Give Me Strength

Exercising my right to raise my glass.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

am weak but my desire is strong.

I recently got the news from my doctor that I need to do some weight bearing exercises to build up my bone strength. Apparently, I am a risk for osteoporosis.

You literally have to be strong enough to grow older. If you are more into the whole “anti-ageing” thing then all you have to do is not lift a finger, and you will not live long enough to grow old, as you will fall and break something, lay in the floor until someone finds you several days later, catch pneumonia and die. This only applies to women, of course.

I had heard that as you get older you should be able to at least lift your own weight in case you fall so you would be able to get yourself back up. In fact, I read that once you turn 50 that you should practice getting down on the floor and getting back up again every day. That is a great motivator for losing weight. The less you weigh, the less weights you have to lift.

Anyway, after receiving this news I promptly joined a gym and and got a lesson on how to use all the weight machines.

I thought that I was in pretty good shape because I take Zumba classes three times a week and walk/hike the other days. But, cardio is not the same as strength building, as I soon discovered.

I was actually shocked myself at how weak my upper body is. Hell, I thought lifting my purse every day was a workout, as heavy as it is. I’m convinced it drops my weight down by 35 lbs. when I slide it off my shoulders as I stand on the scales at the dr. office. Why then can I only lift 10 lbs. on the machines? I have to have the pin for the weight adjustment on the very top hole for every arm workout machine. And, I’m sorry to report that I’m not any better with the free weights in the classes. I don’t want to look like a weakling so I start out with 10 lb. weights, drop to 8 lbs. after the first five reps, then 5 lb. and by the end of class I’m struggling with three lbs. I feel like a huge success when I am able to finally get through a whole strength class without dropping my arms down by my side and just moving my feet.

I am actually and literally the weakest person in the class. I should be embarrassed that I use the lightest weights, that I have to do a push-up on my knees, and even then I can only do three before my arms give out. They actually start shaking on the second one. These are not easy confessions to make. In fact, it’s taking me great strength to admit to my weakness.

After all of this working out my arms are weaker than ever and now heavy lifting for me is picking up the tab on my bar bill. Not to be confused with a barbell. After the first day of using weights my arms were so tired and felt so heavy that I could barely lift my glass of gin. Although, to be fair, it was filled with ice.

They say that you should go back and do it again in two days, that you are tearing down your muscles and then you have to rebuild them. I guess I should go back and do it again. The trouble is that after one session I am so sore that there is no possible way that I could ever conceivably think about going back and doing it again. By the time I have recovered enough to go back it’s like starting all over. I have lost all my progress! That’s when I realized that this is something that I will have to do for the Rest. Of. My. Life. Why? I ask again, why would I want to do that?

I’ll tell you why. Because, even though the heaviest thing I ever plan on having to lift is my carry on suitcase containing the toiletries, cosmetics, and anti-ageing products that have made it so heavy that I have to pay an extra fee, I do want to be able to live a full life in excellent health. So, it is my new mission in life to not be the weakest link at the gym, to be able to lift myself off the floor, to do my weight bearing exercises three times every week, and still be able to raise my glass to my lips.

Now I really do need that gin & tonic. Make it a strong one! 

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