The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Cooling off the fitness fever


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Mar. 12, 2017 - 4:03 AM

I was one quarter away from clearing college but needed three more credit hours to graduate. I signed up for a psychology course that promised lots of lectures and no tests.

The course should have come with complimentary aspirin. The lectures were painfully dull and as relevant to college kids as estate planning.

One guest speaker was a psychologist who spent most of an hour telling the class we would never reach a true understanding of ourselves until we peeled away our “defensive outer shell” and discovered our “inner psychological core.”

I haven’t thought about my “inner core” since. It’s the outer shell that’s caused most of my problems. Not my psychological outer shell, but the physical one. It’s looking worse by the day.

A recent peek in the mirror confirmed that over the last decade or so I hadn’t just softened around the edges—I had totally transformed from greyhound to gruesome.

Since I still make rare public appearances, I decided it was time to shape up. Just a little. And as painlessly as possible.

Like any sensible person, I went straight to the internet. Google delivered millions of hits focused on “exercises for old people that won’t kill them.”

Forrest Gump would agree that a Google search is like a box of chocolates— “You never know what you’re gonna get.” I got plenty of surprises.

The first link I clicked on sent me to a dude calling himself Dai Emanuel. The name sounded exotic. He looked like a surfer. Dai’s picture featured white teeth and a deep tan. I didn’t judge. I’ve gotten good advice from shallow people before.

I got about 3 inches down Dai’s website when I drew up short. It’s not unusual for these kinds of websites to feature quotes from well-known figures, but Dai’s site shared a bit of wisdom from Yoko Ono, widow of former Beatle John Lennon.

Yoko? Yikes. I’d rather get fitness advice from Richard Simmons.

If Yoko’s quote wasn’t enough to scare me away from Dai Emanuel, the advertisement below Yoko’s quote did. It was headlined “6 Reasons Why Yogis Shouldn’t Smoke Pot.” Really.

I left Dai in the digital dust and looked for articles written by normal-looking people. I found one dude named Doc. He said the worst thing older exercisers can do is sit around the break room table at the senior center and swat balloons at each other. Doc said seniors should get out and GO as fast as they could.

Doc is a disciple of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. He swears a 15-minute HIIT workout does more good than 45 minutes of aerobics.

A HIIT session includes bursts of “intensive” running, rowing, weightlifting or typing (not really). The goal is to exercise until you’re “too out of breath to carry on a conversation.”

That “goal” concerned me. When Doc gets a little more age on him he’ll realize the last thing older people want to be “out of” is breath.  

I scanned a few more sites and got a few good tips. After I do a few sessions of Nap-er-Cise I may actually try to move around a little. My research indicates that whether you do kickboxing or kick back on the couch, the two most important goals of any fitness program are staying safe and staying motivated.

To stay safe, I recommend exercising within 50 yards of your local hospital emergency room.

As for motivation… Cover your bathroom mirror with a picture of Yoko Ono. If that doesn’t send you racing out of the house, nothing will.

(Send your email comments to alexmmcrae@gmail.com .)