I became aware of Gold's Gym one morning while walking the Hudson Valley Mall with Hank, a retiree like myself. I mentioned how well he kept his physique and healthful appearance. His response was, "I attend gym classes a few days a week. You should try it. You will be surprised at the number of retired fellow workers you will see there."
Hank is in his late sixties, so I immediately pointed out to him that I was seventy-nine and a bit too old for that routine. "Youth won't be found in a fountain," I commented.
"True," he returned, "but you can make miraculous changes to your body with a few months of serious work. I have a complimentary pass, which is good for a week. Take it and try the gym. It won't cost you anything and it will give you the opportunity to evaluate it. I'm sure you will find it enjoyable and worth the effort."
I had nothing to lose, so the following Monday I reported to the gym and asked if I might try their facilities. I made it clear that I was seventy-nine years old in case they had any reservations. To my surprise, the receptionist immediately assigned to me a physical training instructor, one of many available and always on hand to insure safety. I was given a familiarization tour of all the available Nautilus equipment and a schedule of the exercises I would follow. A personal planning sheet was put on file to record my progress during each session. Leading me through the routines, the trainer was careful not to let me exceed my abilities until my body was conditioned to accept more energetic activity. It was only months later that I appreciated and respected his knowledge.
Hank was right. I was impressed and joined the gym. I enjoyed the members, the facilities, the staff and the trainers. Part of my routine was lifting twelve-pound dumb bells. At first they were difficult, but within a month I advanced to fifteen pounds. By the year's end I was lifting thirty-five pound weights. I used the track quite often and found a great improvement in my breathing, my posture, my stride and a pride in myself that I never realized existed. Now at the end of a year, the person that I see in the mirror is not the person I had known.
Impossible? Not at all. I am now eighty years old.
Another amazing revelation is the change in my attitude. I once saw myself as an old person among many young, well developed people who, I thought, were not interested in the older generation. But these people, ranging from teens to my own age, all had the same goal in mind: the care of their bodies and their health. They will always step in to help anyway they can, which proves that a generation gap does not exist. Each visit becomes a social pleasure. The proof is in their smiles.
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