Taking advantage of facilities to exercise

Published 8:00 pm Monday, September 2, 2019

LaGrange is fortunate to have a lot of great facilities for exercise. Obviously, you can look at me and question that assertion, since my body shape is much closer to “Son of Flubber” than “bronzed God.” But put body shape aside. We still need to be more conscious about staying active as we age.

Those ligaments and tendons we’ve been abusing all our lives are suddenly as worn-out as a set of used tires at the Daytona 500. We need muscle strength to compensate for worn out joints, but as we approach retirement age, we begin losing muscle mass. 

This sounds like a contradiction which could only be designed by a government agency. It isn’t really evolution’s fault. Nature never planned for us to still be chasing down woolly mammoths after this many years. 

To be clear, I’m endorsing exercise for muscular and heart strength. The whole weight loss issue is a different discussion. There’s just not enough time in the day to exercise off the effects of a “Hungry Man Pork Sampler Barbeque Platter.” 

I get on a stationary bike and peddle hard for a half hour, and at the end, I’ve burned off the caloric equivalent of a bite of broccoli. Well, okay, maybe a bite of broccoli and cheese. On top of a baked potato. But you know what I mean.

The biggest obstacle to exercise, assuming you are semi-conscious, is that most kinds are boring. I rank exercise between “stuck in Atlanta traffic” and “cleaning the bathroom” on my fun list. You can try to listen to music, but inevitably a cord is getting in the way, or a bud is falling out of your ear. Outside activities, like bike riding or team sports can be fun, but that comradery and sense of objective is lost when the exercise is individual strength training in a gym. I wish the entertainment industry would apply its creativity to develop a virtual reality system which would allow exercise to be more fun. Nintendo came close with Wii Fit 10 years ago, but they populated their virtual world with irritating egg-headed avatars. No one needs sympathy from a cartoon character. 

In the last 20 years, my fitness aspirations have deteriorated from “I’d like to compete in an Iron Man competition someday” when I was 40, to “I wonder if I could complete a 5K” when I was 50, to “It would be nice if climbing stairs didn’t hurt my knees” today. If that’s the trend, what will they be in another 20 years? 

As a group, we Baby Boomers are showing remarkable reluctance to connect the health dots. We acknowledge simultaneous epidemics of obesity, pain killer addiction and high blood pressure, but treat them as independent problems. No prior generation has needed to figure out how to live to be 100 and still be active and productive. It’s time we step up and lead the way in approaching our nation’s health problems more holistically. 

LaGrange provides outstanding facilities for weight-training, aerobics, swimming, yoga, dancing and more — usually for an annual cost that is not a lot more than a single doctor visit. We should take advantage of those facilities.