YMCA (hear the Village People roar)

Go, go, go, go! Faster! Faster! That’s me in the subtle green.

“So how’s it going? Your hundred days at the gym or whatever?”

It’s going. It’s #101daysagymrat and today is #27. I’ve done two spin classes and gone back in the pool for a deep-water aerobics session. I go to the Friday morning Silver Sneakers class with all the squats, and I hang around after church on Sunday, waiting for the Y to open at 1 p.m.

“You must be feeling so good,” said the bank teller yesterday, after she told me she’s proud of me (something I’m hearing a bunch, and I love it!).

Well, no. I still feel tired all the time and sore ‘most always. This is a deep and fundamental shock to my coddled self. This requires more effort and commitment than remembering to use my Waterpic or to take my vitamins.

I do feel as though my posture’s better. And apart from the muscle fatigue, I feel sparkier. All that damn oxygen, I guess.

I plan my days, schedule appointments, around my exercise. The Y is 25 minutes away so when I have choir practice on Wednesday nights, that means going to the weight room just before and not making two trips. When I work, I have to figure out if I can make it to a 5:30 p.m. class afterward.

My obsessive self is coming to terms with the fact that these won’t be 101 consecutive days. Any fool knows something — weather, holidays — is going to interfere occasionally, but that just means the next day I’m back to business as usual (not counting the skipped day). So far I’ve missed one day because incoming torrential rain was going to sweep me off 421N if I dallied at the Yadkinville Y.

I’m more comfortable with a variety of classes, more confident that I won’t throw up or die before the 45 or 60 minutes finish. Part of that is feeling more confident that I can do it; part, that I know the arc of the class and when the truly toughest part is behind us.

I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour. I don’t always sleep well, but, at least, I’m not in the recliner. The sleeping-well thing may be a reflection of dropping my generic Paxil intake by 30 percent last week. I’ve been taking it for 19 years and really, really want to stop entirely because a) in some ways I’m a pharmaceutical construct, b) there’s a definite connection with Alzheimer’s and c) it’s associated with weight gains of as much as 20 pounds!

Even the mainstream AARP says a good daily workout may help some people with depression and anxiety as much as drugs. I’ve sure had times in my life when I needed antidepressants and was grateful beyond words to have them. But my life is less stressful now, and I’m better equipped when the “black bird” lands, to say, all right, I’m blue. And in a while, I won’t be.

Also, our family doctor says that exercise is the only thing he knows of that will reliably improve cholesterol numbers without more drugs. And not just that — he also says the older we get, the harder we need to work. So what’s a little fatigue and soreness? (My blood pressure numbers at last week’s 6-month cancer checkup were the lowest ever.)

And, oh yes, my weight’s down by 8 pounds in these 27 days. I’m planning on some lifting and some stair climbing (most difficult thing in the gym!) tonight on my way to my first Christmas cantata rehearsal.

In the surprisingly cogent words of singer Demi Lovato, speaking at the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Prevention Summer Spectacular: “Every day is a battle. You just have to take it one day at a time, some days are easier than others and some days you forget about drinking (substitute eating sugar here) and using (ditto), but for me, I work on my physical health, which is important, but my mental health as well.”

Some days we do it easily. Some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed, but we do it. And the next day it’s easier. Maybe.

Downward dog. Woof.



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