Never stop learning.
Always keep moving.
I woke up really early this morning and was three minutes late for the yoga class that I had woken up early to take. Now, the teacher wouldn’t have cared if I was three minutes late, but I did, so I decided to go to the Y, burn some calories so I can eat extra, ha ha.
I often get bored in exercise so I’m always searching out new ways to feel and look good. When I joined the Y in Santa Monica, I was amazed at how many wonderful classes and teachers they have available, besides a great gym, weight room and delicious pool.
I feel that as vigorous as my workouts tend to be, it is always a good thing to balance it out with yoga and swimming.
Something about gliding weightless in a pool, but feeling my muscles working as I pace back and forth meditatively within the water.
I have an elderly client that is finding it more and more difficult to work out in the manner we used to. She has a gorgeous pool so I decided to start doing water aerobics with her. I’ve taught aerobics before, but never in a pool.
After my work out, I decided to take the Older Adults Twinges and Hinges Class, a class geared for those with arthritis and limited mobility for various reasons.
I would like to say that their were a bunch of blue haired ladies in the pool but they all had swim caps on, so I wouldn’t know.
I was a minority though. I came into the 3-foot deep pool and was stared at by the myriad of men and women old enough to be my mom and grandpa.
Their strange stares turned into big smiles when the teacher asked me if I had the right place. A few giggles erupted and a splash or two.
I told them I was there to ‘check it out’. The instructor asked if I had any injuries. I said no and she told me that the class might be too easy. I gave in and told her I was there to learn some new tricks to share with one of my favorite clients.
The teacher was so happy that she introduced me to the others and asked me to interject ideas if I had any. I told the teacher, Donna, a pleasant and in her prime lady that I was there to learn from her and that anything she had, I’d take in with glee.
Donna is the co-teacher of this class. Florence is the teacher. She’s been teaching the Twinges class for 20 years. She’s in her 80’s. She recently slipped on the treadmill and dislocated her shoulder. She showed up late, little, donning a shower cap and a smile so bright, they could have turned off all the lights and we could have seen every move we made. Robert is the class clown, in his 60’s. He likes to splash the others and crack jokes. He puts on classical music and everyone takes his or her place lining the outside perimeter of the small pool.
Many of the others barely speak English. The pool is literally a melting pot of American, Mexican, Russian and Chinese. The moves are slow, like Tai Chi. Florence’s voice is low but she beams at everyone and her movements are clear enough to follow by showing us.
We use some funky aquatic equipment. Some of the others come up to me to tell me that there are other classes that are more vigorous, but I don’t mind. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to. But I made mental notes of the other teachers, because I’m there to learn.
Lifeguards come by and say hi to the others. People walk by outside the pool and knock on the window saying hello to the old timers.
Some folks have to leave early because an hour is too long. Some folks chat too much and move too little. No one is scolded; we’re all here to be together. There’s no competition, just laughter, movement and fun.
I swear this is one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.
I probably didn’t burn too many calories, but I made up for the calories in friendships.
Florence and Donna led a class that might not be for every fitness level – too slow for some and too intense for others, but I was just fine to be there and observe.
And when the little old ladies and old men said goodbye to me with a smile, they all told me they hoped I’d be back. I told them I would and I mean that.
I love fitness, yoga and people. If I could have the strength and attitude these folks do at their age, I will be one happy person. It says a lot that they are out there to move and feel good.
Many of my clients are fit, in there 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Some have overcome injury, pregnancy and weight gain.
The important thing is to keep moving. There is literally no body that can’t move in some way, by their own accord or by the help of a skilled professional.
If you are not moving, you may as well be dead.
One of my favorite clients is in her mid 70’s and is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. She is one of my most inspiring clients. She is strong, sharp and focused. She get’s lost and can’t ‘DO’ a lot but we do a lot together.
Her mantra is, ‘just keep moving’.
I’ve seen her decline, but her fervor and dedication has never waivered.
Why should mine?
She challenges me to learn more not just for her sake, but for mine and the clients and students I continue to work with as we age together.
If we keep moving, keep learning, we will stay young at heart, ward off sickness, disease and injury and be happy and well. Really, that’s all that matters.
And you are never too old to start exercising.