My exercise class at the YMCA is called “Silver Sneakers Classic.” Silver Sneakers is “the nation’s leading exercise program for active older adults.” So it’s an exercise class for old people; one friend calls it the “chair class.” Indeed we do each have a chair and some of the upper body exercises are done sitting, as well as some leg and ankle strengthening activities.
I attend for the upper body, flexibility, and balance exercises. I think my walking on the mornings I don’t go is enough for lower body strength. Do I walk every day? Of course not. Today, for example, here I am. But it’s warming up. I may get out yet.
When holding a pose on one leg, I love knowing that chair is right there to grab if necessary. When we do our lunges, I’m glad I can steady myself by putting my hand on the chair seat if I start to waver. Having that chair as a crutch is more helpful than embarrassing, though we see obvious smiles and some smirks as people watch us through the big glass window.
You may recall my post, “Not Just ‘Another Day at the Y.’” Yes, I’ve been going for about two years, but I go alone except for that day. I know several of the other participants, having taught together or having taught their children or grandchildren. It’s pleasant to learn about their lives.
As I went through the motions yesterday, I analyzed why I enjoy the class, especially the Monday and Friday teacher, Chrissy. (The Wednesday one not so much.) I like the more challenging one. Chrissy suggested I try the kickboxing class, but so far it hasn’t worked for my schedule. And my husband laughed at the very idea, which, of course, makes me want to try it.
Admission: I don’t get hot and sweaty in the Silver Sneakers class. We march, we stretch, we lunge, we balance, but none of it is very strenuous. The few heavy people in the class do sometimes perspire quite a bit, but some of these little women and men come and go looking quite dapper. We have between 30 and 45 each day, more women than men, but still quite a few men. One retired doctor always looks as though he’s ready for the golf course—and he may be. More than one of the women come in coordinated outfits and wearing earrings and other jewelry. Others wear sweatpants and t-shirts. In that mix, everyone fits in.
I enjoy looking at the hair of the women. Few look like mine—salt and pepper, perhaps more salt than pepper. It seems to me that all of them are either blond, light brown, or white. I don’t know if they are in denial about gray hair or what, but many seem to color their hair. The snow white hair is the prettiest. Maybe those who color their hair are waiting till it’s snow white to quit the color.
When I colored my hair, it made me feel more like myself—my younger self, obviously. Two years later, I’m still getting used to seeing that gray in the mirror and in pictures. But continuing to color my hair when my husband’s is white and I have so many wrinkles just seemed like a wasted effort.
So as I analyzed slender Chrissy, mother of four, as she led us in our exercises, I realized that when I’m there I hear vocabulary I never hear elsewhere. Who ever talks to me about my core? My glutes? My ankle muscles? Resistance? My inner thigh muscles? Who reminds me to keep breathing as I do certain exercises? I need to think about such as this. These are parts of my body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m grateful for a convenient way to care for this body that God gave me.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (I Corinthians 6:19-20, NASB.)