This is a short video showing one woman do the fitness routines of each decade for the last 100 years.
As an obese child, I hated P.E.
When choosing teams, I was always picked last, each side trying to give me to their opponent. When playing baseball, I would be strategically placed in “ultra right field” (outside the foul line if possible) so as to have virtually no contact with the ball, thereby helping to ensure my team would not be humiliated by my clumsiness.
In the gym, I was forced to do pull-ups by a drill-sergeant phys-ed teacher. Dangling from the steel crossbar in front of a gaggle of snickering classmates, too heavy to do anything but limply hang, kicking my feet as if that would help pull me up, the coach bellowing, “Come on tubby! If you can’t do it, go on a diet.” Disgusted, he’d discharge me from my personal hanging purgatory and I’d attempt to blend into the back of the class, hoping for a distraction to come quickly and pull everyone’s red hot gazes from me.
One doesn’t “hang around” much when one goes to Zumba as 58-year-old, but one’s old memories do.
My biggest fear when I began was that I would pass out.
I was fearful that my macho competitive persona (I might be middle aged but I am still a male) would override my professorial intellectual one and I’d over-exert myself attempting to keep pace with a roomful of twenty-something exercise enthusiasts adorned in designer leotards, headbands, and leg warmers (does anyone wear leg warmers anymore?) For my efforts, I would be mortified by having a heart attack, collapsing mid beat on the polished floor. The remaining dancers would heft me to the ambulance, albeit while maintaining the rhythm of a hot salsa dance move, all the while never missing a step.
My other paranoid fantasy was that I’d be humiliated. I was concerned I’d trip over my clodhoppers or people would laugh at how I look in gym shorts (since I don’t have designer leotards).
Long story short, I have (mostly) overcome my angsts, and — as hard as it to believe — I look forward to my classes, and try to find sessions to attend, even when out of town.
Since I didn’t know anyone in this new environment, I staked out a corner and observed as other participants entered. I witnessed an obese, late-thirties mom take a spot beside me. Nearby was her adolescent daughter, apparently on her way to replicating her mom’s physique, and Dad, who — although being shorter than me — probably tipped the scales at twice my weight.
Simply stated, it was a very heavy family.
At what age do men stop with the “hyper macho” routine?
I mean, really; there comes a time when women are no longer impressed, other men don’t care, and the most plausible outcome is you’re going to hurt yourself doing something dumb.
Before you think I’m talking trash about someone else, I’ll come clean; the question is rhetoric; I’m referring to myself. What makes this mystery more opaque is I’m not even a “macho” kind of guy; I’m more the “sensitive, touch-feely” type. After all, I watch Glee, I own several pair of shoes, I accessorize, eat tofu, and, truth be known, I’ve been know to shed a tear or two during “chick flicks.” (But I’ll try and hide it.)
Recently, I joined a gym so I could take Zumba classes.
(By the nature of the fact that the driving force to enroll was to attend Zumba instead of weight lifting ought to tell you a little something about my “macho score” also.) While examining the schedule, I noticed a Yoga class that fits in my day. I’m feeling a bit soft around the middle and stiff along the edges so I consider attending. (Yoga? Yikes! Yet another telltale sign of non-machismo…)
Admittedly, I was a bit put off — and intrigued — by the title of the class: Yoga for Stiff People. I mean, from a marketing point of view, it’s perfect. It sets up an image and it tells you what to expect. However, from an I’m an-aging-guy-who-lives-in-denial-and-refuses-to-admit-that-I’m-getting-older perspective, I considered it too easygoing. After all, my veins are coursing with testosterone, you know? I need a “challenge.”
“So, Scott,” she said, “What are you going to do to get more in shape?”
“I’ve been considering more exercise.”
“Do you still ride a bike?”
“Not since the accident. Besides,” I justified, “It’s still broken.”
“Wasn’t that accident a year ago?”
(Looking at my feet, mumbling), “Um, yes.”
“How long until you repair it?”
“Um, I don’t know. Soon? I guess…” (my voice trailed into silence)
“Okay, that’s going nowhere. Are you still doing yoga?”
“Not since my bike accident.”
“I don’t see the correlation, but if you’re not riding your bike or doing yoga, what are you doing?”
Reaching, reaching, reaching… “Walking!” I snapped back. “Yeah, right! I walk soooo much now! Wow! I’m a walkin’ fool.”
“Good for you! Is it helping?”
“Um, no, not really.” (I returned to starting at my feet and mumbling.)
“Why don’t you do something else?”
“I don’t like anything else.”
“Really?! Out of all the possibilities, you can’t think of one single thing you’d enjoy?”
Realizing how silly I sounded, I decided — per Mark Twain — ‘twas better to keep my mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.
They had me cornered; they were circling. [Read more…]
While it’s always important to keep on learning throughout life, there is no reason to turn learning into a code word for drudgery. In fact, learning new things is the perfect way to incorporate a little fun into your day. Taking classes just for fun is an opportunity to, not only learn a new skill, but to actually learn how to let go have fun again! If you’re stuck for ideas on new things to do, try out some of these accessible and fun courses. You can find most of them through community programs or available at local colleges and universities:
While you may want to make sure you enroll in a class that is not meant for professional actors, there are plenty of different reasons why an acting class can be a blast. If you’ve ever wanted to be on stage, this is the perfect time to just let loose and go for it. You never know, a role could even be waiting if you discover a hidden passion.