Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Every Day Begins Here

My days begin at the gym - 24 Hour Fitness (of Biggest Loser fame) in Colorado and Planet Fitness in Fort Myers.

Both gyms have the usual aerobic machines - treadmill, elliptical, stair-stepper and bikes - and the many, many weight machines plus the free weights, and clean locker rooms with showers.

In addition, Planet Fitness has a neat area with the 30-minute circle of machines and aerobic platforms - similar to Curves except these machines are completely adjustable and used by both men and women. Let me tell you - it is a heck of a workout!

I'm usually at the gym by 7:00 a.m. and workout for about 45 minutes: 2 days of fat burn (slower aerobics, keeping my heart rate around 115), 2 days of more strenuous aerobics (heart rate from 130-135 with 3 to 5 minutes as high as I can get it) and I add weights at least two days a week.

I used to hate exercising and had every excuse in the book not to go to the gym: I'm too tired, not enough time, too boring, my knees hurt, I have a headache, etc. Then in April, 2008 I was diagnosed with Factor 5 Leiden (abnormal hereditary clotting disorder) after a severe episode of Ischemic Colitis caused by the formation of clots in my portal vein and kidney. Exercising and getting fit was no longer an option.

I was yanked off my hormones (and boy do I miss them!!) and later all soy products (my dumb idea to get pseudo-hormone relief from hot flashes which resulted in a second episode of bleeding) and have recently been put on Coumadin (an anti-coagulant) therapy.

Bill has been a gym rat for years and goes almost every day. He works out for up to 2 hours then hits the steam room, hot tub and shower (He rarely showers at home). When I went to the gym with him - I couldn't keep up - so that was a good excuse not to go. Now I go for ME.

I'm so much healthier now and really enjoy my workouts (but it was quite a while before I could say that!). The bonus is the energy and stamina I have so Bill and I can hike and bike or just work in the yard. I'm happier and more interested in everything. I've lost some weight and fit into clothes from my skinny closet. I gave my fat clothes to Goodwill.

Bill and I are in the final third of our lives - that's just a fact of life - but we have decided not to get old - at least not yet. We both read the book "Younger Next Year" (by Chris Crowley and Dr. Harry Lodge) and it reaffirmed what we already knew about exercise, healthy diet, loving and playing - but we were both amazed by the statistics on aging - 70% of the normal decay associated with aging (weakness, sore joints, apathy), and over 50% of all illness and potential injuries - can be prevented.

I refuse to die sitting in a chair - alone and miserable. I want to be mountain climbing with Bill when we are in our 90's.

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