Fill the gyms with gray hair and marshmallow bodies. Don’t be intimidated by guys in muscle shirts. – The Topeka Capital-Journal

When I was growing up, people didn’t go to a gym to work out unless they were training for a boxing match. Instead, gymnasiums were places you played sports. However, if you trace the data back, you will see that the fitness industry started to become popular for ordinary people in the 1970s with things like jogging and jazzercise classes.

During this time, Kenneth Cooper introduced the concept of aerobic exercise, and the modern treadmill became popular. So today, even though we have gyms on every corner, all kinds of in-home exercise equipment and workout videos, our parents and grandparents were probably a lot stronger because they didn’t live sedentary lives.

I’ve always had a problem with gyms. I’m sorry, but my idea of a gym is a bunch of male weightlifters in their muscle shirts strutting around looking at themselves in the mirror. I always thought gyms were intimidating and a little dangerous.

After all, there are lots of heavy things being dropped on the floor. Sure, there are females involved, but they are all physically fit, beautiful and wearing a lot of spandex. As I mentioned, it is intimidating.

I’m thinking a little differently these days. I asked myself, “Who should be working out at the gym?” It should be people who want to be able to get out of a chair when they are 80 years old or folks who are realizing they can’t get off the floor without crawling to a piece of furniture to hoist themselves up. Or someone who’d like to pick up their 25-pound grandchild.

It should be people who realize they are made of marshmallows, not muscles! When you think about it, the gym ought to be full of old people. How many falls and broken bones could be avoided? How many of us could ward off frailty and mental decline if we got our blood flowing and muscles flexed?

I realize some people have adopted this attitude their whole lives. Still, most of us are just now realizing that we’re running out of time to think about getting in shape.

So it is time to get proactive, and a visit to the gym might be a good option. To heck with the bodybuilders (good for them) and the gals in their spandex, we should fill the place with gray hair and marshmallow bodies.

I just read a cute but accurate post from AgingbutDangerous.com, “Don’t get down on the floor without a plan to get up.”

I say we better plan early!

Find Connie’s book, “Daily Cures: Wisdom for Healthy Aging,” at www.justnowoldenough.com.

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