Why I joined a gym and why you should consider it

I joined a gym.

It was back at the beginning of February. I go at least 3 times a week to use the treadmill and twice a week I meet with my trainer at an early 7:00am session. I’ve lost 4 1/2 pounds so far. I like working with my trainer because she pushes me to do the most I can do.

Why did I decide, at age 56, to join a gym?

It started in January with my mom. She had been having problems with her legs hurting for quite some time. She hurt so badly walking just a few feet that she had to sit down and rest. Then she decided to start using a walker—one of those fancy ones with a seat and brakes on the handlebar. We didn’t know what was causing the pain but she finally went to the doctor about it. He did some tests and sent her to a cardiologist. The arteries in her legs were blocked causing the pain in her lower legs. It’s called peripheral artery disease (PAD).

I spent 5 days with her in the hospital or with my dad going back and forth after she had stents put in both legs. After the surgery, the doctor showed us the pictures of her legs. There is one artery coming down into the thigh. Below the knee it is supposed to split into 3 arteries leading to the foot. In one leg, she had ONE artery below the knee. In the other, she had NONE. The only way her feet were getting any oxygen was through small “arteries” that have grown to go around the blockages. Thanks to modern medicine, she can now walk pain free.

If she only will.

I decided then and there that I was NOT going to have the same problem 30 years down the road. I didn’t want to go through the pain, frustration, and helplessness that she experienced. Besides having a history of high cholesterol in the family, one of the reasons for PAD is a sedentary lifestyle. My mom would go “walking” with Dad at their church family life center. (She’s never been one for hard work, to be honest.) She would walk, slowly, for about 10 minutes and quit. She was “too tired” . Didn’t want to over-exert herself. It’s been that way for years. I’d say probably my whole lifetime, although there was a time she was a member of a “spa” where she did some kind of exercise but I think the machines actually did the moving for her instead of her moving the machines/weights.

I’m retired. I sit at the computer, a lot. I sit and sew, a lot. Sedentary lifestyle.

I also spent close to 8 months in Houston at MD Anderson with my husband. Sitting. Waiting. Getting fat. When we returned home, I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my life. I hated the way I felt. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way my clothes fit or didn’t fit. I’m still there…hating. But, at least now I’m doing something about it.

I have 2 reasons for beginning a exercise program. I don’t want to end up like my mother. And I have a trip to Norway this summer with my daughter with a tremendous amount of walking involved. I don’t want it to be ruined because I just can’t make it to the next stop.

What is your reason? High blood pressure? Cholesterol? Heart problems? Family history of these problems? Want to look good in a bathing suit? High school reunion coming up? You don’t have to join a gym. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Get a small trampoline or a jump rope and jump.

My dad decided to take drum lessons at age 72 and he loved it and got to be quite good. Just goes to show you…

It’s never too late to start. (Unless you’re on your deathbed.)