One of the nice things about the apartments where I live is the regular exercise classes held in our Fitness Center on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It is led by a certified fitness instructor named Dana, and I look forward to our time together more than she can know.
I moved into my new home in late January two years ago. By March I overcame my shyness, put on my exercise clothes and presented myself. Everyone was very welcoming, and Dana suggested that since I had never done weight training, 3-pounders would be a good place to start. I’m now up to 5-pound weights, which I think is my upper limit.
I had also never joined a class before, being something of an exercise lone wolf, and I learned two things right off. The first is that exercising with others is much more fun than going it alone. The second is that it keeps me honest. I’ve only missed classes when I’ve been under the weather or out of town.
Our class consists of all women most of the time. Since the age range runs the gamut from the occasional 20-something to a couple of ladies in their 80’s and one 90-year old, a lot of the exercises focus on strength and balance. Since I began working out on a regular, faithful schedule, I feel more comfortable in my body and am not constantly walking into door frames. I even have modest biceps and can actually get the caps off of jars now, without asking a man to do it for me! But better than all this are the delightful ladies who comprise the class.
First let me introduce Rhoda, who was always dashing in a minute or two late. It was Rhoda who first befriended me, and who introduced me to some of my dearest new friends. Sadly for us, she moved to Texas last year, to be near two of her daughters, but she visits us. In fact she was here last month. Rhoda is a real character, with a great sense of humor. She and I competed for class clown and the honors were pretty even. I miss her.
Then there is Mary, who is a serious bridge player on the side. In class she is quiet and neat and can do those danged Yoga-type exercises with her eyes closed and not holding on. It’s the thing I most dislike about her! Virginia keeps us amused with her collection of sweat shirts and T-shirts. I think she’s the most rabid Oregon State Beaver fan in the bunch, although there is serious competition. Our friend Shirley is away for a while, attending her son, the new Mayor’s, inauguration in his Indiana town. We’re all as proud as if he were ours, and she can’t stop beaming.
Helen is a tiny, white-haired pixie, and her smile and laugh are quite contagious. You want to tell her a joke to hear her laugh. Helmi, on the other hand, is taller and silver-haired, with a charming German accent that many years in this country have not eradicated.
Then we have our world travelers, Carolyn and Betsy. Carolyn and her husband have family in Germany whom they visit, and Carolyn steps in for a friend in upper New York State who runs a bed and breakfast. If it were not for her, they’d never get away. We never know when Betsy will be off again. Most recently, I believe she went to Russia, or no, there was that trip to Cabo. Betsy is the most senior and most globe-trotting of our number, and we’re all in awe of her.
About Dana I can’t say enough. She is unfailingly patient and kind. She has designed a program that works for all of us, and I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her help. She’s on vacation next week, and she’s earned it, but we’ll all be glad to have her back!