Never too late to be a beginner

by Jerry Vance

Is it too late for you to exercise? Are you too old, too busy, too relaxed? Have you been able to outlast or outlive the need for exercise? Yes? Thank God!

Well, you won't get off that easy. Whether your hair is grey or some other fantastic color, whether you are busy or lazy, you will greatly please your doctor if you move, even if it is only as far as the mailbox. Not what you wanted to hear? I'm not surprised.

Forget the idea of exercise avoidance. Become a beginning fitness student. Beginners require special help, and they need special care. It is a wonderful place to be, that label of "beginner." No one expects you to do anything right. You trip when you jog, you swallow water when you swim, you mix up the left and right sides of your body, and you breathe in all the wrong places. Isn't it wonderful? How else can the rest of us get a laugh? Without the beginners to chuckle over, there would be little to do during sweat time.

Don't expect much when you start a fitness workout. Relax your expectations and spend your time doing half as much, half as fast. It takes several weeks of workout time to get your heart in shape, and you have two or three months to see results in the muscles. When you are a beginner, watch out for your sore points; those bad ankles or that stressed back. Each little weak link in your body can be overcome by adjusting the move that stresses it. Watch out for high pulses (more than 160) and watch for overheating without proper water intake. And watch out for the sore muscles. Then it's full speed ahead.

You don't have to take lessons before you start a fitness sport - jump in and look stupid. The rest of us did. Take on tennis, racquetball, golf or aerobics. Don't start an exercise program with the thought of perfection. If you decide to compete later, then you can work on technique. Just saying the words, "I am a beginner" takes the worry out of looking competent in the pack. You might trip a little now and then to prove your point.

I still have a lot of beginners in my exercise classes, even though the January fitness resolutions are gone. It is a little harder on the beginner now since most of the people know what they are doing. But there was a time when they didn't. I remember, even if they don't.

Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.


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