I never would have retired if I had known I had to stay active. At my last check-up, my GP admonished me to add some exercise to my sedentary lifestyle. I failed in my attempt to convince him that I get a daily workout climbing the stairs in the house umpteen times retrieving things I forgot. To shut him up, I joined the low-impact aerobics class at the local senior center. Easy peasy, I thought. After all, I’m only a whisper past my fifties. Heck, I don’t even qualify for the elder discount at White Castle. A walk-step and arm swing or two would be a breeze.
Back in the day, I memorized the ‘80s Jazzercise numbers after just a couple of times through. A few years later, I got hooked on line dancing. Met my husband during a spirited go-round of “Achy-Breaky Heart.”
I arrived early at the first session to secure a spot on the floor, so I could follow along with the leader until I got the routines down. Watching the silver hair and creased faces filing into the large room, I worried that the poor things had misplaced their canes and walkers.
We started with a simple march in place, keeping time with oldies favorite, “The Mountain’s High” by Dick and Dee Dee. No problem, I thought. I won’t even break a sweat. Then we switched to a side step. Next came a gentle knee lift.
“…And eight, and seven, and lift, and lift…” Instructor, Milan counted us down, her chestnut curls bouncing to the beat.
Wait. What was happening? We weren’t halfway through the first song and my thighs were on fire. Reading the agony on my face, Milan advised, “Remember, it’s okay to walk in place if the knee lift is too much. And don’t forget to breeeathe.”
Panting. How about panting?
I glanced at the woman next to me, who looked old enough to be my mother. Knees high, arms pumping, she reminded me of a cast member from the final scenes of “Cocoon.”
“You go, Gladys,” beamed Milan, smiling and nodding in her direction.
Among the new steps to learn were the mambo, the salsa and the grapevine. After a couple of salsa/grapevine combinations, I began hallucinating tortilla chips and sangria.
The final cool-down number was Robin Thicke’s new hit, “Blurred Lines.” By that time, the whole room looked fuzzy.
When the music stopped, I stumbled across the floor and steadied myself against the wall to catch my breath.
“You all right, dear?”
I looked up into Gladys’s sympathetic eyes. Mommy?
“Here,” she said, slipping her arm around my shoulder. “Let me help you to your car.”