I often get letters about something I’ve written about, usually friendly notes. Some not so friendly, but I read them all for new ideas. Following is one from Cordialea Athena of Carson City. She was reacting to my column on building your own home gym:
“The Carson Senior Center offers several exercise classes for seniors. About one year ago, I began going to one that has helped me enormously! It costs $1 a class. Although it is structured for those who have difficulty with their lungs; and I am fortunate to not have that problem, it is helping me build strength in my legs from the after affects of Polio I had at age 10 — 67 years ago.
“It is held on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Senior Center and the participants are very helpful and friendly. There is one wonderful 96 year old who is amazingly able to keep up with the varied exercises that work the whole body while building one’s breathing strengths.
“The fee is $1. This fee is maintained by the capable and entertaining leader, Jerry Vance, who wants the fee to be low enough for any senior who wants to participate to be able to.
“If Mr. Bauman would like to attend these sessions to see what they offer he is very welcomed.”
That’s the kind of invitation I enjoy, and I’ll drop in and maybe add something to my own routine.
Meanwhile, I’ve stepped up some parts of my workout, chiefly in anticipation of the coming ski season. I always try to build quads with the constant up and down movements.
I raise the number of times I stand with my back to a doorframe, then slowly sink until my quads are parallel with the floor, then hold the position for a count of at least 100, and rep several times.
I add to that with lunges where with 10-pound weights in the hands I kneel until one knee is on the floor then rise. This is demanding, and I started at five reps but now am up to 10. It does more for the thighs and backside mass. Works on the hamstrings and gluteus medusa (better than squats for me).
I do run in place, making sure the knees rise fully. I really have to work on my body as age does tend to weaken one, and I need all the help I can get for those long runs down Heavenly’s Boulder trail, easy yes, but that’s where I like to get started.
A slight aside about seniors skiing: Don’t just haul out the skis from the garage and slap some instant wax on them. Get it done professionally. Also make sure that your bindings are correctly set for your age and weight.
READING FOR SENIOR FUN
One of the nice things about reaching senior status is that one has time to do some things that the pressures of work did now allow. One of those is reading for fun, reading whatever interests you. Here’s a couple of items I’ve been indulging myself with:
“The Tempest” in a way summarizes Shakespeare’s works. A group of Italian nobles are shipwrecked and wind up on a deserted island. Deserted except for the rough Caliban.
John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is a look back at the Joad family as in a loaded rickety truck they travel through a dismal world of economic crisis, worse than ours of 2008. Also Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” a tragic story of a relationship between two men.
Ernest Hemingway wrote many novels and probably his best was “A Farewell to Arms,” a World War story with the opening chapter perhaps his finest work. But for seniors, “Across the River and into the Trees” may be more meaningful. It’s the story of an Army colonel, once a general, and this last love, an Italian countess. The colonel reflects of life much like many of us seniors do. No great revelations here, just an old man in his last days. But he is unbowed.
Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.