Life Long Devotion

I am celebrating approximately 40 years of working out on a regular basis. Forty years! How can that be? Most days I barely feel 40 years old, but I started working out in the early 1970s when “aerobics” first became popular. In the years since, I have never had a long-term lapse of fitness even though I have had a few illnesses and injuries. If memory serves, the most time I have ever taken off in those years was 3 weeks on a few occasions. Otherwise, I work out in some form or fashion several times a week.

In the early years I participated in rhythmic aerobics; later that became high-impact aerobics. I belonged to classes that worked out at a variety of venues in town. The opening of the Simmons Center made regular fitness much easier because there were so many options for individual and group fitness. In addition to working in the weight room I could participate in aerobics classes, step aerobics, kick boxing, boot camp, and spin classes. Now I regularly enjoy the elliptical machine, step aerobics, yoga, Pilates, body sculpting, and Zumba classes. I also enjoy riding my own bicycle and have participated in the Dehydrator for many years.

I haven’t decided whether this makes me smart or crazy. My friends and family thought they knew the answer when I suffered a stress-related heart attack in 1998. They said, “We told you that exercise was going to kill you.” I had the last laugh, though, when the angiogram showed that my blood vessels were wide open and I did not have heart disease. The cardiologist said I was a testament to the benefit of exercise. That’s what I wanted to hear! It confirmed my belief that what I was doing was good for my health. My family history doesn’t favor longevity, so I try to overcome that by living reasonably healthy lifestyle. Will it pay off in the long run? I have no way to know how long I will live or be able to maintain good health – but healthy eating and exercise are already paying off for me as I enter into retirement age. I have been able to maintain my weight and I feel strong and confident in what my body can do. I believe this will allow me to continue to be active, walk, bike, dance, workout, and look forward to many more adventures in the future.

I know how hard it is to fit exercise into a busy schedule. It is easy to say “I don’t have time.” My thinking is that there is nothing more important to you or your family than your own good health. You cannot be all you need to be if you aren’t healthy; exercise is one thing we know that can help us be healthy. For me it is a priority and I schedule time for it. Exercise is a habit for me now and I very much miss it when I am away for a few days. I’ll see you in the gym.

By Martha Burger