Since I have some health issues to contend with, I make it a daily routine to go to the “fitness center”. This center is part of our local hospital and is a full gym with pool, sauna, etc. but also offers many areas of rehabilitation for recent hospital patients. The main rehab programs are for Heart and Pulmonary. Even though I have recently been diagnosed with COPD (I stopped smoking 38 years ago but damage had already been done), I am not at the point of needing rehab but it is important that I do the exercises every day. COPD is an umbrella term that includes chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. Emphysema is my disease and there is no cure but it is manageable. Thus, I go to the gym and work hard at keeping it “manageable”.
The gym has numerous treadmills, elliptical machines and stationery bikes on the upper deck with an inside track running in front of all the extensive equipment. As I trudge along on my treadmill every day, I am totally motivated by some the people walking the track, using the cardio machines and taking classes.
- Love Birds – An elderly couple and the wife, based on her interaction with other walkers, may have dementia or something along these lines. Her loving husband gently holds her hand as they slowly walk the track. He encourages her along the way and I notice he counts the trips around the track with the fingers on his right hand.
- Lady in Green – I see this lovely lady every day as she walks the track. She is perhaps in her late 70’s or maybe 80’s and walks with determination. I call her the “Lady in Green” because her shirt is always green. I am not sure what the color means as the shirts are marked differently – one as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, another for local Senior Games (i.e. local for the US Senior Olympics), and one for the local Food Bank. There are others. These are the few I remember.
- Sweet Man – A wonderfully friendly gentleman, in his 80’s I’m sure, walking the track with his walker. He always smiles and waves to the treadmill group as he passes. He usually goes to the stretching station for some workout and then continues.
- Pretty Lady – A beautiful tiny, white haired lady with her walker. One of the fitness trainers assists her as she makes her way around the track.
- Army Proud Guy – He runs around the track in his “Army” t-shirt and prosthetic leg. He passes all the others runners.
- Mr. Perfect – A lovely man, dressed in handsome workout attire, walks at a pretty hefty clip. His hands hang at his side and they are constantly shaking – perhaps Parkinson’s – or similar. He can out pace me.
- Frank the Man – I’ve met him before when I am one of the “early birds” at the gym when it opens at 5:00 a.m. Frank is there and he’s 94 years old. He also has had 11 golf holes-in-one. I understand he is one of the Fitness Center’s first members and comes in almost every day.
- Man in Black – He is on one of the treadmills every morning and I’m either beside him or close by on mine. His head is down, he has earbuds, and walks for 2 hours straight at the same fast pace. His white hair is neatly in place and he always wears the same outfit – all black.
- Zumba Lady – I see her consistently either in Yoga and Pilates class but also having a blast doing Zumba. She may be the oldest person in the class but she’s always in the front row. I can watch her from my treadmill perch as the Zumba class is on the first floor below the cardio machines and track. I’ll bet she’s one heck of a dancer!!
- Heart Throbs – This group of men and women always walk the track after Heart Rehabilitation. My heart beats a little softer when I see them working so hard to get well.
If I ever wake up and dread the thought of another workout, I stop for one moment and think of these gentle souls. I don’t know their stories but know they work diligently to live longer and have the best life possible. They are my motivation!
I end this post to lace up my walking shoes and head to, what is becoming, my new favorite place!!