Okay, I am making this my official charge of misrepresentation and false advertising by a local rec center. This summer I had decided it was time for me to get physically fit. Please note that I did not end that sentence with “again”. Not with my history of being one of the few to have flunked gym class in the 60’s thanks to President Kennedy’s national fitness program. No way could I do twenty-five pushups, five chin-ups and scurry up some darn rope back then! I’d lost most of my baby fat by the time I was in high school but my idea of exercising was turning pages in whatever novel I had my nose in or riding shotgun in a speed boat while everyone else water-skied.
When I studied the rec center’s catalogue of activities, I immediately vetoed the Energize Exercise class that promised that I’d like to exercise in the morning and feel energized all day because I knew I didn’t and wouldn’t. I passed on the Spin & Sweat class because I already have a problem with dizziness and no way do I like to sweat. It just feels yucky. The class for Active Independents sounded good but it was all daytime classes. Apparently the rec center hasn’t gotten the message most of us baby boomers can’t afford to retire so we need evening classes.
I finally settled on signing up for Camp HRC. The title sounded scary until I read the class description, “Do you have low back pain, feel sluggish, and just physically unconditioned? Exercise can prevent, treat and cure diseases associated with poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.” Hum…. I met all of the qualifications, so it must be the class for me.
Here’s where I got in trouble. I take things literally. Therefore, I assumed that if someone was leading a sedentary lifestyle, their exercise class should be fairly sedentary to start off with. Like musical chairs or a slow hokey pokey perhaps. So when I walked in and saw folks dragging out mats, huge rubber balls and weights, I figured I had the wrong class. “Oh no, you have the right class,” I was reassured by a group of very friendly folks about my age. “You better start with the light weights, one pounders.” So far so good. I knew some yoga and I figured I could handle the hand weights so I picked up the 3 and 5 pound ones as well.
“So what do you do with the ball?” I asked. “Sit on it while you do your hand weights?” “Yes.” Cool, I could handle that. “While you lay back on the ball facing the ceiling.” Huh? The darn ball was a size of a small planet. “So how do I get back up?” “We’ll help you.” At that point, I turned to run away, but they quickly locked the gym door on me. Class started and I immediately realized while the class was titled Camp HRC. Our instructor had to be an escaped drill sergeant from some military boot camp and HRC had to stand for Help me, Rescue me, and Crisis, I’m crashing!
After a ten minute warm-up from hell that caused me to sweat profusely and pant, we then proceeded to do pushups, crunches, planks, free weights, lifts, toe balances and squats. I was back in high school again, only this time with a 50-year older body. After class, these very nice classmates came over to me (probably to see if they needed to call 911) and reassured me that when they’d first started this class two years ago, they’d had the same problems! “After a year or two, you’ll get the hang of it,” they said. We’ll see.