a bathing beauty at pool pic

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Today I am grateful for comradery, which is great anywhere, but in this case I mean at the YMCA.  I convinced myself that I joined the Y for exercise and to help me lose weight, but I’ve learned that was only a small part of what I’ve gotten from the experience. I have built a whole new base of friends.  My tribe.


Frequently I hear stories about older people who are lonely, but don’t want to leave their houses for numerous reasons.  Maybe many of their friends have moved to assisted living facilities or even died.  Maybe they have physical limitations and a loss of energy.  They feel lonely despair so they stay home, which makes them feel even worse.  And that makes me sad, because it doesn’t have to be that way.


There is a community waiting for you at the YMCA.  And I’m not talking about just my local Y’s, either, I’m talking nationwide.  When I was in both Sheboygan and Madison, Wisconsin I hooked up with water exercise groups that welcomed me just like my own.


Most women hate their bodies so I can just about hear the shouts out there. . . “Water aerobics?  I am NOT getting into a swimming suit because I’m too fat!”  Well guess what?  So am I!  No one cares.  Seriously.  No one.  Get over it.  These days you can go on line to find a suit that will fit you and if you can’t walk into any locker room and six people will help you.  If you can’t handle a locker room with old naked ladies, with all of the sags and bags that rightfully implies, then there are private/family rooms available for you.  Modesty is okay.  So is standing on the scale buck-ass-naked.  Again.  No one cares what you look like.


But if the water is not for you, there is pickle ball.  Personally I don’t see the attraction, but those who play are fanatics and love the sport.  I’ve never heard of anyone being turned away because they didn’t know anyone, but with anything that is competitive I would ease into it and not come on too strong.


If your balance and coordination are in question you can show up for a Silver Sneakers class, which is done with a chair close at hand.  Sit or stand whenever you want to while doing low-impact exercises to music with lyrics you can understand.  It’s fun.  You’re too old?  Hah!  Ages range from 50’s to 96.  People rehabbing knees or using walkers come to this class.  Some are brought by home healthcare workers.  Any movement is better than no movement.  But the human contact and friendships made there are worth much more than a better heart rate.


There’s senior Zumba, a walking class, the fitness center, and a billion other ways to become involved physically and socially.  Still not sure?  Pick up a brochure and look for a bus trip you would like and try that on for size.  We went to West Point a few years ago and it was amazing and didn’t break the bank.


Your joints hurt?  You have mobility issues?  You hate exercise.  Join the club.  Seriously, join the club.  The YMCA!  Because I swear none of us love it to death. . .although with water classes I’m close.  The getting dressed after is a pain and I call it the most strenuous aerobic activity of the morning.  So we laugh.  And we joke.  And we care.


When we lose a member we might not all know her/his name, but she was the “lady who made the great hats” or he was “the guy who always smiled at the side desk”. . .and we care.  When they lose someone from the walking class, we care.  When one of us waves while being taken out on a gurney after suffering a stroke, we care.


At after aerobics coffee, we solve the problems of the world.  Or we cry over someone’s problems, or we tease someone about their directions to a restaurant, or we pick up on stupid things like the fact that someone read that sniffing Rosemary (the herb) is supposed to be calming and someone else says, “But what if Rosemary doesn’t want to be sniffed?”  And we belly laugh, until tears run down our wrinkles!  There are cards, words of encouragement, visits to hospitals, offers of meals and other services needed in times of struggle.  As different as we are, our one common denominator is the YMCA.


You don’t see your family much?  That’s just the way it is for some of us. But you don’t have to be alone.  Or lonely.  Build another family.  There are special people out there at a YMCA close to you, just waiting to include you.   All you have to do is make a move, call them and then check it out.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll discover, like I did, that comradery is the best exercise.

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1 Response to Comradery

  1. Donna Lukshides says:

    Boy, you said it ! again!

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