, hold them high, (well, higher than when they were on the floor) and slap them to the floor over and over. I am finding muscles that have laid dormant for many years and some that have been rudely awakened for my lifetime.  They are not amused.  

But when I leave now, I no longer feel like I’m going to throw-up or need to crawl to my car. Only pride and fear of public opinion kept me erect and moving those first few sessions. I had crackers and 7up in the car to help me through the aftermath of exertion the first week. Most of that first weekend I felt like I’d been in a car wreck and hobbled around on an insulted body that was indignant that at this stage of life I’d decided to demand something it had never been asked to do before. It kept saying to me “Please don’t do this. Have you lost your mind? I don’t do this sort of stuff. Repent.”

But I’m committed so I’m going to just have to get over my belief that rest is the best thing one can do as one ages: rest, relax, and read. Now my mantra is “Use it or lose it” and I’m doing curls with 6 lb weights most every morning…..exercise curls, not hair curls. To be honest I’m not seeing my bat-wing arms showing any definition yet but I’m only a month into this.

I’ll tell you more soon. I am recommending that each of you start walking, carry heavy grocery bags to your car that you have parked as far away from the store entrance, and practice getting up from a chair without using your arms. When TM asked me to rise from a sitting position while looking at the ceiling without using my arms, I said “I can’t”. But I almost can after only a month!!