In her dozens of articles for our site, “West Coast Correspondent” Toni Myers  has covered everything from reviewing books (on topics from female Civil War spies to “Why does the world exist?”) to “aging damply in Seattle” to her joy in volunteering to how to write a novel in 18 days. This is her response to our March Challenge, in which we urged readers to bring some change, however minimal, into their lives.

 

I can fly! I can fly!

 4dpro_8105Getting a lift in suspension training.

I was a floppy baby, or so I heard. Apparently I waited for Brother, one year, two months, and six days younger, to show the way before I did much walking or even talking. (“You made up for it, dear”—at least the talking part.)

My less-than-athletic ways continued without change for six decades, though I did have two sports: swimming and badminton, the latter earning me two “champ” titles on small stages.

My first husband, the wit, called me a member of the “LIFO” school of camping—last in, first out.

When I turned 40 and the bad habits caught up with me, I went through a couple of years of back and leg pain. My response was to move less, in avoidance of misery. I joined an exercise club or two, always with a friend for inspiration. But I was mostly otherwise engaged, one of the hordes of people who join a fitness place, yet never go. I tried Curves, but found it boring and mechanical (forgive me if it works for you).

Suddenly, to my surprise, I was 60. My body complained about lack of exercise, so I gradually became a regular, if not avid, exerciser. Things got in the way.

Being rear-ended on the freeway set me back an entire year.

Last winter was a hard one. I’d developed chronic lung disease and had tentative diagnoses, never proven, for worse maladies, and I continued to fall randomly—never a good thing.

My resolution for this year had been NOT to fall. It lasted until January 3 in a spectacular launch downhill, right after I’d bragged to my walk friend about how long I planned on staying alive and well. It probably didn’t help that I was demonstrating the hop my 4-year-old granddaughter was teaching me. My personality was young, my body was deteriorating.

The time has come for a serious and dedicated change. I am now attending senior aerobic classes (“Enhance Fitness”) two to three times a week.

The big big change for me is doing personal training (for strength, balance, and to avoid earning the term “frail elderly”). I’ve found the best trainer imaginable. Scot teaches senior classes and loves it. It was a midlife career change for him, and he enjoys working with people who have real health goals. We’ve danced everything from the Hand Jive to the Macarena to the Twist, the Charleston, and Cowboy Boogie in class.

I’ve begun training with Scot two times per week. He tailors the program to my needs, challenging me to do a little more each time. It’s hard to break a lifelong habit of not pushing myself, but I am feeling improvements. I’ve not lost weight, but am lighter on my feet. I know the arthritis hasn’t vanished, but I can get up and move in a way more like the me before the age-40 bump in the road.

I feel more confidence and have a favorite exercise tool in addition to the machines and exercises: TRX. Using this suspension training, my body weight supported by the heavy-duty support system and my safety guaranteed by my expert trainer, I feel like Wendy in Peter Pan. I can fly! I can fly!

I will never go back.

 

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  • Toni Myers March 25, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I have resisted Pilates, though hear so much good about it. Wish I were there with you… if I get there will try and meet up. Thanks, Susanna

    Reply
  • Susanna Gaertner March 23, 2015 at 7:54 am

    …I wish I could magically transport you all out here to me for a dose of the life-enhancing, core strengthening techniques of Pilates, which can be adapted to any age and fitness level.
    Toni, here’s wishing you continued success.

    Reply
  • Toni Myers March 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks so much. I love the encouragement to stay the course, never my way in the past. !!

    Reply
  • Carol March 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Oh, I want to fly, too! How brave you are. But, apparently that personal trainer is very beneficial to you. You must have to have some core strength to ‘fly’. No more falling for you – just dancin’!
    I am inspired. Thank you. And, I hope you’ll give us a future follow up.

    Reply
  • Judy Hooper March 21, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Toni… You need to get a wild puppy that needs a long walk to get his energy down. You will be committed to the walk …not by wanting to exercise, but by the damn dog making you go for that 2x a day walk-a-thon. Oh, did I tell you we have a new wild puppy, Sapphire … and I am doing more walking and enjoying it so much. You know I do love my tennis and you know how I am damn old and cycling and now I am walking, walking… and loving it. So my advice … get a damn dog… :+)) as they make us exercise and love us … Helps with stress too … Of course, part of the stress is having the damn dog :+))

    Reply
  • Toni Myers March 20, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Great that you’ve always practiced fitness. I recommend Silver Sneakers or even nicer Enhance Fitness if you have either of those in town. And winter in your place might be harder to do outside walks unless on snowshoes! I am much
    happier exercising. Who knew? Not I.

    Reply
  • Diane Dettmann March 20, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Toni, I enjoyed reading “I can fly”! Growing up in the city as a child I walked or rode my bike everywhere. Physical activity was a huge part of my life and to a certain degree still is. Yet as I move beyond my mid 60s, it’s harder to motivate myself and not find excuses to skip my daily walk-run and my weights. All I know is I feel better and life looks brighter when I exercise. Wishing you the best!

    Reply