When I went to visit my parents at their senior development in South Florida, I decided to go to the gym. They have a clubhouse with a full gym consisting of treadmills, a slew of free weights and weight lifting machines.
I paid my guest fee of $3.00 and I was allowed to use the entire facility. I walked passed the card room and noticed that there were women playing canasta. I walked passed the indoor pool and saw three women talking while standing in the shallow end of the pool.
When I got to the gym, almost every treadmill was in use. Interestingly, the men wore jean shorts and collared shirts. They looked as if they were going to the shopping mall – casual but neat. The women were dressed up nicely too. No one wore workout attire and no one was sweating.
I found a treadmill not in use and started to run. I ran a mile and after that, I was soaking wet from the sweat. I continued to run. While doing so, I looked around. Most of the people left after just 10 minutes. The other people were strolling on the treadmill at a casual speed of 2.5 or less. There was even a man who came into the room and sat himself down. I wondered if he thought that he would get the benefits of exercise through osmosis.
I know that some seniors are really serious about exercise. One of the women in my office has a grandfather who is in his 80’s who is still very active and rides his bicycle every day. When I run in races, I always see older people running too. I admire these people. I want to be like them when I grow up!
As I watched the people read their newspapers while walking at a snails pace on the treadmill, I thought about how exercise was never really emphasized when these folks were growing up. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t really emphasized when I was growing up. I think I found every excuse in the book to cut gym. There were never any girls teams like baseball or basketball like they have today. They had teams like swimming and gymnastics but that was about it. (There may have been more but I don’t remember….)
As I was finishing up my 3 mile run, I looked over at the older woman reading a newspaper and she looked up and smiled at me. I guess I was reassured that at least we were all trying!