Staying fit and healthier as a senior citizen

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On July 1, I will be celebrating my first anniversary as a retired person. On this date in 2004, I weighed 168 pounds. However, now because of a change in lifestyle and my goal to become a fit and healthier senior citizen, I am 10 pounds lighter. Yet no matter what exercises I use or whatever I do to become this person, I can’t seem to shake off those hideous love handles and slightly bulging belly. Therefore, I decided to go even further with my exercise program.

I joined the YMCA on Godwin Blvd. in January and consulted a trainer at that establishment two weeks ago to find out that for six months as far as walking on the treadmill is concerned, I have been doing it all wrong.

No doubt I was still elated when the summer weather rolled around and some of my slacks and Capris that I wore last year hung on me like a dishrag. Not wanting to go to the trouble of having them taken in, I gave them away and purchased new ones.

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On the weekend of July 8-10, I will be attending my high school reunion. About three weeks ago I was looking in my closet to find something to wear for the dinner-dance event that will be held on Friday, July 8. I found a cute little wet-look formal long red dress that a friend, Edna Rodgers, had made for me about six years ago when I was a size 11-12. At the time of my retirement, I had advanced to a size 13-14 and had completely forgotten that I even had the dress. I tried it on and was elated when it seemed to fit. I then looked into the mirror and my eyes fell on my hip area to expose two bulging lines of fat on each of my sides. That is when I couldn’t reach the &uot;Y&uot; and a trainer fast enough. I then wondered why the places that you desire to lose weight the most are the places that weight seemed to want to stick around.

My first appointment with Mary Heiler, a trainer, was scheduled for Tuesday, June 14. After Heiler asked questions to learn my goals and to enter my health profile into her desk computer, she told me to pick a pin number that I could remember. This number will allow the main FitLinxx computer in the exercise room to automatically record every pound that I lifted. A miniature computer where I can enter my pin number before exercising is also on every machine in the weight exercise room to record my workouts as I do them. On the main FitLinxx computer I can also record my treadmill workouts. These machines, one which is located in the cardiovascular room and one which is located in the weight room, are assets that a person has at the &uot;Y&uot; that he can’t get by exercising at home because they have many other features about workouts too numerous to mention.

When Heiler took me to the weight exercising room, she started me on four different weight lifting machines to target my arms, legs, chest and hips. After we completed small workouts on each, we headed to the cardiorovascular room where the treadmills are located. I have been walking on the treadmills since January and that is when I was forced to face a rude awakening.

I put the machine on my usual speed and Heiler asked me if I ever sweated, or found it hard to talk while I was walking. I answered no to these questions and she informed me that if I was comfortable while walking, my exercising efforts were useless and wouldn’t do much good for my heart. She then increased the speed up five more notches and I began to sweat. I looked at my heart rate and it had gone up 30 points from what it had read at my old speed. Heiler told me that from that time on she wanted me to stick to the new speed.

I met with her for another exercise session on Wednesday, June 22 to become more familiar with the computers and exercise equipment. She said that she wanted me to exercise on these about three times a week. I did two additional sessions on my own on last Friday and Monday and stayed on the new speed with the treadmill. I was surprised how my body began to get use to it, which she told me it would. Since that first workout with a trainer to the present time, which equals 220.00 minutes, I have lifted 6,730.00 pounds and gained 1,290 points. As I exercise I earn points that the computer also records These points will help me to win free prizes, another asset in joining the Y’s exercise program.

I know that while losing weight, watching what I eat is also important. Therefore, in addition, I have taken some of my eating habit from Oprah Winfrey’s Weight Boot Camp program which are to eat only whole grain breads and cereals, eliminate sugar, drink only skim or one percent milk and try not to eat anything after 7 p.m.

The week of July 8-10 is fast approaching and I am very determined to wear that little sexy red dress without wearing any uncomfortable tightening under garment to make me look thinner. However, if those budges still don’t disappear to my satisfaction, hopefully other muscles that I am exercising will be shaped and formed in ways that will distract everyone’s eyes from my hip area to the other improved areas. If that still doesn’t work, at least you now know that I am trying very hard (and hope that I don’t die trying) to sport a model’s figure. At least I hope that it shapes into one when the alumni reunites again in July 2007.

Evelyn Wall is a regular columnist for the News-Herald.