Woman of a certain age.

I know I am not the only one who struggles mightily with the whole staying in shape thing. Ok, I have a shape, its lumpy, sagging a bit and it jiggles in all the wrong places.  It is not the ideal shape for a woman of my age and stature, or so all those advertisements for weight loss pills, skinny jeans, and exercise machines tell me.

In reality, I am 48, asthmatic and have some very unhappy discs in my lower back and my neck. I’ve also had three kids, and a hysterectomy, and this year alone I’ve had several rounds of pound accumulating Prednisone to combat the asthma. Try as I might, any will power to exercise, eat better, etc. just went right out the window. Knowing shedding a few of those pounds brought on by stress, one trip too many through a drive thru, medication and laziness needs to be addressed…again.

So once again I’m trying. I am in one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenarios right now. If I don’t try to get my body moving, more flexible and toned, then my health issues will just get slowly worse. But when I try to do something, it doesn’t take long for my back to scream in painful protest, or to trigger and asthma attack.

I’ve been trying a bit of yoga. I know the breathing techniques and stretches are helpful, and I enjoy that I feel less stressed when I do a few minutes. However, I am highly limited as to what my body will let me do. I have yet to find a routine I can do without having to stop because my back says “oh hell no! You ain’t doing that!”

Walking is out right now because, once again I have plantar fasciitis.  For those of you unfamiliar with the injury, it is essentially a strained tendon in the heel of your foot. People with high arches, who stand for long periods of time, are female and are overweight are prone. I meet four out of four requirements. The injury takes months to heal, and feels like someone is sawing off your foot with a chainsaw. Doing some stretches and other therapies help, but it still takes many painful months to go away, and for me it returns within a year.

So what I am trying to do is start small and short, and mix it up a bit because I get bored easy. I have a bunch of videos featuring overly perky and completely toned people who just love the fact that they look good in spandex. Maybe that is why those videos have a tendency to sit on the shelf. There’s just something about a perfectly sculpted person with a smile plastered on their face saying “you can do it, now eight more times!”, all while upbeat music plays an easy rhythm to follow. First I have rhythm, but my body can’t produce it, second, I was done after the first eight reps, and lastly I have to wonder what those people are taking to look like that they are having fun. Maybe its just the knowledge that people like me look like utter idiots trying to follow along. Whatever it is, I hate them, hate them all!

I have a recumbent bike in my office, so I do get on it and watch a video from my computer now and then. One segment from something from The Daily Show, or another such video gives me a few minutes of cardio. I do tend to get bored doing that, but I have been doing it a little more and more. Its easy, painless, and dull. But it doesn’t hurt or trigger the need to grab my inhaler. Maybe someone can suggest some fund things to watch.

I have a Wii, and moved it to the bedroom. I can either Netflix a exercise video or try to do ten minutes of Zumba. Yeah I have it for the Wii. I can get through two routines, then want to die. I also am trying to do a little bit of yoga still, being very mindful of my limitations. Everything is in about 10 to fifteen minute increments and still sporadic in timing and consistency. It all depends on pain and breathing.

Still, fool that I am, will be trying to add exercise back into my life. I know I am going to have to take it slower then I’d like and work my way up to a good level. I also have to accept the fact that I may never regain the flexibility and stamina of my youth. I will also fight constantly the mindset that I LOATHE exercise, getting sweaty, being out of breath, pain, the whole package. I also loathe being lumpy, tired all the time and the pain that the extra pounds are contributing to. That is why I keep trying, well that and the fact I want to feel better in the long term scheme of things. I just don’t enjoy it.

A few weeks ago, I flipped through what I thought was a magazine on women’s health and fashion. What I discovered instead was that it was a publication filled with articles, advertisements and full color photographs championing the business of artificial body enhancement. There were pieces on botox, surgeries, skin care products all designed to help a woman achieve that “perfect look”. There was even a piece that criticized the facial work done on celebrities with suggestions how the article writer would have done it better. I was appalled and frankly offended.

I may be heading headlong to the day where my AARP card gets a 20 year anniversary party, (do they do that? not sure, not quite eligible for one), and I have a body that has stood the test of time and shows it some, but I have people try to guess my age and miss it all the time. I want to take care of myself because I know it healthy, and I would like to be around long enough to embarrass my great-grandchildren in public with my antics. I do not want to go the route of trying to cheat time and mother nature, or appear as someone I am not, a woman of a certain age. There’s really nothing wrong with that, lumpy jiggles or not.


4 Replies to “Woman of a certain age.”

  1. There’s not a thing in the world wrong with using your recumbent bicycle, if that’s what you want to do (sans boredom, of course). You don’t have to jump around to get the movement in. I don’t know what your entertainment and exercise setup is like — I’ve got my dreadmill and evilliptical set up within clear viewing range of my TV, though. And I’ve got a boatload of programs taped on the DVR that I watch when I’m on either of those torture devices (because then I don’t feel guilty for taking the time to watch them, because I’m exercising and that’s good for me, LOL).

    If you’re watching shows on your computer, I know YouTube has several full episodes of Bewitched on it. The seasons that are available vary, but I enjoy that. Also, I think the broadcast networks have lots of their primetime lineup streaming online, so if there’s something you’ve thought about watching that’s available, that’s also an option. Ultimately, it’s about what works for you, not what the exercise gurus say or what anyone says.

    I’m still trying to come to terms with my age. I don’t really know why. My mother never had a problem with her age, and neither did my grandmother or my great-grandmother. And I’m fine with being 41-going-on-42. The number isn’t the issue. It’s the physical signs that are getting to me, like my ever-decreasing metabolism, my knee that I just almost had back to “normal” (meaning “not old”) that I fell on and is now ticked off again, the sciatica, the neck wattle I’ve got a good start on, the endometrial ablation I’m having in a couple of weeks… and it’s all freaking me out. Oh well. I’ll adapt. It’s not like the clock’s going to stop ticking, so I might as well adjust. And I really kind of shake my head at the thought of going under general anesthesia for the sake of my looks so… yep. Must adjust.


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