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Today's Exercise Is Less Stressful When "Bowling Alone"


My Fitness Center reopened over the summer and yet I haven’t returned.  That’s strange, considering I’ve been an OCD work-out freak most of my adult life – even in my disabled and wheelchair recent years.  Why the hesitation, I ask myself.

Despite the many precautions the Gym has taken, the deep cleaning and sanitization, the rearrangement of equipment, the use of masks and gloves by staff, the temperature checks and hand washing requirements, masking -  I’m still concerned. (That’s the customary polite word – I would say scared  s______less.)

There’s no question exercise is important.  Even in a hard hit country like Spain – where my son lives -  with a strict lockdown, restrictions have been lifted for exercising on balconies and on roof tops. It’s permitted – like walking the dog. Ya gotta work out.

Fortunately, my ALF has an exercise class.  Workouts are mild – we’re old you know – but consistent and involve movement.  The body needs to move. 

We start with a toe tap, a movement of the digits of our feet.  To be fair and equal to the whole foot, back as well as front, we tap our heels. And to complete the circle, we rock both heel and toe. Thus, from the get go, we start blood circulating to the brain.  Seated forever in a wheel chair this is great for me, as I’m constrained from exercising good exercises to circulate blood, like running (or walking if you’re not an athlete), downward dogging (if yoga is your thing), and feet-up-on-a-walling (if you’re nuts.)

We move from the silence of heel-toeing (well, there might be the sound of a  click of a tap) to the rousing singing (movement of the lungs) of marching and faux boating – When the Saints Go Marching In and  Row Row Row Your Boat, with the expected marching and rowing simulations.

Quiet time again.  No singing.  Squeezing. Squeezing a robber ball. A good exercise to strengthen fingers, which was recommended to me after my disabling accident, when my ulnar nerve unhinged, causing a coup against my wrists and fingers - a revolt against my brain commands.

Anyhow, because of this ulnar mishap a ball can’t into my hand; instead I use a vertical squeezy.

I’m subtly discriminated against in the multiple squeezes.  Having grown up in the concrete jungle of NYC, I can’t squeeze like my friend, Horace, who grew up on a dairy farm. While I was dropping off newspapers to apartment doors, he was milking – a definite squeeze advantage.

Exercise class ends with the participants, observing social distancing, forming a circle to kick around a large exercise ball.  Since I can’t raise my legs to kick, I return to my room. But I walk! Helped by the exercise leader, I use a hand rail to hold onto as I put one foot in front  of the other, as she follows pushing my wheelchair should I poop out.  A good cardio exercise, and I’m a biped again! – at least, for a few minutes.

What more can I ask from exercise?

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