Saturday, September 3, 2011

Too Old to Exercise

Last year I did the exercise program P90x for about 4 months. I lost 20 pounds and felt really good. But then on my way to losing another 20 pounds I started getting minor muscle strains which hindered my workouts: First my calf, then my forearm, then my back. The medical reason for these muscle strains is that I am old.

There’s a lot of warming up and stretching before each routine in P90x and I followed them and still hurt myself. I was thinking back to when I was a kid and there was no “warming up” or “stretching”. We rolled out of bed, got dressed in yesterday’s clothes, ran down the stairs like we were on fire, slammed the door open to leave the house and then proceeded to run around the neighborhood like maniacs on methamphetamines for approximately 23 hours before coming home to devour the contents of the refrigerator and fall into bed to go to sleep.

Fast forward to today at 46 years old and if I roll over in bed in middle of the night I pop a hamstring. Having to go to the bathroom at 2 a.m. is like maneuvering through a minefield. If, and it’s a BIG if, I manage not to stub a toe on the bed frame unleashing new and creative expletives that Webster’s is considering adding to their dictionary, I have to avoid the clothes hamper while making a sharp right turn to make it past the bedroom door without cracking a knee into it or raking my knuckles while reaching for the light switch. With eyes still glued shut as if I was sleeping in a bed of tree sap there is a narrow strip of wall in the hallway I have to avoid walking directly into then have the presence of mind to turn right again to enter the bathroom. I almost never run this gauntlet without free-flowing blood or a new, shiny bruise.

When I was 9 we were playing football 18 seconds after waking up. Tackle football. Without any protection. I never pulled a muscle. Yesterday I stood up at my desk at work and my kneecap popped so loud I thought I had been shot.

Eventually last year I stopped exercising. Not because of the never-ending muscle strains but because I got lazy. My couch made a persuasive argument as to why I should sit on it and watch Justified and Burn Notice on TV. I’m telling you my futon must have been on the debate team in college. I regained the 20 pounds plus a few more because that’s how I roll. Literally, I roll across the floor to the kitchen for another corn dog.

This week I re-started P90x. In some ways it feels good to be exercising again, in others, not so much. I am so sore every movement is like someone sticking a lit match under my skin. Friday’s workout contained a lot of lunges and squats and now my gluteus maximus is sore. Did you know there were muscles back there? I didn’t, and now they hurt. Apparently I am too old for exercise.

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