Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fitness Room to Gym

It is October 12 with a cold morning rain. Lawn, garden and flowerbeds will soon be asleep. We totally missed working in them this summer. This has not been a problem for my wife. It is a major problem for me.

I now weight about 5 pounds more than when I graduated from high school. And that 5 pounds is right around the belt line. I can still walk several miles without a problem except my legs get tired. There is in general, a lack of strength I formerly had.

As an example, much emphasis was placed on getting up from a fall. I questioned how we get down to the floor in the first place. So I practiced, as I learned to do with home exercises that mimic the real thing. I designed a fall like my wife and I often have working in the flowerbeds. We tip over forwards, to the side, and backwards when we loose our balance or get a foot entangled in something.

I squatted down, reached back to catch myself, and hit my head on the carpeted floor. My feet were straight above me. Wamp, my hips hit the floor. This was not a soft roll as in the garden. I learned two things: I had lost a surprising amount of strength and I could get hurt if I did not do something about it.

Original Fitness Room with
 Treadmill and Bicycle Removed
The originally designed exercise room at Provision Living at Columbia held a treadmill across the window and a bicycle with a TV on the wall to the left side of the space. I would label the room as standard issue in residential care design for assisted living (marketing requires an exercise space). The vending machine is the first item to convert the space into a community store.

Theater Set for Exercise Class

After a few months the stretching exercise classes moved to the chapel and the theater. Both assisted living and memory care residents shared the same sessions. The lower floor memory care unit we live in is now full. The two groups of residents now have independent exercise sessions more fit to their needs.

Theater and Former Chapel
The exercise program for assisted living, developed into physical therapy, tai chi, and chair yoga, in the theater. Strength training was added when the gym was installed in the chapel. “Stretching exercise” has now been reduced to “exercise”.

Right Wall

Left Wall
Back Wall and Storage
Open house for the gym was yesterday. An original token offering has now developed into a full, individualized, exercise program with emphasis on learning to do, within each person’s ability, exercises that can be done in our apartments as well as during open gym time.

The new director of all the exercise programs introduced himself as, “the guy who makes exercise fun”. If the classes were not fun, no one would come back.

I of course am already a true believer. I have gone from barely able to walk and intense pain, to walking normally upright with little or no pain. My shoulders and hips are both free moving and entirely pain free for the first time in several years. And most of this was done with stretching exercises under the direction of observant and experienced instructors, who provided immediate feedback on doing things correctly, to get the maximum benefit [and avoid damaging effects].

Fitness room to stretching exercises to exercise to gym show a mixture of views of the same thing and of different things. Most people here have a totally inaccurate view of the exercise program that is currently envisioned with the addition of the gym.

I did when we arrived. The mental aspect is as important as the physical. It is 4:25 pm and my back is pain free after chair yoga this afternoon (1:30) and a 1.5 mile walk out to Twin Lakes on the County [Poor] House Trail yesterday. 

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