Posts Tagged ‘physical therapy’

Gyms & Jaci

I am about to head to bed, so probably should not be starting a blog post – but when has that ever stopped me?

I have been thinking a lot about  gyms and the whole fitness scene. This is not normal for me. I flunked P.E. every year that I had to take it (which would be 4th Grade – 11th Grade). Most times, I managed a “C” for Average, but I remember (very distinctly) the first stain on my perfect report card: I was in 5th Grade and received an F in P. E. I was devastated, not because of P.E., but because I believed my parents held me up as an academic superstar and I had failed them.

I remember exactly where I was when my mother drove by me. I had just crossed the railroad tracks on North Bridge Street and I was thinking about every way I could hide my report card from my parents. Nothing came to mind and the blue Dodge station wagon that pulled over to the side of the road wasn’t helping me. Reluctantly, I climbed into the front passenger seat and burst into tears.

Imagine my relief when my mother said, “Oh, it’s only P.E. Who cares about P.E.?” What she meant was: she would have failed it, too, and she regarded academic studies as infinitely more important.

My next failure was in 6th Grade when we had to jog from the school to the local park, across the railroad tracks and an empty lot. I was a clumsy runner at best and my best friend was a graceful gazelle among a pack of wolves. I mean, Trudi could do *anything* athletic. She was way ahead of me when I un-gracefully jumped over a tumbleweed and landed on a piece of wood with two rusty nails poking up out of it. Nails went through my sneakers and into the ball of my foot. I didn’t cry, but I sure wanted to. Or maybe I did cry. I pulled the board off my foot just as Trudi returned from the park, way ahead of the pack. She saw my distress and stopped. I leaned on her all the way back to school – we were the last to arrive back, but it didn’t matter to Trudi: she was helping me.

Lesson #2 – you can fail at athletics, but never fail as a friend. Or you can succeed at athletics, but take time for a friend in pain. You pick.

The list goes on. I grew up in an era when President Kennedy’s “fitness” program was the norm for public school P.E. Classes (and it probably should still be, in my un-humble opinion -that is, if obesity really is as rampant as they say). I was not obese. I was a skinny little girl who could gallop like a horse for blocks, but if I was called upon to run, do push-ups, or climb a rope… well, I was a dismal failure. By the time I reached high school P.E., I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would love hiking but hate anything else even remotely resembling public school P.E.

High school was easier because we moved and the girls’ P.E. program in my new school was a joke. The most strenuous course I took in P.E. was water ballet (at which I managed to look like a graceful humpback whale). the best part about early morning swimming was walking between the pool and the high school while running a comb through my long hair. The air temperature was generally below freezing and I could comb out ice from my hair and it would be almost dry by the time we arrived in the gym.

I once bought a gym membership at a gym that had a swimming pool. I realized quickly that I hadn’t been swimming in 20 years and swimming was a whole lot harder to do than I had remembered. Besides, I lost some valuables in the gym locker room. And I couldn’t keep up with working it in to my schedule.

This is not to say I am unfit (I am). I have hiked and walked most of my life. Uphill, downhill, playing catchup with my husband, and exercising my dog. I am currently about 10 pounds over, but that comes and goes. I’m not athletic by any means, but I am not entirely unathletic. I merely hate anything that reminds me of public school P.E.

Enter Physical Therapy. My neck got tweaked in the latest car accident. Not my fault, but there you go. C-6 and C-7 were very sensitive (those are nerves in the spinal column in the neck). My doctor took a look and sent me to Physical Therapy torture.

OK – the ultrasound, the heat, the massage and the physical manipulation of my neck have been wonderful. But the strengthening of the upped back and neck muscles???

Think: GYM.

And you know what? I think I could get addicted to this! If I had a personal trainer who gently nudged me forward into areas of physical endurance that I didn’t think I could do, I might actually like working out. I might lose ten pounds. I might feel better.

I might actually like the smell of human sweat and the sound of mechanical devices simulating running or walking or helping someone do weight lifting. I might actually enjoy the rowing machine or the arm bicycle or the rubber ball exercises. I might actually become physically fit.

Darn that this is on someone else’s dollar because I’m not sure I’d pay money to be tortured.

In the meantime: sit up straight and think about your posture. Posture is 50% of it.

I am still considering applying for a gym membership (!!!) and a personal trainer. What would happen with an hour a day on a running machine ^ a few upper back exercises? I might feel healthy?

Noone hold their breath. I’m just thinking out loud right now.

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