Elastic Fabulous

If going to the gym were a poetry class, most likely, I’d rarely miss a day. 

When I cycle and stretch in my classes, my head constantly fills up with ideas. I become distracted, or as I like to call it, “vision-tracked.” It’s common for the instructor to call out straight in my direction. “Pay attention,” It appears I’m drifting off, but I’m simply multitasking. I’m visiting images and concepts in that overworked brain of mine —“Oh, my thoughts runneth over.”   

I bend beyond my limits 
I fold at the very angle of rebellion 
and yield to my inner core
When I conquer the mobility of my joints,
there’s freedom within my flesh.


I turn into a poet…. in yoga pants. 

Inside the building where I work out, trainers walk through the rooms in their outerwear—muscle shirts, leggings, and fitted shorts. I imagine they recite in commanding voices to their trainees as perspiration and inspiration flow through their pores. They are teachers and mentors….They are ASTRONAUTS who guide those who want to be strong and exist within the galaxy of celestial fitness.  

   “Suck in that core so your belly button connects to your spine. Strengthen your body’s nucleus; YOU’RE A WARRIOR, and remember, there's no reward without pain and sacrifice.” 

What a cliche, but it’s effective! However, I stop at the first sign of genuine discomfort. The Yoga Gods are more forgiving, and my favorite mantra is, “Moving can be soothing.” 

I've sorted out all the chatter about exercise and found a place for it in my life. My fifth anniversary of working out is coming up this Memorial weekend. It will mark five years of going to the gym. That's 260 weeks, 1,040 days, or 62,400 minutes, give or take vacations and personal days off. 

It’s a big deal for me, and I am shocked by this. And I know I’m not alone! Of everything my instructor, who has guided me over these last five years, has ever said, the best compliment is, “You are the last person I would have expected to keep coming.” 

This observation of my attendance was biting at first, but I embraced it. Her comment is filled with a nugget of truth rolled in a little sugar. This prompted me to ask myself, “Besides commitment and discipline, why do I still go?” Putting aside the obvious answer—like getting healthy—I wonder what motivates me to make the trip three to four days weekly. 

For the last three years, I have stood on my feet most of the day, educating young students who are indifferent about almost everything. I am tired and deflated by the end of the day and would prefer to go straight home and jump into bed. Disinterest can be contagious, especially after eight hours, so I must block out the voices that invite doubt and surrender as the time nears 4:00. Whether to work out or go home, I will decide at the end of a stretch of the road. —Yes, it’s as simple as this! 

Once I’m out of the parking lot, traveling to pass the buses, I know the road I’m on will end soon. At the light, making a left turn commits me to a healthier choice: going toward the gym or taking a right will bring me temporary satisfaction—like ditching school. The latter feels better in that short window, but is it worth skipping exercise? 

Sometimes, I need an excuse to stick to the plan I made five years ago when first signing up at the gym. Getting older or having a heart attack are good ones, but neither is why I make the left turn 90% of the time. The reason may have nothing to do with the physical but the spiritual. If I bend my body, silence the mind, and become weightless, I can defy gravity and rebel against everything I am supposed to conform to. And in addition, this may better prepare me for the afterlife……. Or let’s be real….. Should I accept that this is all bullshit and admit that I work out to look better in a pair of jeans?

 So, in conclusion, once again, I’m overthinking everything. We’re getting older, and we should grab any opportunity that will make us healthier. In doing so, if we come out of it looking better, that’s a bonus. I wish my instructor and me a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and look forward to another five years. But going forward, if I rethink and give up deciding to make that right turn 90% of the time, I need to remember that elastic waist pants are fabulous!

By Jill Modell-Dion the creator of Aging Creative who also, lives in Cape Coral Florida. 
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  • Donna Moriarity on

    So true.so true.

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