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I learned early in life to not take myself too seriously. It is important to know how to laugh at the situations we find ourselves in. I hope this last entry on the Olympics leaves you smiling.

 The Olympics are over and the question remains. Have we found inspiration in their stories, in their commitment to be their best, in their physical fitness?

Yes, Yes…what? Was I supposed to be inspired to get fit? Was sitting in my recliner and watching all those fit athletes supposed to inspire me to get up? Actually, fitness is something I have been giving attention to this last year. Although you would not know it to look at me. The doctors say, my various health issues and their timing that have caused the weight gain AND the impossible task of losing said weight. I am glad to have an explanation, but honestly, I have run into other obstacles to weight loss also.

For instance the equipment at the gym. There I was pedaling away on the bike watching people slaving away on the Cross training Elliptical. Are you familiar with that machine? You stand on two shelves which move back and forth while you hold onto two ‘poles’ that also move back and forth. All of this movement gives you the sense of cross country skiing. I grew up in New York, I can do this right? Well, the first time I got on I had a bit of trouble with the computer. First it asks my age and weight. I understand, all in the name of fitness. Once I enter that confidential information, my target heart rate blinks across the screen. So far so good. I start moving – swish, swish, swish. Within one minute the machine says  “You have reached your target heart rate, please slow down.” So  I slow down to make it happy (and to catch my breath). Suddenly it tells me “Please resume workout” as if I had stopped! So I speed up a bit only to see it reminding me “you have reached…” OK, OK, I slow down again. Immediately this comedian of a machine tells me to resume my workout. Apparently, I am not even fit enough for this Elliptical to recognize I’m moving! So yes, getting a good workout has been a challenge – if I listen to the computer coach. I have moved on to the treadmill, it doesn’t talk so much.

Of course that’s just the cardio portion of exercise. You have to do weight training and core strengthening too, right? Weight training is fine as long as I stick to the machines and do not venture over into the free weight area with all the muscle builders. It is kind of scary over there.

But the core training presents  its own set of problems.  I do core exercises at home because I do not want anyone to see me struggling. Moves like the plank and side plank (I call them my pirate exercises) are not graceful when I do them.  Besides my instructions say to “do to the point of exhaustion”. Really? Guess how long that takes! I barely get up into position when the muscles give out.  Nevertheless, even with my quick collapses, I can already see the results. The real problem is – consistency. After all,  I have to get down on the floor to do them. You have no idea what a challenge that can be. Sometimes I get down there and have to rest. Doing the exercises does fire my core muscles however  and does get my circulation going.  So while I am down there I figure I might as well do my physical therapy for my back. Hey, why not stay down there longer and do the ball therapy too? When all is said and done though, I still have to get up off the floor. I think that should count as an exercise.

I would dismiss the whole “the Olympics should inspire you to get fit” idea by claiming those athletes are all so much younger than me that it doesn’t apply. Then I noticed that a few, not many, but a few were actually in my age range. And a few more were quite a bit older. I am without excuse. So, like each Olympian who trains for four years all the while picturing herself at the Olympics, I am going to work hard these next four years and picture myself…well…simply – more fit and healthy. I want to be one of the few. Why not? After all, we’ve seen in these Olympic games – anything can happen!