Sunday, September 1, 2013

Enjoying Time at the Gym

When I was dating, years ago, I realized that many of the people I met were looking for fulfillment. Funny thing was, they were not looking for fulfillment in themselves, but more looking for someone who they could rely upon for fulfillment – for someone to emulate, or even for someone to fill their time. The most common refrains that told me I was perhaps not finding a soul mate were “I wish there was something to do”, or “Want to go shopping?”, or, a serious killer, “I don’t want to be alone”.

Sort of a funny way to start a posting on working out. But, hang in there - there really is a message somewhere in this post.

I've always found that being your own person, developing yourself, your hobbies, your fascinations, becoming a complete person - makes it so much easier to be a part of a relationship. And people find you more interesting, giving you a better chance to form a relationship. Likewise, I have found that I am most attracted to people who do things, who have fascinations, who pursue subjects and learn - I find these people interesting and I enjoy spending time with them.

My point is that gyms are the same way. I watch people in my gym shuffle from machine to machine with glum looks on their faces – yup, these people really seem exciting. Or not. Actually, these are people I make it a point to say hi to, tell them they are doing great, keep it up – encouraging comments. But, more on that in the next post.

Then there are those folk who stand out – one gentleman has more ways of stretching than I can imagine. He stands out, and he helps others when they show an interest. In fact he has shown me several great stretches. Standing out, in a good way, is a wonderful way to start enjoying the gym.

Of course, if you are 60 and decide you want to stand out by becoming a pro at powerlifting, well, good luck to you. I hope your joints can take the strain. A previous post discussed sustainability. Starting powerlifting at age 60 just might not be all that sustainable.

Reminds me of the gent who wants to compete as body builder at 45 – who is taking a lot of testosterone to help him bulk up. This is not what I am recommending. I guess I need to say that we need to be a little intelligent in deciding how we want to stand out.

Back when I was 50 I began to realize how important balance was in my life. No, not balance as in a balanced diet, or a balanced life style, but balance, as in not falling over. Tripping, falling – really not good thing as we get older. So, around 50, I focused on developing balance exercises and started getting serious about developing a routine that stressed core development – think abs and obliques and back. Oh, and I started stretching.

What does this have to do with enjoying my time at the gym? I started working out at my current gym 3 years ago. Within two weeks I had a lady working out with me – she wanted to improve her balance. A month later a young man wanted to learn more about improving his soccer playing and figured that improved balance was important.

Sort of like dating – people are drawn to someone who knows what they’re doing and who is enjoying them-self. And, besides, the gym really is more fun if you find that your workouts keep you from hurting yourself out there in the real world.

It really is a jungle out there.

When I think about it, there are so many areas that someone in their 50’s or 60’s could afford to learn more about. Developing better balance, stretching, strengthening the core, strengthening joints, and, flip side, learning what it takes to heal joints that have been overstressed. Learning about healthy diets, understanding the benefits of cardio and weight-bearing exercise. In fact, I heartily endorse taking a month or so to study, then attend a weekend workshop and become a certified personal trainer. You will learn a bunch about what it takes to get fit and take care of yourself!

Seem overboard? Perhaps. Or is it what it takes to have a more fulfilling and healthier life?

One of our new kittens chasing her tail in a trash can. Gotta love kitens.

More tomorrow.

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