Allergic to the Gym – Fitness and Aging

I’m Allergic to the Gym. I don’t break out in hives or anything. I just don’t feel right when I am in one. Not that I have spent much time at a Gym.  I’m just not comfortable with the concept of driving somewhere to do something that I don’t like, with machines I don’t understand, surrounded by a group of people I don’t want to know.

I’m not totally unaware of the benefits of exercise, which is why my fitness regime, if you can call it that, includes walking. I either do laps around the available countryside, or I occasionally spend some  time with my treadmill. But mostly, I am committed to the notion that my forefathers lived into their 80’s and 90’s without ever engaging in any formal “exercise”, so there is a reasonable probability that I will too. The caveat here, of course, is that I have to live a relatively unsedentary lifestyle, similar to what my forefathers would have lived…

As I age, I have become keenly aware of which parts of my body are inclined  to not live up to my expectations. For them, I have developed mini routines to keep them functioning reasonably well. I try to keep things simple because then I am most likely to do them.  I also have seasonal exercises. In the winter, after it snows, there is the “shovel about 100 feet of driveway” exercise. In the summer, there is the “weed about 100 feet of flower beds” exercise. This spring there was the “lay paving stones on the 50 foot patio” exercise.  I took up golf a few years ago, so once a week I enjoy the walk around a golf course. I don’t keep score – I just try to leave the course without losing too many golf balls.

I became a ‘gym person’ when we became Snowbirds in Arizona. The Community Centre is just a short walk or bike ride away, and it has an excellent little gym with several recumbent bikes. With a library in the same facility, I can exercise and read at the same time!

How does a bit of exercise affect longevity?  According to an analysis of the Framingham Heart Study (a research project that has followed 5,209 residents of a Massachusetts town for more than 40 years) people who engaged in moderate activity, like walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week — lived about 1.3 to 1.5 years longer than those who were less active. More intense exercise, like running half an hour a day five days every week — lived 3.5 to 3.7 years longer.

Actuarial tables suggest I will possibly live to be at least 86 years old, based on my current lifestyle.  If I exercise a bit more, or a lot more, I could live 1.3 to 3.7 years longer. The question is, do I want to live to the age of 87.3 or 89.7?  By then, many of my family and friends will be gone and I think I’d be lonely. I guess that would be a good time to join the Gym  and meet some new people…

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6 thoughts on “Allergic to the Gym – Fitness and Aging

  1. So glad you stopped by. Great post! I know what you mean about those big gyms. I used to belong to one but got out after my first contract ended. Now I work out in a church for free, and I love it. It’s got all the stuff in those big gyms too. Totally different mindset when there are actually people there. As for living longer, I’ll take every second I can get, so hopefully the pain now pays later!

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    • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to post a link on your website. It was hard to pick my favorite post from last year.

      You get hurt when you are at the gym? I knew there was another reason not to go there!

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  2. I was more or less at your position until I found that I was having difficulty getting up out of a regular chair. I found a personal trainer to help me develop my core strength- and he tells me that when we get through six months we will know enough to keep it going. This is without machines and having to go anywhere. From the pictures you post, walks should be great – except for the mosquitoes.

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  3. I’m right there with you about not wanting to drive someplace to do something you don’t want to do. Plus, it’s expensive. But I did join the YMCA when we moved to Virginia because it’s just too darn hot here to take walks, and I need to lift weights so I don’t get osteoporosis. I think I’m the opposite of you; when I get in my 80’s, I’m going to quit going to the gym and just do what I want when I want it. Loved your ending; very cute.

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