The Exercise Nazi

What a difference a year makes!

A year ago, my fiftieth birthday was coming way too close and I was none too happy with what fifty looked like. As I have a habit of doing, I looked for a role model, and I chose, among others, Oprah. She makes aging look OK.

One of the things I did not like about aging was the way everything sort of, well…sagged. Including my middle. And I did not want to be one of those middle-aged women who have a sort of pregnant-looking belly but really skinny arms and legs. Oprah’s solution? On one of her shows, somebody asked her the secret of her abs. Oprah’s response? Three hundred sit-ups a day. THAT wasn’t gonna happen.

Enter the exercise Nazi, otherwise known as my daughter, the registered kinesiotherapist. I listen to her (reluctantly) because things she has told me to adjust helped with some aspects of my RA more than the medicine the doctors gave. I told her about the sit-ups and said, “That’s Oprah. She can hire a trainer. What can I do?”

Now the daughter knew that some friends had been trying to talk me into Curves and that I was too, uh…frugal to sign up. (It’s not that altogether; before RA (rheumatoid arthritis) I walked a lot to relieve stress, and I tend to use my exercise time as time for myself, not socializing. Besides, I wasn’t sure that the techs there were trained enough to deal with RA. And when I called the local store, the people there weren’t sure either.)

The daughter’s answer was crunches. They would work my abs. I thought I could do them. I asked her how many to start with, and she said ten. Three times a day.

I scoffed. “Ten? I’m sure I can do more than that!”

“Trust me, Mom,” she said. “This is enough to start. You can add ten a week when you are ready.”

The exercise Nazi returned to Ohio after giving training instructions. I commenced crunching. I was embarrassed. Initially, my husband had to give me pep talks. Especially for the last set of ten. “Come on,” he said. “I know you can do it. Eight, nine…”

That was about six months ago. If you had told me six months ago that my stomach HAD muscles, I would have laughed at you. But now I can actually see definition. albeit under a bit of pudginess. And you know what? I feel better. Stronger. Which is really nice. Maybe more importantly, I feel like I have some control over my body, a feeling that RA took away.

My husband has been having a few knee problems, which is not surprising considering the fact that his railroad career has kept him working outside for over thirty years now. He got worried toward the end of the year last year, too. He wants to retire in not too long, but he doesn’t want to go out on a disability. He wants to be strong, like he has been while he works.

The exercise Nazi came to our rescue again. She showed us knee exercises. She even got out the Pilates ball. We do the exercises, and you know what? His knees feel better, and my morning backache is no longer a constant companion.

The point of my story is this: modern medicine is a practice. Exercising is a lifestyle. If you take the time to strengthen and tone, you will feel better both physically and mentally.

If you don’t believe me, ask your local exercise Nazi.


1 Response to “The Exercise Nazi”

  1. 1 martha preckler January 30, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Dear Becky,
    You have a gift with the written word! It was a pleasure to read your sweet piece about your daughter, Jill and being 50 and flabby.
    I saw your article because Jill is my PT at Heartland. I recently had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. I have been to the PT's at Perrysburg before. My friend, Linda Meyers, works there. You have probably heard of her from Jill, as she describes her as "my mentor."
    You don't know Nazi until Linda gets on your case. She is fantastic but completely "no nonsense".
    I had the pleasure of working with Jill alone the other day. She was so encouraging and patient. You've done a great job. She is a special individual.
    Keep up the good work on your blog.
    Martha Preckler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

January 2006
« Dec   Feb »

%d bloggers like this: