Skip to content

How to exercise (at 57.33 years)

  • by

In 2015 I took a Zumba class at the Austin Ballet studio. It was mostly a snarky move on my part, a way to laugh at the ‘Zumbies’ and then write a post about it. It didn’t go quite as I planned and I still refuse to believe that I was enrolled in a Beginners class. You can read that post here.

At the time, I’d been partly motivated by my perceived weakness at my gym, Travis County Strength. At 49, I was finding it difficult to keep up with everyone and was sure I was losing all my strength. Eight years later and I’m still training at TCS but suspect that I’m now just one disappointing workout away from giving pickleball a try, and not in a snarky way. I was still middle of the pack at 49. I’m now at the very awkward point where I really can’t keep up with most of the others in my class and am very close to playing the age card and modifying the workout. But I know if I do that I’ll be forever relegated to the ‘….you’re great for your age’ category.

To give me something to look back on when I’m 65 and happy to just take a nice daily stroll, I’m listing my current approach to, and perception of my athletic abilities.

1. Forcing myself to keep up with sprint and hill training in the hope that my cardiologist will order another stress test this autumn so that I can ace my old 2022 max heart rate numbers and then brag about it.

2. Yelling at my Apple watch when it suggests that I’m behind on my exercise minutes for this time of day when I’m trying to have a recovery day.

3. Wondering how many recovery days is too many within a 7-day period.

4. After 22 years here, still calling my shoes ‘trainers’ because I can’t bear to say sneakers without adopting a heavily sarcastic extended-vowel faux-American tone,

5. Putting myself on the waitlist for a sold out class at the gym then waking up with a sinking feeling to discover that I’ve got a place.

6. Wondering where everyone in pilates class gets these cute matching pastel crop tops and bottoms while I’m rocking my whatever-isn’t-festering-in-the-laundry-basket look.

7. In social situations, trying to steer any topic of conversation on to running marathons so that I can mention that I’ve run 4. Even though the last one was 15 years ago.

8. Pulling out my pilates socks at the studio and realizing I brought the toeless ones that I hate and then fumbling around trying to separate my clingy little toe from its neighbor to get them through their individual holes. Meanwhile the class has already finished the warm up.

9. Trying out the Nike running app and immediately getting irritated with the trainer’s overly chirpy tone and fanciful encouragement.

10. Fending off the urge to shout out my age and weight while doing a set of 20 bodyweight backsquats. (57 and 125)

11. Secretly wondering what it would be like to take an OrangeTheory class but preferring to just make dismissive comments about them.

12. Joining a running group for the long run and hoping the chipper early morning person will be there and will talk about themselves non-stop so I don’t have to choose between talking and breathing.

13. Never being able to do a handstand against the gym wall for the perfectly logical fear of cracking my skull open. Also, as with algebra, not seeing the functional need in real world applications.

14. Looking busy when someone in the gym far stronger than me needs a spotter, for fear that I may actually be called on to help them and thus possibly kill us both.

15. Feeling invincible running down a slight hill, feeling that I’m really getting the hang of running again.

16. Waiting for a race to start and doing those awkward and largely pointless bouncy jumps and knee lifts like I’m limbering up for a new PR.

17. Feeling confident that my running difficulties are caused by my shoes needing replacement. Even though they were new a month ago.

18. Asking the coach at my gym to take a photo of me backsquatting, and realizing that mid-squat is not a good look on me. Nope nope nope, not gonna post it.

19. Wondering if my athletic abilities peaked at Primary School B.A.G.A gymnastics level three, which required a forward roll and a headstand. And still having the certificate to prove it.

20. Never noticing before that the Amateur Athletics Association Award that I’m so proud of, was sponsored by Wall’s Ice Cream. I must have forgotten that the certificates were handed out from Mr Whippy’s van.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *