“.. it is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit. But you cannot see that, if you are careless; for it will not come of its own accord.” attrib. to Socrates; Xenophon, Memorabilia
Perhaps it is just the stage of life thing, but I was embarrassed to see how much I declined in health since my time in the Navy. Being health-averse, a late-sleeper, or an over-eater was not something my conscious self acknowledged. Most of my adult life was conditioned by love of the outdoors, a military structured career, and value of a good reputation. Of course, I woke up one day and decided that I was going to put my spiritual and physical house in order. I would rather follow the example of athletic friends and peers who bike long distances, compete in half- and full marathons, hike (Grand Canyon and Mt Whitney), or who eat to fuel their frames and not to indulge them.
Walking dogs is an introductory course to fitness. I have walked several miles each day between the dog-walks and the running about at my job. But with weight-loss and needing some core strengthening, it’s time to step it up (pardon the pun)! Saturday morning, for the third consecutive day, I was up early and putting my workout gear on. Where once I went to the gym only to have little or no idea how to workout effectively in a short time, I now find through Internet streaming a twenty- to thirty- minute exercise series that teaches me technique and execution.
Of course, working out at home has disadvantages. My workout partner is often a dog that wants to climb into my lap. Or one or both eats biscuits and chewbones on the rubber mats I use for sit-ups. Or insist that “now” is the perfect time to take them for a walk. While some may wonder why not close the door while working out, I found that solution was a bit claustrophobic to be in a small room with exercise equipment. I overcame other phobias early in life, but this is something that has developed since I waved goodbye to my Forties.
However, these videos take me back to the first time I recall exercising via “social media”.
When my mother was a young woman, television was “social media”. Though I was a child, I recall her getting out the chair and the mat for the televised exercise program from the original fitness expert Jack Lalanne. I do remember that he had a very happy dog that would do a brief cameo during the shows.
I actually met Jack Lalanne once when I was about ten – our family was one of the first members of his new gym in San Mateo, California. In the 1960s, the obesity epidemic was still far off in American culture. It seems that gyms sprang up in every community. Twinkies when used as a defense in a very public murder trial in California was a cause for shocked chuckles across America. But thirty years of junk food, super-sizing fast-food meals, portions made for giants, and retail outlets adapting clothes to larger-sized people became standard choices. And so I have had a dog to walk for several decades to give me motivation to exercise. Without the requirement to maintain my warrior-fitness, I have used busy-ness to excuse my decline in conditioning.
But the Internet has come to the rescue with fitness training. Everyone can have a personal trainer. I am subscribed to both a nutrition expert and a fitness expert, and can work out anywhere. Thirty to forty minutes during the day is probably the same amount of time I used to take just to decide whether I wanted to GO to the gym across town! As we look forward to approaching retirement, my wife and I have turned the corner on a once over-stressed but sedentary life. To the joy of my pooches.
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