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…